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IMAGINE Imagine a lush rainforest, beautiful beaches and Tobago’s finest oceanfront resort Imagine diving in some of the world’s most beautiful reefs Imagine spacious rooms with private balconies and terraces Imagine a choice of three different pools Imagine multiple restaurants with a variety of local and international cuisine Imagine a spa, fitness center, tennis courts, bike paths and an 18-hole championship golf course

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W W W .M A G D A L E N A G R A N D . C O M


Distributed exclusively by Stechers Limited and available at authorised CROSS retailers nationwide


Worth Flying For JANUARY

FEBRUARY

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO INTERNATIONAL MARATHON

NATIONAL STEELBAND PANORAMA SEMI FINALS

www.ttmarathon.com

www.pantrinbago.co.tt

January 29, 2017 • 5:00am - 1:00pm

February 12, 2017

CARNIVAL MONDAY AND TUESDAY February 27 & 28, 2017

MARCH

www.ncctt.org

PHAGWA CELEBRATION

APRIL

www.ttitoa.com

TOBAGO JAZZ EXPERIENCE

March 13, 2017

April 22 - 30, 2017

www.tobagojazzexperience.com

Two Islands, Two Unique Experiences Islands of Trinidad and Tobago

@gotrinbago

@gotrinbago


Contents 49

21 Caribbean airlines turns ten Marking a decade of sharing the warmth of the islands, with the Caribbean’s favourite airline. Learn about anniversary plans, meet some star CAL employees, and more

EMBARK 23 Datebook Events around the Caribbean in January and February, from Chinese New Year in Suriname to a film festival in Guadeloupe

32 Word of Mouth A new museum in Kingston pays tribute to reggae legend Peter Tosh; and it’s Carnival season across the Caribbean!

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IMMERSE

ARRIVE

49 snapshots

78 Escape

There’s no single, definitive version of Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival — rather, there are as many versions as there are people who love the annual festival. For some, Carnival is mas. For others, it’s music. Some wait all year for J’Ouvert, others adore Panorama. There are thousands of different Carnival stories: here are just a few

If your Carnival plan involves a quiet getaway from the heat and the action, Tobago might be just the place you’re looking for. Caroline Taylor suggests all the ways Trinidad’s tranquil sister isle can soothe your spirit

Carnival is mine

68 closeup

Shapeshifter, time traveller

Jamaican furniture line Mara Made Designs gives elegant new life to salvaged wood

When Vahni Capildeo won the prestigious Forward Prize for her poetry, the award merely affirmed what her readers already knew: the Trinidad-born writer is a brilliant complicator of language, stories, conventions, and boundaries. Andre Bagoo explains why Capildeo’s poems are so exhilarating

38 The Game

72 backstory

36 The look

Are you following the West Indies blind cricket team? The 2017 World Cup, hosted once again by India, is a good time to start, writes Nazma Muller

42 Bookshelf, playlist, and screenshots This month’s reading, listening, and film-watching picks 14

No. 143 January/February 2017

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Forgotten beauty In the paintings of the nineteenthcentury British Pre-Raphaelite artists, one “exotic” face stands out. Fanny Eaton, born in Jamaica, was a mixedrace model who found herself, for a few years, near the heart of Victorian London’s art world — and was long forgotten. Judy Raymond tells what’s known of her story

Tobago therapy

88 neighbourhood

Roseau, Dominica With its dramatic backdrop of mountains, narrow and picturesque streets, and historic architecture, the capital of the “Nature Isle” has a distinctive French Creole charm

91 RounD Trip

Carnival planet The Carnival spirit, celebrated across the Caribbean, isn’t unique to our region. In countries and cities across the world — many of them with a cross-cultural history — the weeks and days before Lent are a season of revelry

106 layover

St John’s, Antigua Its location near the northern end of the Leewards makes Antigua an important hub for Caribbean travel. Our guide to exploring the island when time is tight


CaribbeanBeat An MEP publication

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Editor Nicholas Laughlin General manager Halcyon Salazar Online marketing Caroline Taylor Design artists Kevon Webster & Bridget van Dongen Editorial assistant Shelly-Ann Inniss

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

ENGAGE 108The Deal

Electric Avenues As the world grows more environmentand energy-conscious, electric cars seem like the transport of the future. And most Caribbean countries offer ideal conditions for their adoption, writes Shelly-Ann Inniss

110On this day

The Remains of the Danes Exactly a century ago, the Kingdom of Denmark sold its Caribbean possessions for $25 million to the United States. Commemorated in the US Virgin Islands, the anniversary is little remembered elsewhere — but, as James Ferguson writes, the story behind the event reminds us about the ambitions that drove European colonisation of our region

112 puzzles Our crossword and other brainteasers, to keep your mind busy during your flight

118 Onboard entertainment

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

Read and save issues of Caribbean Beat on your smartphone, tablet, computer, and favourite digital devices!

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 2017. All rights reserved. ISSN 1680–6158. 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

120 parting shot The historic architecture of the Old Havana neighbourhood in Cuba’s capital is an artistic treasure trove

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.

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Cover A young fancy sailor at rest during Carnival in Port of Spain, Trinidad Photo Abigail Hadeed

January/February 2017

FREE

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This issue’s contributors include: Lisa Allen-Agostini (“Before sunrise”, page 54) is a Trinidadian writer and editor. Her J’Ouvert story “A Fine Specimen” is published in the anthology Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. Tracy Assing (“I never choose the mas”, page 56) is a Trinidadian writer, editor, and filmmaker. Her award-winning documentary The Amerindians is the first film made from the perspective of Trinidad and Tobago’s indigenous community. Andre Bagoo (“Shapeshifter, time traveller”, page 68) is a Trinidadian writer whose second book of poems, BURN, was published by Shearsman Books and longlisted for the 2016 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. His third book, Pitch Lake, is forthcoming from Peepal Tree Press. Nigel Campbell (“Music in motion”, page 64) is an entertainment writer, reviewer, and music businessman based in Trinidad and Tobago, focused on expanding the appeal of island music globally. His work is featured in the T&T Guardian and online at AllAboutJazz.com. He also publishes Jazz in the Islands magazine, www.jazz.tt. James Hackett (“Carnival season”, page 34) is an illustrator and designer from Trinidad and Tobago who is focused on creating work inspired by tropical narratives. He is the founder of the Caribbean apparel brand Lush Kingdom. Judy Raymond (“Forgotten beauty”, page 64) is a freelance writer and former editor of Caribbean Beat, who has written extensively about books, arts, and politics. Her latest book, The Colour of Shadows, is a study of the conditions and images of Caribbean slavery.

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A MESSAGE From THE CARIBBEAN AIRLINES TEAM

NEW YEAR, NEW RESOLUTION Happy New Year to you and your families, and thank you for choosing Caribbean Airlines! Last year was a year of transformation, as we focused on further enhancing the travel experience of all our valued customers. A new strategic plan was approved, along with a new mission: Connecting People, Realising Dreams, and a new vision: to achieve sustained profitability through becoming the preferred airline serving the Caribbean. Our objectives are centered around specific themes: We Care, We Connect, We Create, We Are the Caribbean. We are determined to apply these themes to our culture and operations, our values, and every aspect of our activity, both within Caribbean Airlines and beyond. This year is a special year for Caribbean Airlines, as we celebrate our tenth anniversary on 1 January. The journey to this point has only been possible through the commitment of our employees and the loyalty of our valued customers. To mark the occasion, we will be holding a series of events during the year, which will involve all our key stakeholders. We are very proud of our major achievements over the past ten years. They include: •

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being named The Caribbean’s Leading Airline at the Annual World Travel Awards™ for six consecutive years becoming the first airline in the Caribbean to operate the ATR-600 series aircraft bringing our heavy maintenance and aircraft repairs in-house, thus saving our shareholders substantial amounts in hard currency expanding our operations to include routes formerly operated by Air Jamaica upgrading our reservations, ticketing, and departure check-in system to Amadeus, which facilitates faster and easier web check-in, simpler ways to buy tickets, and many more benefits to serve you better

As a corporation proudly serving the people of the Caribbean, we are committed to being a leader in sustainable business practice and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this way, we add significant value to the people and the governments of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the region. Our employees are crucial to the success of these CSR projects, selflessly giving of their time, energy, and expertise. We have provided assistance to thousands in sport, culture, and the arts, education, support for medical treatment, and a range of other charitable initiatives, throughout all the destinations we serve. We partner with other stakeholders to 18

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implement programmes across the Caribbean and beyond. In 2017 we will continue to bring consistent value and superior service to our customers by building on existing initiatives and adding new ones where identified. Quite apart from our anniversary celebrations, January and February are busy months in the Caribbean, and you can fly Caribbean Airlines to many of the events taking place. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, for example, the world’s greatest street party, is on 27 and 28 February this year. Grenada’s Sailing Week runs from 30 January to 4 February. In Guyana, Mashramani (“Mash”) is celebrated on 23 February: billed as the most colourful festival of the year, it celebrates Guyana’s becoming a Republic on 23 February, 1970. The word “Mashramani” originates from an Amerindian language, and means “celebration of a job well done.” With several daily flights to and from Guyana, Caribbean Airlines will certainly get you there! You can see a detailed Caribbean calendar elsewhere in this magazine. Caribbean Airlines sincerely values your business. Please visit our website at 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 again for choosing to travel with us, and best wishes to you and your families for 2017! Yours in service, The Employees of Caribbean Airlines


