Page 1


COME TO

’s BEST FAMILY RESORT • Complimentary kids club

• Babysitting services can be arranged • Children 0-4 eat for free • Children ages 5-12 receive 50% off menu • Complimentary use of bicycles • Youth golfing classes with the pros • Billiards and pool tournaments • Beach cricket games • Spa services for adults and kids

It’s the time of the year to plan & book your family vacation Our comfortable size rooms are ideal for sharing with the kids. And there are plenty of activities for them to enjoy starting with our refreshing swimming pools. The resort also features a host of activities through our complimentary kids club. The club features arts and crafts, movies and xBox, a library, board games, and a computer/technology area. Kids can enjoy building sand castles on the beach, beach games and a children’s playground. Complimentary full breakfast is included and kids love the variety of delicious foods we serve. Magdalena, Tobago’s premier resort, has 178 deluxe oceanfront rooms and 22 suites featuring breathtaking views. Enjoy beautiful beaches, watersports, multiple pools, golf, tennis, spa, dive, nature trails, and dining options.

Tobago Plantations Estate, Lowlands, Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies • Phone: 868-660-8500 • info@MagdalenaGrand.com

WWW.MAGDALENAGRAND.COM


Contents

No. 139 May/June 2016

58 EMBARK

IMMERSE

ARRIVE

19 Datebook

45 panorama

65 destination

Artists are always eager to experiment with new tools, so it’s no surprise that digital media offer them a creative playground. Nicole Smythe-Johnson surveys how Caribbean artists are exploring digital possibilities, and introduces five young creatives shaping the ways we experience digital images

Stretching six hundred miles from north to south, Guyana is “the land of many waters” — but also of many landscapes, from coast to mountain, river to savannah. As the country celebrates its fiftieth anniversary of Independence, we explore its stunning beauty through photos, while Brendan de Caires visits the “afterworld” of the Rupununi and Vidyaratha Kissoon and David Papannah explore the unique atmosphere of Georgetown

Events around the Caribbean in May and June, from a new music festival in Cuba to a seafood celebration in Belize

28 Word of Mouth St Lucia Jazz — celebrating twentyfive years — brings artists and audiences close, and Jamaica’s Calabash Literary Festival inspires real ardour

34 The look Trinidad-based non-profit label Bene Caribe supports local charities through stylish looks

brave new world

56 own words

“all I wanted to do was play my guitar”

Guyana times five

This month’s reading picks — from sci-fi to poetry

Omari Banks on becoming the first Anguillan to play cricket for the West Indies, knowing when it was time to make a new career in music, and the power of passion — as told to Nadja Thomas

38 playlist

58 backstory

86 neighbourhood

Barbadian Shakirah Bourne became a filmmaker by accident — and learned her craft the hard way, through “guerilla-style” productions with minimal resources. Then a “dream” project came along: the chance to adapt and direct Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a Bajan setting. Naila Folami Imoja tells the story of how A Caribbean Dream came true

At Tobago’s north-eastern tip, Charlotteville remains a rustic retreat, almost the epicentre of the island’s natural beauty

36 Bookshelf

Selections for your listening pleasure

40 Cookup

Soup without borders Every Trini cook has a recipe for corn soup, tasty staple of family limes and street parties alike. But how would this creole delicacy go down with Japanese diners? And where do you find chadon beni and dhal in Japan? Suzanne Bhagan learns that humble soup can cross cultural boundaries 10

65

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Living the Dream

86 favourite

“I could easily get used to this” Restless traveller Ishwar Persad is in love with Virgin Gorda — here’s why

charlotteville, tobago

92 travellers’ tales

The enigma of an island On her first visit to Cuba, Sharon Millar finds both the unexpected — an Egyptian mummy? — and a reassuringly familiar Caribbean vibe


CaribbeanBeat An MEP publication ISSN 1680–6158

92 ENGAGE

Media & Editorial Projects Ltd, 6 Prospect Avenue, Maraval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago Tel: (868) 622 3821/5813/6138 Fax: (868) 628 0639 E-mail: info@meppublishers.com Website: www.meppublishers.com

Editor Nicholas Laughlin General manager Halcyon Salazar Online marketing Caroline Taylor Design artists Kevon Webster & Bridget van Dongen

Business Development Manager Trinidad & Tobago Yuri Chin Choy T: (868) 460 0068, 622 3821 F: (868) 628 0639 E: yuri@meppublishers.com

Business Development Manager Caribbean & International Denise Chin T: (868) 683 0832 F: (868) 628 0639 E: dchin@meppublishers.com

100 green

precious blue For islands, coastal waters form a boundary, but also a source of life, offering food and other resources, and protection from storms. When Barbuda’s coast began to suffer from decades of pollution and overfishing, the Blue Halo Initiative stepped in. Nazma Muller finds out more

Follow us:

www.facebook/caribbeanbeat

wwww.meppublishers.com

www.twitter.com/meppublishers

102On this day

into the interior The Guyanese writer Wilson Harris, celebrating his ninety-fifth birthday in 2016, has lived far from his home country for many years — but Guyana’s landscape and history continue to haunt his magical imagination. James Ferguson explains how Harris’s novels bring together reality and dream

104 puzzles Test your eyes and your brain with our crossword and other puzzles!

110 Onboard entertainment

This is your personal, take-home copy of Caribbean Beat, free to all passengers on Caribbean Airlines Printed by Solo Printing Inc., Miami, Florida

Caribbean Beat is published six times a year for Caribbean Airlines by Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. It is also available on subscription. Copyright © Caribbean Airlines 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. MEP accepts no responsibility for content supplied by our advertisers. The views of the advertisers are theirs and do not represent MEP in any way. Website: www.caribbean-airlines.com

Movie and audio listings, to entertain you in the air

112 parting shot On arid Aruba, hardy cacti are traditionally used to make living fences The Caribbean Airlines logo shows a hummingbird in flight. Native to the Caribbean, the hummingbird represents flight, travel, vibrancy, and colour. It encompasses the spirit of both the region and Caribbean Airlines.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

11


Worth Flying For

LEATHERBACK TURTLES ARE THE LARGEST SURVIVING TURTLE SPECIES ON EARTH, REACHING AS LONG AS SIX FEET AND WEIGHING IN EXCESS OF 2000 POUNDS. THE ISLANDS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO ARE THE SECOND LARGEST NESTING SITES IN THE WORLD FOR THESE MAJESTIC CREATURES AND WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN ONE OF THE MANY TOURS TO WITNESS THIS BREATHTAKING SIGHT. TURTLE WATCHING SEASON IS FROM MARCH TO AUGUST.

Two Islands, Two Unique Experiences Share your favourite turtle watching story/ photos on social media

Islands of Trinidad and Tobago

@gotrinbago

@gotrinbago


Cover For wildlife watchers in Guyana, a glimpse of an elusive jaguar is a majestic prize Photo Pete Oxford

This issue’s contributors include: Brendan de Caires (“Guyana times five”, page 65) was born in Guyana and now lives in Toronto. He has worked as an editor for various publishers, and written for Kyk-Over-Al, the Stabroek News, The Caribbean Review of Books, and the Literary Review of Canada. He is programmes and communications co-ordinator for PEN Canada. Nailah Folami Imoja (née Charmaine Gill) (“Living the Dream”, page 58) is an award-winning Barbadian-British writer and educator. The author of numerous novellas, including Colourblind, To Protect & Serve, and Fantasy Fulfilled, she considers her twelve-year-old daughter her greatest opus. Sharon Millar (“The enigma of an island”, page 92) is is a Trinidadian writer. Her short fiction collection The Whale House was published in 2015. She is the winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the 2012 Small Axe Literary Competition for fiction. Pete Oxford (cover and “Guyana times five”, page 65) works in some of the world’s most pristine and remote wildlife and cultural destinations as a full-time professional photographer. He was recently named one of the top forty most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photographer magazine. Nicole Smythe-Johnson (“Brave new world”, page 45) is a writer and independent curator, living in Kingston, Jamaica. She has written for ARC magazine, Jamaica Journal, and several other regional publications. Nadja Thomas (“All I wanted to do was play my guitar”, page 56) is a multimedia journalist, filmmaker and story hunter. Her somewhat peripatetic life — born in Dominica, living in the United States — has given her a breadth of diverse everyday living and feeds her passion for storytelling.

he t t e L

gic a M

! y Pla

3

n ns i o i t Loca

n arte a t M Sin

COLISEUM PRINCESS CASINO Front Street #74 PHILIPSBURG +1(721)543 21 01

PORT DE PLAISANCE RESORT, COLE BAY +1(721)544 43 11 TROPICANA PRINCESS CASINO Welfare Road #34 COLE BAY +1(721)544 56 54 www.worldofprincess.com WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

13


A MESSAGE From OUR CEO Dear Valued Customers, Welcome on board! We are delighted you have chosen Caribbean Airlines as your travel partner. This May, we congratulate and join the Co-operative Republic of Guyana as they celebrate their Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary) of Independence. Caribbean Airlines has the distinct privilege of being Guyana’s flag carrier, and since our inception in 2007 we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the people of Guyana and the Guyanese diaspora. Caribbean Airlines has an average of six daily flights and carries over 350,000 passengers to and from Guyana annually. Guyana is a key and growing destination for Caribbean Airlines, and we do not take lightly the contribution and loyalty of our valued Guyanese customers. Although Caribbean Airlines is just shy of its tenth anniversary, we recognise our strategic role within the region and the influence we have to connect, unite, energise, and uplift the people of the Caribbean. This year, we are thrilled to continue our support for the Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket as the Official Airline sponsor of this fantastic event. In the coming months, we will connect fans and teams throughout the Caribbean and North America as you travel to attend the games. Also, for the first time, matches will be played in Fort Lauderdale at the Lauderhill Stadium from 27 to 31 July. We look forward to you flying with us to experience the excitement of the league. In addition to cricket, there are many other awesome events taking place throughout the Caribbean Airlines network in the months of May and June. Come fly with us to attend these events, which include: • St Lucia Jazz Festival, 29 April to 8 May: we have daily flights to and from St Lucia • Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, Nassau, 5 to 7 May: Caribbean Airlines flies to and from Nassau three times per week, on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday • Trinidad and Tobago Fashion Week, 20 to 22 May • Guyana’s 50th Anniversary Independence celebrations, with Independence Day on 26 May: Caribbean Airlines has at least six daily flights to and from Guyana • Memorial Day, USA, 30 May: this holiday rivals Thanksgiving with some of the best shopping that the US has to offer. We encourage you to make your reservations

early and fly with us to enjoy this long weekend of shopping and entertainment Film Month Miami, June 2016: June is cinema lovers’ month in Miami, and will feature shows from niche indies to internationally renowned and critically-acclaimed films Also running for the entire month of June is New York’s Blue Note Jazz Festival, 1 to 30 June: 150 concerts in fifteen venues throughout New York City Kingston on the Edge (KOTE), Jamaica, 17 to 28 June: KOTE is a weeklong celebration of art and the artists who live and work in or are inspired by the city of Kingston, and has quickly become a much anticipated fixture on the local art calendar Taste of Toronto, 23 to 26 June: the beautiful Fort York National Historic Site is transformed into a foodie wonderland for four days of summer eating, drinking, and entertainment. Caribbean Airlines will also participate in the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s Caribbean Week, which takes place in New York City from 31 May to 4 June. Over the years, Caribbean Airlines has worked closely with the CTO to promote the sights, sounds, colours, culture, and

uniqueness of the Caribbean. We are now almost halfway through 2016, which continues to be a significant year for Caribbean Airlines. Another major step in our transformation will be the transition of the Caribbean Miles loyalty programme to Amadeus’ Hit It Loyalty Rewards. When completed, this system will put Caribbean Airlines ahead of our competitors with the most customer-friendly programme available in the market. Our valued customers will be able to book flights, issue reward tickets, and independently manage all aspects of your frequent flyer accounts. We look forward to this development, which will enhance your travel experience with us. Please visit our website, www.caribbean-airlines.com, become a fan by liking us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ caribbeanairlines, and follow us on Twitter @iflycaribbean. Thank you for choosing Caribbean Airlines! We value your business and look forward to serving you throughout our network. Tyrone Tang CEO (Ag.)


datebook

michael lam

Your guide to Caribbean events in May and June, from a music festival in Cuba to seafood celebrations in Belize

Don’t miss . . . Guyana Golden Jubilee celebrations 26 May • across Guyana Fifty years of Independence is a milestone for any nation, and the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, which marks its golden anniversary on 26 May, is celebrating in fit style. Jubilee events are scheduled across the country for all of 2016, but May is the highlight. Look out for the costumes and floats of the

colourful Mashramani parade, rescheduled this year from its traditional date in February. Visit 50guyana.com for more information.

How to get there? Caribbean Airlines operates daily flights to Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana from Caribbean and North American destinations WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

19


datebook

If you’re in . . . Grenada

Trinidad and Tobago

Musicabana

Grenada Chocolate Fest

5 to 8 May musicabana.com

13 to 22 May grenadachocolatefest.com

Trinidad Tobago Fashion Week

Music is one of those things that transcends language barriers, and with the thawing of relations between the US and Cuba, it seems like good timing that Musicabana, a new international music festival, comes to the streets of Havana in

If it was delicious the first and second times around, go back for number three. For the third year in a row, Grenada’s chocolate artisans are preparing to show off the best of their organic and fairtrade cocoa, riding on the growing wave of interest in “tree to bar” chocolate. Farmers, chocolatiers, cocoa agronomists and ordinary chocoholics will converge for a hands-on and palate-tempting ten-day festival including numerous opportunities to taste the best of the Spice Island’s cocoa products. Does a chocolate breakfast sound appealing? How about an exhibition of chocolate art?

20

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

courtesy grenada chocolate fest

early May. Dubbed the first major event of its kind to take place in Cuba in over thirty years, it will feature the talents of “the largest gathering of Cuban performers” in decades, as well as a multinational cast of over two dozen artists, including Jamaican Sean Paul, Brazilian Carlinhos Brown, and French-Cuban Ibeyi. Produced by the Musicabana Foundation and Cuba’s National Institute of Music, this unique four-day festival is planned to be just the first of many annual events. The Musicabana mission, in their own words, is “to make Havana a premiere destination for the discovery of new world sounds and the epicentre of the music world for one monumental week every year; foster, exchange, and generate new cultural dynamics between Cuba, the Caribbean, and the rest of the world; and bring Cuba back to the centre of the most relevant music trends and encourage local talent through yearround music programmes.” Who could argue with that?

14 to 22 May dus1.org “It’s always the silhouette that sells couture pieces” — which explains why “Simple Silhouettes Sell” is the theme for 2016’s Trinidad Tobago Fashion Week, or 2TFW for short. May brings the sixth edition of T&T’s

courtesy 2tfw

©iStock/USO

Cuba

Or a “design your own chocolate bar” event, where you can craft the perfect cocoa blend to suit your preferences? And don’t feel guilty: there’s also a “healthy benefits of chocolate” workshop to explain why your possible cocoa addiction is actually a good thing. And this is all happening on a charming island famous for its beaches and gorgeous scenery. It’s all silver lining, no cloud.

now rebranded fashion extravaganza. And it’s not just about the catwalk: an important component of 2TFW is the workshops on the production and financial aspects of the T&T fashion industry. The focus will be on twenty labels ready to be commercialised, including designers from the Caribbean diaspora. Fashionistas can view work by Wadada Movement, Benji Jeans Co., G aur M, Fashion Sixty4, Tabii Just, and Tobye and Shoma, which will make its debut at 2TFW — among others. Many times the location makes the event — so imagine a fashion show on the beach. That’s what’s happening on 20 May at Pigeon Point in Tobago, where resort and swimwear will be on show. A fashion show in the heart of Port of Spain follows on 22 May. Dress code? Simply fine.


‘Celebrating A New Era of Hospitality’

TRAVEL SHOULD BE BRILLIANT STAY AT GUYANA MARRIOTT: Your Choice. Your Independence.


datebook

If you’re in . . . Jamaica

Trinidad

Kingston on the Edge

Carib Great Crate Race

17 to 26 June kingstonontheedge.org

18 June facebook.com/TheGreatCrateRace

Culture lovers: imagine everywhere you turn there’s something artistic going on: dance, poetry slams, art exhibitions, theatre productions, performance art . . . Is your heart racing yet? Jamaica may be the place for you in June, as the Kingston on the Edge (KOTE) urban arts festival unfolds in over twenty events throughout the capital city — from the hills to the harbour, from bars to a synagogue.

In the six years since its inception, the popularity of the the Carib Great Crate Race has only increased exponentially. There’s nothing Trinis like more than sports and cooler fetes, and this event manages to combine the two in unique style. Six-person teams are invited each to build a floating “crate,” which they then race around an offshore course. There are two classes of “crate” — “professional” and “homemade” — and the class is decided by judges, based on the speed they’re capable of achieving. Competition this year looks to be fierce, with a prize of TT$10,000 for first place in the “professional” class and TT$4,000 in the “homemade” class. Of course, the race is just an excuse to have an epic party afterwards. This year’s race will be held at the Chaquacabana Beach resort in Chaguaramas, north-west Trinidad, on 18 June. Bajans, don’t feel left out: the organisers of the Trinidad event will also host the first Great Crate Race in Barbados one week before, on 11 June, at the Boathouse.

