ST. LUCIA AT CARIFE5TA
The beauty of the St. Lucian cultural scene will be poa-
trayed at CARIFESTA through the dramatic presentation "Banjo Man"
written by Roderick Walcott and involving a 30-strong cast of actors,
drummers, dancers and singers.
It has been said that few dramatic presentations in the
Caribbean have been able "to capture the spirit of a countryts people*
like Banjo Man.
It touches on the folk, the festivities, the beliefs of the
people, their present struggles and their past.
*Banjo Man" is the personification of the St. Lucian Psyche.
It goes back to the times when the dreaded Caribishi drove with arrows
the Arawak from "Hewanorro" (indigenous name for St. Lucia) where they
were worshipping their Zemis or Supreme Being, singing their songs,
doing their dances and lying in their hammocks smoking their tobacco
that put them in a trance.
"Banjo Man" captures the dances of the folk routs, cotillions,
mazurkas, schottishes and quadrilles which dominated ballrooms and
shacks at a time when colonial St. Lucia was at its cultural peak a
time when Rodney, the Duke of Kent, Abercromby, Jervis and a dozen more
carved out and fought over the riches of the land.
The mBanjo Man" is a story of the wayfaring minstrel
Estephan, whose singing, charm and personality captured the hearts of
women all over St. Lucia, The setting is traditional and uniquely
The drama unfolds amidst processional pomp, splendour,.
grandeur and music during the celebration of the La Rose Festival, the
feast day dedicated to St. Rose of Lima, the first saint of the New
World, "the first flower of the desert wild",
The festival, celebrated on August 30, is one of the Flower
Festivals which together with its counterpart La Marguerite (October 17)
has played an important part in the political history of the Island.
The conflict between these two bear strange resemblance to
England's Wars of the Roses where rivalry for a flower meant so much.
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The Rose, loud, colourful andexpansive finds expression in its
followers', music, noise and love of colour; while the Marguerite
(Bachelor's Button) with its delicate blues and angel whites, bespeaks a
milder set of followers.
The play comes to a climax when, for the first time in his life
Estaphen learns what it is to- akee a woman cry.
For once the chicken hawk knows how the hens feel about his
apparent concern; and from this realisation comes his first refusal of a
The 35 St. Lucians artists who bring to CARIFESTA their "Banjo
Man", folksongs of the land and Quadrille dances, will capture the ethos
of the people from Vieux Fort to Point du Cap and exhibit nuances of the
Caribbean creative genius.