CARIBBEAN AIRLINES AT 10

A decade of warmth in the skies In January 2017, Caribbean Airlines marks its tenth anniversary — a milestone for the airline’s dedicated staff and passengers. Erline Andrews finds out what’s in store for the year ahead, and meets some of the people who help make CAL the Caribbean’s favourite airline

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aribbean Airlines literally took off at 12.15 am on 1 January, 2007, with a flight from Piarco International Airport in Trinidad to Johann Pengel International Airport in Suriname. And as the company marks its tenth anniversary, it has reason to celebrate. A fleet of five aircraft that made approximately 128 flights per week to ten destinations has grown to seventeen planes making more than six hundred flights per week to eighteen destinations in the Caribbean and North America. Last year, CAL was dubbed “the Caribbean’s Leading Airline” for the sixth consecutive year at the 23rd Annual World Travel Awards. The airline also offers the most flights and seats from the Caribbean into south Florida. And through sponsorships and employee volunteer efforts, CAL has woven itself into the social fabric of the region. It sponsors Trinidad and Tobago’s Invaders Steel Orchestra, the oldest steelband in the world, and provides air transport and cargo support for the Organisation for Social Health Advancement for Guyana, a group of doctors from the United States travelling to the region to provide health care. Caribbean Airlines is building on the gains of the last decade, says Dionne Ligoure, head of corporate communications. The company is now working on a five-year strategic plan. It has upgraded its reservations, check-in, ticketing, and e-commerce services, and will add new regional destinations in 2017. It also has a new mission statement: “Connecting people, realising dreams.” “This has been a very interesting time at Caribbean Airlines,”

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says Ligoure. “Our focus more than ever is really on delivering a more enriching and value-added experience for our customers.” The company will mark the anniversary in various ways throughout 2017, starting with an interfaith service in the first week of January at the head office in Piarco. The event will be accompanied — appropriately — by a fly-pass. Also, a special tenth anniversary logo — including the hummingbird from the current logo — will go on planes and promotional items. (You can see it on the cover of this issue of Caribbean Beat, for instance.) All customers flying on 1 January, 2017, will receive a coupon for a discount on a future flight. And Ligoure promises other surprises are in store for passengers throughout the year. The company also plans to honour citizens who have contributed to the development of the region. Caribbean Airlines wants to send the message that people are its priority, says Ligoure. “2017 is a special year for Caribbean Airlines,” she adds. “The journey to this point was really only possible through the commitment of our employees and the loyalty of our customers.”


July 2008 Caribbean Airlines completes the first C-Check on a Boeing 737-800 aircraft after moving all heavy maintenance in-house September 2009 Launched and inducted twenty candidates to undergo the airline’s fouryear Apprenticeship Engineering Training Programme May 2010 Caribbean Airlines begins servicing routes formerly operated by Air Jamaica

October 2010 Caribbean Airlines wins Best Caribbean Airline 2010 at the World Travel Awards, at Sandals Whitehouse in Montego Bay, Jamaica — and goes on to hold this status for the next six years November 2011 Caribbean Airlines welcomes the arrival of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft, becoming one of the very first operators of the new ATR 600 series   December 2012 The Guyana government grants Caribbean Airlines flagship carrier status for Guyana   

October 2014 Caribbean Airlines is one of the first airlines to remove fuel surcharges on all routes between North America and the Caribbean, and within the Caribbean

are successfully migrated to Amadeus Loyalty and Awards Management Solutions (ALMS). Caribbean Airlines also moves its Miles Call Centre in-house

July 2015 Caribbean Airlines upgrades its reservations and airport check-in system to the Amadeus Passenger Service System. The system ushers in a new era for Caribbean Airlines and its customers as part of the airline’s overall customer-centric strategy   September 2016 The Caribbean Miles Frequent Flyer Programme, Jamaica-based 7th Heaven Awards, and Club Caribbean

F

January 2007 Began flight operations with 128 weekly departures to ten markets, operating five Boeing 737-800 aircraft

Some of the airline’s major achievements of the past decade:

Fold

CAL milestones

The first appearance of the Caribbean Airlines hummingbird on the cover of Caribbean Beat, January/February 2007

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Powered by people As head of corporate communications at Caribbean Airlines, Dionne Ligoure speaks glowingly about growth and improvement in the services the company offers. And she singles out the character of the approximately 1,600 people who work for CAL in the region and beyond. “What I am most proud of is the support and camaraderie when you call on the employees to support volunteerism,” she explains. “When a flight attendant can fly through the night, come off a flight, go home, bathe, change, and put her uniform back on because she is asked to go to a school to speak and share her professional experience with students, and she says, ‘No problem,’ those are the moments I am most proud of. It’s testimony to the fabric of who we are as an airline,” says Ligoure. Caribbean Airlines managers were asked to choose employees who best represent the spirit of the company. Here are six snapshots of the people who create the CAL experience both in the public eye and behind the scenes.

Michelle Highly, the company’s senior supervisor of crew scheduling and control at Piarco, was a volunteer in the schools programme Ligoure mentions. The Roving Schools Caravan went to primary and secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago over five months in early 2016 to teach students about the tourism industry, including the professional opportunities it offers. Highly finds time to volunteer despite having eighteen people under her supervision in Trinidad and Jamaica, and being responsible for scheduling shifts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. She is also serving voluntary stints on the company’s Job Evaluation and Change Management committees. “You do not get any time off or anything additional, other than knowing you are doing something to enhance the company you love,” Highly says — reason enough for her. Ian Neil, a customer service agent at JFK International Airport in New York City, said he’s had so many interesting experiences over the past decades at Caribbean Airlines and its predecessor BWIA that he’s often asked why he doesn’t write a book. He’s worked at several major airports. He’s won multiple company awards, including the Chairman’s Award for Most Outstanding Customer Service Agent, and received letters of commendation from customers. He recalls meeting celebrities, among them basketball player Shaquille O’Neal and actors Sinbad and Victoria Rowell. But he’s putting off the book for now. “During my past thirty-seven years in the aviation industry, I have not seen all, nor do I profess to know all — because new experiences, coupled with the acquisition of ongoing knowledge, continue to present themselves,” says Neil. Annette McFarlane, a customer contact and senior ticketing agent based in Fort Lauderdale, is another employee of long standing. Her job at CAL is to ensure company policy and procedures are maintained. “I am a perfectionist, a dedicated employee, and take pride in my work,” she says. “One of my greatest strengths is 22

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that I am customer-service-driven, always showing exemplary attitude and providing our customers with the highest level of customer service and giving them the ‘warmth of the Caribbean’ with my smile,” she explains.

Andre Smith, a customer service lead agent in Georgetown, Guyana, is a comparatively new employee, coming on board in 2010. One of his “greatest memories,” he said, was having to handle four flights coming in within five minutes, then having to dispatch three of the flights within another small window of time. “It was nothing short of a remarkable effort by all involved,” he says. “Being naturally service-oriented is a gift I possess, and that has helped me in my journey thus far,” says Smith. “It gives me great pleasure knowing that I can assist a first-time traveller who may be unsure of what is required, or welcome back a returning guest, whose experience starts with us, the airport team.” Jenelle Headley came into Caribbean Airlines from BWIA, and works in the finance department, based in Trinidad. While with the company, she got her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, as well as professional training that she feels enhanced her life in more ways than one. “My time with the company has been a learning curve — not only professionally but personally as well,” Headley says. “I have had the pleasure of interacting with people not only from different departments but system-wide, making friends from all parts of the world.” Kristy Kanick, legal counsel at Caribbean Airlines since 2012, also speaks of the education and training she received at the company. She completed four International Air Transport Association (IATA) law courses and earned an IATA Diploma in International Air Law with distinction. “CAL, with its commitment to excellence, continues to be a dynamic airline to work for,” says Kanick. “The company comprises teams which are knowledgeable and tireless in their pursuit of a first-class product. We take pride in our airline and we acknowledge — individually and as a collective — that we each play a role which impacts on the customer experience. Customer satisfaction is indeed what drives us on a daily basis.”


A brief history of Caribbean aviation

The first successful airplane flight famously took place on 17 December, 1903 — a feat performed at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, by the pioneering aviators the Wright brothers. And just a few years later, the Caribbean also saw its first airplane flight. It was the beginning of a century of technological progress which saw the islands of the Caribbean archipelago connected to each other and the rest of the world through the power of flight.

1911 The first airplane flies in Jamaica. American pilot Jesse Seligman demonstrates this new technology to a thousand excited spectators in a five-minute flight at the Knutsford Park Racecourse in Kingston

1913 The first airplane lands in Trinidad, piloted by Frank Boland, but ends in tragedy when the craft crashes on landing in the Queen’s Park Savannah 1913 Aviation comes to Guyana, when pilot George Schmidt flies the first plane over Georgetown, dropping messages from the air to the crowds below.