Started in 2007 by five friends, KOTE over the years has exhibited the work of more than 450 artistes from around the world. An integral concept of the festival is that performers are encouraged to push the boundaries of their medium and the spaces in which the art is performed and exhibited, while interacting with the general public. The idea, according to the organisers, is that “this environment motivates and inspires the artist to experiment with their craft, often leading to the birth of new and exciting movements in the local scene.” And with many different media coming together, who knows what new and fantastic art movement might be birthed right before your very eyes. It’s a great opportunity for both artistes and onlookers alike to make “Connections” — the theme of this year’s KOTE. 22

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

courtesy the great crate race

©iStock/Peeter Viisimaa

Event previews by Mirissa De Four and Caribbean Beat staff


RUM Crafted Richer. Aged Deeper.

Celebrating 50 Years of Guyana’s Independence

. er h ic r. R ed eepe t D af Cr ged A

Please drink responsibly


datebook

Yes, you May Batabano Venues across Grand Cayman caymancarnival.com The Cayman Islands’ answer to Carnival means everything you’d expect: music, dancing, costumes, floats, and a celebration of life under the sun [7 May]

caymancarnival.com

BIM Literary Festival Venues across Barbados bimlitfest.org In the year of Barbados’ fiftieth anniversary of Independence, this biennial literature festival pays tribute to writer Paule Marshall and her Bajan roots. Jamaican writers like poets Mervyn Morris and Tanya Shirley help make it a regional affair [12 to 14 May]

30 16

24

01 17

02 18

03 19

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

04 20

05 21

06 22

07 23

08 24

09 25

10 26

11 27

12 28

13 29

14 30

15 31


©iStock/Peeter Viisimaa

Run in Paradise Across Antigua runinparadise.com Launched in 2015, this half-marathon event zigzags across Antigua, starting on the Atlantic coast, with the finish line at gorgeous Fort James Beach. And of course there’s an after-party on the white coral sand to celebrate [29 May]

courtesy pr comic con

Puerto Rico ComicCon San Juan prcomiccon.com Is your superhero costume ready? At Puerto Rico’s annual extravaganza of comics, anime, and video games, cosplay is almost obligatory. 2016’s guest of honour is artist John Romita, Jr., who for nearly four decades has given life to the adventures of Iron Man, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and other Marvel Comics icons [20 to 22 May]

30 16

01 17

02 18

03 19

04 20

05 21

06 22

07 23

08 24

09 25

10 26

11 27

12 28

13 29

14 30

15 31

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

25


datebook

Jump into June Giraudel and Eggleston Flower Show Dominica It makes sense that the Caribbean’s verdant “Nature Isle” should have not one but two “Flower Villages.” Home to resplendent gardens and horticultural farms, Giraudel and Eggleston on the slopes of Morne Anglais are also hosts for Dominica’s annual flower show [4 to 8 June]

paul crask

Ocho Rios Jazz Festival Ocho Rios, Jamaica ochoriosjazz.com The land of reggae also boasts a fine celebration of jazz, bringing some of the island’s hottest (or should that be coolest?) musicians together with top international acts [28 May to 5 June]

30

Started 28 May

30 16

26

01 17

02 18

03 19

04 20

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

05 21

06 22

07 23

08 24

09 25

10 26

11 27

12 28

13 29

14 30

15 31

16

01 17

1


Tri-Nation Cricket Series Guyana National Stadium; Warner Park, St Kitts; Kensington Oval, Barbados The West Indies face off against visitors Australia and South Africa in a ten-game series of One Day Internationals: cue the nail-biting [6 to 26 June]

©iStock/Sam Camp

Vincy Mas Venues around St Vincent carnivalsvg.com The annual bacchanal season in St Vincent runs for nearly two weeks, with parties, concerts, and competitions galore [24 June to 5 July]

San Pedro Lobsterfest San Pedro, Belize The Caribbean is home to some of the world’s best seafood — so why not make the most of it? Belize certainly does, with a series of annual lobster festivals in various towns, perhaps none more elaborate than San Pedro’s [15 to 26 June]

30 16

01 17

02 18

03 19

04 20

05 21

06 22

07 23

08 24

09 25

10 26

11 27

12 28

Ends 5 July

13

29

14

30

15

30 31 16

01 17

02 18

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

27

0

19


word of mouth

courtesy st lucia tourist board

Dispatches from our correspondents around the Caribbean and further afield

Jazz for the people Laura Dowrich on how St Lucia Jazz, celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, brings artists and audiences close together

T

he first time I attended the St Lucia Jazz Festival, back in 2002, British jazz musician Courtney Pine jumped off the stage, and just as my journalistic instincts kicked into high gear to see the lucky patron he was aiming for, he swooped me up in his arms to dance. The next day, India.Arie’s eyes made four with mine and she smiled as I sang along with her. Back then, I put my unforgettable interactions on Pigeon Island down to media privilege. Fast-forward thirteen years to the 2015 edition, and I realise that interactivity is one of the allures of St Lucia’s flagship festival. No chainlink fences or ugly barricades in sight: the audience is separated from the stage merely by Framelock barriers, tall enough to keep the crowd at bay but short enough to encourage artiste interaction. And interact they did. R&B crooner Robin

28

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Thicke jumped into a swarm of screaming girls, while hip-hop star turned EDM artiste Flo Rida perched atop the fence, posing for selfies with his teenage fans. Barbadian jazz saxophonist Arturo Tappin tantalised the ladies as he weaved his way through those sitting on the lawn to take in the action. With the final weekend of what is now the St Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival staged on scenic and historic Pigeon Island, the festival layout resembles exactly what you think of when you imagine a music festival on a Caribbean island. The main stage is now nestled on the northern side, at the bottom of the grassy hill. Patrons walk with blankets and folding chairs and sit wherever they choose to enjoy the musical fare. 2016 marks twenty-five years since the St Lucia Tourist Board launched this event, and the experience shows. St Lucia Jazz is a well-oiled production. Whether there is one patron in the audience or one hundred, the anthem strikes up and the show begins at the time advertised. Performances are kept to schedule, and the gaps during the changes in artistes on the centre stage are filled with performances from a local band on a side stage, so there is never a lull. And if nothing else, the festival is fertile ground for St Lucian artistes to show their skills to the world, as some of the bigger Lucian acts open for the international headliners each of the three nights. When it comes to international artistes, St Lucia has seen practically all the big names in jazz, R&B, and world music — Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, James Ingram, Angelique Kidjo, Natalie Cole, Luther Vandross, Lauryn Hill, the Commodores, Herbie Hancock, Hugh Masekela, the O’Jays, Harry Belafonte, Mary J Blige, and Al Green are just a few. And in 2016, the festival once more offers a little something for everyone — but with a decided return to its jazz roots. 2016’s lineup will feature the likes of BWB, jazz guitarist Chris Standring, child prodigy pianist Joey Alexander, jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison, and St Luician jazz guitarist Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, among others. And considering the diverse audience of tourists from all over the world, including nearby Caribbean islands, the festival organisers cater to all tastes and age groups. For the young, there’s Jamaican sensation Omi of “Cheerleader” fame and dancehall star Shaggy. The not-so-young will revel in oldies from George Benson, Air Supply, and Kool and the Gang, while those with more eclectic tastes can take in Dominican creole band Kassav’ and Latin sensation Marc Anthony. Though the highlights of the festival are the three main stage nights, St Lucia Jazz is truly a national affair, almost akin to a Carnival. Shows are staged for nearly two weeks before the big weekend around the island, and in the week leading up to the finale Derek Walcott Square in the heart of Castries comes alive with fringe performances from regional and local acts. Even schoolchildren are given time off from class to enjoy the music.


The Caribbean’s hottest new Carnival

M

any of you have heard of the hottest new festival in the region, and some of you may even have already been — but for those who haven’t, the news is there’s much to experience at Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2016! Our inaugural Carnival event in May 2015 was wildly successful, and this year, from 5 to 7 May, we look forward to an even greater spectacle of Bahamian artistry, magnificent music, fabulous food, and creative culture! Curious visitors to The Bahamas flocked to Nassau last May for a holiday with a difference. They’d seen ads featuring the exquisite azure, aquamarine, and emerald waters of this seven-hundred-island archipelago, heart-stopping images of a tropical Bahama paradise, and had virtually tasted the

mouth-watering foods crafted by our creative cuisine. But now — a Carnival? In The Bahamas? “Thought they only had Junkanoo at Christmas and New Year’s?” In 2013, the Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Right Honourable Perry G. Christie, determined to cultivate a Bahamian Carnival — an epic event to propagate indigenous Bahamian culture in areas such as art, music, dance, and food, to encourage Bahamian nationals to explore their entrepreneurial skills, to stimulate year-round employment opportunities, and to boost the Bahamian economy. He insisted that all of this could be achieved while simultaneously uniting people from around the globe in one of the greatest playgrounds of the world. The inaugural event exceeded the Prime Minister’s expectations in terms of the massive crowds that participated in the three days of festivities, over 7 to 9 May, 2015. When asked for one word to describe the results, he unhesitatingly said: “Magnificent!” 5 to 7 May, 2016, promises to showcase even more facets of Brand Bahamas. Ever-emerging talent will make Junkamania an orchestral extravaganza on Thursday night, featuring the traditional “rake and scrape” genre (of Cat Island fame) and the deeply evocative Junkanoo rhythm arising from the frenetic beating of goatskin drums meshed with clanging cow bells. On Friday night, at the finals of the Music Masters competition, you will hear sweet, lyrical voices from the islands of The Bahamas shape a scintillating fusion of


ADVERTORIAL

Festival time

The Bahamas is a land of festivals, all year round.

May Eastern Community Festival, Nassau Red Bays Snapper Tournament, Andros Yuma Island Homecoming, Long Island Red Bay Homecoming Festival, Andros South Andros Homecoming, South Andros Lower Bogue Homecoming, North Eleuthera

June traditional Bahamian sounds with Caribbean soca rhythms. (And there’ll be CDs on sale so this musical reverie can be yours no matter where you call home.) The Mega Concert follows with an explosion of Caribbean musical magnificence. An audience of over 90,000 will be focused on the Mega Stage at Clifford Park, overlooking the magical moonlit coastline of Nassau. (You’d be hard pressed to find such a magnetic combination of balmy breezes, moonlit skies, and cultural creativity anywhere else on 6 May!) Midnight Rush immediately after the concert will allow spectators to become participants in a Junkanoo “rush out” — once reserved for Boxing and New Year’s Days. Feel the pulse, and “jump in da line” in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Then, after just a few hours’ sleep, you’ll be eager to parade in your amazing Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival costume, built from a variety of local materials by dedicated craftsmen and women. Now is the time to “shake up the streets” of Nassau. Find your true self, dance and prance like never before. This is Road Fever — and, yes, it’s hot! Of course, if you just want to lie on the beach and soak up the sun, savour our many culinary conch creations, tour historic Nassau, or just be pampered, you can ignore the Carnival and do just that. But if you’re looking to add a spark of spontaneity to your life, come join us and be a part of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2016! You won’t regret it! And if you can’t make it this year, then book early for May 2017, to be a part of the fastest growing festival in the Caribbean. For further information, please visit bahamasjunkanoocarnival.com or bahamas.com

Cat Island Rake n’ Scrape Festival, Cat Island Landril Point Homecoming, Crooked Island Long Island Homecoming Festival, Long Island Centreville Fall Festival, Nassau Barratene Development Association, Exuma All Andros Crab Festival, Andros

July Spanish Wells Fishermen’s Fest, Spanish Wells, Eleuthera Junkanoo Spring Fest, Nassau Bannerman Town, Millars & John Millars Eleuthera Association, Eleuthera North Abaco Summer Festival, North Abaco Back to the Bay Festival, South Eleuthera Rolle Town Homecoming, Exuma Palmetto Point Homecoming Festival, Eleuthera Cabbage Hill Reunion Committee/Crooked Island Homecoming Crooked Island


word of mouth

courtesy jakes hotel

The view from a quiet corner at Jake’s, longtime home of Calabash

The word is love Tanya Batson-Savage writes an aborted love letter to the Calabash International Literary Festival

A

t times like this, I long to be a poet. Linton Kwesi Johnson whispers in my ear, and I too, without his irony, wish I were a top-notch poet, or even a mediocre one. I wish for the gift of poetry because I want to write a love letter to Calabash, and love letters are best written by poets. Prose takes too long and is often without the music that swells emotion and is the heartbeat of poetry. But alas, unlike LKJ, whom I first saw perform live at Calabash, I’m no poet, just a peddler of prose fumbling for the right words. When you fall in love, the first time is everything. It colours all experiences that come after, and becomes the thing you use to measure other relationships. By now, I am a diehard Calabasher, a full-time, hardcore lover of this brainchild of poet Kwame Dawes and novelist Colin Channer, and ably produced by Justine Henzell. But I always remember my first time. I first supped on Calabash’s offerings in 2002, the second year of the festival, then held annually. I had intended to drink tentatively, attending for one night only, but after the fiery words of Dingo, Saul Williams, and Willie Perdomo, I had fallen head over clichéd heels (or sandals, rather) in love. It’s easy to fall for Calabash. Year on year, the festival offers up some of the world’s most celebrated and exciting

32

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

writers. In our years together, which now feel like a lifetime, Calabash has brought me words in prose and verse from voices as diverse as Geoff Dyer and Sonia Sanchez, bell hooks and Zadie Smith, Mervyn Morris and Chimamanda Adiche, Orlando Patterson and Salman Rushdie. But Calabash offers more than wonderful encounters of the literary kind, more than the exciting musical sessions which close each day’s programme — taking you into the early hours of the morning on Friday and Saturday nights and allowing you to dance your way home on Sunday evening. There is something more than the workshops, publishing seminars, film screenings, and opportunities for first publications that have arisen over the years. There is something . . . a little magical about Calabash. Maybe it’s the combination of salt air, the nearby sea, and black sand beach. One way or another, I and a few thousand other lovers of the word find this festival a heady and unique experience, where you immerse yourself in the literary from 10 am to midnight, or simply wander off down the beach if it calls to you. Now a biennial event, Calabash remains at the laidback Jake’s Resort, in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth, on Jamaica’s south coast. Ja ke’s is the quintessential “irie” resort, a blend of chic and rustic. The drive there is itself a thing of beauty, as you move past the rolling green hills, occasionally glimpsing the rich red dirt that makes the parish the heart of the bauxite industry. When you pass the quiet farming community of Southfield, it’s best to drive slowly. Not because the road is daunting — rather, you want to give yourself the chance to catch that first glimpse of the sea glistening in the distance below you, or the two large salt ponds that, if you’re lucky, will be covered with lilies. My journeys to Calabash have become a family affair. We moved from two, to three, to four, and now ten of us share a house, having made a reservation since the 2014 staging. We make these reservations early because we have no reservations about returning — we know the lineup for this year’s festival, running from 3 to 5 June, is going to be great. And this year, as the list of writers includes Teju Cole, Eleanor Catton, Marlon James, Nikki Giovanni, Chris Abani, Kei Miller, Pam Mordecai, and Chigozie Obioma, the Calabash crew have done it again. So I wish I was a top-notch poet. Then I could write to this festival that has given me so much. Instead what I have is this aborted love letter. n


WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

33


the look

Good to wear Trinidad-based non-profit label Bene Caribe creates bold, colourful looks that benefit local charities Photography by Marlon James

S

ince its 2015 launch, Bene Caribe has become one of the most talked-about style brands within the Caribbean. The Trinidadian fashion house is known for its breathtaking fabrics, such as handmade batiks, all inspired by the essence of the Caribbean and the colourful environment each country is blessed with. A collection for the bold and adventurous woman, with the tagline “good for the Caribbean,” Bene Caribe gives a portion of all sales to select non-profits in the Caribbean and its diaspora. With exclusive designer partnerships, a men’s capsule collection, and a fast-growing fashion and jewellery line, Bene Caribe is one look the world can connect to and happily own a piece of. Alia Michèle Orane style.aliamichele.com

34

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


For more information, visit benecaribe.com

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

35


Bookshelf The Pain Tree, by Olive Senior (Cormorant Books, 194 pp, ISBN 9781770864344) The magic of Olive Senior’s stories is that they weather time with uncommon power. In these collected short fictions, published and broadcast in various incarnations from the 1990s forward, the concerns of class, language, identity, and refuge reign, explored in prose that is all the more commanding for its subtle navigations. The Jamaica Senior portrays is a room of many mirrors, reflecting women and men at odds with their country as much as themselves. Children’s voices are no less essential to the inner machineries of this conflicted, consummately beautiful land. In “Silent”, a young boy’s terror in the wake of a family shooting becomes its own island of dread. Through the child’s ears, bullet-deafened against even the slightest startling sonority, we hear collapsed, compressed worlds of audible tension: the refuge from this crisis lies in “the purity of the clear skies above, and the embedded stars that are shimmering and pulsing like gunshots — but far, far away.”

