MnlTrcFDrq.T AT C',RTI-ESTA
"It's a Montserrat Affair"- a lively presentation of the many folk
traditions of the Montserrations will be the main contribution of the
"Emerald Isle" at CARIFESTA.
It is noteworthy how Montserratlike many of the other countries,
have decided to highlight the folk. Never-the-less this can be
understood because this Island in the Caribbean Leeward group has a
It is usually s-id that Montserrat is like a little Ireland in the
Caribbean since Irish customs and accent dominate the Land...and a bit
of this Irish has been blended into the folk which also has strong elements
of English and ,frican in addition to touches of the Syrian and French.
n Named after a mountain in Barcelona by Christopher Colombus in 1493,
Montserrat was owned by both the French and English. The first Irish
settlers to come to the Island in the 17th century made their name
with cotton, cane and the slave trade in this land of boiling springs
and sulphorous vents, many volcanic mountains and golden beaches, hot
springs, water falls and high mountain pools.
Many of the Irish settlers were in fact an opposition force who were
exiled to Montserrat by Oliver Cromwell.
Among the customs that have survived among these people to this day
is the "House Maroon" -- a gathering before the roof goes on to a new
house; they feel that this must be done in order to keep away bad spirits.
Montserrat is uniquely Caribbean with its many peoples, a typical
micro-cosm of the earth... with its festivals End gay Christmas season...
with its calypso and steelband and its people constantly wearing a sunny
Its artists are like the artists of any region in the Caribbean
and Latin America; they too struggle to liberate themselves from the
ancient artistic rules rnd Prspectives imposed by the European Mecca.
They too struggle to find beauty in indigenous things...in the people
at the grassroots, their fears and love, their environment...
These artists have made significant strides in their struggles. We
see it blossoming in their dances like the indigenous "Whip dance",.we see
it in the calypso cnd drama.., in their prose and poetry written in a
unique Creole-Irish brogue.
Montsorrat brings to the C..RIFESTA stage aspects of this rich'art in
the form of "It's a Montserrct Affair"; a lively presentation of its folk
tradition; "Big Business" a comedy of one act; and the provocative rhymes
of the Mighty Arrow the Island's leading c-lypsonion.
S f ..,... .F