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CARIFESTA '72 : music and dance
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA00199879/00001
 Material Information
Title: CARIFESTA '72 : music and dance
Series Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Brathwaite, Edward Kamau
Publisher: Sunday Advocate-News
Publication Date: 11/19/1972
Subjects / Keywords: Carifesta (1st : 1972 : Guyana), Festivals - Caribbean Area
Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Barbados -- Bridgetown
Funding: Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.
 Record Information
Source Institution: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Holding Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: CARIFESTA I 1972
System ID: CA00199879:00001

Full Text

* Carifesta '72-6


HAVING attempted a
Itetaphysical account of some
of the aspects of Carifesta -
having reacted to a certain
Vision of its meaning we
can now turn to a record of
some of Its physical events
lor confirmation/moditication
of what has so far !been said.
There are tw6 approaches.
0We could, as Trevor Marshall
did -o telhngly for Barbados
(Advocate-News. 11 October
(1972), offer an analysis of
each territorial contribution;
or we could discuss the festi-
val under certain broad cate-
gories (Art, Music. Litera-
ture, etc).
In, a sense, both approaches
bught to be employed if we
are to gain a really adequate
perspective on the celebra-
tion as a whole. But with the
tirnitations imposed :by this
Sunday format, I shall have to
diScuss the programme under'
its various broad categies,
leaving comment on territo-ial
contribution to the exigencies
of space and time.
I shall begin here with
Music and Dance. since these,
along with Talk/Drama are
tme Caribbean 'Expressions
anost clearly abundant: at
Which we most richly excel.
Formal Musical Events:
By 'formal' I mean occasions
when the audience comes to
listen to a musical form, per
ae. without the expectation of
'witnessing or participating in
any (or very much) func.
tional movement or mime.


' As such, there were three
kinds of formal presentation
at Caritesta: (1) music in the
European tradition (theme,
style, instrumentation. e.:c;
though it should be noted in
passing that all items unuer
this category participate in a
;Euro-derived structure); (2)
folk music (mainly, as it hap-
pened, Afro-aribbean, in
style and. content) presented
by 'trained musicians and
singers'; and (3) modern folk/


ty Edward


1/Music in the Europea n! ,
Tradition: In this section may I
be included the performance
of' the Madrigalistas re
Aragua (Venezuela) with
their one-night-only offering
of Spanish, Latin Americai
and Venezuelan songs: 'Te
Legend of Kaieteur (Gltyan i)
au oratorio for large (2)10
voice) choir and pianos. aug-
nented, on tins occasion, rby
steel orchestra; recitals .by the
Guyanese lan Hall (organ
and Ray Luck (piano), and o,
the Catelli Steel Orchestra of '
Trinidad. .,
Th.''e music of Bach.
Mendelssohn, Rossini, as wlasa We ndi, folfo. '..
as Scandello, Vincente Sijo a' a W.es Indiani, tla-.'v1na
InScandel wz Vincene Sooi ,the *ntours of his nat ve
and the Brazilian 1H6e i t or our o s
,;Villa-Lobos dominated thi w speech, can release a West
a-Lo r aced, i e Indian poem from its prison
area which reached, in gen- q, pg as no other ice
eral. a very high standard of O e page as no other voice
NerIormance and wascs on tse o eould).
erforman ce and was i n the ne expects that over the
whole, enthusiastically re- there will be further
ceived by its audiences. What ,Chiibbeanization of this work;
was most Interesting from our .. zt
point of view, however, was or rather, that further' illu-
the effect of Caribbean inter- minations of its Caribbean
culturation on this structure. nature will be made. as it is
:Here was 'European' music tested by new probes and
!being played/composed by sensibilities.
artists. most of whom, with Ray luck
'the exception of the Vene. Similarly ray, Ludck, a
zuelans, were naon-whbte.' Sino-Guyanese. trained and
Th'1e Legend of Kaieteur: successful in thie strictest -'n-
SThe music of Kaietgur, for international tradition, brought
Instance, was written, though his 'professionalism' to the
service of his society 'by in-i
cluding in his concert the,
work of two Gu8nhee-born
coqjp ers: #an & .
(1969) by" aei Rldway,
whose death in 1970 was a
sever.e--blow tQ- usic iin-thq
area. rid' Rida.. FestfVi
lpn c ig I .Yia Fox, ex,
patrnted 'ln v York.
.These two pieces, .pA,` tfJ
~ -. materiall from .the 4Jrazu
Si.an and-,Argentitne composer!
included in tone program
(there were in tact ndo 1'uto
pean composers as such in. hi.
repertoire), helped make
subtle point: modification ol
traditional structure:, prepare.
ing the way, who knows, fo
a more active and authentic
Euro-Caribbean contribution
in the future.
Steelbands vs Steel
N SINGERS Orchestras: I amn/was tess
~,n, i, o in 1944 bhv Pnnp happy with the Catelli Steel