1929 Charles Lindbergh lands a flying boat in Chaguaramas, northwest Trinidad, and along with PanAm starts the first air service to the island

1929 Airline Cubana de Aviación (or rather simply Cubana) is founded.

1950 BWIA’s first flight to Miami

1931 Piarco airport — CAL’s future home base — opens in Trinidad

1960 BWIA flies to London via New York

1934 KLM flies its first transatlantic flight from Schipol airport in the Netherlands to Aruba

1963 Air Jamaica is founded. The first flights to Miami and New York take place three years later

1913 Military aviation starts in Cuba, with the creation of the Cuerpo de Aviación del Ejército de Cuba (CAEC) and a fleet of just one Curtiss Model FS

1967 Guyana Airways Corporation (GAC) begins operations 1975 BWIA reopens its London route, this time flying direct from Trinidad and Tobago

1914–18 Many British West Indians volunteer as airmen during the First World War 1925 The Air Navigation Ordinance in Guyana opens the way to regular flights connecting Georgetown with estates and mining operations in the vast interior

1940 British West Indian Airways (BWIA) begins operations after being founded in 1939 by New Zealander Lowell Yerex. The first flight is from Trinidad to Tobago

Trinidadian RAF pilot Ulric Cross

1939–45 Many British West Indians volunteer for the Royal Air Force during the Second World War

1977 Supersonic flight comes to the Caribbean when the Concorde makes its first landing in Barbados

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©Peeter Viisimaa / istock.com

Your guide to Caribbean events in January and February, from Chinese New Year celebrations in Suriname to a film festival in Guadeloupe

Don’t miss . . . Jamaica’s Reggae Month February In 2015, Kingston was recognised by UNESCO as a City of Music — no surprise, as the Jamaican capital is the birthplace of reggae. In February, Jamaicans celebrate a month-long tribute to the world-shaking genre through a host of events, including concerts, music awards, symposiums, film festivals, and exhibitions. Activities to honour the birthdays of Bob Marley, and the “Crown Prince of Reggae,” Dennis Brown, will also take centre stage. And check out the new Peter Tosh Museum — see page 32 of this issue.

How to get there? Caribbean Airlines operates daily flights to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay from destinations in the Caribbean and North America

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If you’re in . . . Bequia

Guadeloupe

Guyana

Mount Gay Music Fest

FEMI: Festival Régional et International du Cinéma de Guadeloupe

Mashramani

Pawel Kazmierczak / shutterstock.com

Tourism Association has welcomed artistes from all over the world to perform their eclectic hits at the Mount Gay Music Fest. Past headliners include Dana Gillespie and the London Blues Band, the Arturo Tappin Band, the Elite Steel Orchestra, Edwin Yearwood, and Bequia blues man, guitarist, and crowd superstar Toby Armstrong. The festival runs for four nights, but for just one of those — Friday — the famous Mustique Blues Festival hops over to Bequia to take over the programme and thrill the audience with the best of the blues. The proceeds from this event go to the Basil Charles Educational Foundation. On other festival days, the open-air live performances create an intimate and relaxed ambiance, making loyal music festival fans return each year. 26

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courtesy papa machete

There’s a special calmness about Bequia, one of the Grenadines south of St Vincent. The island air softly whistles a magical tune that can make your insides flutter. It’s hypnotic — drawing people every year to this exceedingly anticipated music festival, leaving almost no rooms available in hotels and mooring many vessels in Admiralty Bay. For over fourteen years, the Bequia

Venues around Guadeloupe 27 January to 4 February lefemi.com

Still from Papa Machete, screened at FEMI 2016

The first four letters in the festival’s name give you an inkling of its roots. Originally dedicated to women of film and organised by women, FEMI was founded in 1992. It has since evolved and widened its scope, embracing Caribbean and international cinema in all its diversity. Guadeloupe’s annual film celebration offers programmes such as FEMI Youth, which allows students from kindergarten to university to experience the atmosphere of an international festival and meet industry professionals. No one is excluded: a selection of films is also taken into prisons, under the initiative of FEMI in the Walls. The 2017 programme includes over sixty local films, regional and international features, shorts, and documentaries, and often previously unscreened works. If you’d like to delve deeper into the world of the cinema, workshops and masterclasses are also available. Running on a low budget? Enjoy free screenings during all sessions at the Bibliothèque du Lamentin at FEMI in the City. Past guests of honour have included celebrated filmmaker Euzhan Palcy and actors Angela Bassett and Danny Glover.

Venues around Guyana 23 February As the only English-speaking country in South America, Guyana is no stranger to being unique. While some countries have military parades, air shows, or formal receptions for Republic Day, Guyana has a different spin on its festivities, down to the name: they call it Mashramani, or simply Mash. It’s a derivative of an Arawak word describing a type of festival held by indigenous people to celebrate a special event. amanda richards courtesy Guyana tourism authority

Venues around Bequia 19 to 22 January bequiatourism.com/bequiamusicfest

Fetes, concerts, calypso competitions, steelpan, soca, a chutney monarch competition, and other cultural presentations are all on the Mash calendar. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And following Guyana’s fiftieth anniversary of Independence last year, a new event was announced for the Mash lineup: a calypso caravan travelling through communities and drawing neighbours together. The highlight, though, is the costume parade in Georgetown. Spicy costumes join vibrant floats sponsored by corporate Guyana and government agencies, bearing nation-building mottos. This year’s Mashramini theme includes “greater unity” — wining down to soca, steelpan, and chutney music seems like a great way to start. Event previews by Shelly-Ann Inniss


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Jet into January

Yury Zap / shutterstock.com

The Rudman Trust © SDO Wifredo Lam, courtesy tate modern

Wilfredo Lam retrospective Tate Modern, London There’s still time to catch this major exhibition of the iconic Cuban artist, which opened last September. The show includes The Sombre Malembo, God of the Crossroads (1943), at left [14 September 2016 to 8 January 2017]

Orchid Society Show Fort Lauderdale flos.org You’ll find beautiful exhibits, artwork, and live entertainment at this elegant “Galaxy of Orchids” [20 to 22 January]

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The Caribbean is home to one of the Best Fertility Centres in the World The heart of fertility care

You don’t have to travel far to receive some the best fertility services in the world. Barbados Fertility Centre provides a range of IVF treatment options at competitive prices using state-of-the-art equipment and a highly skilled, internationally trained “i`ˆV>Ìi>“°"ÕÀVœ˜w`i˜Ìˆ>“>˜˜iÀ>˜`Ài>݈˜}>“Lˆi˜Vi«Àœ“œÌiÃ>ÃÌÀiÃÃvÀiii˜ÛˆÀœ˜“i˜ÌÜVÀˆÌˆV>vœÀVœ˜Vi«Ìˆœ˜° If you are a couple yearning to start a family, or a single woman planning for your future, talk to us, we have a highly successful IVF programme that can meet your needs. We offer: r 'ZEGNNGPV5WEEGUU4CVGU r %QORGVKVKXG2TKEGU r %QPƂFGPVKCNKV[ r +PFKXKFWCNK\GF%CTG r 4GEWTTGPV/KUECTTKCIG+OOWPQNQI[2TQITCOOG r 'II(TGG\KPI r %WVVKPI'FIG/GFKECN6TGCVOGPV1RVKQPUHQT5WEEGUUHWN1WVEQOGU

Barbados Fertility Centre…Dedicated to Fertility…Committed to Results BarBados: 1-246-435-7467 Seaston House, Hastings, Christ Church Trinidad: 1-868-222-7771-3 St. Augustine Private Hospital, 4 Austin Street, St. Augustine Email: contact@barbadosivf.com Website: www.barbadosivf.com

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for fertillity updates

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St Barth Fun Cup St Jean Beach, Saint BarthĂŠlemy Windsurf lovers ride the waves at this international competition featuring pros and amateurs [24 to 30 January]

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Chinese New Year Paramaribo, Suriname Ring in the Year of the Rooster by enjoying traditional Chinese food, culture, handicraft, and performances in Suriname’s capital [28 January]

Grenada Sailing Week grenadasailingweek.com Increasingly competitive, entertaining, and evergrowing in popularity, with new racing courses and classes [30 January to 4 February]

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Fun in February

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Maricao Coffee Harvest Festival Johnny Arbona Stadium, Puerto Rico Barista competitions, coffee-tasting, dancing, food exhibits, and heaps of coffee-inspired items mark the end of coffee season [10 to 12 February]

Miami International Map Fair History Miami Museum historymiami.org/mapfair Whether you’re an expert collector or merely curious, you can immerse yourself in the world of antique maps, rare books, and atlases [4 to 5 February]

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Havana International Book Fair Havana and other cities around Cuba The Caribbean’s biggest celebration of literature includes readings, discussions, events for children, and a vast display of books from around the world [10 to 17 February]

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Holetown Festival St James, Barbados This commemoration of the arrival of the first British settlers in Barbados combines history lessons with vintage cars, dance shows, tuk bands, and gospel concerts on the island’s west coast [12 to 19 February]

dario ward courtesy holetown festival

Rum Cay Day Festival Milo Butler Heritage Park, Rum Cay, the Bahamas This all-day signature event in one of the lesser-known Bahama Islands includes cultural entertainment, rakeand-scrape bands, and games for the entire family [24 February]

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word of mouth Dispatches from our correspondents around the Caribbean and further afield

House of Tosh Three decades after the violent death of Peter Tosh, a new Kingston museum remembers the legacy of the reggae superstar. David Katz pays a visit

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he opening of the Peter Tosh Museum in Kingston marks a milestone for reggae fans, and provides additional impetus for devotees to visit the Jamaican capital. Housed in the Pulse complex on Trafalgar Road, the museum celebrates the life and work of the reggae firebrand, who was born in 1944, rose to prominence during the 1960s alongside Bob Marley in the Wailers, and subsequently achieved greater fame as a solo artist. The most censorious of the Wailers, Tosh cowrote their militant anthem, “Get Up, Stand Up”, and demanded the decriminalisation of marijuana in his 1976 epic, “Legalise It”. Tosh’s second album, Equal Rights, contained pertinent calls for social justice, and after haranguing the leaders of Jamaica’s two main political parties at the One Love Peace Concert in 1978, he was signed to the Rolling Stones’ label, yielding wider international exposure. His music remained uncompromising, vociferously attacking Apartheid and questioning the stratification of Jamaican society, while “Bukin-Hamm Palace” and “Nothing But Love” were pioneering forays into disco reggae. Then the 1987 release No Nuclear War became Tosh’s swansong, as he was tragically murdered that same year. There is a timeless quality to much of Tosh’s work, and he had an obvious influence on noteworthy dancehall stars such as Luciano, Garnett Silk, Anthony B, and Bushman, with Sean Paul and Christopher Martin among the many contemporary artists to cover his work. He has also been venerated by Jamaica’s former finance minister, Omar Davies,

