W The Advocate-News
84 Broad Street, Bidgetown, Barbados. W.I.,
Cirelaated throughout the Easter Caribban
Robrt A. L Bet, Managing Editor.
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Chance To Mirror
West Indian Culture
AT A TIME when much talk is expended
about the search for a West Indian identity, and
the .cynics, among us argue that there is no such
thing as a: West Indian culture, without much
fanfare an opportunity is presenting itself to
prove to us who think otherwise that there is a
West Indian culture. The opportunity comes in
the form of the proposed CARIFESTA 1972, which
is ,intended to be a Caribbean Festival of
Creative ArtS. .
'The art '.forms to be found in the Caribbean
areii' t so' much common to all, but rather are
given greater emphasis in some Caribbean terri-
tories than others. Here in Barbados we are about
to,witness some effort being made to restore or
rediscover those aspects of our creativity that
have been either lost or forgotten. This is to be
part':of: the drive to provide something different
for tourists. And while it might be ironic that we
can be motivated only because we hope to pro-
vide something for tourists, it might still serve
posterity well to know that we were not just
bread and butter people in the true sense of the
When' we speak of a number of territories
putting more emphasis on their art forms than
others, our thoughts immediately turn to Trini-
dad and Tobago, where in spite of the various
political difficulties the people have still managed
to retain many aspects of their culture that lend
great force to the claim that we do have a West
In Trinidad and Tobago, through various
"village" activities, the people have an oppor-
tunity to show their talents. They sing, they
dance, they act, they beat pan; and they show
to all of us that there is more to living than just
being caught up in what can be for some the mael-
strom of politics. We would even go so far as to
say that the true spirit of the people of Trinidad
and Tobago is not mirrored in their political
frustrations but in the happiness they create
through their various festivals of music; of art
and-of course through their carnival.
We in Barbados have become so growingly
sophisticated that much of what tended to reveal
itself as local art forms has been allowed to die
only because we were so foolish as to believe that
what is creative must come only from those
better off and better placed.
The voices of the village choirs are heard only
at New Year when a contest is arranged, and
even: so there is not the same spontaneous en-
thusiasm that marked this singing about a
quarter of a century ago. The skill and facility
of the "bank-holiday drummer" are seldom heard
or seen, so much so, that it is a novelty now
that it has been recorded at 45 rpm; and it is only
because of the efforts of a few that our folk
dancing and singing remain.
But there is hope Not because we are seek.
ing to provide something different in the line
.of entertainment for tourists, but because in this
small nation of ours there are still a few people
who have not given up and are constantly work.
ing hard to build and to encourage others to ap-
preciate what we as Barbadians can do in the
(field of arts. It is a hard uphill task in an area
'where we have allowed ourselves to slide down.
hill. But for all we know the opportunity offered
iby CARIFESTA for us to show our talents, might
well usher in that start towards bringing greater
organisation to the creative fields of our endeav.
our. When we manage to do this we will fully
realise that there is such a thing as a West Indian
culture and that we are part of it.
MONDAY, MACH 27, 1972