Pilgrim (1917-24) a 'brown-'
skin' Guyanese; conducted at
Carifesta by his brother Bill,
and performed by over 200
people, most of them Afro,
Guyaname. Here was 'cultural
imitation' with a vengeance
. But in this Carifesta peri
tormance (the fourth so far!
of the work; it is also'now
a v a i a b e on gramophone
record), the Gaybau Invaders
Steel Orchestra was added,
and immediately these Carib-
bean timbers added new shape
and motiin to the work; just

'Orchestra's concert renditions
of Euro- and neo-classics.
One can't help being amazed
lby/impressed with the re.
production into concentric
sound ot string, woodwind,
flute, brass, harp. But there
is no adaptation of this tapes-
try of metal, as tar as I can
see, to- Caribbean. wall or
.Caught up in that certain
structure, there is clearly a
yearning for the challenge of
symphonies: full length work,
'nipreognable battlements,
leethoven bust on the shelf:


it happened to Hannibal, to
Cuffy, to Christophe and it
could happen to you.
And why 'not, since tie
formal structure: school plan.
tation/symphony: has -been 'or
so long accepted by us all. But
why not symphonies of our
own. instead of symphonies.
2/Neo.Folk: Here we found
folk music (mainly Afro-
Caribbean) which I referred
co in my last article as ce.n
scored by self or the estab'
lishment. In other words, we
did not have the folk (nation.
*people) themselves, but
'trained artistes' (mainly
school/community groups)
performing folk m a t'e r i a I:
slave song, work song, praise
song, shanto, spiritual, and
the chorallecd calypso: the
Antigua Community Players
the Guyana Police Male Voice
Choir, the Quavers Quartet
(Barbados), the St. Vincent
Kingstown Charole, the Sif-
fleur Montagne !Chorale
(Dominica). the National.Folk
Singers of Grenada, St. Lucia.
Aruba; and, in their different
ways, the popular Chorale dii
Francois de Martinique
('Hear, O Lord' from Jesus
Christ Super-Star; eli
costumes and gesturg) and'
Cuba's Orquesta fAragon ('O
Mammy/ 0 Manmy, Mammyj
Blue/O Mammy'4*Bl; '; with
oiled electrie'-vidni'''
Again standards Were,
'high', stage presentations
slick, often slightly mannered,
with emphasis on grouping,
costume and lighting rather
than lightning. From time to
time, too, one or other of these,
groups felt it necessary to
.break out in melodic anguish
about the beauty of their
island: brochures: sun blue:;
tales of the new plantation.
So that when we talk of
'cultural revolution', we have
to remember this: the at-
mospneric n enispheri c
pressure: concession to the
structure: the subtle .buy/us
boss: and that these groups
are dearly loved by the moir
gentile masses.
3/Mod: If this grouping
there was music for the
wilder folk: open air National
Stamium people; youth, work.
ers, drop-ins, the tuned on.
Form and style, though still
formal, could quite quickly :be
turned into movement: pre-
sage of alternative structuree
and tradition: nod, tap, shake,
jump-up, spouge: coming out
of black/rock and the Alfo-
Caribbean .olk trad i to n:
modern and uncensored;
moving into the glow/bal vill-.
aie soundtrack ot tie tuturo:.
seeelband (Kirpalant, Demnco,