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and US President Barack Obama even referenced his lyrics in a university essay — all of which points to the need for a Peter Tosh Museum. The project was spearheaded by Kingsley Cooper, whose Pulse agency represents some of the Caribbean’s most famous models. Cooper produced Tosh’s final concert, and has spent the last fifteen years doing the necessary groundwork to create the museum in conjunction with the Peter Tosh Estate (headed by the singer’s youngest daughter, Niambe), along with Tosh’s widow, Marlene Brown, who collectively provided most of the memorabilia on display. Despite its relatively small size, the museum has been tastefully arranged, conveying a lot of contextual information in a small space, with illuminating passages on Tosh’s childhood, his time with the Wailers, and his gravitation to the Rastafari faith, as well as the life-changing car crash that resulted in the death of his girlfriend Evonne in 1973. The solo years of the 1970s and 80s are given ample room, and the circumstances of his murder are relayed with sensitivity. Fans will be delighted by items such as the original golden microphones given to Tosh by Mick Jagger and the legendary “M16 guitar” gifted by an American fan. There are also several other guitars and souvenirs of his first tours in Africa, as well as evocative painted portraits, one of which was done by fellow singer Junior Moore. The official opening of the museum last October was attended by some of the island’s most prominent businessmen and politicians of all stripes — somewhat ironically, given Tosh’s predilection for the chastisement of the ruling class, but it is highly significant that no lesser figure than Prime Minister Andrew Holness presided over the opening itself, proof that the Jamaican government takes the legacy of Peter Tosh very seriously. A related UWI symposium highlighted his importance, and a gala concert saw Chronixx, Luciano, Tarrus Riley, and Tosh’s son Andrew revisit his work with original backing band Word, Sound, and Power, reunited for the first time in decades. Kingsley Cooper says the museum is likely to expand, but in its present form, the Peter Tosh Museum already constitutes a fine counterpart to the nearby Bob Marley Museum — both worth visiting as Jamaica celebrates Reggae Month in February. n


It’s that time of year: across the Caribbean, in islands large and small, in hectic cities and small villages, the Carnival Illustration by James Hackett spirit is taking hold, through music, masquerade, and more. In some countries, the pre-Lenten festival season runs for weeks or even months, and this year it climaxes on 27 and 28 February, Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

It’s that time of year: across the Caribbean, in islands large and small, in hectic cities and small villages, the Carnival spirit is taking hold, through music, masquerade, and more. In some countries, the pre-Lenten festival season runs for weeks or even months, and this year it climaxes on 27 and 28 February, Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

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ADVERTORIAL

Ethnic-inspired elegance House of Jaipur offers a stylish fusion of Eastern culture and Caribbean lifestyle

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elcome to the destination where culture echoes, tradition speaks and beauty enthrals! House of Jaipur prides itself on being one of the few showrooms in the Caribbean that embrace the fusion of Eastern culture into the Caribbean lifestyle. The migration of Indian indentured labourers to the West Indies in 1845 brought not only a new labour force to assist in the economic development of the Caribbean, but also a new people with a new culture, a new lifestyle, and new traditions. House of Jaipur opened its doors fifteen years ago in Trinidad, introducing the concept of an ethnic-inspired lifestyle focusing on fashion and fashion accessories, fabrics, textiles, home décor, and handicrafts. Skillfully created by artisans in India, all our merchandise is carefully selected and specially designed for House of Jaipur, reflecting the exquisite craftsmanship handed down through generations. Our “ethnic-inspired” resort wear line, launched in 2013, is specially designed by us to reflect the style and flair of the Caribbean woman and masterfully created by artisans in India, who specialise in this type of beading and embroideries. Pop in and enjoy our Indian Tea Room, where clients can delight themselves in a cup of Indian “chai” and indulge in delicious Indian appetizers made daily by our in-house chef. With a second boutique recently having opened on the West Coast of Barbados at the Limegrove Lifestyle Centre, House of Jaipur invites you to enjoy the multicultural diversity of our island lifestyle!

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the look

Wood for life Jamaican furniture line Mara Made Designs gives salvaged wood an elegant and environmentally friendly twist Photography courtesy Mara Made Designs

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fter years of working in the corporate world, Tamara Harding kissed her nineto-five job goodbye, to delve into her creative talents. The inspiring Jamaican creator brought together her love of working with tools, design, and helping the environment to launch the furniture line Mara Made Designs. Her organic and fascinating pieces are all made from salvaged wood which Harding “brings back to life” with the utmost elegance. She combines them with stained glass, metal, and wicker, making wonderful yet functional works of art. Her motto “no wood left behind” has also pushed her to create wearable art, such as necklaces and cuffs. Harding’s unending passion will next continue with an exploration of streetwear and an expansion of her home and kitchen line, to be exported worldwide. Alia Michèle Orane style.aliamichele.com From top: Entrance Table, Black Root Table, Guinep Table

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For more information, email contact@MaraMadeDesigns. com or look for MaraMadeDesigns on Facebook


THE GAME

Beyond another boundary Come January 2017, the West Indies cricket team will head off to India to contest the T20 World Cup, alongside players from around the globe. Wait, you haven’t heard about this tournament? Maybe it’s time you started following blind cricket. Nazma Muller learns more Illustration by Shalini Seereeram

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or blind (or visually impaired) cricket lovers in the Caribbean, the idea of representing the West Indies team was for many years just a fantasy, a whimsical daydream they indulged in whenever they listened to matches on the radio. As for wearing the famous maroon kit in a World Cup for blind players — well, few dared to even imagine such a thing could one day exist. You see, before 2003, blind cricket wasn’t even played in the Caribbean. The sport offers camaraderie and a chance to compete on equal terms for blind and partially sighted people. It not only boosts the self-confidence of players, but in countries such as England, where it receives the financial support and technical expertise of the England and Wales Cr icket Board, batsmen like Hassan Khan are stars — as much as Nasser Hussein, former captain of the main England team, once was. In Pakistan, the national blind cricket team

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is paid monthly, like professionals. But in the fourteen years since two England blind players came to Barbados to introduce the West Indies to the game, and encourage them to become part of the global blind cricket community, it has caught on quickly, and a regional tournament now attracts players from across the Caribbean. By 2005, national teams were formed in Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Windward Islands, and the following year the first regional blind cricket competition was organised. It has since been held annually, except in 2012, when the teams decided to focus their time and resources on taking part in the first T20 blind cricket World Cup in India. They ended up placing fifth. India will once again be the host countr y for the second T20 World Cup for the blind, which runs from 28 January to 12 February, 2017. And seventeen (very happy) young men have been selected to “rep” the Windies this

time around. The tournament, of which former India captain Rahul Dravid is the brand ambassador, will see eight other Test-playing countries taking part — Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka — along with Nepal. Blind cricket was first played in 1922 in Melbour ne, Australia, when two factory workers put rocks in a tin can and began to play a crude version of what has evolved into a sport with its own rules and equipment. The game took hold so quickly and deeply in the state of Victoria that the Victorian Blind Cricket Association was founded the same year. The world’s first sports ground and clubhouse for blind people were built at Kooyong, Melbourne, in 1928, and are still used today as the home of the VBCA. The game was then introduced to other states in Australia, where it was played during lunchtime at workshops where vision-impaired people were employed. It soon spread across the globe to other cricket-playing countries. It has been played in England and Wales since the 1940s, when it was started mainly to cater for injured servicemen coming home from the Second World War. The founding members of British Blind Sport (BBS) were cricketers. All players must be registered as blind or partially sighted. Of the eleven players in the team, at least four must be totally blind. Various rules have been adapted to allow blind and partially sighted people to compete on equal terms — for example, the wicket is larger, so partially sighted players can see it clearly. The pitch is made of concrete, and measures the same


Blind cricket was first played in 1922 in Melbourne, Australia, when two factory workers put rocks in a tin can and began to play a crude version of the game

length and width as that used in sighted cricket. The boundaries are measured forty metres in a circle around the pitch, and indicated by a white line with orange “witches’ hats” at intervals. Bowling is done under-arm, and the ball is made of plastic and filled with metal washers, so that it rattles, giving blind batsmen and fielders a chance to hear it coming at them. The ball must bounce at least twice before the crease

of a totally blind batsman, but must not be rolling, and at least once before the crease of a partially sighted batsman. A totally blind batsman is given one chance before being given out LBW, and cannot be stumped. The bowler must ask the batsman if he is ready before beginning his run-up, and must shout “play” as he releases the ball. The sweep shot is the most popular stroke, since it maximises the batsman’s chance of hitting the ball.