Falling in Love with Hominids, by Nalo Hopkinson (Tachyon Publications, 240 pp, ISBN 9781616961985) Nalo Hopkinson, who has roots in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Guyana, is one of the chief engineers of the Caribbean speculative fiction world. In Falling in Love with Hominids, a lush presentation of previously uncollected short stories, Hopkinson searches both distant galaxies and constellations closer to home for what it means to be most human: sparing no bipeds in her search for the merciless, mendacious means through which Terran folk roughhew their ends. This assembly of over twelve years of writing traces the author’s own relationships with each tale, sharing glimpses into the creative conceptions of super-sensitive plants and their less savvy handlers. The natural world surrounds the lives and loves of those who do battle and break bread in this collection, and Hopkinson’s focus is multiply pinned on both the terrestrial and the ephemeral. 36

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

There are no small characters in the shaping of history, Senior reminds us, taking us into the backroom, sealedchamber lives of the disregarded, overlooked, and hard done by. In “Moonlight”, it is the quiescent, unobtrusive maid Dorleen around whom so much of one privileged family’s boudoir secrets and internalised shame revolve. “The Goodness of My Heart” and “The Country Cousin” see two matriarchs deal with the class striations in their own domestic milieux, shepherding or rejecting the “lesser” children of non-nuptial bonds, those winsome country girls as yet untainted by elite society’s need to cannibalise its best virtues. Each of these ten stories travels in two directions: taking the reader deeper into high mountain ranges and stigma-plastered slave’s quarters — and lifting us airborne. Held in Senior’s unflinching fidelities to scribing memory, fear, and bloodlines, The Pain Tree scries the construction, corruption, and crenellation of a world in an island, from on high.

Night Vision, by Kendel Hippolyte (Peepal Tree Press, 80 pp, ISBN 9781845232351) St Lucian Kendel Hippolyte reveals civic devotions in this collection: these poems are concerned with how people live, suffer, and reap bitter fruit within their cities, slums, and high-rise tenements low on hope. The political consciousness of Night Vision is proudly proletariat, speaking of labourers, wageearners, and of the common suffering that yokes men on and off an island. Many movements of the book explore the artist’s function within despairing societies. Channeling an invocation from Russian-American Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky to “sow seeds of poetry,” one astonished narrator discovers “how simply one can start a revolution (my mind’s eye saw dark sudden flowers of poetry everywhere in bloom).” The labour of socially committed artistry reverberates in the sonic cadences of these poems: Hippolyte pays homage to a realm in which verse is a vital conduit for joy in grim cityscapes.


Farewell, Fred Voodoo, by Amy Wilentz (Simon and Schuster, 352 pp, ISBN 9781451644074) Foreign aid swoops into Haiti in the wake of tremors and insurrections, but in what sense does this international investment truly stay? Amy Wilentz’s journalism on Haiti is no new, flighty enterprise: having planted roots in the country since 1985, her non-fiction examines the rigours and civic eruptions to which Haitians have borne grim, enduring witness. F a r e w e l l , F r e d Vo o d o o , winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, is an uncompromising portrait of a place through decades of ruin, mismanagement, and extraordinary survival, one that wholly evades the messianic complex of the externally privileged observer. In her first full-length treatment of Haiti since her 1989 offering The Rainy Season, Wilentz’s crowning achievement is that she allows Haitians to speak for themselves: to tell their own stories through her careful reportage.

Tobago Peeps, by Elspeth Duncan (Thou Art Yoga, 95 pp, ISBN 9789768255228) Fodor’s Travel praises Tobago for “its whitesand beaches, fantastic scuba diving, and untouched countryside.” For Tobago-based writer, yoga instructor, and boutique restaurateuse Elspeth Duncan, Tobago Peeps peels back this halcyon-hued veil column by column, peering more deeply into the island’s cornucopia of curiosities and contradictions. A collection of newspaper musings originally published in the T&T Guardian, the book delves into Trinidad’s smaller but no less singular sister isle with eager-eyed curiosity. From turbulent ferry crossings to fishing boats with blushworthy titles, the navigations in this compendium are people-centred. Each “peep” into Tobago life is an open window: an introduction to the artisans, taxi drivers, beachcombers, wheelchair warriors, horse healers, and other remarkable citizens who make their homes from Crown Point to Charlotteville. Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

37


playlist

Caribbean Roots Anthony Joseph (Strut/Heavenly Sweetness ) “Performance poet” and “spoken word artist” are two descriptives to reference UKbased Trinidadian Anthony Joseph as an entertainer. “Creole griot” is another. On this, his second fulllength album away from his organically funky Spasm Band, Joseph again fuses the rhythm of the word and various Caribbean and New World musical beats and sounds to create a textually lush amalgam of Afro-Caribbean soul, soca, calypso, jazz, and rapso for a global audience. If rapso is “de power of de word in the riddim of de word,” Caribbean Roots is rapso elevated. Eleven tracks of lyrically and musically dense poetic and percussive odes — these are more than songs — celebrate that power without being arcane or clichéd. Topics ranging from Caribbean history and biography to personal reminiscences of Trinidad characters and events describe an eventful arc. Earl Lovelace, Andy Narell, and David Rudder all make appearances on this album that showcases this important man-of-words and -music.

38

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Pathways Zane Rodulfo (Lavway Music) Drummer Zane Rodulfo on his debut EP Pathways shows a maturity beyond his twenty-six years as composer of and rhythmic support for a short set of original jazz instrumentals. Dissecting the music, one is awed by the seemingly cultivated approach of the musical themes on this production. As a graduate of both Oberlin College and New York University, Rodulfo has an unsurprisingly studied approach, but the artist’s youth throws a wrench in the theory that this level of quiet contemplation must come with age and experience. Rodulfo’s Trinidad roots are reflected purely in the sound, not necessarily the rhythms. He composed four of the five tunes on this collection himself, and the superlative interplay between jazz guitar or saxophone and the effectively anchored rhythm section suggests that as a producer he is not selfish, and his gifts lie in creating environments for musicians to run free without bombast. This EP is a great launching pad for a stellar international career.


We Muzik: Volume 7 Various Artists (Precision Productions) This collection of recent soca tunes and party anthems from Trinidad Carnival — both the 2016 Road March and Soca Monarch winning songs are here — continues the trend by mega-producer Kasey Phillips and his Precision Productions label of compiling the best of “we muzik” for an international audience who did not have the joy of being present at the annual biggest party on the planet. Since Phillips is also the producer, co-producer, or remixer of all the tracks on the album, compiling “the best” of Trinidad Carnival music also underscores his significance as a producer of modern soca music. A few riddims can go a long way: six songs share the Shake Down Riddim without getting boring. Stars Machel Montano and Destra Garcia and newcomers like Voice all revel in Phillips’s winning production magic. It is said that one man cannot make an industry, but this compilation album comes close to disproving that theory.

Griotism Kurt Allen (Pot of Gold) Calypso has a recorded history of a little over a century. In 2016, it is a rarity for a full album of calypso as opposed to soca to be produced. Kurt Allen, the self-described last “bardjohn” of calypso, mockingly notes the role and role-play of the calypsonian as singer and calypsonian as lyrical danger-man, threatening sense and sensibility. Doing the unthinkable with this collection yet adding sense to reality, he offers a “pay-what-you-want” pricing strategy cementing his vanguard role as preserver of the artform for a new audience motivated never to forget traditions. Calypso researcher Donald R. Hill describes calypso lyrics as “a bible of Creole thought,” and on this album, it is the lyric that makes the case for the notion of Allen as griot in the tradition of messenger and sage. “Allyuh ever ask yourself what is calypso?” is the opening line of the title song. Over the ten tracks, we discover the answer. Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

39


cookup

Soup without borders It’s a staple of homely get-togethers and street parties, and every Trini cook has his or her own recipe. But could corn soup, with its creole blend of flavours, appeal to the subtle Japanese palate? And how do you find dhal in a small provincial city in Japan? Suzanne Bhagan tells an appetising cross-cultural story Illustration by Shalini Seereeram

I

n Trinidad and Tobago, corn soup is not a dish you cook for yourself. When you make a big, steaming pot, you call your friends and family to share in this crucible of joy. It’s the star attraction of many a lime, as everyone gathers around a large coal pot or stove to wait for the magic to happen. They wait and wait until the ingredients and flavours fuse into a creamy, one-pot medley that never disappoints. And corn soup isn’t just something Trinis rustle up at home. It’s also a staple street food, something we gulp down after a long, sweaty session in a nightclub or fete. On Carnival Monday and Tuesday, one sip is all a reveller needs to keep dancing on the streets for hours on end, even after the sun’s gone down. When my husband Jesse and I arrived in Japan last year, we didn’t know what to expect. After spending a few days in Tokyo, we got ready to head west, to the heart of the Japanese countryside. I was going to teach English at a public high school in a small city in Japan’s least populated prefecture — miles away from the creature comforts of cosmopolitan Tokyo. To survive, we had to adapt.

40

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Shopping was an adventure in itself. At the local supermarket, we couldn’t read the food labels. Everything was written in kanji, Japanese characters composed of unintelligible lines, squares, and dots. During our first shopping trip, we bought a clear, golden liquid that resembled vegetable oil. But when we tried to fry chicken in it, it just wouldn’t heat up. Soon we discovered it wasn’t oil at all, but mirin, a sweet Japanese rice wine. Even Japanese flour was different. Our dumplings fell flat. Our fried bakes burned. We were ready to give up. Then we discovered there was one thing we could not mess up: Trini corn soup. Japan had almost all the ingredients. However, instead of the more pungent chadon beni that grows wild in any T&T backyard, Jesse found giant bunches of cilantro at the local fish market. In Japan, the green herb is sometimes known by its Thai name, pakuchi. We also found sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, Japanese ginger (although not as robustly flavoured as ginger from the Caribbean), vacuum-packed corn on the cob, tinned coconut milk from Thailand, and a small packet of cornmeal. We couldn’t find one key ingredient: dhal, or yellow split peas. Then thanks to online shopping, we got our dhal sent from Osaka overnight, sourced from India. We were ready, but we worried the soup wouldn’t suit our friends’ subtle Japanese palates. Japanese food, in general, celebrates the art of separation. Dishes are usually served apart from one another: a ceramic bowl with fluffy rice topped with umeboshi or pickled plums, another with pickled herrings, a steaming bowl of miso soup, a plate of karaage or Japanese fried chicken, a platter of sashimi, and a plate of


We couldn’t find one key ingredient: dhal, or yellow split peas. Then thanks to online shopping, we got our dhal sent from Osaka overnight the school nurse’s daughter. “Sure, why not?” she said. At her first mouthful, she said, “Oishi!” her eyes glassy from the chilli pepper. In spite of the soup’s spiciness, Ayaka cleaned her bowl and asked for seconds. We breathed a sigh of relief. The soup was a hit with the other guests as well, warming them up in a cold apartment during that harsh winter evening. tempura (vegetables dipped in a light batter and fried). Even ramen, Japan’s favourite B-class gourmet food, is an assemblage of slippery ramen noodles, thin slices of pork, softened nori (seaweed), sliced green onions, julienned mushrooms, and bean sprouts swimming in a thin soy sauce or thick porkbone-based dashi or broth. In the Caribbean, however, we don’t separate our food. Instead, we love to mix their textures and flavours, blending them into mouth-watering rice dishes, stews, and soups. Aware of these cultural differences, we were a bit nervous when we first introduced corn soup to our Japanese friends. At our dinner party, Jesse brought out a steaming pot of corn soup and started ladling it into bowls. “Would you like to try some?” he asked Ayaka,

B

ecause the corn soup was such a success, I decided to invite Jesse to share the recipe with my high school’s English Club members. Although usually shy, my students came early and excitedly donned aprons. Soon, they were volunteering to wash, peel, and chop the sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin. Jesse showed them how to chop the vegetables into bite size chunks and to slice the corn cobs into thick discs. Before long, they were laughing and talking loudly. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

41


shutterstock.com/merc67

In the Caribbean, however, we don’t separate our food. Instead, we love to mix their textures and flavours

Cilantro, known in Japan as pakuchi, is a workable substitute for Trinidadian chadon beni

42

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Then, he showed them how to make the dumplings. First, he kneaded the cornmeal and white f lour with some vegetable oil and milk, then rolled the dough flat and cut it into small squares. Some students gathered around the stove, peering into the pot as Jesse sautéed the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger in vegetable oil. They were especially curious about the dhal, picking up a few of the grains and poking them gently in their palms. They watched as Jesse added the dhal to the oil and chunkayed or sautéed the split peas until they were well coated with the onion mixture. After that, Jesse added water and coconut milk and let the dhal mixture boil until soft. Lastly, the students added the chopped vegetables and waited for them to cook. Everything seemed to be going well. But when Jesse began chopping the cilantro leaves, some students grimaced. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “We don’t like that,” one of them said, scrunching up his face and pointing at the green herb. “Why don’t you like it?” After some moments of silence, they smiled and said, “It smells.” Jesse ladled the soup into bowls and left the bowl of chopped pakuchi next to them. “You should try it. It’s delicious,” he said. Some hesitated, while others delicately sprinkled some of the cilantro on their corn soup. At the end of the meal, all the bowls were licked clean, with no traces of pakuchi. Two giant pots of corn soup disappeared in less than half an hour. I was pleased. At the end of the school year, when I asked my students what their favorite English Club activity was, they unanimously agreed: making Trini corn soup with Jesse. Who would have thought Trinidad’s most humble street food would become the bridge across two distinct cultures? Trini corn soup warmed stomachs during the harsh Japanese winter and challenged my students to give pakuchi a second chance. Most important, it became our gift to a small city in Japan, something they could taste from a country they had never heard about before. n


courtesy david gumbs

immerse

45 Brave new world 56 “All I wanted to do was 58 Living the Dream play my guitar” Panorama

Own Words

Backstory

From artist David Gumbs’s Unconscious Geographies


panorama

Brave new world

A

Artists use digital tools as much as the rest of us. But some of them go further, using the latest hardware and software to create images of a kind that couldn’t have existed in a predigital world. Nicole Smythe-Johnson suggests what this means for the Caribbean art world, and meets five artists from across the region exploring the possibilities of digital media

s with every other field of human endeavour, the computer and information technology have revolutionised art at so many levels that the digital is less a genre or medium than a methodological approach. The more obvious changes are in film and photography. You don’t need to be a photographer to perceive the rapid transition from the complex process of film photography to the more instant and user-friendly digital point-and-shoot, through to today’s selfie-stick–crazed smartphone world. At the last Sundance Film Festival, critics raved about Tangerine (2015), a film that was shot entirely using three iPhone 5S devices. But film and photography are only the tip of the iceberg. Other artists use memes and gifs as media. For example, Internet artist Anthony Antonellis’s Facebook Bliss (2015) is a webpage that rewards the user’s clicks on a button marked “Bliss” with ever increasing Facebook notifications. Nowadays, artists use digital tools at every stage of creation. Painters like Jamaican Deborah Anzinger and AfricanAmerican Fahamu Pecou use software like Photoshop to work out compositions before they turn to the canvas. Others, like Barbadian Versia Abeda Harris and Jamaican Ikem Smith, use animation software to create dream-like alternate universes. Jamaican illustrator Taj Francis creates reggae artist Protoje’s album covers with a stylus and tablet, and Bermuda’s James

From artist David Gumbs’s Unconscious Geographies installation (2016)

Cooper creates stunning 2D and 3D collages with his digital photographs. With the use of 3D printing in architecture, fashion, and even the culinary arts, there seems to be no end to the possibilities opened up by the collaboration of artistic intent and digital technology. We might be tempted to think this is all a strictly recent development, but digital art is not especially new, either. As far back as 1967, artists were experimenting with the first computers and their room-size processors, like the ER 56 computer with a memory capacity of only four thousand words. Almost as soon as there were advanced tools to experiment with, there were artists ready to give it a shot. In an archipelagic and diasporically transnational community like the Caribbean, digital art also has important practical benefits. Digital works can often be transmitted cheaply and quickly via the Internet. No surprise that in April 2016, after a heavily subscribed open call, the National Gallery of Jamaica unveiled the work of forty-one artists from across the Caribbean in Digital, the first exhibition at a major museum in the region to focus exclusively on digital art. So it’s clear that digital art is no obscure niche, or passing fad. In the following pages, explore the work of five young creatives pushing the boundaries of new media, and changing the way we experience digital images. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

45


46

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Images courtesy Di-Andre Caprice Davis Opposite page Binary in 11 (2015) Left LSD Glass (2015) Above Dreamy Garden (2014)