Atlantic Symphony), k a iso
(Short Shirt, jrancme), pop,
reggae ('oots and the
Maytals; The chosen Few,
jazz, and the Mystic Revela-
tion of Rast!tarl. .
Formal still? Still Euo.
struck? The beat and content,
wail and landslhe so:util have

made it somethliig 'lae; ft Ja a in a a National Dance
made us something also: n1 Theatre Company, under the
Brooks, Terreode. '. R!I 1bartistic direction of .ts chief
Shake Keanet: blow.ng *with.dancer and choreographer,
the confidence .oi our dew- Rex Nettleford. IFor many
born ancestors.,. people, his group (wh ih.
opened Carifesta and lett soon
DANU'E: Hiere Again we will after) was the highlight of the
consider first the 'formal' entire three-week festival.
aspect of the subject: move. This was because ifr most
ment of trained dis. 'plnes people in the Anglican Car;b-1
across the hooded stage of bean tradition, this group's
open .arena, rin lite-al or excellence, compared to that.
abstrat,,cojlaring `t rntual or say, of HIlti, was pernmps
Story,.isiig the lanaguaSe of more easily understood and
the human body, accessible, and because its
Music helps here. but it is repertoire was the most
not all. 'it is not always varied of all the ensenmbles
hallelujah as Virginia Seeley .present at Carifesta.
of BairBados demonstrated Ji Their programme ranged
hep dance of silence. With!. from the Martha Graham-like
these cowls or auditoria, out dialogue for Three, depi:tion
audiences watch or witness. of a love's trlemma, danced,
Participation i. ,,not planned, t to te soundtrackk of the
for in these arimas. haunting Concierto de Aran-
juez by Rodrigo; through the
In this department then, religiose Missa Cr i o 11 a
Carifesta brought us iour shadowed from the sound-
great spectacular., companies: track of the same name; ire
Jamaica, Bahia/Brazui. Cuba electronic mod/pop Desperate
and Haiti; a modern dance Silences; the witty folk/urban
troupe, in the form -*f the Kas-Kas; and then magnificent
Barbados Dance Theatre: and concluding Kumina.
several others ,(Aruoa. Trim- As the drums, now 1 'e,
dad, Martinique, Fr. Guiana), led by a real kumina master.
of varying scope and versa- :began to mutter in the dare-
tility. ness, the inexplicable trans-
formation of structure began.
These made their impact It was as if. as audience, we
with skill, power, verve, pie- were being drawn by a great
sentation (light, shade, vortex nearer and nearer into
costume, timing) ani ine re.. the movement of the stage:
enactment, as a central. rrk no longer stage, but lighted
of their art, of significant ship or island.
moment nof Afroar hban -

ritual. We must look at this
more closely because .t is in-
teresting to n6te that when-
ever these, moments were
approached: Baron Samedi.
Vemajaa: a transformation of
choreography took place
(spirit as well as pace), which
moved it out of its structured
context into new areas of
space and format; recovered
originalities into which the
audienceperformers were
now whirled int a newmore
ancient relatibonshp.
T h s was particularly
noticeable during the per-
formances of the SU-strong

* The mystic revelation of Rastafari

And as a harsh shiver of
Voices suddenly ,br ea.thed:
agitation of water: out of the
lide.of the drums: 'I want to
.go.... 0/ I want to go. .0':
it was as if we had spoken
:from -some deep involuntary
And all this. while the
dance urlder way, the drums
moving, steady inexorable
progress through sound,
through song, through move.
ment: torso flun back from
pelvis: the~ r' t shuttling free-
ly forward: then flung again
forward towards the drums.
Wave upon wave of
dancers:' diagonal entrances
and exit: clash: warrick stick:
weave: interweave: cl as h:
diagonal cross stick: clash:
dissolve; and the entranced
singers crying deep from our
psyche, riding blind on the
horses of drums.

It was 'Itting that all this
should have .been rejected a
few weeks later by some Eng.
lish critics at Sadlers Wells,
where the group went to cele-
,brate the 10th anniversary of
their founding: colon colon
semi/colony. Here, so far from
Carifesta. their art became
*religious frenzy.. e.voktd b y
rhythmic drum .and forceful
. .expressed through groups
of stamping and gyratlng
dancers. .. 0 Tacky 'roussain
Hannibal. .. .It was not in
'the' tradition, it was not of
I'the tradition; where were

the structures here?
Tney had eroded and
Obscured the boundaries of
form; colonial and capital, to
boot: as we in Georgetown
knew, rising to meet them
with the sound of rainfall In
our ears: applause aClkow-
ledging this little victory m
the very heart of our .tears.
. Next Week: WE/BARBA.



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