The game has been governed by the World Blind Cricket Council since 1996. So far, four blind World Cups have been held: the first was in Delhi, India, in 1998; the second in Chennai, India, in 2002; the third in Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2006. In 2012, the first blind World Cup in the T20 format was held in Bangalore, India. Incidentally, India has won all the formats of the game: the First T20 World Cup in 2012, the ODI World Cup in 2014, and the T20 Asia Cup in January 2016. The West Indies team first took part in the ODI World Cup in 2006 in Pakistan, where they placed fifth. “Of course we are looking to improve our track record,” says Bhawani Persad, administrator for regional operations of the West Indies Cricket Council for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “We face the same challenges as [sighted] West Indies cricket . . . the small size of our populations is key. England has different teams, they have county cricket, their population is very big, and they have enough teams to have inter-team competitions. We have a regional competition which is held annually.” Funding remains a perennial problem, and national teams have been known to miss out on the regional tournament because they can’t f ind corporate sponsors to pay for plane tickets or their kits. But one ac h ieve ment for We st Indies blind cricket of which Persaud is particularly proud is the participation of the French Antilles. “West Indies’ conventional teams haven’t touched these areas yet, but we have,” he points out. It’s another example of how blind cricket goes beyond a boundary. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Bookshelf The Colour of Shadows, by Judy Raymond (Caribbean Studies Press, 200 pp, ISBN 9781626325197) Nineteenth-century artist Richard Bridgens’s illustrations may not adorn the genteel sitting rooms and foyers of stately Caribbean mansions, but they occupy a cultural and historical mantel that is arguably even more important. These sketches and studies strive to accurately depict plantation life in Trinidad, and are themselves the products of a plantation owner. If this makes them a peculiar puzzlement, then much the same could be said of Bridgens himself, whose motives often seemed to be at cross-purposes, and who lived an enigmatic, contradictory life. Judy Raymond’s presentation of Bridgens, and his impact on chronicling Caribbean slavery, vaults past the merely biographical: The Colour of Shadows illuminates not only Bridgens’s life, but that of the enslaved Africans he drew. Quietly yet forcefully debunking the notion that Trinidadian slavery was milder than that of other islands, Raymond draws on the incriminating wealth of documentation from slave registers and reports made to the Protector of Slaves. Both these sources, and the visual realities of Bridgens’s drawings, put paid to the notion that French planters were inclined to greater acts of kindness, leniency, or compassion. In this and other ways, The Colour of Shadows is incriminating without being accusatory. All charges levelled against the guilty are beyond disputation; Raymond is more interested in revealing the microstructure of daily slave resistance, in the several conjoined forces that led to each of Bridgens’s pencil-strokes, than she is in pointing fingers. “In every possible way, sugar was a cruel master,” Raymond writes, showing the reader that, though Bridgens was deeply complicit in the suffering of the enslaved, he was also curiously motivated to portray African life in Trinidad — creating an archive that would outlast him, and educate generations past his death.

Measures of Expatriation, by Vahni Capildeo (Carcanet Press, 95 pp, ISBN 9781784101688) Winner of the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Collection, Vahni Capildeo’s new poems chart skeletal transit maps across the globe, taking the routes of the most frequently dispossessed to get to where they need to go. Measures of Expatriation is not only the province of the embodied narrator in several of these poems, who closely resembles the Trinidadian author herself. The poems also speak in tongues of queerness, brownness, blackness, chronic illness, and disability, recounting futile quests for medicine, the indignity of immigration interrogations, the burden of often being the only Othered figure in the room. All through its seven measures, each one a bursting suitcase of complicated signifiers, the poet explores home: how to get back to it, how to make peace with it, how to invent it when it exists at no fixed compass points.

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New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean, edited by Karen Lord (Peekash Press, 145 pp, ISBN 9781845233365) Speculative fiction readers and writers alike know it: the future is closer than we think. For generations, tales of the weird, fantastic, and terrifying have made landfall in foreign countries, their origins striped and stippled with the sounds, smells, and soucouyants of the Caribbean. New Worlds, Old Ways aims to root the legacy of science fiction and fantasy writing more reassuringly in home ground. These are stories of terrorized citizens seeking innovations under a police state, of ancestral beginnings butting up against the grim realities of climate change and exile. They announce that Caribbean speculative writing is here to stay. Overseen with a generous yet judicious eye by Barbadian editor Karen Lord, the anthology unites fresh voices in fiction from Trinidad to Bermuda, presenting stories of mayhem, mischief, and mas-making, from beneath the widebrimmed hats of modern day Midnight Robbers.


No Safeguards, by H. Nigel Thomas (Guernica Editions, 375 pp, ISBN 9781550719840) H. Nigel Thomas’s No Safeguards confronts the chained spectres of homegrown secrecy, seen through the eyes of two brothers who contend with their gayness while growing up. Caribbean respectability politics clash against the brothers’ desires to live on their own terms, prompting frank and forthright musings on the nature of selfhood, of stifling theology, of the bitterly inevitable yet dogged quest for personal happiness. Thomas, who was born in St Vincent and is based in Canada, wields his narration with all the vulnerability of an open bruise: through the intertwined perspectives of Jay and Paul, several communities clash and converge, each desperately doing what they believe is right. Between Montreal and St Vincent lies the emotional freight of many worlds: Thomas reveals them to us, showing in sensitive prose that return journeys, in either direction, often cost their weight in bribes, guilt, and Hail Marys.

Columbus, the Moor, by Charles Matz (House of Nehesi, 104 pp, ISBN 9780996224215) Intrepid explorer or savager of the Caribbean’s First Peoples: depending on which history books you read, Christopher Columbus means different things to different tribes. Columbus, the Moor is a genre-bending, multilingual approach to mapping the very stars in the sky, and the motions of the tides, during Columbus’s advent in the West Indies. Written in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, Matz’s focus on the cultural collisions and devastations of 1492 are decidedly poetic, an interpretive and lyrically lavish fusion of fact and speculation. At once an existential dilemma, a truthseeking mission, and a treatise on madness and the sea’s infinite caprice, Columbus, the Moor sings a shanty of curious inventiveness, infusing an old, violent history with unexpected colour and consideration. Whether you respect Columbus or revile him, this slender yet imaginative poem-drama will have you consider his journey from startling, inquisitive shores. Reviews by Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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playlist

Double Take Elan Trotman’s Tropicality (Island Muzik Productions) “First impressions are the most lasting” is a popular proverb that makes the case for a grand debut to cement a perfect memory. Well, certainly not this time, as Barbadian saxophonist E l a n Tr o t m a n h a s r e c a s t a number of his previously released songs from his many years as a recording artist, and given them a second look — a double take, if you will. He’s refreshed the sound and arrangements of his Caribbean-rhythm-infused smooth jazz to make them shine through — to Caribbean ears at least — with the positioning of the steelpan in a more forward position. His vocals on Bill Withers’s classic “Lovely Day” are direct, and make you smile at the simple charm of this song. “Tradewinds” is the antithesis to a dull day in the tropics: lilting and easy to dance to. His band of fellow Berklee College of Music alumni, Tropicality, has the musical chops to make this new impression far from diminished.

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Family Tree Grégory Privat Trio (ACT Music) In his new album, Martiniquan pianist Grégory Privat reveals the subtle links between the Caribbean trove of rhythms and melodies and the grand vocabulary of jazz. Supported this time by bassist Linley Marthe, originally from Mauritius, and fellow Martiniquan Tilo Bertholo on drums, Privat with his fluid playing centres the idea that the roots of jazz are firmly planted in the Caribbean creole culture that was present at its genesis. The music finds inspiration in the beguine, bèlè, and gwoka of his native Martinique and Guadeloupe. Bassist and drummer Marthe and Bertholo, despite their creole backgrounds, evince the African DNA of the New World rhythms that a Caribbean perspective has produced. Privat is a fine musician with solid classical and jazz training, who on this album finds the core impulse of a iconoclast to dynamically paint anew the heritage and beauty of jazz that is found in these Antilles.


Single Spotlight What Can We Do Again? John John, featuring a_phake Trinidadian neo-soul singer John John has successfully taken on one challenge for a number of Caribbean musicians: to write and sing a song that addresses issues that are larger than our Caribbean space, including the wider Americas, but still remaining relevant to our instant circumstance. The question asked in the title of this powerful single — “What Can We Do Again?” — is made after observation of the desperation of black souls in the Americas. “We prayed for all these years / We wasted all these tears,” is a lament of keen scrutiny from an impatient generation. The song asks a hard question, and gives one solution: unify. Co-producer and co-writer a_phake (Ravi Maharaj) strips down the song with bare accompaniment on a guitar passing through an echo reverb, to add a haunting dimension to the lyric. It challenges past actions and questions current biases that have plagued people of colour in the Americas for some time, one in need of answers.

All Because You Love Me Stephen John Love songs don’t get more universal than this. Universal in the sense that this praise song addresses more than feelings of love between people, but speaks to that relationship with God that has John and his collaborators “walking, smiling, dancing, singing.” A funky bass ostinato creates a hypnotic groove that carries John’s velvety voice — so reminiscent of R&B crooner Maxwell — along on a even pace, so that the message is not hidden by the rhythmic effervescence so popular in modern praise and worship music. The production is modern, and looks to an audience that understands less is sometimes more. Spoken-word verses and a fabulous bridge vocal by Derron Sandy, Diamonique Roy, and Faith Otey address the subject of love in terms that speak to Caribbean people, and in the timbre and accent that suggest this single can bridge regions and can make plain the non-discriminatory way we love, we walk, we dance, and we sing. Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell

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SCREENSHOTS

I Am Not Your Negro Directed by Raoul Peck, 2016, 93 minutes Raoul Peck is not one to shy away from tackling major historical figures in his films. Both Patrice Lumumba and Jean-Bertrand Aristide have been subjects of his camera’s unflinching gaze, and he’s just now wrapping up a drama about the young Karl Marx. His current film, I Am Not Your Negro, sees Peck — Haiti’s most celebrated (and provocative) director — attempting to get to grips with James Baldwin, the United States’ most celebrated (and provocative) black writer: a perfect artistic match. I Am Not Your Negro has its origins in a book about various civil rights leaders that Baldwin — most famous for The Fire Next Time, his incendiary 1963 treatise on race and racism in the US — began working on in 1979, called Remember This House. He died after making only thirty pages of notes, and the manuscript was eventually entrusted to Peck by the writer’s estate.