Di-Andre Caprice Davis Born 1986 • Jamaica

Kingston-based Davis describes her work as “an adventure in a second life exploring its outer limits with digital imaging tools.” Moving from her interest in geometry, dreams, and psychedelic imagery, the self-taught artist produces mostly abstract still and moving images. Using Adobe Photoshop and an app called Glitché, Davis creates patterns that are distinctly digital in aesthetic (synthetic colours, glitch forms) but simultaneously recall the microscopic or molecular. She exhibits them as prints, on tablet and television screens, and using projectors. They are at once out of this world — as generated, manufactured, and essentially ethereal as it gets — and curiously illustrative of the essence of our world, the minutiae not perceivable to the human eye, but what it’s all made of nonetheless. In recent years, Davis’s work has received increasing attention. After the Canopy Guild show at the Kingston art space NLS and the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Jamaica Biennial in 2014, she was one of ten artists selected for the NGJ’s Young Talent 5. There she exhibited an installation of ten gifs (on framed tablet screens) and ten prints. Like all of the artists featured in these pages, Davis’s work will be included in the NGJ’s upcoming Digital. Her work will also be included in Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol, UK, in June. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

47


48

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Photography courtesy David Gumbs Opposite page and above from Unconscious Geographies (2016)

David Gumbs

Born 1977 • Guadeloupe/St Martin Gumbs studied at the Visual Arts School in Fort-de-France, Martinique, and majored in interactive multimedia conception at L’ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris. In his own words, his work “investigates the spectator’s perception and mental landscape.” He speaks of “mental archaeology” and a process of uncovering unconscious memories and associations through movement, colour, and the body. Using projectors and a range of software and other technologies, Gumbs creates interactive digital environments that respond to the viewer. His layered images are generated from auto-drawing exercises and natural forms such as conch shells, which he then programmes to move in response to the audience’s movement and sound. His last solo show, Unconscious Geographies at the National Theatre Tropiques atrium in Martinique in January 2016, was an installation comprised of monumental wall and floor projections and immersive soundscapes. Visitors were invited to blow into a conch shell, while a visual representation of the movement of their breath unfolded before them in a large-scale projection. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

49


Images courtesy Ronald Williams Left Party Shot (2013) Right The Brand (2013) Right below The Savage (2013) Far right Swagga (2013) All digital collage

50

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Ronald Williams Born 1990 • Barbados

Though he completed his BFA at Barbados Community College only in 2013, Williams has already made an impact in the Bajan art scene, through his participation in various exhibitions and his much-talked-about contribution to Fresh Milk’s AdoptA-Stop initiative. His digital collages make use of the silhouette as a symbol of the black body, referencing icons like the ubiquitous Usain Bolt logo and Nike’s Michael Jordan–inspired Jumpman logo. Williams’s silhouettes are not empty, however — they are filled to the brim with digital images scanned from magazines and posters. “The figure is a central theme in my work,” he notes, “and as such, the silhouette of a human body acts as a blank canvas. In a sense, the act of constructing the collage based on the silhouette is representative of the way ideals, fantasies, and realities are projected onto the black figure.” His reasons for using digital media are also practical. “Since I require only a power source and a laptop to create a piece, my ‘studio’ space becomes compact, but also almost boundless, as I can produce almost anywhere at any time. It also offers me a meticulous level of control — I determine how every fine detail is displayed, and as such there are no accidental or spontaneous marks to be found in a final piece.” WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

51


52

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Photography courtesy Rodell Warner Opposite page Germille, Aruba (2013) Above Kevin, Aruba (2013) Above right Robin, Aruba (2013)

Rodell Warner Born 1986 • Trinidad

“My work is the result of my examination of life — the tensions of relationships, the illustration of possibility, the availability of surprise,” says self-taught artist and graphic designer Rodell Warner. “That much of my work is digital is an effect of the world being infectiously digital.” Using Photoshop, Warner translates elements from nature into complex images and gifs that try to assess the impact of the digital on how we see, think, and interact. In Warner’s work, flowers become other-worldly fluttering butterflies, and forests become fractal faces. The works do not so much represent their subjects as seek to reveal what is already there, made more visible via the digital. Warner exhibits his gifs online regularly via initiatives like the Bi-Way Art Foundation’s The Wrong 2015, an online digital art biennial. He has also exhibited prints and projection installations, most notably Year of the Snake (2013) at the art space Alice Yard in Port of Spain and Canopy Guild (2014), a collaborative project at NLS in Kingston. On other occasions, projecting his images onto the living canvas of collaborators, as in the photographs above, Warner creates complexly layered portraits that play at the meeting place of the analog of human skin and the digital of his imagination. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

53


Sheena Rose Born 1985 • Barbados Photography courtesy Sheena Rose Above Characters and personas from Sheena Rose’s Instagram soap opera series

54

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Rose draws on everyday situations, pop culture, stereotypes, history, and urban spaces to produce work in a range of media, including drawing, animation, painting, performance, video, and photography. She is heavily influenced by travel, especially her time spent as a Fulbright scholar in the United States, and her past trips to South Africa, Suriname, Belgium, and various parts of the Caribbean. Earlier works like Town and Sweet Gossip re-create urban street life, quoting from overheard conversations and gossip. There, Rose places herself in other locales, drawing herself into large imagined streetscapes in Town (2010), and recreating the urban buzz of her hometown in the ongoing Sweet Gossip series. In her more recent works, Sheena herself is the changing element, while her environment stays the same. Performance was always a part of Rose’s work — for instance, the posters she created for Sweet Gossip were paraded around the very same Bridgetown that inspired them. And Rose has long used digital projections of herself and others as the basis of her graphic line drawings. But she takes her use of both forms to a new level with her Instagram soap opera series. The fifteen-second performances feature Rose playing various characters, including Miss Foxy, Georgie, Diamond, the overthinking artist, and the curious curator. The pieces explore body politics, gender and sexuality, race, and representation in bite-sized, playful episodes. In 2015, Rose was invited to be a part of an initiative of the UK’s Turner Contemporary Gallery and the Venice Agendas via an app called Periscope. She presented a fifteen-minute performance in the character of Diamond via the Periscope platform, which viewers all over the world could tune into live. n


Own words

Cricketer and musician Omari Banks on being the first Anguillan on the West Indies cricket team, leaving his sports career to make music, and the power of passion — as told to Nadja Thomas Photograph courtesy Omari Banks

M

ove on, don’t look back on what you could have done. Just move on. Learn you’re a champion. With faith, the battle’s won. That’s a line from a song I wrote. I’m a musician-singersongwriter-artist, and former West Indies Test cricketer. I think my real gift is my ability to set my mind on a goal and pursue it with vigour and passion every single day. That has been the secret to any measure of success which I can claim. I was brought up in Anguilla by my dad Bankie Banks, who was an artist, and my mother Donna Banks, who worked for the government of Anguilla. My family shaped me. They stressed the importance of hard work and following through. I never wanted to do anything other than play sports and music. They were the only practical things I wanted to do. I grew up around music. I had a talent for music. I had no other ambition to do anything else but these two things as an occupation. I wasn’t the kid who loved to read books, but I loved motivational stuff, because I found it inspired me to work hard. I would go to the school library sometimes and read stories about Viv [cricketer Sir Vivian Richards]. It would inspire me to go to the park to practice batting. I always thought, I gon’ play for the West Indies and I gon’ prove it to them. Nobody from Anguilla had played for the West Indies. I was like, Hey, I’m going to do it. I don’t

56

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

“All I wanted to do was play my guitar” care. When I make it they’ll see. At the age of twelve I was selected for the Anguilla under-nineteen cricket team, and at fifteen I travelled to England to train with different academies. I started to play professionally for the Leeward Islands at the age of eighteen. When I was twenty I got selected for the West Indies senior team. When the call came in, on the line was the captain of the West Indies cricket team, Brian Lara. He said, “Hey Banksie, this is Brian. I’m just calling to let you know that you’ve been selected to be part of the squad.” Nobody from Anguilla had played for the West Indies. I’m the only Anguillan to have done that. I remember all the excitement brewing. I always believed in myself. I believe that if you put it in, you’ll get it out. I had a professional career of about ten or eleven years. When I travelled on tour playing cricket, whether it be for Leeward Islands or the West Indies team, I would always travel with my guitar. I would play for the boys in the dressing room. I remember my last cricket tour — it was actually coming to a close, all I wanted to do was play my guitar, and that’s how I knew it was actually coming to an end. I was playing the sport I never thought that I could just retire from. I was somebody who was willing to sacrifice everything to get the right results I wanted for my game. But with all the politics that was going on around West Indies cricket, I just decided to come home. I didn’t have the passion to get up everyday and try to be better. I said, Hey, it’s time for me to retire.

W

hen I decided to end my career, it was quite abrupt. I got back home from my last cricket tour and I started to write songs like “Move On”, because that’s where I was at the time. I started to play at nightclubs, where I would play for free to build an audience. I always took music seriously. In fact, my first job when I finished high school to support my cricketing career was singing in hotels and playing the guitar. Music was something I always kept around me, because it was a balancing force in my life. I remember my dad did a show at B.B. King’s in New York, and I did background vocals, and at that time I was like, Hey, this is something I would like to do.


“Music was something I always kept around me, because it was a balancing force in my life”

Four years after ending my cricket career, I’m opening for one of the biggest bands in the history of reggae music — Morgan Her itage. So that’s just a testimony of where you can get if you focus one step at a time and work on your product. It’s really just about believing you can do it if you take action. I actually believe I am more talented at music. I can practice music by myself and make a lot of headway. In sports, I still needed somebody to bat or to throw the ball so I could practice. Yet cricket has taught me you’ve got to be who you are, know what your strengths are, and stick to those strengths. I take that attitude over to my music. Create something memorable. I meet very few people who are as passionate at what they do. I want to be recognised throughout the region and the world for my music. To headline festivals. What’s important is getting my music out all over the globe. When I perform at a festival, I want people to know my music and to sing along. For me, that’s one of the big things. If you’re doing a festival and people are singing your songs with you, you know you’ve done the groundwork. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

57


BACKSTORY

Photography by Neil Marshall, courtesy A Caribbean Dream

Above Shakirah Bourne, writer and director of A Caribbean Dream, with Robin Whenary, director of photography Opposite page Shakespeare’s Mechanicals reinterpreted as Bajan fisherfolk: Sinker (Matthew Murrell), Hook (Angelo Laschelles), Line (Ishiaka McNeil), Bottom (Lorna Gayle), and Peter Quince (Simon Alleyne)

58

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

I

t was a dream come true!” The words may sound clichéd, but there’s nothing ordinary about the pure joy radiating from the young woman speaking them. Shakirah Bourne, the It Girl of Barbados’s burgeoning film world, is referring to her recent role as writer and director of the soon-to-be released A Caribbean Dream. Gracefully curled in a corner of the sofa, Bourne holds forth on the upcoming movie. “A Caribbean Dream is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s been Caribbeanised and brought into the twenty-first century,” she explains. The idea came from British actress Melissa Simmonds, no stranger to theatre circles in Barbados. “She’d had it for decades, inspired when she visited Fustic House,” Bourne says. “Melissa thought it would be the ideal setting. When she approached me, she came with the concept, the location, some of the cast and crew, as well as the funding.


Living the Dream Barbadian filmmaker Shakirah Bourne learned her craft through a series of challenging but successful “guerilla-style” productions. Then a literal dream project came along: the chance to adapt and direct a film version of Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, set in Barbados. As Nailah Folami Imoja reports, it’s A Caribbean Dream in more ways than one

I simply had to write the script, flesh out the idea.” Bourne’s regard for Simmonds — co-producer of Dream, and whom Shakirah describes as having “a love for all things Barbadian” — is clear. “She is the kind of woman who gets things done. I was happy to join her on the project.” She acknowledges that the task of writing the script, which took six months, was an easy one. “Shakespeare did most of the work!” she declares with a laugh. “While I’ve always loved Shakespeare’s plots and characters, as a teen I disliked reading his work. I hated the language. Working on A Caribbean Dream, I now have a greater appreciation of Shakespeare and the language.”

It’s an appreciation she hopes to pass on to local and international audiences. “What you will see when you watch A Caribbean Dream is Shakespeare’s words spoken in Bajan dialect and with a Bajan accent, and the visuals will definitely help with the understanding of the play.” Thanks, no doubt, to the many delicious Caribbean twists on the original. In this modern-day telling of the tale, Shakespeare’s Mechanicals are salt-of-the-earth Bajan f isherfolk. The character Bottom becomes a woman who, rather than being transformed into a donkey, is now changed into a black belly sheep, the epitome of Bajan fauna. Other changes? Puck is a butler; the fairies wear Kadooment costumes, from Barbados WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

59


Left Actor Adrian Green (Oberon) on set with Shakirah Bourne, Kirk Dawson (gaffer), and Adam Worrell (digital imaging technician) Below Hermia (Marina Bye) and Lysander (Jherad Alleyne) Opposite page Oberon (Adrian Green) and Titania (Suzannah Harker)

class — screenwriting — after enrolling for a fiction writing course at Barbados Community College, and simply decided to stay. “I realised that what I do with my stories, the way I write, is actually better suited to the film medium.”

B

ourne laughs as she recalls the making of her first movie, Payday, released in 2013, and the two others (Next Payday and Two Smart) that she’s penned, co-directed, and co-produced as part of the Barbadian film production company Bajans In Motion (BIM). The experiences made “troubleshooter” her middle name. “Working on that first film, I knew absolutely nothing,” she says. “I was told to bring a boom and I came back with a piece of stick. I learned out of necessity. That’s how I became a producer. “Normally, I play multiple roles in the making of a movie,” Bourne continues. “Writer, director, producer, runner, propmaker . . . Usually we don’t sleep and there’s little to no money, so we learn how to improvise. Working on those movies, there were always lots of challenges — so now challenges mean nothing to me. Those experiences taught me how to get around any obstacle. I’ve been well prepared by the guerrilla-type productions we usually do here in Barbados.” And it worked: Payday might be

Crop Over; and the music is Bajan too: spouge and calypso (“Except for about ten seconds of classical music,” Bourne says). Instead of acting the story of Pyramus and Thisbe, the fishermen Mechanicals will produce The Untold of Story of King Ja Ja and Young Becka — from a popular legend and Bajan folk song which tells of the attraction of a visiting African monarch to a Barbadian belle. Flipping the script also entailed introducing some of the Caribbean’s supernatural legends, so Papa Bois, Douens, and Wata Mama all have a piece of the Dream action. Having completed this stint as director of an international film, Bourne reflects on the fact that her foray into the medium was actually the result of a mistake. She ended up in the wrong 60

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


considered Barbados’s first blockbuster movie. It ran to sold-out audiences for thirteen weeks, an unheard-of feat for any movie in Barbados. “That comedy captured the essence of Bajanness,” one member of the arts community noted. “The audience members were excited to see themselves on the big screen. The movie captured their collective imagination.” And it was those “guerrilla-type” films — as well as Bourne’s prizewinning collection of short fiction, In Time of Need, selfpublished in 2014 — that brought her and Melissa Simmonds together. “Melissa read the book and saw the movie Payday. That led her to contact me” — with, literally, a dream project. But even the Dream came w it h tests. “T he Foreday Morning shoot was really fun,” Bourne says, “but it wasn’t easy. Not at all what we’d planned. Imagine trying to shoot among thousands of drunk revellers. But we managed to get some good footage.” Other challenges? “Having to shoot a rou nd k a raoke singing. A nearby bar had a session every night, it seemed. We’d have to time it, waiting for the silence between songs, so we could start shooting. Then one of the lights blew. This was a special piece of equipment which had been brought in for the shoot — not something we could replace with a quick trip to the local hardware store. And then there was the rain. There was lots of time spent sitting around waiting for the rain to stop.” Much of A Caribbean Dream’s action takes place outdoors, on the grounds of majestic Fustic House, in the parish of St Lucy. This eighteenth-century mansion was redesigned in the late 1960s by theatre great Oliver Messel, and possesses all the architectural drama you might expect of a Messel creation. The location, with its pool (“We turned that into Titania’s bedroom”),

Amerindian cave, swamp land, and small woodland (“So we had a forest!”), proved ideal. The film’s set and costumes were designed by Leandro Soto. The Cuban multi-disciplinary artist is known internationally for his avant-garde work, and is a household name in the theatre and film worlds of the Caribbean and South America. “We left Fustic House only to shoot the beach” — Six Men’s Bay, St Peter — “the wedding” — St Andrew’s Parish Church — “and the Foreday Morning scenes,” Bourne says. “Working at Fustic House was amazing. The staff took care of our every need. They even did my laundry.” The expression on her face suggests it’s an experience she’d love to repeat.

