Title: Guyanese group gives New York a taste of CARIFESTA
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA00100661/00001
 Material Information
Title: Guyanese group gives New York a taste of CARIFESTA
Physical Description: Newspaper clipping
Language: English
Creator: Clarke, Tangerine
Clarke, Tangerine, photographer
Publisher: Sunday Chronicle, 7 September 2008, page XIV
Publication Date: 2008
Subject: Caribbean
Traditional Culture
Folk Culture
Guyana Cultural Association
Hemmerding, Hilton
Goring, Claire
Patterson Monah, Claire
Emmanuel, Juliet
October-Edun, Rose
McDonald, Wayne
Abstract: Article describes the atmosphere and performances by various Guyanese and Caribbean artistes at the annual Guyana Folk Festival, organised by the Guyana Cultural Association and held during the Labour Day weekend in New York. The special item on the programme was the showcasing of the Kwe Kwe ceremony.
Funding: Digitized with funding from the Digital Library of the Caribbean grant awarded by TICFIA.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA00100661
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Holding Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: CARIFESTA X 2008

Full Text

'age XIV

Sunday Chronicle September 7, 2008

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By Tangerine Clarke
HE pulsating rhythm of Afri-
in drums resonated across a
rooklyn, New York
eighbourhood, sending
uyanese expats into a danc-
ig frenzy, some even catch-
ig 'anta banta', as their eyes
olled and their feet stamped
the infectious beats.
The occasion was a Kwe
we ceremony two Fridays ago
) celebrate 'A Taste of
1ARIFESTA' in New York as
art of the annual Guyana Folk
estival's Labour Day weekend
.f activities.
Not even the windy drizzle,
ad cool temperatures could keep

A Brooklyn Jumble

the droves of nationals from
coming to the sprawling white
tent at the Restoration
Plaza, in the downtown area
- where they were welcomed
by a festoon of a colourful bal-
loons honoring Guyana's flag,
the Golden Arrowhead at the
Many who were draped in
their favourite dashiki, or tie
dye outfits, and who had trav-
eled from as far away as En-
gland and Canada, and other
parts of the United States,
were no doubt delighted to re-
connect at the Kwe Kwe night,
where hugs, kisses and hand
shakes were evident every-
And many who said
they'd never experienced a
Kwe Kwe ceremony and
weren't knowledgeable about
what the ritual meant, paid
rapt attention as Kwe Kwe ex-
pert, Hilton Hemmerding,
demonstrated the significance
of the ceremony.
Eager now to be a part of
the custom, some of the na-
tionals raced to the floor to
claim the bride, while others
jumped into the melee, as did
the doting parents of the
The atmosphere became
decidedly euphoric as drum-
mer Akoya Rudder and the
Carl Fraser ensemble from
New Jersey, broke into 'Leh
we guh and fin' um'. The fami-
lies then greeted each other
with 'Good night aye, good
night aye', before the bride
was hoisted into the air. The
spirited dancers then sur-
rounded the bride as
Hemmerding sprinkled
Guyanese-made 'High Wine'
from a calabash, and later in-
vited the bride and groom to

put their 'fine wine7 into mo-
The two Brooklynites, who
were just actors, and who had
never met each other before that
night, were gracious in partici-
pating in the rite which was led
by members of the Guyana Cul-
tural Association (GCA), Claire
Goring, Claire Patterson Monah,
Juliet Emanuel, and choreogra-
phers Verna Walcott-White and
Rose October-Edun, who gave
the two a session in hip gyration
to show off their 'science'.
In fact, the spiritual draw of
the 'Kwe-Kwe' ceremony was
so strong that it beckoned GCA
president, Malcolm Hall who'd
just gotten off a flight from
CARIFESTA in Georgetown,
and raced to 'de tent' to show
off his 'Kwe-Kwe' steps. This
inspired other men to join the
groom to finish up an energetic
evening of cultural awakening.
From an Awards Presenta-
tion to a Literary Hang, to a Per-
formance Arts Stage Festival,
and a 'Kwe-Kwe' ceremony,
GCA celebrating its seventh year
of festivities, was at its best, fol-
lowing up with a spectacular
Festival Family Fun Day that
paid ,tribute to the Caribbean
Festival of the Creative Arts -
First, it was the smell of
spicy Guyanese fare that lured
the hundreds of spectators to
the Meyer Levin Schools
ground in Brooklyn, and then
the colourful blend of the Carib-
bean cultures that kept them
transfixed for the more that nine
hours of thrilling entertainment.
Both adults and children par-
ticipated in Guyanese games like
Lime and Spoon, Three Legged
Race, Hop-Scotch and the plait-
ing of the Maypole.
Staying true to its theme,
Caribbean People in Harmony

Kwe-Kwe in yuh skin (Photos by Tangerine Clarke)

Through Culture, GCA put on
a pageant in a kaleidoscope of
colour to highlight the cama-
raderie and diversity of Carib-
bean peoples who wore their
national flags with pride, and
waved them with conviction.
Reminding the immigrants
how great it was to be in New
York, the Bishops High School
old students lit up the air with
their 'standing ovation' perfor-
mance that depicted life in The
Big Apple.
The 'old girls' sure did
show off their high kicks. The
ladies were dressed in
colourful mini dresses ac-
cented with feathered head-
pieces to imitate the Famous
Radio City Rockets. The
Drifters, on the other hand,
highlighted the Broadway
stage, and the street scene ac-
tors vividly brought New York
City to Brooklyn. And to top
it off, Lady Liberty held her
torch high to delight the crowd.

But it was Trinidad and
Tobago's lady of Calypso, Sing-
ing Francine, who wooed the
crowd with her suggestive lyrics
and wicked body movement,
singing: "Ah Want Somebody to
Rock Meh'. Her second piece,
'Iron Man', warned the GT
girls about stealing Berbician
Caribbean Arts Theatre di-
rector, Mr Wayne McDonald,
with his thick Jamaican accent,
rocked the crowd with his come-
dic quips as he teamed up with
Rose October-Edun to emcee the
packed programme that included
the Brooklyn Jumbies
youngsters who skillfully pa-
raded on stilts from high up in
the sky.
The afternoon truly be-
longed to youths, like Cherayna
Rullow, the little Soca singer
from Grenada; Impressions
Dance Theater of Queens; the
Roxborough Police Youth Club
of Tobago; Ethnic Moves; Sensa
Konsa Les Enrages of Haiti;

Latin Hip Hop stars, Soul
Cartagena; steel-pan duo,
Hightlite Vibes; Ethnic Moves
folk dancers, and the Meyer
Levin Performing Arts
Steelband, who were all dy-
Popular folk singer
Wrickford Dalgetty; crooner of
'To Be Lonely' fame, Sammy
Baksh; Chuck Gerard, Yonette
Elooper, Jennifer Fereira, and
Sweet Tony Ricardo were all
impressive in their perfor-
mances. Tafazool Baskh also
added his haunting mandolin
solo, while Janelle Brathwaite
jazzed up the crowd with her
smooth vocals.
And when the darkness
cloaked the atmosphere and
the drumbeats of Winston
'Jeggae' Hoppie and Akoya
Rudder were silenced, it was
evident that the patrons who
had lingered long after were
not ready to close out yet an-
other magnetic season of folk
festival events.

~ ~ ~ iN *

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