Group Title: CARIFESTA I - 1972
Title: Carifesta and the Cuban Revolution by Oliver Hunter
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 Material Information
Title: Carifesta and the Cuban Revolution by Oliver Hunter
Series Title: CARIFESTA I - 1972
Physical Description: Archival
Publication Date: 1972
Spatial Coverage: Guyana -- Georgetown
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099657
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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*at%;3 in its role as one of the main cultural

pacesetters in the Ca&ribbt and Lt in America, brings a

new richness and aesa it.g 1 dimension to the world of the

CGaribtean 'Peatival & Creative Arts- CA3IFT?ST Y"12. -

The ict:: that Cuba was among the first set of invited

countries in the region to indicate i'ts strong desire to

participate in CAAIFBSTA and was also among the first to

state its area of participation is testimony to the fact

thaut the revolution and the cou fty's physical isolation

have not culturally separated the Cuban peoples from their

Sb.rothdrs and sisters of the wider Caribbean and Latin America.

Images of the masses predominate in Cuba and it is the

masses who control the cultural scene. Cuba's main contribution

to CARIFESTA the Conjunto Folklorico Nacionale will

portray rhythms of the masses in Yoruba chants and movements.

And it is in looking at the culture of the Cuban masses

which has taken a revolutionary trend with the coming of

Fidel Castro Ruz and his comrades Raul Castro, Prnesto Guevara,

Camila Cienfuego and Juan Almeida to power in 1959 that one

sees truth in the statement that "Caribbean and Latin American

culture is adaptive, inventive and full of rhythm that

tranefends race, colour and previous conditions of servitude".

Out of this adaptability and inventiveness of the Cuban

pedplesa. which is a mixture of the Eurepean, Indian, Chinese

nf. African has emerged a cultural creativity bringing to the

fore new enti-ties in the form of song, dance, music, sculpture

art and architecture that has spilled over into the wider

Caribbean. wt

re /-


2 -

Out of the Cuba of the past came the rhumba, conc-,

guaracha and the mambo all of which had their birth in the

marriac.e which took place between the rhythm of throbbing

jungle drums coming out of plantation shacks, exotic moorish

wails of the Spanish Conquerors and incantations and chants

of the Cuban indigenous Indians the Siboneys, Tainoes and


Out of the Cuba of today is emerging a people with a new

cultural awareness, a new adtrntability and inventiveness, a

greater and more unique cultural creativity that -,ill spill

over in part at CALI7' LA.

The Cuba that is coming to C;'.I'TA is a fascinating

Cuba...a place jammed with strange boroque structures, with

their rich ornamentation, decorative paintings and sculpture,

gold and silver filigree...buildinas like the Havana Cathedral

and the Jesuit Seminary at San Carlos reflecting the Hispanio -

American borooue with motif embellishments from Indian

civilizations and Negroes that carved strange idols in the

depths of Africa.

And it was this same atmosphere which nourished the

beautiful architecture that also nourished the folk aspect of

the Cuban cultural scene. One may ask how can a country that is

predominantly mestizo find itself almost completely overpowered

by the cultural strains of a minority r.roup the African.

Like Venezuela, Brazil and other countries Afro-rhythms tend

to hold sway.

Some ascribe this to the power of the drums; others to

the fact that Afro-forms were easily woven into the cultural

forms of the many Caribbean and Latin American peoples

whether indigenous or otherwise.

- 3 -

The Yoruba music, dance and ritual has maintained such

a great degree of purity in Cuba after hundreds of years of

continental transplantation that it still baffles many...

never-the-less it is uniquely Cuban and will be presented

at CAIIr.3TA through the Conjunto Folklorico N-cionale as

the main aspect of the country's participation.

The Conjunto Folklorico Nacionale with its Afro-Cuban

Ballets and rituals has successfully toured many countries

including the Soviet Union. The promise of Dr. Celio Labora

of the Cuban National Council of Culture is that the

presentations of Cuba will be geared to communicate there

national ethos of the State and ensure that participation is

of a high order.