Bourne’s foray into film was actually the result of a mistake. She ended up in the wrong class — screenwriting — after enrolling for a fiction writing course

T

his was my first time as sole director. I had only one job — to direct. The first time I’m on an international film set, and I am the director!” Bourne sounds as if she still can’t believe her good fortune. “And of course we operated according to international standards, so after twelve hours of work, the set was closed. No twenty-fourhour workdays here. Having more time, being able to relax and focus on one thing, was a joy.” Then there was the million-dollar budget — “more than I’ve ever had to work with before,” Bourne says. “We were able to do things — special effects, for example — that I’d always wanted to do. Having said that, I have to put things into perspective: US$10 million is low-budget in Hollywood, so this was not a huge budget. My hope is that this movie will be successful so people will see what we can do once we have some investment. I hope when people see this film and its quality, they will invest more. In Barbados, we don’t lack ability, what we lack is money and opportunity.” WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

61


Young lovers Helena (Keshia Pope) and Demetrius (Sam Gillett) in A Caribbean Dream’s wedding scene, filmed at St Andrew’s Parish Church

Bourne speaks highly of the film’s two investors, Keith Morris and Christian Roberts — particularly the latter, an actor who played alongside Sidney Poitier in To Sir, with Love, and who would have appeared in A Caribbean Dream, but for illness. “They certainly demonstrated their commitment to the project,” Bourne says, wishing aloud that the industry had more investors like them. She describes the production as “a perfect collaboration of Bajan and British talent.” The cast includes well-known thespians and respected film production crew from both sides of the pond. “Melissa came with the British crew and cast, I came with some of the Barbadians. Except for our director of photography, Robin Whenary. I insisted on Robin,” Bourne says. “I had come across his work a few years ago while taking an online filmmaking course. The template for that course was a brilliant movie called Skyborn. Robin was the director of photography. When I realised he was one of the DPs under consideration for our movie, I jumped at the opportunity to work with him. I felt it was —” She shrugs. “Obviously meant to be.” She credits Whenary with helping her translate the script into the vision audiences will experience. “I’m not a techie, so it was up to him to translate what I told him into the tech-speak that my crew would understand.” And when will audiences, Bardadian and otherwise, get to see A Caribbean Dream? “It will definitely be this year. We’re hoping for it to premiere at a big film festival.” Madame director refuses to say more on that. She’s optimistic about prospects for local filmmaking. “There

definitely is a viable industry here. Too many people have been making a living from this, for far too long, not to call it an industry. But we could, and need to, produce more movies, more featurelength films. Right now a lot of short movies, videos, documentaries, and comedy shorts are being produced. But without distribution, people don’t get to see the work unless they go looking for it.” Bourne thinks the establishment of a Film Commission within the recently formed Cultural Industries Development Authority (CIDA) should see the industry moving forward. The Film Commission’s mission is to promote Barbados as a prime destination for filming and to facilitate foreign companies wishing to shoot there. The move should lead to, among ot her benef it s, i ncrea sed employ ment opportunities for local members of the filmmaking fraternity. And casting her thoughts regionally, Bourne points to the need for more cooperation between Caribbean states. “There’s a need for greater communication, officially. Artists tend to find ways of working together, but on the macro-political level there’s a lot of work to be done.” When quizzed about how Barbadians will react to A Caribbean Dream, her response is swift. “I don’t know! I have no expectations. The audience here never responds the way I expect. In Payday, people laughed, but not necessarily where I intended them to laugh, and in Two Smart, they laughed” — though it wasn’t a comedy. “I just hope that at the end of the day their response will be advantageous to us.” As dreams go, that one seems modest. n

Much of A Caribbean Dream’s action takes place outdoors, on the grounds of majestic eighteenth-century Fustic House, in the parish of St Lucy

62

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


pete oxford

ARRIVE

65 Guyana times five 86 “I could easily get used to this” Destination

Favourite

88 Charlotteville, Tobago 92 The enigma of an island Neighbourhood

Travellers’ Tales

Guyana’s interior is a rich refuge for wildlife, like this red howler monkey


A TRADITION OF GUYANA

FINEST CARIBBEAN RUM BLENDED AND BOTTLED IN GUYANA

XM® rum stock comes from reserves that have been aged and matured in either charred oak, sherry or once used bourbon casks under the supervision of our Master Blenders at our Thirst Park facilities in Georgetown, Demerara, Guyana. The result of this ageing process are rums that are unique in nature and truly Xtra Mature. It is a connoisseur's dream to experience the gustatory complexities of this

“Liquid Gold” phenomenon.

XM® rum is masterfully blended using over 150 years of accumulated knowledge, skill and experience, producing truly unique blends.

XM Rums are distributed in:

Antigua - David’s Distribution Italy - F & G SRL Compagnia di Commercio Dominica - General Merchant & Shop New York & New Jersey - Royal Wines Inc. France - La Maison du Whisky Trinidad & Tobago - Trinidad Import & Eport Co. Ltd. Available at CJIA Banks D.I.H Duty Free Shop

www.xmrumguyana.com

Please drink responsibly. 18+


Destination

Guyana times five The “land of many waters” is also a land of many landscapes, on a continental scale. It’s more than six hundred miles from Guyana’s northernmost point, near the Orinoco delta, to its southernmost, near the Brazilian Amazon, and much of that expanse remains almost untouched wilderness. As Guyana celebrates its fiftieth anniversary of Independence, we explore the beauty of five of its distinctive landscapes: coast, river, savannah, mountain, and city Photography by Pete Oxford

A red dirt road runs through the protected forest at Iwokrama, heading for the Rupununi Savannah and the Brazilian border

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

65


A flock of scarlet ibis take flight over the mudflats of Guyana’s eastern coast

66

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Coast Guyana’s low-lying coastline stretches for hundred of miles. South-east of the Essequibo River, it is home to most of the country’s population, protected from tide and flood by the famous Sea Wall. But to the north-west, the coast remains an unspoiled domain of mudflats, mangroves, and occasional beaches of coarse shell sand, home to tiny villages and wildlife like seabirds and nesting turtles

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

67


The Essequibo River meanders through the Iwokrama reserve in central Guyana

68

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


River The enormous rivers of Guyana — the Essequibo and its tributaries, the Demerara, the Berbice, the Corentyne — are highways more than barriers, connecting the densely populated coast to even the most remote areas of the interior. To visitors from small islands, the sheer scale of these rivers — at its mouth, the Essequibo is twenty miles across — suggests lakes or inland seas

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

69


Savannah The Rupununi Savannah of south-western Guyana is a vast rolling landscape broken by rivers and hills, and changing colours with the seasons: red and brown in times of drought, suddenly green when the rains come. Some see it as a land before time, but for Brendan de Caires the savannahs are a spellbinding “afterworld�

70

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Dotted with palm trees and clumps of forest, the Rupununi Savannah sprawls towards the Kanuku Mountains

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

71


72

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


A A baby caiman poses on the giant leaf of a Victoria amazonica waterlily

lthough few of us have been there, Guyanese like to talk about the interior knowingly. We were brought up that way. In school, “the hinterland” was made to sound harmlessly provincial, like an administrative zone in a Communist country. Yet I grew up thinking you went there only if you had to: for National Service, to work on a gold dredge, or to live among the Amerindians. The “bush” — which meant everything beyond our narrow coastal strip — might as well have been another continent. Exotic languages, esoteric folklore. Mysteries, minerals. A dreamscape. Fleas must talk about horses in similar ways. Georgetown, our tiny capital near the mouth of the Demerara, is the real distraction. Once you escape the city, it’s obvious why so many writers and artists place our “heartland” in the interior. The poet Mark McWatt calls it “the central spider in our web of dreams / that weaves the net of El Dorado.” The Rupununi savannah lies in the southwestern fragment of this web, a large grassy plain dotted with clumps of forest, bordering Brazil. When I was six or seven, my family visited Manari, a ranch started in 1927 by the daughter of Henry Melville — one of the legendary figures in Rupununi history. It felt otherworldly. A tame deer

walked around the grounds; umbrella-size discs of cassava bread baked on the roofs of benabs. In the evenings, insects chirruped so loudly that the silences settled on you like a blanket. Last year I returned, this time to Karanambu, to visit my cousin Salvador and his wife Andrea. Formerly a working ranch, Karanambu is now a trust and ecotourist lodge. It is also home to Diane McTurk, one of the region’s last great characters, deservedly famous for rescuing and rehabilitating giant river otters. In three short days, the Rupununi cast its old spell. Birding for the first time, I watched a dozen reportedly shy species up close. After an hour I knew a handful of distinctive shapes and flight patterns. Our Amerindian guide, who casually identified what, to me, were distant blurs, knew four hundred. We smelled our way to an otter’s den, even though its occupants kept to themselves. As we travelled home in the dark, a hundred pairs of caiman eyes glinted from the river. On the second evening, we visited an ox-bow lake with giant waterlilies — the pads were often more than a metre in diameter. We sipped rum punch and nibbled cookies as the sun set. “Watch this, carefully!” said Salvador as Nature natured. In the fading light, scores of grapefruit-size lily buds fleshed open, almost imperceptibly, to reveal WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

73


startling white flowers. The ones near me visibly trembled and buzzed — aswarm with beetles harvesting nectar. Fifteen minutes later, the twilight had festooned the dark water with twitching flowers. T he next mor ning, as we drove around the savannah, Andrea looked for an anteater. With her usual charm, she talked a local vaqueiro — cowboy — into the search. Ten minutes later, he coaxed a juvenile male towards us by clapping his hands. It galumphed across the empty plain, snorting and groaning like a middle-aged jogger. When it drew close enough to notice us, it simply ran the other way.

M

ankind still feels a certain nostalgia for that primitive cosmic sense of being,” writes the literary scholar Michael Gilkes, a longing for “a time and history that do not deaden or imprison us in a fixed framework of experience.” This is the perfect gloss for Guyana’s heartlands. Our forests heighten the senses. They force you to attend to new colours, movements, sounds. Even at night, slung in a hammock on an overland trip to Kaieteur, I remember the histrionic cries of howler monkeys circling through the canopy. In the forest, you feel like an adventurer, a privileged observer at the centre of unspoiled life. The savannah feels utterly different, more like the Russian steppes. Where t he ju ngle feels pr imord ia l, t he savannah resembles the afterworld in an Armageddon movie, somewhere that has survived the clearing away of civilisations — a place where clocks, roads, and human artefacts have lost their meaning. Outsiders aren’t always charmed. Trekking towards Brazil in 1933, the British writer Evelyn Waugh felt so disoriented by the landscape — “empty plain; sparse, colourless grass; anthills; sandpaper trees, an occasional clump of ragged palm” — that he sought refuge in the writings of Thomas Aquinas. Waugh’s diary, which would later be written up as NinetyTwo Days, finds him “sat among ants for an hour,” enduring “great heat and suffering from thirst,” cold and sleepless in his hammock, and with “feet full of jiggers.” Water offered no relief: “one does not do much swimming in these rivers because they are full of dangerous creatures — sting ray, electric eels, and carnivorous fish.” En route to Kurupukari, he endures the company of Mr Bain, a man whose “tiresome solicitude” and garrulity disprove the legend that “men who administer distant territories are ‘strong and silent’”:

74

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Fishing the old-fashioned way, with bow and arrow

“Listen,” said Mr Bain one day, “that is most interesting. It is what we call the ‘six o’clock beetle,’ because he always makes that noise at exactly six o’clock.” “But it is now a quarter past four.” “Yes, that is what is so interesting.” I grew up among more punctual beetles and have swum, happily, with the carnivorous fish. Re-reading his prose, I can’t help wishing that Waugh could be resurrected and handed over to my cousin Salvador for week. He writes, for example, that on the Savannah “there is no twilight; the sun goes down blazing on the horizon, affording five or ten minutes of gold and crimson glory; then darkness. In the forest night opens slowly like a yawn.” Yes, it does, but have you ever watched this yawn unfold among giant waterlilies?


Roraima, Guyana’s highest, is also where the country’s borders meet Brazil and Venezuela, at the so-called Triple Point

76

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Mountain The ancient, enduring heart of this country is the Guiana Shield: a mass of sandstone, 1.7 billion years old, whose highest elevations form eerie table mountains called tepuis. The Pakaraima Mountains are remote fortresses of pristine nature and awesome myth, home to two of Guyana’s great wonders: Kaieteur Falls and the mysterious mountain called Roraima

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

77


City

The clocktower of Stabroek Market is a Georgetown landmark

78

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


At the mouth of the Demerara River, laced with a hardworking network of canals and kokers (sluice gates), Georgetown is Guyana’s capital, centre of commerce and culture, repository of two centuries of complicated history. Vidyaratha Kissoon and David Papannah offer some hints about what makes Georgetown — once nicknamed “the garden city” — special

G

eorgetown is using your fingers to eat dhal, rice, and coconut choka close to Guyana’s oldest jewellery store, in the Caribbean’s oldest shopping centre. Stabroek Market, with its signature clocktower, opened in 1882. The vendors here offer Guyanese vegetables, fruit, jewellery, fish, groceries, clothes, knife-grinding, mobile phones, and quiet trade in gold and currency. The city in the daytime is loud in some parts with the sounds of the hustle to make a living. Carts selling music try to drown out the other noises. At night, central Georgetown becomes quiet, but the entertainment districts come alive with karaoke — the best sometimes in places advertised by word of mouth. The music is international pop, Bollywood, and, in at least one place, Brazilian. Georgetown offers Brazil also in the form of churches, hairdressing salão, churrascarria, and places where the enlightenment on offer is very different from what you find in church. Suburban and central Georgetown offer prayer and

Georgetown’s Harbour Bridge crosses the Demerara River on a series of floating pontoons

redemption in the tall wooden St George’s Cathedral, large churches, small churches, mandirs like the Radha Krishna Mandir and the Guyana Sanatana Dharma Maha Sabha Ashram, and mosques like the Queenstown Jama Masjid and the Masjid Darus Salam. These diverse religious buildings reflect the change in architectural style from wood to concrete. Elsewhere the Umana Yana cultural centre, its conical roof built by Wai Wai craftsmen from troolie leaves and wood, reminds us of an even older form of architecture. One well-preserved old-style wooden building on Camp Street is home to the Moray House Trust, a centre for intellectual activities ranging from “Two Gentlemen Reading Poetry” to WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

79


Nikhil Ramkarran

A quiet moment in the Botanical Gardens, near the “kissing bridge”

The city in the daytime is loud in some parts with the sounds of the hustle to make a living. Carts selling music try to drown out the other noises discussions on the future of sugar in Guyana. Georgetown is trying to create conversation when none exists. The avenue of trees on Main Street and other open spaces are sites for “groundings” events, where free books are shared in exchange for discussion about serious topics. Other conversations are randomly set up when loud music carts intersect with roadside vendors selling all types of drinks. Vendors also sell good food, and Guyana’s famously sweet pineapple cut up in chunks as a healthy snack. Georgetown honours those who resisted tyranny. Martin Carter wrote the poem “Bastille Day — Georgetown” after the murder of journalist Father Sidney Darke in July 1979. Artist Philip Moore’s Cuffy statue, memorialising the 1763 Berbice Slave Rebellion, and Ivor Thom’s monument to the 1823 Demerara Rebellion are prominent pieces of public art. The Walter Rodney Memorial in Hadfield Street is close to the primary school where the scholar and activist began his 80

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

education, and also close to where he was killed in 1980. It offers a space for reflection on his work and life. Reflection — and romance, too — are also possible in the open spaces of the Promenade Gardens and the Botanical Gardens, with their manatee ponds and “kissing bridge.” The National Park is a popular exercise venue. The Sea Wall on Sunday night is a liming spot, where hundreds enjoy the breeze coming off the Atlantic. The Eucalyptus Garden Theatre is an open space for performance named after the decades-old trees around it. The eucalyptus trees will provide the backdrop for a Caribbean Film Academy Festival in May, a “Poetry of My People” event celebrating the work of Guyanese poets Mahadai Das, Laxmie Kallicharran, and Ivan Forrester in June, and the G-Jazz Festival in December. The Garden Theatre is in the compound of the Theatre Guild Playhouse. All of these flavours, sounds, sights, and scents create the atmosphere of a city like no other. Georgetown is like Canje rice, a random combination of spices, vegetables, and rice cooked by descendants of South Indian immigrants. A mix of life, noise, music, and silence — and a city liked by some, not liked by others, but always itself.

Caribbean Airlines operates daily direct flights to Cheddi Jagan International Airport from Trinidad and New York City, with connections to other destinations


Welcome to Guyana

DREDGING OF LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CHANNELS

PILE DRIVING IN DEMERARA RIVER

At Gaico we pride ourselves in offering quality services. We also respect our environment and maintain a very high ethical standard for others to follow. Management and staff welcome you to our 50th Anniversary Celebration. We hope you have a great stay in Guyana. Dredging of Outfalls

PAVING AND CONSTRUCTION OF HIGHWAYS

CONSTRUCTION OF HIGHWAY BRIDGES AND FOUNDATION

CONSTRUCTION & GENERAL SERVICE INC. Safety & Quality Comes First

Lot 549 Little Diamond Industrial Site EBS. • Tel: 592-623-4161 / 592-226-5165 • Email: gaico@bbgy.com


82

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Speedboats wait to ferry passengers across the Demerara River from the stelling behind Stabroek Market

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

83


Advertorials Guyana Tourism Authority

Demerara Distillers

The Golden Jubilee Festival, one of the signature events being staged from 19 to 22 May, 2016, to celebrate Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary, will feature iconic Guyanese talents from all genres of music, sumptuous cuisine, and rich cultural displays. Come visit, come celebrate with the warm and hospitable people of beautiful Guyana.