The House on Coco Road Directed by Damani Baker, 2016, 79 minutes More than thirty years after its tragic conclusion, the Grenada Revolution remains an unresolved affair, many of its stories still untold. Packing upwards of half a century of history into its slender running time, The House on Coco Road, while having no pretensions to being a definitive account, is a welcome, if at times idealised, addition to the annals of that eventful era. The documentary takes as its starting point the experience of its director, Damani Baker, whose mother Fannie Haughton — a former assistant to civil rights icon Angela Davis — moved her family from California to Grenada in 1983 to join the island’s socialist experiment. Baker then dials back to the family’s beginnings in the segregated American South, impressively juggling home-movie footage, archival material, vérité footage, and interviews to create a testimony to the pioneering activism of a succession of black women. Meshell Ndegeocello’s redoubtable score rounds out a moving experience. For more information, visit facebook.com/ thehouseoncocoroad 46

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Spurning conventions of the biographical documentary such as chronological storytelling and interviews, and instead exclusively employing archival footage and Baldwin’s words (intoned with an almost mournful authority by Samuel L. Jackson), Peck has constructed a stirringly complex visual essay. The film masterfully delineates the social, political, and cultural strands — the movies of a certain Caribbean actor named Sidney Poitier are key — that came together in the creation of a towering intellectual, as much as it paints a resonant portrait of the African-American experience. The greatest achievement of I Am Not Your Negro, however, is its indirect exhortation to the viewer to return to and re-engage with James Baldwin’s work — his books, essays, speeches, and interviews, as potent and as necessary today as they ever were. As Peck himself instructed the audience at the world premiere of the film last September at the Toronto International Film Festival: “Go back to Baldwin.” For more information, visit velvet-film.com

Jeffrey Directed by Yanillys Perez, 2016, 78 minutes An affecting portrait of stolen childhood and life below the poverty line is painted in Jeffrey, the debut feature by the Dominican Republic’s Yanillys Perez. Jeffrey (Joselito de la Cruz) — a non-actor playing a dramatised version of his actual self — is a twelve-year-old in Santo Domingo who is made to quit school to help support his family. Earning a meagre living on the streets washing windshields, he wants to become a reggaeton singer, and his dogged attempts to find success give the film its narrative impetus. Her filmmaking style a world away from the slick triumphalism of something like Slumdog Millionaire, Perez works modestly in what could be called a Caribbean neorealist mode, unfussily observing her memorable protagonist and those around him as they go about the remarkably unremarkable business of survival. And while Jeffrey ends with Jeffrey’s future very much uncertain, the film offers the salutary reminder that poverty does not necessarily negate love. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ FilmJeffrey Reviews by Jonathan Ali


edison boodoosingh

immerse

49 Carnival is mine Snapshots

68 Shapeshifter, time traveller Closeup

72 Forgotten beauty Backstory

Trinidad and Tobago’s national instrument, the steelpan, takes centre stage in the Panorama competition during Carnival season


TeamDWP Studios By Dwayne Watkins

SNAPSHOTS

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Carnival is mine There are as many versions of Carnival as there are people who love Trinidad and Tobago’s annual festival. For some, Carnival is music. For others, it’s mas. Some live for fetes. Others consider J’Ouvert their true New Year’s Day. Some love to be at the heart of the bacchanal. Some prefer to spectate, from near or far. There are many ways to celebrate the season, and many thousands of Carnival stories to be told. Here are just a few of them WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Family of steel

courtesy codrington family

During the Carnival season, large steel orchestras dominate the national Panorama competition, but year-round, the spirit of musical innovation is also kept alive by smaller ensembles, like the Laventille-based Codrington Pan Family. Israel McLeod learns more

The talented Codringtons: from left, Kareem, Karen (mother) Kizzi, Khari, Kamau, Keisha, Cary (father), and Kaijah

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t twenty-five years old, Khari Codrington is the manager of one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most versatile and melodic steelpan ensembles. Over the past eighteen years, the Codrington Pan Family has become synonymous with excellence and professionalism in music. Whether winning local music festivals consecutively, performing live before royalty, or creating history in 2015 as the first musicians to showcase the steelpan at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, the Codrington family’s impact on the steelpan fraternity has been nothing short of outstanding — especially considering the size of the ensemble. It’s a hot and busy day in Port of Spain as I meet Khari. It is already mid-October, and many of T&T’s steel orchestras have begun preparing for the musical war ahead. Who will win the 2017 National Panorama Competition, just a few months away? “Will it be you?” I ask Khari, after debating with him the view that having a sponsor makes a significant impact on one’s standing in the competition. “Who knows,” he chuckles, then adds, “We’ve made it this far.” It is a stark reality that, in the midst of all their achievements to date, the Codringtons still remain an unsponsored band. While the family’s early years were spent in Tunapuna, along Trinidad’s East-West Corridor, the Codringtons consider themselves to be a product of the creative hub of Laventille. “The

steelpan, but plenty of passion and charisma. My mom or dad would keep the timing for each of us, and that portion of the pavement would become our stage. Even then, music was not only what groomed us, but fed us, basically.” Khari recalls how that pavement spot was where their first and only corporate sponsor to date, SWMCOL — the Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company — laid eyes upon them. “It was cruise ship season, so on this particular day we were really busy. Tourists and Christmas shoppers were plentiful, but among them stood Ray Brathwaite” — then SWMCOL’s executive chairman. “Initially, it was he who approached my dad and asked to have a word with him. Dad politely acknowledged him, but never did speak with him that day — he was mindful of the negative comments that some passers-by would make.” Khari explains: “For what it is worth today, none of those comments about us being exploited as children affected us, because we not only enjoyed performing but also we understood that, as a family, it was necessary to stick together and use our talents to further ourselves.” The Codringtons’ dedication and charisma was what caught the attention of Brathwaite, who supported the expansion of the band between 2006 and 2009, during his tenure at SWMCOL. With that additional fiscal support, the Codrington Pan Family were able to diversify their efforts. For some of the siblings, like

“As children,” says Khari Codrington, “we not only enjoyed performing but also we understood that, as a family, it was necessary to stick together” Hills”, as the area east of downtown Port of Spain is also fondly known, is a vibrant part of the country’s social and cultural fabric. For generations, this community has consistently birthed and inspired icons in the fields of fashion, theatre, dance, literature, and — most undoubtedly — music. More specifically, you cannot talk about the hills of Laventille without referring to the origins and growth of the steelpan — the only musical instrument to have been invented in the twentieth century, as all Trinidadians know. Laventille is the home of numerous globally renowned steelbands: Desperadoes, Highlanders, Blue Diamonds, Tokyo, Sun Valley, and Laventille Sound Specialists. And last, but certainly not least, Laventille is also home to this talented group of young men and women, guided by Khari Codrington. We have actually chosen the current Desperadoes panyard on Frederick Street as the location for our interview. Apart from being accessible, it allows us to enjoy the rehearsal of the Despers youth band. I ask Khari about the Codrington Pan Family’s early days as performers. He begins by saying that music has always been important to him and his siblings. “When we began in 1999,” he says, “it was our dad together with mom and the first four children — Kareem, Kaijah, Keisha, and myself. We would set up lower down on Frederick Street — in front of Sun Tings Souvenir Shoppe — and take turns at playing the tenor pan. That is how we started — with only one

brothers Kareem and Kaijah, it meant completing the advanced steelpan tuning course at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and putting those skills and knowledge to use daily. For others, like Khari and his sister Keisha, it thrust them further into the practical and academic worlds of teaching as well as arranging and composing music for the steelpan. One of their most successful compositions to date saw the band take first place at the 2013 Pan Is Beautiful competition, seven points ahead of seasoned competitors like Renegades, Caribbean Airlines Invaders, and Exodus. The Codrington Pan Family began competing as a small conventional band in the National Panorama Competition. However, the burden of managing an unsponsored steel orchestra became increasingly heavy, and in 2015 the family decided to withdraw from the competition and instead assist other unsponsored steelbands to participate. This provided the opportunity for Khari and Keisha to broaden their skill sets as steelpan arrangers. So for the past four years Khari has been contracted as the musical director and arranger for the C&B Crowncordians Steel Orchestra from Bon Accord, Tobago. During that time, the youth-based band made it to the Panorama semi-finals, and also made significant strides in the Tobago Panorama competition. Meanwhile, Keisha has served as the arranger for the Gonzales Sheikers for the past two years. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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The siblings are not the only ones to have tasted success at Panorama, however, as their father Cary has the distinction of being the only arranger to take the Birdsong Steel Orchestra to a national Panorama final. As the Desperadoes Youth Orchestra wraps up its rehearsal, we conclude by discussing the Codrington family’s plans for the next two years. Khari mentions that his ensemble will continue to be “the first point of interaction with the steelpan,” for the thousands of visitors entering Trinidad for Carnival through the port facilities on Wrightson Road. “It’s not just about giving a performance,” he says, “but creating a memorable experience as the mecca of steelpan.”