The cultural people in the Caribbean and Latin America

have been showing intense curiosity over what is happening in

Cuba and CARIT'STA presents an opportunity for getting a

glimpse of the Cuban cultural scene.

Guyanese poet Arthur Seymour was among the many people in

the Caribbean whose heart, in recent times, burned with a

strange desire to unravel the mysteries surrounding the

cultural as.eoct of the Cuban cultural revolution.

And then he paid a momentous visit to that country, met

the revolutionary poet Nicolas Guillon and the lot, walked

the streets of fact got in touch with the living

rhythms of the grassroots elements.

Of one thing we are sure and that is,that Arthur Seymour

is not the same after that visit. In fact he was so impressed

with the progress; place in this sphere of the

revolution "that has brought literacy to every man, woman and

child in the land" that his poem "Postcard from Havana" expresses

pride and respect for the struggles of the Cuban people, and

the primacy of man over money.

4 -

Of the Cuban cultural scene he says thoughtfully:

"A new spirit is aboard in Cuba...a sense of dignity and hope

in which they have impose? the dignity of mAn over the power

of money and material things. Its literature is director drawing

attention to the sufferings of the present times but* with


"The art of Cuba is a powerful and tortured art as

symbolised in the paintings of tVilfredo Lam".

Among the Cuban participation will be the work of this

artist "whose powerful and tortured art has had a seminal

effect on the paintings of Guyanese Denis Yilliams".

The noted Guyanese poet, who is also CA-?,I .SmA Literary

Co-ordinator,says he believes that: "folklore of Cuba taps

its Affo-Cuban roots in song, dance and carnival, and this

acts as a cornentingc influence in what is predominantly a

white Caribbean country. But colour and race matter little

in Cuba".

Further on,M1r. Seymour pointed out that in his view the

new elite in Cuba is securely linked with the masses. There

is a purposefulness in the approaches of the Cuban peoples...

an attitude reinforced bv the very sense of their being

isolated. Concluding he said, "There is a non-materialistic,

but very nationalistic approach to life that we seem to find

in Socialist Cuba today".

7Many see CARIU-Y'SA as a great in-gatbering of all the

beauties of the Caribbean and Latin America, going back to

the times when the Guanahatabeyes Indian maiden Habana went

down to the shores of Cuba to greet the first Spaniard, up

to the times of the 1959 Cuban Revolution. It is like a new

creation absorbing: the folk vibrations from Columbus to

Castro and present day Caribbean.


- 5 -

In writing of this present day world that is not only

Cuba's but ours, Nicolas Guillen the Cuban revolutionary
poet says.....

"We've got Chinese, white, black and mixed;
but remember that our colors are cheap,
for after years of contracts and tricks
nobody's purity runs very deep.
So there's no "stable tone" as you can see.
(Step forwa-rd and speak if you don't agree)...."

"West Indies! West Indies! 'lest Indies!
A multicephalous
hirsute, copper place where life crawls
slow with dried mud blistering on its hide.
A dungeon
Where the feet of every man are tired."

One of the aims of CAb--' STA is to help loosen these
bands that bind the feet of the people and smother forever
images that incarcerate the mind.

Through CA tT'YSTA the living'folk of the Cuban people
and even the inanimate sounds of Havana bells, which the
natives say has a rich thifj because of the silver and gold
that their ancestors poured into the molten bronze, will
for the first time in a special way spill over into the
wider Caribbean and Latin America.

The participation of Cuba in CAiIF2STA is testimony to
the fact that this cultural exposition transcends barriers
of race, religion or i'1cologyand embraces all our peoples.

Indeed CALIFP3T, knows no barriers ..... it only knows
the enchanting rhythms of the folk, ind grassroot things

that belong to the people of the Caribbean and Latin America,
and their embodiment in the various art forms.


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