Demerara Distillers Limited has been perfecting the craft of fine rums for over three centuries. Our Anniversary Special Edition is a blend of rums aged in oak casks for up to half a century. Its special release marks Guyana’s 2016 Golden Anniversary, to celebrate and toast 50 years of independent nationhood. Presented in a distinctive crystal decanter bearing an eighteen-carat collectible gold medallion, this special edition offers an unparalleled experience for connoisseurs.

Pegasus Hotel Located minutes from the heart of Georgetown, the Pegasus Hotel is ideally situated for business and leisure travellers. The Pegasus offers 130 comfortable rooms and suites, a wide range of conference services, and a variety of restaurants and bars.

L. Seepersaud Maraj & Sons A local family-owned jewellery establishment, renowned for its quality handcrafted jewellery, personalised service, and trusted prices. Since 1935, this establishment has offered a splendid array of jewellery, from the exquisitely unique to contemporary selections, meticulously crafted from gold and diamonds. This cornerstone of Guyanese jewellery is centrally located in the centennial heritage site of Stabroek Market, under the clock. With its rich history and bold architecture, this is where the true Guyanese spirit dwells amid the colourful bustle of genuine bargains and everyday low prices.

Fibre Tech Fibre Tech Industrial Plastics welcomes you to Guyana on our Golden Jubilee. While you are here, come visit Guyana’s leading manufacturer of fibreglass products. Our products are manufactured in Guyana to international standards. They are elegantly built to withstand conditions such as rain, sun, fungus, mildew, wood ants, flooding, and are environmentally friendly. We facilitate all wholesalers and distributors, builders, hotels, architects, contractors, and decorators. Superior quality backed by one-year factory warranty. See our ad on page six.

Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel & Princess Entertainment Centre Princess Hotel & Casinos International is honoured to officially announce its upgraded new brand, Ramada Georgetown

A luxury hotel in the heart of Georgetown. Visitors to Guyana, whether on business or vacation make the Pegasus their first choice of Hotel.

Seawall Road, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana Tel: (592) 225-2856 | (592) 227-3153 | Fax: (592) 223-7251 reservations@pegasushotelguyana.com | www.pegasushotelguyana.com

?

Thinking of advertising

Caribbean & International

Denise Chin

Tel: (868) 683 0832 dchin@meppublishers.com Trinidad & Tobago

Yuri Chin Choy

Tel: (868) 460 0068 yuri@meppublishers.com

84

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Map of guyana Princess Hotel. It is our pride to share this milestone with the Guyanese people on their 50th Independence Anniversary, also to repeat our commitment to make Guyana a tourist and conference destination of the Caribbean.

nt

yn

Be

ain nt ou s

Cor

e

Suriname

Rupununi Savannah

ibo River

Karanambu

BRAZIL

eR iver

Dem erara River rb ice Riv er

M

ElaineVille Housing Development is a 150-acre gated community at Providence, East Bank Demerara. This upscale project is family-oriented, and is ten minutes from Georgetown, one minute from the East Bank Highway, police and gas stations. When completed, it will host three hundred homes, a 42-unit townhouse square, club house, tennis court, and many others. Water and electricity are already in place. For more information, call 592 223 1473 or 231 4466.

Pa ka ra i

a

Elaineville

Georgetown

m

This year, Gaico Construction Inc. will be celebrating its twentyfifth year in business. We pride ourselves on high ethical business standards, care for the environment, and respect for our employees and the community. We are committed to working with government to create a better life for all Guyanese. Our multicultural and diverse society is part of our rich heritage. We welcome all to our beautiful country to celebrate our 50th anniversary as an independent nation.

VENEZUELA

E ss equ

Gaico Construction

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

85


FAVOURITE

“I could easily get used to this”

shutterstock.com/BlueOrange Studio

Why does he love Virgin Gorda? Restless traveller Ishwar Persad lists the reasons — from the spectacular scenery at The Baths to the wonderful Painkillers

86

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


M

y love affair with the Fat Virgin — Columbus’s take on the island’s geographical shape — started in March 2007, visiting an old friend residing there. That first evening, sitting on the balcony at my comfy accommodations, sipping my first Painkiller, signature drink of the British Virgin Islands, and looking at the glorious sun setting behind the horizon from Nail Bay — I felt a sense of ease and relaxation I had not experienced in years. Hmm, I could easily get used to this, I thought — no wonder they call those drinks Painkillers. “I love showing off Virgin Gorda to visiting friends — especially as a day trip from Tortola. After getting off the ferry, the first stop is usually Dixie’s in Spanish Town, for a delicious bake and saltfish — and maybe a Carib if I’m not driving. Then it’s off to visit The Baths. I love taking in the priceless facial expressions when my friends get their first look. The Baths is an area with massive granite boulders lying in piles on the beach, forming numerous scenic grottoes open to the sea. You can traverse through these giant rocks and coves through a series of ladders and ropes, with spectacular coastal scenes and amazing selfie moments. “Then we continue on the North Sound Road with a stop at Hog Heaven for lunch. This restaurant and bar is truly heavenly — perched on the edge of a hillside with spectacular views of the North Sound, not to mention serving up scrumptious barbequed ribs, rice and peas, and fried plantain (and, of course, the magical Painkiller). “Almost a decade after my first visit, I am just as in love with Virgin Gorda. I am very grateful the place has kept its small-island, small-community, cozy feel, where everybody knows everyone — like the Caribbean used to be. Of course, the luxurious accommodation, high quality cuisine, and whelks roti from the lady by the Catholic Centre on Fridays help as well.”

Wanderlust isn’t a strong enough word to describe Trinidadian Ishwar Persad’s attitude to life and travel. Over the years, he has lived and worked in Canada, Montserrat, Tanzania, South Africa, Turkey, Indonesia, and many other places in between. He currently lives in the British Virgin Islands — his second stint there — where he is a consultant with the BVI Tourist Board, but already wondering where he’ll head to next. n

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua and Princess Juliana International Airport in St Martin, with connections on other airlines to the British Virgin Islands WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

87


chris anderson

NEIGHBOURHOOD

Charlotteville, Tobago Near Tobago’s north-eastern tip, rustic Charlotteville is no longer quite off the beaten track — but still offers an idyllic retreat, perched between the Caribbean Sea and the island’s green hills

Streetscape The topography of Charlotteville is still more of a beachscape than a streetscape, dominated by the shimmering blue expanse of Man O’War Bay. From the seafront, with its long jetty and dozens of small fishing boats at anchor, roads and tracks ascend the slopes of the surrounding hills, dotted with houses boasting some of the loveliest views on the island. In recent years, guesthouses and other forms of modest accommodation have sprung up, but this is still very much a fishing village, where life is lived by the rhythm of the tides and nightlife is a laidback lime at a beachfront rumshop.

Appetite

edison boodoosingh

This one’s a no-brainer. Fishing is Charlotteville’s mainstay, and the freshest possible seafood should be the highlight of your menu. Regular visitors recommend Gail’s, a simple restaurant run from the porch of the owner’s house, right on the sea. Sharon and Phebe’s, on the corner of the main road leading down to the beach, offers a similar menu and relaxed ambience — and this is the place to try curried crab. If you have a car, the ten-minute drive to Speyside on the Atlantic coast will double your restaurant options.

88

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Neil Cook, Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC)

Tobago’s northern tip is practically the epicentre of the island’s incredible fauna and flora, from the lush forested slopes of the Main Ridge to the teeming coral reefs just offshore. This is a perfect starting point for hikers, mountain bikers, birdwatchers, and anyone keen to experience this still largely untouched corner of a lush and verdant island. The village itself is home to two dive shops, one of them run by the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville, or ERIC, for short — a non-profit working on a “ridge to reef” environmental and development approach for north-eastern Tobago. Nearby Speyside also offers facilities, and the sea around this tip of Tobago is justly world-famous for its dive sites. These nutrient-rich waters teem with corals, gorgonians, reef fish, sharks, and manta rays. And serious birders are also spoiled for choice. 276 different species have been recorded from Tobago, and many of them can be seen or heard within a three-mile radius of Charlotteville, from mot-mots and hummingbirds in the Main Ridge hills to tropicbirds and boobies on Little Tobago Island, off the Speyside coast.

courtesy division of tourism & transportation tobago

Venturing out

History Tobago is one of those Caribbean islands with a long, sometimes bloody history changing hands between European colonial powers — thirty-three times in three centuries is the dizzying number, with the Dutch, the French, and the English the chief rivals, or culprits. Colonists of these nations made several attempts to establish settlements on Man O’War Bay, and by the late eighteenth century there was a sugar plantation established near the location of present-day Charlotteville, thriving under the backbreaking labour of enslaved Africans. After Emancipation, the hills and valleys around Charlotteville were a favoured destination for newly freed black settlers, thanks to the fertile soil, the bay churning with fish, and the comfortable distance from the capital at Scarborough. In an area once called Congo Hill, freed Africans born in the Congo established a community preserving their native culture, influencing Charlotteville’s music and dance to this day. Migration from Grenada, St Vincent, and the Grenadine islands near the end of the nineteenth century brought a French patois-speaking population to this tip of Tobago, and enriched the cultural mix. Agriculture and fishing were Charlotteville’s backbone for most of the twentieth-century, and in most ways remain so — supplemented nowadays by small-scale tourism.

Co-ordinates

Charlotteville

11.32ºN 60.55ºW Sea level

Trivia The beach at Pirate’s Bay, a short walk north of Charlotteville, is considered one of Tobago’s loveliest — but its name suggests a rather bloodthirsty past. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this is supposed to have been a base for infamous pirates like Henry Morgan and Edward Teach (better known as Blackbeard), and there are legends of fabulous treasure still buried under the sands where tourists sunbathe.

TOBAGO

Caribbean Airlines operates flights to A.N.R. Robinson International Airport daily from Trinidad and weekly from New York City, with connections to other destinations across the Caribbean and North America WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

89


Erle rahaman-noronha

travellers’ tales

The enigma of an island Visiting Cuba for the first time, Sharon Millar finds much of what she expects — and much that she doesn’t. Pages from her travel journal, from Havana to Santiago to Trinidad to Santa Clara 92

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

T

he Egyptian mummy lies silent and elegant under the glass case. Standing there in the cool de-humidified air, I’m aware of experiencing something very extraordinary. It is my first morning in Santiago de Cuba, second capital of Cuba, city of revolution. I expected many things before my arrival in Cuba. An Egyptian mummy was not on the list. Cuba is an enigma. It seemed odd that as a Caribbean person, I would not know this place. The largest island in the Caribbean, with a colonial past dating back to the late fifteenth century — there is much history here that speaks to the rest of the region. It’s hard to get a sense of a place from its airport, but there was something eerily Eastern European about the immigration hall in Havana. Efficient and polite immigration officers, almost all female and young, greeted us. They were, rather


incongruously, kitted out in high heels and fishnet stockings, which I later learned is de rigeur for the highly formal attire often worn at state functions. It was the first of many small fractures between what I thought I knew of Cuba, and what the country and the people revealed. We are travelling with a large group (some forty-odd), and in Havana airport we split somewhat nervously. A smaller group of us are making this two-day visit to Santiago. We are under the expert eye of our tour guide Ivan, who has been working assiduously on this trip for months. Every detail has been planned with the local operating company who will accompany us as we make our way across the country. After Santiago, we will return to Havana, then on to Trinidad and Santa Clara. To get from Havana to Santiago de Cuba involves flying south across the country. On the short shuttle ride from the

shutterstock.com/corlaffra

The Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca once protected the city of Santiago de Cuba from sea invasion

international to the domestic terminal, I get my first glimpse of the famous old cars. Vintage and perfect, they stream by the airport, holding the road as if this were an ordinary day in 1962. This physical sensation of going back in time will pass in a day or two, but for now I am transfixed by the cars and the red payphone on the wall of the departure terminal. A woman walks up, slots her money in, and makes a call. What looks like a brand new Antonov An-148Â sits on the runway waiting for us to board: Cubana Airlines flight CU986. The sight of the sturdy, chubby plane is reassuring, and, sure enough, the plane is wide and comfortable, with roomy seats and no business class. By the time we touch down in Santiago, it is night and we are tired. The state bus is large, cutting corners tighter and tighter as we head into the centre of the city, the cobblestone roads seeming better equipped for horses than cars. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

93


ADVERTORIAL

“Good News” TV from T&T

A

television station which began in a cargo container in a parking lot in Trinidad is now on a crossCaribbean campaign. Trinity Communications Network (TCN) began operations in 1993 with a fistful of people who knew nothing about television production or broadcasting, but who wanted to use the medium to spread the Christian message. In its early years, it was largely a production house, creating about eight hours of local Roman Catholic programming weekly to be aired on cable television, on the channel belonging to US-based Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

94

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

As TCN gained experience, it grew in stature as a creator of local programming — ranging from the children’s show Alphabet Heaven to Addicted, where recovering addicts share their stories, and from Footsteps, which featured young people sharing creatively on their faith, to the magazine show Trinity Update. It invited local Christian groups to produce shows and started recording major Church and other events for broadcast. By then, TCN had moved out of the cargo container and into studios across the road at 109 Frederick Street, Port of Spain, home to its “parent company” — Living Water Community, a Roman Catholic group founded in Trinidad in 1975 which serves the poor and marginalised, and is also involved in evangelisation. In September 2013, TCN took a bold step when it was granted its own cable television channel. It began broadcasting as Trinity TV on Flow Trinidad’s cable channel 10, but its boldness was in its decision to broadcast 24/7. This non-profit television outfit that began in a twenty-foot steel box was now living its dream. And it was doing so with the bare minimum of employees, a pool of volunteers, no advertising revenue, and negligible direct income. Yes, you could say it’s a miracle Trinity TV remains on air. In addition to an array of local programmes, Trinity TV’s line-up includes

shows from top international providers like EWTN, Telecare TV, Goya, the Franciscan Media Centre, Rome Reports, and Pauline Press. Thanks to sponsors, the Trinity TV On-Location team has started doing overseas assignments, like Pope Francis’s 2015 visit to Cuba. The station is also available via Internet livestream and a mobile app, and is active on social media. Then came the announcement in December 2015 that Columbus Communications, parent company of Flow, had agreed to include Trinity TV in its cable channel line-up throughout the Caribbean. On 2 February, 2016, Trinity TV went “live” in Barbados on Flow channel 121. As Trinity TV waits to be switched on in other Caribbean nations, it is looking forward to those countries producing shows of their own. Rhonda Maingot, Foundress/ Director of Living Water Community, explains: “The idea is to communicate the message of Jesus Christ in ways, dialects, faces, voices, etc. that are indigenous to each population, as we seek to build the civilisation of love.”

Contact: (868) 623 4677; www.tcntt.com; mail@lwctt.org


Erle rahaman-noronha

Cuba’s classic 1950s cars are both an everyday sight on the roads and a tourist attraction

Our hosts have come out into the street to greet us. In front of the bus, spotlit by the headlights, is a group of dancing girls. Flash-mob-style, I think at first, then I realise they are practicing a dance routine to music pouring from a 1980 boom box. This is not just for us, after all. It is apparently such an ordinary sight that no one else gives them a second glance. Older women sit on the stoops of their casas and smoke or fold laundry under the yellow streetlights while the girls dance. The youngest must be four or five. But they all fall into line at the clap of a hand and a twist of the wrist in the air to signal — again! And they start to the strains of what sounds like son, the mother of salsa. Later in the week, I will learn that son always requires dancing on the offbeat. I don’t know this now, however. I am simply transfixed by an inside view of the Friday night entertainment of young girls between the ages of four and fifteen as they move together. So this is Friday night in the lower regions of downtown Santiago. The next day starts very early, with the rumble of the bus outside the main casa particular (a Cuban home that provides accommodation for turistas). The rest of our group are going on a safari mountain drive, culminating with a hike into the Sierra Maestra Mountains to Comandancia de la Plata (the revolutionera command headquarters of Che and Fidel). Departure time: 4.30 am. But not us — we have chosen to spend the day exploring the city of revolution. I want to see it all. Breakfast at the casa particular is a special treat. The hosts rise early to prepare elaborate plates of fruit (guavas almost as large as my hand, sliced in deep pink rings), soursop juice, and tiny pancakes. This is my experience in all the casas we stay in throughout the island. The fare varies, but the quality is always excellent. But on this first morning, I know nothing of the feast in

store. My husband, whom I have sent on a recon mission, returns with a peculiar expression on his face. “What happened?” “We’re having breakfast on the roof.” “Lovely.” “Yes, but there’s also a salsa school on the roof, and there’s a lesson going on!” There’s not much you can say to that. On the roof, our table for two is beautifully laid. And so we eat our first breakfast in Cuba accompanied by a cool wind with a hint of Christmas and a couple twirling and whirling to early morning salsa.