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Beyond Carnival, the group is also focused on releasing original steelpan compositions for consideration by the local and international film industry. Kareem and Kaijah will continue to supply steelpans to various orchestras regionally, while Khari and Keisha will delve deeper into creating exclusive recording opportunities for live instruments — with the steelpan remaining at the heart of their ambitions.

Find out more about the Codrington Pan Family via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cpanfamily


Before sunrise In the darkness before the sun rises on Carnival Monday morning, in the upsidedown world of J’Ouvert, is a special kind of freedom, writes Lisa Allen-Agostini

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he pre-dawn air is kissed with dew. Your mother wouldn’t approve of you out here, bareheaded, at this hour, and bathing yourself in cold, slick mud, to boot. You’ll catch your death, she’d say. But there it is: you are here, wearing a ragged t-shirt and your shortest shorts, barely decent and already halfdrunk on rum and the wildness in the air. Of that wildness there’s plenty: this is J’Ouvert in Port of Spain. It’s the official start of the two days of Carnival. You’re on a street in the city meeting up with your band, recreating a ritual hundreds of years old. J’Ouvert is not just the start of Carnival. It is, by some accounts, an utter reversal of everything that is true of the ordinary world by day. Decent people behaving badly, wearing costumes that point fingers at authority, mocking their own decency by their dress and manner. Is that so-and-so wining down to the ground in a pair of thongs and high heels? And who is that in the ballerina’s tutu smeared with engine grease? Is that a man, a woman, or what? And how do they get those wire and papier mâché horns to stay on their heads? But few people ask that sort of question at J’Ouvert. They are far too busy slathering mud or paint or cocoa or grease on their own bodies or someone else’s to care what their neighbour is doing or wearing. There are exceptions, of course. In the darkness of one J’Ouvert morning I saw a tall, stern-faced man who looked out of place in the old lady’s wig and nightie he wore. He was standing alone in the crowd of masqueraders dancing by the band’s massive music truck. I couldn’t help myself. I had to walk up to him and take a wine. By the time the sun was hot, we were both

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covered in various colours of body paint mixed with whatever substances had coated the other bands we passed through that morning, rivers flowing together to form one massive flood of dirty, ecstatic masqueraders. If Carnival is colour, J’Ouvert is its darker twin. The masquerades on these same streets later this day may be fanciful and pretty, idealistic, covered in feathers and sequins and rainbows. The mas for J’Ouvert, on the other hand, is often dirty and mocking. You’ll find here the jab molassie — molasses devils, invoking the spirits of enslaved people who died in the sugar coppers on plantations named Tranquillity, Woodbrook, Peru, which are now part of this bustling city. You’ll find the


TeamDWP Studios By Dwayne Watkins

odd Dame Lorraine, a mas played by a man wearing a woman’s dress, obscenely padded in a slave’s parody of the European masters’ wives. You’ll find the tradition of old mas, where ordinary folks compete to stage elaborate puns to accuse priest and politician alike, or just to make a good bad joke. Imagine a man with a chamber pot in one hand and a sign in the other, and the sign reads “Po’ me one.” Increasingly you’ll find abstractions: Mud Mas, Red Devils, Yellow Devils, Cocoa Devils, and so on, bands of mas players in no real costume but simple t-shirts and shorts splattered in whatever unguent it is they are “playing” this year. J’Ouvert is the beating heart of Carnival because of the

anonymity the darkness lends. In this darkness is the ability to be anyone or no one. When the sun comes creeping up over Laventille to wash the city in gold, we are renewed. We stumble home, hose ourselves off, rest muscles sore from chipping for miles in the morning dew. Carnival has begun. A few hours later we will be back, chipping again in the hot sun, dutifully wearing our brilliant, happy daytime costumes. A smear of black engine oil behind one ear is the only sign that we had ever been anything else. But though J’Ouvert is fleeting, it may well stay with you. Remember the tall man in the old lady’s wig and night? Reader, I married him. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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“I never choose the mas” Tracy Sankar-Charleau, who explores the spiritual roots of folklore through mas performance, on being “chosen” by her characters — as told to Tracy Assing

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very traditional mas character is alive. Every traditional mas person, whether they want to look at it that way or not, from moko jumbies straight down to a fancy sailor, they all have to deal in the spiritual aspect of it. You have a fancy sailor turn around and tell you, you can’t just do so and put on a costume and say you dance a dance like that — you have to be on a high. And, as I tell people, is not an alcohol high, it’s a whole different thing. Traditional mas has a level of spiritualism in it, and each character, each person, knows how to be. We take on that character, whether it be for an hour or for the whole day. This is not just jump in a costume and palance yuh backside. This is awakening something when you need it to do something for you. For me, really and truly, the La Diablesse was on a whole different level. I am the vessel and I have to do whatever it is she tell me to do. I’ve been playing mas for the last ten years with my mom. I started off with her. That didn’t happen until my thirties. I was doing photography work with her band, helping with her workshops. But then I became an individual performer — next year will make it four years. From there it just took off We are from an artistic family. My mom was a draughtswoman and also a seamstress. That was her job at home. We were always making something. Is she give us the courage to just start we own, so to speak. My sister, she does stuff with her, they are

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joined together. But I branched off on my own, because I decided to deal more with the folklore aspects of it, the spiritual aspect of it, and the part it plays within the whole persona of the mas. They do the Dame Lorraine. I play the Dame Lorraine, the fancy jab, the jab molassie, and in 2015 for the first time I brought out the La Diablesse. So in all it’s four characters I play. 2017 will make it five. I giving them my version of a burrokeet. This time I will be the one dancing the horse. I was bored with the Dame Lorraine. It’s a cool character. It’s my mother. I am a little more out there. I’m a little more brackish and a little more loud and outgoing. When my mother realised I


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wanted to play the jab, and this was something I was pondering in my brain for years, she told me, “No, behave yourself. That ain’t for you. You sure you could blow fire?” Steups. Boy, nobody never teach me, I went and put kerosene in my mouth. It burn like hell! I do my own thing and after that it take off in less than a week. That was it. Second skin. I had a ball with it and then I realise I hadda make this my own. I get bored a lot. I am always trying to figure out, yeah, this very macabre way to fit with the traditional, but then sometimes you want to put a little twist onto it and you want to do something a little more refreshing.

“I was bored with the Dame Lorraine. It’s my mother. I am a little more out there”

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I never choose the mas. The mas choose me. It speaks to you. So you can’t just think that at the end of the day, you put on a costume. It doh work like that. You awakening something. And for me the folklore starts from somewhere. All stories have a beginning, and when it hands down through generations it takes on different faces and different meanings for everybody. I like to lacouray myself. I like to showcase myself — but who doesn’t? On a normal, average, basic day I keep to myself. I try to

stay away from people. I have friends, but sometimes they don’t even see me for months. I prefer to keep on the down-low, but when it’s time for me to pop up, I get to be me. I get to show you for a change, look at how it supposed to be done. What happens when I am playing the La Diablesse, I am trying to come out of it. I am always crying, I am always sorrowful. I cannot always not be who I am. This is the woman herself. This is the Lady of Sorrows. It come like I am living out the whole entire thing. I still express myself in my photography, but The birth of La Diablesse this is more fun. I like to be able to feel things. I like to touch it. With my mas I get to touch it, After several years of portraying a traditional Dame Lorraine in her mother I get to actually bring something to life. I get to June Sankar’s well-known band, Tracy Sankar-Charleau began an explorabring it out to you, and you can literally come tion of other mas and folklore traditions through individual performance. up, touch it, smell it, see me, embrace it. It’s At Carnival 2015, she debuted a new character, La Diablesse, based on the like reading a story and that’s all it is, it’s all up notorious cow-footed temptress of T&T folklore. But Sankar’s La Diablesse here in your imagination — but wouldn’t it be also incorporates elements of the Haitian voudou deity Erzulie Freda, wonderful if it could literally manifest itself and embodying both love and sorrow, and borrowing some visual iconography materialise in front you? I get to do that. I get to from the Roman Catholic Madonna. Photographer Maria Nunes recalls the take the stories that we all have and make them impact on Sankar’s audience: “The whole of Victoria Square erupted. People into something where it’s a fascination even for were truly gasping.” the oldest of the old. Sankar’s vivid portrayal took on a new intensity after the death of her husband in October 2015, killed during an attempted robbery. They had been married for nearly two decades, and had four children. Just a few months later, Sankar’s 2016 mas portrayal channeled her sense of loss and rage into a searing and powerful performance that stunned audiences who had grown accustomed to nostalgically pretty “traditional” mas characters.