S

antiago is very different to Havana. Climatically, it is a much hotter city. Known for its Afro-Caribbean cultural influences, the city is closer to Haiti than it is to Havana. After the Haitian Revolution, there was a significant influx of Haitians who, bringing their music and their customs with them to their new home, have shaped Santiago’s music and cultural heritage. In a way, it feels more like the Caribbean I know: hot, bustling, chattering. It’s known as the city of revolution because the success of the rebels was first declared here: On 1 January, 1959, an exultant Fidel Castro shouted Viva la Revolución from a balcony in Santiago de Cuba’s city hall. This was also the hometown of Don Facundo Bacardi, of Bacardi rum fame. His son Emilio Bacardi, despite being a wealthy businessman and prominent member of society, was a rebel supporter in the ongoing fight for liberation from the Spanish. He was often detained by the authorities and even imprisoned in the city fortress. After the Spanish-American War, Santiago’s American military governor, General Leonard Wolf, appointed Bacardi mayor of Santiago de Cuba. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

95


shutterstock.com/tupungato

Bacardi and his wife Elvira Cape founded the Emilio Bacardi Moreau Museum in 1899. It is here that I see the Egyptian mummy belonging to the Pharaonic Dynasty of the eighteenth century BC, which Bacardi purchased while on a world tour in 1912. It is situated in the Archeology Room on the ground floor. This fascinating room also contains specimens of aboriginal cultural objects as well as two (rather disturbing) mummies of the Paracas del Peru culture. As if the day could not get any more extraordinary, we next visit the Santa Ifegenia Cemetery, famous for its beautiful marble and granite vaults. Here we witness the changing of the guards at Cuban hero José Martí’s eighty-foot-high mausoleum. All day, every day, two guards stand at attention at the entrance of the imposing structure, attired in full military uniform. Every thirty minutes, from 6 am to 6 pm, the guards change shift in an operation conducted with great formality. Promptly on the half hour, piped military music is broadcast and the guards begin their slow goosestep, legs raising high in time to the music, passing their batons over with gloved hands. It is a sobering sight to witness the rituals and reverence so necessary for nationalism. And it is even more sobering to realise I have seen the like nowhere else in the Caribbean, our region of islands where nationalism is often fragmented by opposing lenses. The section for fallen heroes who have lost their lives in battle in the Angolan war is also a reminder. The Cubans honour their heroes and they honour their dead. They do not forget. It seems somehow appropriate next to visit the large fort Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, now a beautifully restored 96

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

UNESCO heritage site. This impressive structure on its rocky promontory dates back to the seventeenth century. Gazing to your left, to the east, Haiti is beyond the horizon, while Jamaica sits slightly right of your line of vision. I know this only from looking at the map. The horizon before me is clear and untouched. The fort’s geographic location is a reminder of Cuba’s important position during the colonial battles for territories. According to UNESCO, this “intricate complex of forts, magazines, bastions, and batteries is the most complete, best-preserved example of Spanish-American military architecture, based on Italian and Renaissance design principles.” While we stand looking out from one of the upper decks, the men below us are cleaning an eighteenth-century cannon. Soon they pack it with gunpowder. There is much talking and gesticulating and we gather that this is not a common occurrence. They are testing the cannon. We are lucky to see this. We watch as they load the cannon and light the fuse. It’s remarkable to think we are witnessing something that would once have been part of the daily routine of the fort. When the cannon fires, it is deafening and thrilling: easy to imagine the adrenaline of war.

A

fter Santiago, we fly north back to Havana, to beautiful buildings and wide streets that remind me of another time, when this city was the Paris of the Caribbean. Several buildings are being meticulously restored by the Department of Restoration, and there is music on every corner. There are good restaurants, and in each one the musicians are better than the last.


and coffee. The cigars are priced in CUCs, the parallel currency that is equivalent to the US dollar, unlike the peso, which is used only by locals. Certainly, in recent years the government is becoming more flexible. Since Raoul Castro took the reins, he has allowed Cubans to open small businesses. And there are flourishing restaurants everywhere. The introduction of the Internet in public parks in August 2015 will also impact on the society — it must. That, coupled with improved relations with the United States and the expected rush of American tourists, will change the Cuba I visited. Our young tour guides are all highly educated. Money is good in tourism. The driver who leads us (forty strong!) on a Havana tour in a procession of vintage cars is moonlighting. In his real job he is an ear, nose, and throat consultant. We meet people like this time and time again: highly educated professionals working second jobs in tourism. It is difficult to reconcile the wage disparities.

Shutterstock.com/Rolf G Wackenberg

A must-visit in Havana is the large craft market, with its dizzying array of art. We stay in Havana Vieja with its wonderful old buildings, where we drink lots of mojitos and toast to Hemingway. Cuba is a big island. We spend a lot of time travelling on the large state buses from one location to another. En route to the city of Trinidad, I read and look out on the land. People make their way by the roadside. Many are on horseback or in horsedrawn carts. I look at the houses and try to imagine their lives. Trinidad is a charming colonial town not unlike others I have seen in South America. Here, they boast, the most beautiful crochet work can be found. We are here to see the Valle de los Ingenios — Valley of the Sugar Mills — a few miles outside the city. The San Luis, Santa Rosa, and Meyer estates were major sugar producers from the late eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. We travel there by way of an old railway through the beautiful, verdant land, while the travelling musician with us sings “Chan Chan”, the Cuban classic we’ve come to love. And then we are on our way to Santa Clara, the city of Che

Opposite page View across the Valle de los Ingenios, near the city of Trinidad Left The mausoleum of Che Guevara

Guevara. Even though we arrive early from Trinidad, there is already a line snaking around the mausoleum that protects his remains. I am reading the memoirs of Che’s wife, and in the pages of the book, he is alive, laughing, a cigar ever-present. I am not sure I want to reconcile this image with the contents of the mausoleum, so I am not terribly sorry there is no time to go inside. I will remember Santa Clara for Che, but also for the tobacco factory, where we are ushered in to see the predominantly women workers roll cigars while they listen to piped music or, occasionally, the words of a novel being read over the loudspeakers. They work eight hours a day, all week, and must each make somewhere between 170 and 250 cigars a day. I do not ask how much they are paid. When we arrive outside the heavily guarded window, the women rush to the barred windows calling to us — Venga, venga! Across the street, a shop catering to turistas sells cigars

Santa Clara

HAVANA

CUBA

Trinidad

Santiago

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

97


The tour guides tell us we are the largest group they have ever had, but we are also the easiest. Of course, we chime. We’re from Trinidad and Tobago

Cuba travel tips Inspired to plan your own visit? Sharon Millar offers some practical advice. Money: Cuba has a double currency. Tourists generally use the CUC (pronounced “kook”) or convertible peso, which has the same value as a US dollar. The other currency is the one used by Cuban nationals, and is called the CUP, pronounced “koop.” As a foreigner travelling to Cuba, you will always be given CUCs and everything will be priced in CUCs. Walk with Canadian currency, as there is a charge applied to converting US currency. American credit cards are not accepted in Cuba. Immigration: You must have a Cuba Tourist Card to enter the country. This is usually available from the airline or from your travel agent.

shutterstock.com/Kamira

Health: You must also have health insurance (even if only for the duration of your stay) to enter Cuba, and you may be asked to show it upon arrival. Do not drink the tap water! Getting around: A local tour company is usually the best way to go when exploring Cuba for the first time. We used a company called Locally Sourced Cuba and found them to be excellent.

Bustling, charming Havana

As in any foreign land, in Cuba you will visit monuments where history has been ruptured. But it is the people who will truly tell you about a place, and Cuba is no different. They reveal their country to you in all its beauty and contradictions. It’s easy to assume that personal freedom ensures happiness, but Cuba shows me a different face. With music, art, and education prioritised, wealth seems to be measured in different ways. This is not an attempt to romanticise Cuba. Could I live here? I am not sure. But it does seem possible to have a very good life here without many of the social ills that plague the rest of the Caribbean. There are signs of state control — this is still Communism — but Cubans seem happy. Many content with their lot. Caribbean people, definitely. The tour guides tell us we are the largest group they have ever had, but we are also the easiest. Of course, we chime. We’re from Trinidad and Tobago. We are Caribbean too! Repeatedly, they tell us how similar we are to the Cubans. And we are: it’s apparent in our mix, our sense of humour, our dancing — although, truth be told, we can’t hold a candle to the Cubans on the dancefloor — and in our shared history. It is this I take away with me. n 98

WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

Accommodation: There are many excellent casas particulares all over Cuba. They are a good alternative to pricey hotels. Prices can start as low as 30 CUC per night, inclusive of breakfast. Keeping in touch: Wi-fi is available in public parks and it is possible to purchase an hour of wi-fi time for approximately 2 CUC. However, it can be slow and prone to crashing. Expect to be off the grid for long periods. Crowds: Do not think you will be the only visitor. The only people not visiting Cuba are the Americans. Over three million tourists visited Cuba last year. December to May can be uncomfortably crowded in key areas such as Havana and Trinidad.

Caribbean Airlines operates daily flights to Miami International Airport, with connections on other airlines to Havana


ŠiStock/temmuz can arsiray

engage

100 Precious blue Green

102 Into the interior On this day

Frigatebirds nesting in Barbuda’s Codrington Lagoon


GREEN

Precious blue For small island countries, coastal waters offer more than a place to swim: they offer food, protection from nature, and economic resources. But in Barbuda, Nazma Muller explains, years of overfishing, pollution, and damage to coral reefs have endangered these marine ecosystems. Enter the Blue Halo Initiative Photograph courtesy Waitt Institute

T

he people of Barbuda are culturally connected to the sea, depending on it for food, recreation, and their livelihoods. Coral reefs and mangroves act as a buffer zone, protecting the shoreline from the impact of storms. Elderly Barbudan fishermen recall when they could harvest conch in water that barely reached their knees. But for the last couple of decades, the lobsters and fish have been getting smaller and fewer, and the fishermen have to venture further out to sea to find fish — and still their catch is much smaller than it used to be. Years of overfishing, agricultural pesticide run-off, and coastal development have wreaked havoc on marine ecosystems. Algae smothers more than threequarters of the island’s reefs, leading to a dramatic drop in groupers and snappers, a long-time staple of the Barbudan diet. An assessment of Barbuda’s coral cover in 2013 found that it was a paltry 2.6 per cent, much lower than the already

100 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

dismal Caribbean average of seventeen per cent. Barbuda’s tiny size makes it very vulnerable to climate change, and any rise in sea level would have serious consequences. It’s an alarming situation, but out of the blue (as it were) help has come from an unexpected source, a project whose beginnings were decidedly landlocked.

I

n September 1985, a twenty-two-yearold named Theodore Waitt from Sioux City, Iowa, started a company, along with Mike Hammond, using a US$10,000 loan, secured by Waitt’s grandmother. The start-up’s HQ was the farmhouse on Waitt’s father’s cattle ranch. Using a rented computer and a three-page business plan, the two gave birth to the company that would become known as Gateway 2000. Within a decade, their distinctive black and white computer boxes, boasting the colours of Holstein Friesian cattle (a nod to Gateway’s agrarian roots), were known across the globe, and the company had entered the Fortune 500.

Eventually, the billionaire became a philanthropist. In 1993, Ted Waitt launched the Waitt Foundation, with the aim of strengthening communities. When he finally retired from Gateway, the bornand-bred Iowan took to the seas. What he saw shook him to the core. As he travelled across the oceans, he saw the devastating effects of modern living and climate change: tonnes of rubbish on beaches, dying reefs, and fisheries on the verge of collapse. So in 2006 the Foundation established t he Wa itt Instit ute for Discovery to fund research into both the past and the future: historical discoveries and future innovations. T he In st it ute s uppor ted ocea n exploration expeditions, using the latest technology to survey shipwrecks, do 3D mappings (most notably, of the Titanic crash site), and prov ide submar ine research in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In 2009, the Foundation also turned its focus to ocean conservation, and entered a very important partnership with the National Geographic Society. It also became a Pew Global Ocean Legacy partner, collaborated with the University of California–Santa Barbara’s Sustainable Fisheries Group, and funded the Small-Scale and Artisanal Fisheries Research Network at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. T h a t s a m e ye a r, Wa it t a n d a National Geographic team met with the government of Bermuda, and the concept of a “blue halo,” a large offshore marine reserve, took form. The idea was simple: set some areas aside, protect key species, and prevent habitat damage. This would benefit the economy, ensure food security, and the ocean would be used sustainably by not only this generation, but those to come. In 2012, Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson was appointed executive director of the


Mangroves and sea grass flourish in Barbuda’s Codrington Lagoon

Waitt Institute. The marine biologist had already held policy positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency in the US. Her PhD, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, looked at how to sustainably manage coral reefs, based on extensive fieldwork in the Caribbean islands of Curaçao and Bonaire. Coral reefs are the bedrock of many of the economies in the region, generating US$3 billion a year through tourism and fishing, in addition to providing protection from storms. Johnson identified the tiny island

of Barbuda (population 1,600) as the first Caribbean site for the Blue Halo Initiative.

T

he main thrust of the Blue Halo Initiative is to reach consensus among all stakeholders, and balance current and future needs. Working closely with the community and the Waitt Institute, the Council of Barbuda drafted and signed into law in August 2014 regulations aimed at restoring and protecting its coastal waters. Based on extensive data collected by scientists and seventeen consultations with locals, the

new laws aim to restore Barbuda’s coast and ensure its long-term health. Coastal waters have been zoned, parrotfish and urchins are now protected — as they are the main species that keep algae levels on reefs low, so the coral can grow — and one-third of all coastal areas has been placed into five marine sanctuaries. At the request of local fishermen, nets are no longer allowed on the reefs, to avoid damaging them. The government has clearly defined wh ich a rea s a re open for f ish ing, diving, water sports, and so on. This minimises environmental impacts while still addressing the needs of the local community. A two-year hiatus on fishing in a designated lagoon will give fish populations and habitats the chance to recuperate. The protected areas will eventually recover: fish and lobster will increase in size and number, sharks and other predators will return, and the reefs will come back to life. The new laws and awareness of the need to protect their “blue halo” have inspired Barbudans to implement and enforce the regulations. Through education and outreach, ocean conservation is now everyone’s business. Over the next few years, the Waitt Institute will continue to work with the Barbuda Council to train locals in marine ecology, design effective enforcement strategies, provide needed equipment, and develop an ocean education curriculum for schools so that the next generation understands their responsibility to the sea. And where next? The Waitt Institute is working with the governments of Montserrat and Curaçao to develop their own Blue Halo initiatives, with hopes that the model will be adapted elsewhere in the Caribbean. After all, the sea that defines our islands is the greatest natural resource we share. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 101


on this day

Into the interior Guyana’s most celebrated writer, Wilson Harris, has lived far from his homeland for many decades. But Guyana’s landscape and history have always been at the heart of Harris’s novels, James Ferguson argues. As the notoriously “obscure” author celebrates his ninety-fifth birthday, his fictional world remains a place where dream and reality collide Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

B

y the time Guyana celebrated its independence in May 1966, its most famous author had already been away from the country for seven years. Wilson Harris had arrived in London in early 1959, aged thirty-eight, to forge a career as a full-time novelist. Apart from rare and brief visits, he has never returned to his native land, although he has lectured at universities and conferences across the world. His twentyfive novels have been published since 1960 by Faber in London, and in 2010 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He had already taken British citizenship. And yet, paradoxically, Guyana has formed the centre of Harris’s unique and complex fictional world. Its history and its landscapes f ill the pages of almost all of his novels, from Palace of the Peacock (1960) to, more tangentially, The Ghost of Memory (2006), his most recent — and, he says, his last work. The sense of Guyana as a geological

102 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

and geographical phenomenon — with its vast rivers, savannahs, and densely forested mountains — is per vasive t hroughout, as is t hat of its of ten violent and cruel history. This is a history marked by colonisation and resistance, by waves of migration and by a tenacious indigenous culture, by the intensively farmed plantations of the coastal area and the vast, mysterious interior. Onto this often primeval vision of Guyana, Harris draws patterns of symbolic and psychological complexity, asking questions about consciousness, memory, and fiction itself. According to Boyd Ton k in, litera r y ed itor of t h e U K Inde p e nde nt , “ I n H a r r i s ’s work , A mer ind ian my t holog y joins existentialism, ecology, epic narration that draws on Homer and Dante, and a visionary understanding of landscape and histor y. He takes f iction down hidden tributaries quite as lush and remote as any of the jungle backwaters that he evokes . . .”

H

arris was born in the port town of New Amsterdam in British Guiana on 24 March, 1921, the son of a prosperous insurance salesman. His mixed heritage, observes the scholar A.J.M. Bundy, “reflects that of the Guyanese nation: English, Hindu Indian, AfroCaribbean, and indigenous ancestors all contribute to Harris’s antecedents.” His father died when he was two, and he moved to Georgetown, where his mother remarried. Six years later, his stepfather vanished into the rainforest, never to be seen again. Harris later recalled, “My stepfather’s disappearance in that immense interior when I was a child was the beginning of an involvement with the enigma of quests and journeys through visible into invisible worlds that become themselves slowly visible to require further penetration into other invisible worlds without end or finality.” At Queen’s College, Harris received a highly traditional and classical education, reading epic poetry and Greek tragedy, but his exceptional proficiency at maths led him to train as a hydrographic surveyor, and this in turn led him in a 1942 government expedition to the huge and forbidding wildernesses of the interior. E x posu re to Guya na’s remotest landscapes seemed to spark a poetic sensibility in the young Harris, which mixed classical myth with a visceral response to physical surroundings. In 2003, he told writer Fred D’Aguiar of “multitudinous forests I had never seen before, the whisper or sigh of a tree with a tone or rhythm I had never known, real (it seemed) and unreal footsteps in the shoe of a cracking branch, mysterious play in the rivers at nights, distant rain bringing the sound of approaching fire in the whispering leaves, horses’ hooves on water on rock . . .” There were “clues in ancient Homer” and in “the pre-Columbian god


There is no getting away from the fact that Harris creates challenging fiction, with few reassuring concessions to conventional storytelling

where individual identities are fused into a collective unconscious.

I

Quetzalcoatl,” but these were “museum pieces,” divorced from the new reality he experienced. Harris spent much of the next seventeen years in the Guyana bush. When in Georgetown, he began writing poetry and contributing to the influential literary journal Kyk-Over-Al, but opportunities for authors were limited in British Guiana. London beckoned (as it did to such contemporaries as V.S. Naipaul and Samuel Selvon), and on a visit in 1954 he met the woman who would become his second wife. Five years later, he settled in London, doing menial work until, fortuitously, the manuscript of Palace of the Peacock was rescued from the Faber slush pile by editor Charles Monteith (who had done the same with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies a few years earlier). Like some South American rewriting

of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Palace of the Peacock takes the archetypal theme of the man-hunting expedition upriver as a way of exploring themes of colonial conquest and exploitation. But Harris’s narrative has none of the menacing concision of Conrad’s, as it quickly rejects any conventions of realism and takes the reader into a bewildering fictional world where shape-shifting characters are both living and dead, where the main protagonist Donne morphs into the hitherto separate narrator, and where dreams are indistinguishable from waking consciousness. There is little sense of resolution or an identifiable theme, but we are left with a feeling of redemption when Donne and his band of conquistadors are symbolically reconciled with the Amerindians they are pursuing in the Palace of the Peacock, a mysterious space

f this sounds difficult, then it is. There is no getting away from the fact that Harris creates challenging fiction, with few reassuring concessions to conventional storytelling. Some critics have accused him of being wilfully obscure; more, however, have recognised an entirely original literary voice in which myth, Jungian psychology, and what Harris calls “quantum fiction” (i.e., multiple and conflicting perspectives) are deployed to create new boundaries. And within this experimental work, Guyana is very often present: The Far Journey of Oudin (1961) takes place in the rice plantations near the coast, while The Secret Ladder (1963) follows a land surveyor in the interior and a plan to build a dam that will flood land inhabited by the descendants of escaped slaves. More recently, Jonestown (1996) uses the dreadful mass suicide at Jim Jones’s People’s Temple as a metaphor for all genocides committed in the New World. For most of his long and productive life, Wilson Harris has been thousands of miles away from his native Guyana. Yet the “land of many waters” has rarely been far from his imagination, constantly revisited for its awe-inspiring landscapes and tragic past. Guyana is recognisably Guyana in Harris’s work, but it is also something more than a country on the edge of South America. In Harris’s creative world, where fictional boundaries are as meaningless as those imposed by the imperialists of the past, it is a place of unlimited possibilities where dream and reality, past and present, myth and legend collide. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 103


puzzles 1

2

3

4

10

11

5

6

CARIBBEAN CROSSWORD 7

Across 1 This tropical fruit is a star [9] 4 Don’t throw pearls before them [5] 7 Poison [7] 10 Charlotteville’s bay [3,4] 12 Difficult to row without one [3] 13 A bull’s worst enemy [8] 15 Kindly [10] 17 Biggest continent [4] 19 A city in France, or just a pleasant experience [4] 21 What a thrill [10] 24 Well-read [8] 26 Not dry [3] 28 Ungainly [7] 29 Character in the movie Caribbean Dreams [7] 30 Sleek carnivore of Guyana’s rivers [5] 31 Mt Roraima’s range [9] Down 1 This Trini culinary staple grows in many a back yard [6,4] 2 Swamp plant [8] 3 Come clean [5] 5 Towards the centre [7] 6 The better to hear you [4] 8 Disdain [5] 9 Not simple [7] 11 Part of the lymphatic system [4]

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE by James Hackett There are 10 differences between these two pictures. How many can you spot?

Spot the Difference answers The shirts are different colours; one of the guys has a smile; one is missing a kerchief in his back pocket; guy on the left has an extra button on his shirt; they are wearing different patterned socks; pants cuff details are different; one of the saxaphones is missing details; guy on the left has a watch; there are extra lines on one of the pairs of shoes; one shirt has a button on the pocket.

104 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM

8

9

12

13 14

15

16

17 18

19

20

21

22

23 24

25

26

27 28

30

29

31

14 Cuban city [5,5] 16 Most unworldly [7] 18 It fills the ocean [3,5] 20 Windies game [7] 22 Consumed [5] 23 Fix [6] 25 Help [3] 27 Every saint needs one [4]


Anguilla Bacardi Bajan Batabano beach Cayman Che cigar cob ComicCon coral dhal dumpling file Fort James gif guitar Japan

jazz JosĂŠ MartĂ­ Karanambu koker ocean Omari reggae salsa sand savannah Shakespeare snorkel soup Stabroek team Tobago Trinidad Wilson Harris

E

A

C H C O M E

L

I

S

N O R K

L

T

T E

S

A

R

F D E O O R B

O B

I

Z H A

A M J

A

A

T A

S M T A M L

L

A

N

S

S

A

B

J

C G M S

G A

D G E

U A

A

A

I

R V

E

J

A

R U D R N

L

T A

S

A

I

L

I

D U M P

N G P

S G U

I

T A

K O K

E

R M W A

Q

I

O M A

S

H A

K

E

A O N

2 6

8

7

3

4

R N

I

A

7

3

D P

U

C B

J

L

T

A

A

A

S

R H

I

H D

F

B

D

S

P

E

R E G G A

E

A

I

L

3

6

5

9

5

1

6

5

1 1

6

2 4

8

7 2

E

Sudoku 6x6 - Puzzle 4 of 5 - Medium

9

9

8

Z N N

R

4

If the puzzle you want to do has already been filled in, just ask your flight attendant for a new copy of the magazine!

Y

Medium 6x6 mini sudoku puzzle

5

1

A

Caribbean Beat Magazine

5 4

T A O M

F N D W Z R O

9

Fill the empty square with numbers from 1 to 9 so that each row, each column, and each 3x3 box contains all of the numbers from 1 to 9. For the mini sudoku use numbers from 1 to 6.

J

A M T B Q N U B

Sudoku 9x9 - Puzzle 2 of 5 - Very Hard Very hard 9x9 sudoku puzzle

1

Y

A

A

A

U R

I

E

B

R S

Caribbean Beat Magazine

by www.sudoku-puzzle.net

T C O B

H O R K

Sudoku

C C O N K

P O O A

N R N C O N E I

F

I

1

4

2

2

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

www.sudoku-puzzle.net

W B

WORD SEARCH

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

Solutions Word Search Sudoku

Mini Sudoku

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

6

1

4

3

1

5

2

6

5

2

3

4

5 2 4 3 1 6

2 6 3 1 4 5

4 1 6 5 3 2

www.sudoku-puzzles.net

3 5 2 4 6 1

Sudoku 6x6 - Solution 4 of 5 - Medium

Caribbean Beat Magazine

6

3

9

7

4

1

2

4

8

5

7

6

5

8

1

9

3

2

5 8 2 1 9 3 6 7 4

8 3 7 5 2 9 4 6 1

9 2 5 6 1 4 7 3 8

4 1 6 3 7 8 9 2 5

1 6 8 9 3 5 2 4 7

Sudoku 9x9 - Solution 2 of 5 - Very Hard

Caribbean Beat Magazine

7 4 3 8 6 2 1 5 9

2 5 9 7 4 1 3 8 6

H

S

I

Q

A

K

E

O M A K

K O

U

S G

U M P

D

I

U

R

K

R

E

A

D A I N

R

N

B

O

A T

L

S

I

W B

I R A

D G

H O S

E

I R T

I F E

N O E

A

P I

E H

R M W A T N A E

A L L I U

R I T R A

N

H D

N A

A V

C

B

S M

K H

J E

F I S E

A M

E O O

A M R

E

A D

N G

C G M S

C O Z

S R

R F N A P A J T

A O J T R

G

F

C O M

E G G I

B T I

L

D W R A C A

H Y B A

B Q N A

A M

P O O L

Caribbean Crossword

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 105

Y A

T J L A R

C O C

E Z Z A J D N

A B

E

R O N A L P U

N

L A S B

C O

S A T U B N

N

H

27

I N

19

A K

L

B

15

I

24

I

T E

R N E R O A

O

C

D

R S

A

1

C A

8

25

E

X

21

V O

L

N A

M A

E

N

16

I L

E

3

A

L C

A 22

S

T

A

T

A

18

I

E

T E M E

M A D

N

W E

T A 10

R

T A 26

A

C

R A M B O 2

I

O

9

I

A

V C

M A

I

R A

I

T E

13

G

A

S

P

R

E

T

29

E

O

12

H

23

E

N

7

R A

K

E

I

R

C E

A

R D

P

20

E

P

31

I

C

E

A R

R

A W K W A

B A

T E E

28

T U

T

L

S

A O M S

O

30

D

A

S

17

A N I

D

A S

D O R S O

T N 14

A

S

N O W A

11 4

S W

R

N 5

I

A N E 6


CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Back from left: CAL first officer Deodath Colai, cabin attendants Myia Lan Chong Chin and Michael Baird, security agent Rhonda Thomas, and cabin attendant Aisha Gooding with students of Hokett Baptist Primary School, Morvant, Trinidad

Dear Valued Customers, Caribbean Airlines appreciates its role as the leading airline serving the Caribbean. With this in mind, we are steadfastly transforming the way we do business to reflect and embody the themes “We Care; We Connect; We Create; and We are the Caribbean” as we move forward. Caribbean Airlines is a significant contributor to the region’s socio-economic development, and we embrace the responsibilities that accompany this role by expanding our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects to positively impact the countries in which we operate — and in particular within the Caribbean region. We were delighted to receive an invitation to partner with Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Tourism through its implementation arm — the Tourism Development Company (TDC) — to be part of their Schools’ Roving Caravan for 2016. This

venture, which is an annual event of the TDC, is aimed at exposing students at the primary and secondary school levels to the critical role of tourism in the development of Trinidad and Tobago as a country, and in the Caribbean region in general, as well as the career options available within the tourism sector. As part of our CSR, we welcomed this partnership with the TDC, which enabled us to connect with over three thousand young persons, whose roles in the near future will be to ensure that the warmth and hospitality for which the Caribbean is well known are maintained and enhanced. The Caravan runs until the end of May. Caribbean Airlines employees from various departments selflessly volunteered their time to share their work experiences with the enthusiastic youngsters. This project has been rewarding and

impactful to the students, many of whom have expressed interest in careers in tourism. It was also heartening to see the creation of a sense of pride and ownership in our youngest customers for their regional airline. Plans have begun to partner with tourism stakeholders in other Caribbean islands in which we operate, to replicate this programme and ensure that our region is synergised and connected in our efforts to develop regional tourism. Thank you for choosing Caribbean Airlines — we sincerely appreciate your business. Yours faithfully,

Dionne Ligoure Head of Corporate Communications


737 onboard Entertainment — MAY/JUNE Caribbean Airlines has introduced a second movie on flights of four hours and over, thus providing continuous entertainment to you, our valued customer.

Northbound + Eastbound

Southbound + Westbound

Born to Be Wild

The Finest Hours

Cool Runnings

When Dr Omalu discovers the existence of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in a professional football player, he works tirelessly to raise awareness.

A renowned primatologist and a celebrated elephant authority rehabilitate and return animals back to the wild.

When an oil tanker is split in two during a storm, coast guard ships attempt the greatest small boat rescue mission in history to save the crew.

The true story of the four funloving Jamaican athletes who became the first Jamaican bobsled team ever to compete in the Winter Olympics.

Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster • director: Craig Gillespie • drama • PG-13 • 109 minutes

John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug • director: Jon Turteltaub • comedy, family • PG • 98 minutes

Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw • director: Peter Landesman • drama • PG-13 • 122 minutes

Morgan Freeman • director: David Lickley • documentary • G • 40 minutes

Northbound + Eastbound

Southbound + Westbound

African Cats

Midnight Special

The Big Year

Armed with her sewing machine, a glamorous woman returns to her small town in Australia and transforms the local women.

A true story of the struggles faced by an endearing lion cub, a fearless cheetah, and a proud leader of the lion pride.

A father goes on the run to protect his young son. But what starts as a race from extremists and the police quickly escalates to a nationwide manhunt.

Three bird-watchers find themselves sacrificing their personal relationships in order to be the “top birder” of the year.

Samuel L. Jackson • director: Keith Scholey, Alastair Fothergill • documentary • G • 90 minutes

Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst • director: Jeff Nichols • thriller • PG-13 • 111 minutes

Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black • director: David Frankel • comedy, drama • PG • 99 minutes

Audio Channels Channel 5 • The Hits

Channel 7 • Concert Hall

Channel 9 • Irie Vibes

Channel 11 • Kaiso Kaiso

Channel 6 • Soft Hits

Channel 8 • East Indian Fusion

Channel 10 • Jazz Sessions

Channel 12 • Steelband Jamboree

J UN E

The Dressmaker

Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving, Liam Hemsworth • director: Jocelyn Moorhouse • drama • PG-13 • 118 minutes

M A Y

Concussion


L. Superior

CANADA

Ottawa

Augusta

ic h iga

n

L. Huron

L. M

Toronto Detroit

L.

Chicago

Halifax

Montreal

tario

ROUTE MAP

Boston

L. On

Hartford

e

Eri

Harrisburg Pittsburgh

Columbus

New York

Trenton Philadelphia

A t l a n t i c

Washington DC St Louis

O c e a n

Charleston

Richmond

USA Nashville

Raleigh Columbia

Atlanta

Montgomery

Jackson

Tallahassee

New Orleans

Orlando Fort Lauderdale Miami

G u l f

THE BAHAMAS

Nassau

o f M e x i c o

Havana TURKS & CAICOS

CUBA

Providenciales

G r e a t e r

Port- HAITI auPrince

Montego Bay JAMAICA

Belmopan

DOM. REP.

Santo Domingo

Kingston

BELIZE

GUATEMALA

A n t i l l e s

San Juan

PUERTO RICO

St Maarten Antigua

HONDURAS

Guatemala Tegucigalpa San Salvador

EL SALVADOR

C

a

r

i

b

b

e

a

n

S

e

a

St Lucia

NICARAGUA

L e s s e r

Managua

Grenada

Caracas

COSTA RICA

San Jose

ST VINCENT

A n t i l l e s

Panama

VENEZUELA

Tobago

Trinidad

V E N E Z U E L A

PANAMA

Georgetown Paramaribo

Bogota COLOMBIA

GUYANA GUYANA

C O L O M B I A

ECUADOR

Barbados

Quito

SURINAME

FRENCH GUIANA

Rio Negro

u

g Xin

Gulf of

R.

Rio

zon

Ama


parting shot

Isle of thorns

T

hink of Caribbean vegetation, and the images that come to mind are probably coconut trees fringing the coast, or lush hillside rainforest. But the arid landscape of the ABC islands — Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, off the coast of Venezuela — is better suited to less thirsty flora, like the hardy cacti traditionally used in Aruba to create living fences.

Photography by Claude Huot/Shutterstock.com 112 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Elaineville A Paradise in the making

BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME HOUSE LOTS FOR SALE 1/4, 1/2 & 1 ACRE LOTS

Come! Explore the magnificence of our rich biodiversity and cultural heritage. Elaineville is a Paradise in the making, located just outside of Georgetown but yet in the garden city, this all-inclusive Community will be equipped with concrete roads and drains, permanent solar street lights, modern secured entrance with televised monitoring system and cable ready facilities. This high-end community provides maximum security for you and your family. Five model homes ready. Portable wate water and electricity now in place •30 minutes from The Cheddi Jagan International Airport. •2 minutes from gas stations and the Providence Police Station. •5 minutes from The Guyana National Stadium and Princess International Hotel, Casino, •Minutes from The Demerara Harbour Bridge, shopping plazas, ATM machines, and supermarkets.

www.elaineville.com

“Sitting on 150 acres of Caribbean's largest gated and secured community located at Providence, East Bank Demerara, Guyana. Ten minutes from capitol city Georgetown.”

facebook.com/Elaine-Ville-Housing-Development-Inc


Caribbean Beat — May/June 2016 (#139)  

Inside this issue: • Events around the Caribbean in May and June, from a new music festival in Cuba to a seafood celebration in Belize • St...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you