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antony scully courtesy maria nunes


“My Carnival no longer starts or finishes” Photographer Maria Nunes, celebrated for her avid documentation of traditional mas and steelpan, on her earliest Carnival memories, her first encounter with masqueraders from behind the camera, and how Carnival has become her life — as told to Nicholas Laughlin

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ne of my earliest childhood memories is seeing jabs in Mayaro at Carnival time. I was maybe six, seven, eight years old. It’s an indistinct memory — I can’t tell you what they looked like — but it’s something that stayed with me: these men playing jab, going house to house in Mayaro, and the surprise element. But my first truly formed, deep impression of Carnival was that the year of [Peter Minshall’s Carnival King] The Sacred and the Profane — that was 1982 — my father took me to the Kings

and Queens finals in the Savannah on Dimanche Gras. And I was mesmerised by The Sacred and the Profane, and [masquerader] Peter Samuel bringing the costume over all the photographers at the edge of the stage. It’s a distinct memory. The way it was set up then, the photographers were all down below the stage. I remember the power of how he came on the stage. And he moved those wings and brought the whole costume over the photographers. My father never took me to Kings and Queens prior to that, and I have no idea why he took me that year. And after that, he died in June 1982. My interest in photography was formed by a childhood of having family holidays in Mayaro and Tobago documented and put in an album every year. At university, I bought myself a Pentax K1000 camera, which was a great first camera in the days of film. I started to become really passionate about photography when I was working at the St Andrew’s Golf Club [north of Port of Spain], where I was the general manager. The lands around the golf club are untouched forest, and on hikes I was struck by the beauty of the interior of the forest. I had the club’s camera, and that’s when I started to seamlessly take photographs. Then at Carnival 2007 I spent Monday at a friend’s office on Carlos Street [in Woodbrook, west Port of Spain]. We were there just liming, eating, drinking, and I heard these whips cracking outside. I thought, what is this? And I went outside to see jab jabs beating up one another on Carlos Street. I was just mesmerised. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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“He stuck out his tongue as if to say, Ah give yuh that”: the photograph of a grease-covered jab molassie that Maria Nunes recalls in her interview

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moment for me was that Abigail invited me the following year, in 2008, to go with her into downtown Port of Spain on Carnival Tuesday. That was what permanently changed my life. I don’t say that lightly. Whatever scales were on my eyes got peeled off, in a hurry. I experienced the heart of east Port of Spain in a whole different way, and sailor mas for the first time in any significant way. The people that I got to know then, I still know today. It was an introduction to a world, thanks to Abigail. And it proved to be such a big, big world. When I took the plunge in 2010 — after twenty years of a normal salaried life — into professional photography, I knew I had to have a website. That was the first way I started sharing my photography — I would share a link on Facebook and people would go to the website and comment on the galleries. I got a lot of encouraging feedback. And it went from there.

To this day it reminds me that what I now take for granted, someday somebody sees for the first time. I ran for my camera, and those were my first photos in Carnival. Because of that, I went out exploring the streets, and took my first photographs of traditional jab molassies — the black car-grease ones — on the corner of Ariapita Avenue and French Street. I’ll never forget it, because there was this one man in total car grease, and I was glued to him. He had these horns that were like two cones. I’ve come to understand that people sense when you’ve zeroed in on them with your camera, even though they haven’t seen you yet. And that sense that passes between two people, I experienced for the first time that day. As he passed me, he turned around to give me a look, with a laugh, and he stuck out his tongue as if to say, Ah give yuh that. He was fully aware, I realised, that I had not moved my gaze from him. So that was the beginning. And around that time my path crossed with [photographer] Abigail Hadeed, and we must have spoken about my experience that Carnival. Because the big

A lens for mas After years of working as a teacher, golfer, and golf club manager, Maria Nunes found a childhood fascination with photos turning into a professional interest. For the past decade, a major portion of her work has been devoted to documenting traditional performance traditions within Trinidad Carnival, from the blue devils of Paramin to individual performers like Tracy SankarCharleau (interviewed on page 56). Her already immense archive — Nunes says she has at least thirty hard drives full of still images and video — includes all aspects of arts and culture, but Carnival remains an obsession, and her images are among the most widely shared and discussed by contemporary mas aficionados.

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y exploration of blue devils continually fascinates me. I could never get tired of photographing that expression. The first time I photographed moko jumbies on a Carnival Saturday at Junior Carnival, that blew my mind. And I’m developing a relationship with Ronald Alfred’s jab jab band [based in Carapichaima, central Trinidad]. I’m always seeking an elusive photograph of the essence of that art of the whip in motion. How to convey it to people so they can hear the whip crack in the photo? Or the dance of the sailor? Those are the things I seek after. When I’m deep in the moment with a jab jab, with a moko jumbie, with a blue devil, is when I think I am most immersed in what I am doing. I want the performer to see how beautiful and amazing they are. In the photos, they see aspects of their performance they aren’t even aware of. From that first year I went into Port of Spain with Abigail, I remember feeling this terrible sadness at the end of Carnival. I wanted it to keep on going. Every year when Carnival ends, I feel I just want a little more time. It’s all crammed into such a concentrated period of time — I’m going day, night, day, night, for two weeks. But I also know that’s part of what it’s all about, and if there was more room to breathe, it wouldn’t be the same. It used to be I felt this terrible sadness. Now it’s just a continuum, because the relationships I have built with the people I have photographed, so many of whom are truly now my friends, are year-long relationships. So my Carnival no longer starts or finishes. It’s now my life.


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Music in motion The steelpan is Trinidad and Tobago’s musical gift to the world, and its apotheosis is the National Panorama Competition. For Nigel Campbell, Panorama’s “little rebellion” is about much more than the music

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am a steelpan fan. Not necessarily an overt steelpan junkie, but I appreciate the music born here in Trinidad and Tobago, and the sound that makes that original music. This is ours, and once a year, we can all participate in a festival celebrating that sound and reminding those who are sensitive to the subliminal signs of what researcher Kim Johnson calls “the audacity of the creole imagination.” The annual Panorama competition is more than music: it is history and individual biography, it is sociology and science, rhythm and motion. It is tonic and elixir for Carnival. It is fun. I become a “people observer,” trying to create stories out of the snippets of overheard conversations, and the sights and sounds of this organised chaos we call Trinidad Carnival.

First things first: Carnival is not a spectator sport, but a participatory event, or a series of participatory events: soca fetes, pre-dawn J’Ouvert, costume masquerade, soca and calypso competitions, and Panorama. Panorama finals, a celebration of and a competition among the best steelbands nationally, happens in the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain — the Big Yard, as we refer to it locally — on the Saturday night before Carnival. It includes bands from all over the two islands, performing eightminute arrangements of calypso and soca tunes. Panorama finals are the end of a series of gatherings that awaken a spirit anybody can partake of. The best introduction is a panyard crawl in the weeks before Carnival, to sample the sounds and sights of that urban space where late-night practice makes for a blending of musical dexterity and wilful determination. As in the FIFA World Cup, there are just a few winners in the history of Panorama, but that hasn’t stopped bands from all corners of the islands from competing for the idea of Panorama champion. Arguments about “who play better,” and “who had more excitement in the pan,” and “that is not a tune for Panorama” resonate for months after Carnival is over. Panorama is more than music. Panorama is music in motion. The motion of the players rocking and grooving to the sound and rhythm of the engine room, the percussive centre of the steelband. The motion of the fans dancing to this music, percolating at a clip rhythm that guarantees body and tempo should become one. Dancing is inevitable. Dancing in time with the music, more so. Chipping (slow, steady sliding steps as you move forward with the bands), wining (sexy and suggestive gyrating of the hips, preferably with a partner), and jumping up (vertical with hands in the air, and in time with the music) are the dances of Carnival and the dances WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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edison boodoosingh

2017 Panorama highlights 30 January to 7 February 12 February 23 February 25 February

preliminary judging in panyards and communities across Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama Semi-Finals, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain National Panorama Finals, small steelbands, Skinner Park, San Fernando National Panorama Finals, medium and large steelbands, Queen’s Park Savannah

inspired by pan music. Shoes, then, become mandatory. Slippers may work, but if pedicures are important, sneakers are better. When you consider that the early Panorama preliminaries in the 1960s were judged “on the move” — with steelbands in racks being pushed on wheels by partisan supporters from the community — you may question whether we have gone backwards or away from our Caribbean instinct to move. Now we have bands being judged in static formation on a stage, facing one direction, orchestra-like, in defiance of the urge to jump up. What ends are we serving, a European ideal of conformity or a Caribbean reality of participation, joy, and movement? I guess the answer can be better considered depending on where you are seeing and hearing the Panorama. For we do have a couple of options: the drag or the stands. The real action takes place on the drag, a strip of tarmac that wends its way in and out of the Savannah, passing in front of the Grand Stand, an evolution of the old horse racing grandstand. (The original was demolished in 2006 to be rebuilt as a clone in 2011). That original pavilion for the Sport of Kings birthed a sister stand, the North Stand, which has become the playground of and a magnet for the imitative “mimic men” of the middle classes, pretenders looking to become one with the people. Between the drag and the North Stand, you can sense what an atmosphere of true liberation — and libation — the Panorama can be. The North Stand is the fun place to be if you’re liming in

the stands. A cacophony of rhythmic iron-clanging, handdrumming, and bottle-and-spoon-beating makes for a noisy air of communal spirit. Rum rules, and the idea of the primacy of music is slowly giving way to the idea of a new kind of hedonism that travel writers casually describe as a selling point for Caribbean people. All this pleasure becomes evident when you’re on the drag. From this vantage point, you can hear every band do a final practice performance of its competition tune, and it’s all free. Restriction and freedom are two opposites that have shaped Trinidad’s history. At Panorama, on the drag, they live side by side. Panorama, to some, is the apot heosis of t he steelba nd . To others, it reflects a growing decay of the communal spirit associated with the movement and a movement. Commercialism and a kind of redundancy have eaten away at some of the appeal of Panorama. But for me, it is a rekindling of hope that we are masters of our domain, not necessarily conforming to the dictates of the gatekeepers who rule media and creative enterprises. It is our little rebellion. Our fantasy that for a day, after many days and nights in those panyards, those crucibles of creativity and sweat and fire, we as a nation can make something that will last the test of time. It is also our chaotic and fervent and rhythmic moment when time stands still, literally — when we can all move as one to the beat. n

For me, Panorama is a rekindling of hope that we are masters of our domain

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Shapeshifter, time traveller When poet Vahni Capildeo won the UK’s prestigious Forward Prize in September 2016, it was the third year in a row that a Caribbeanborn writer took one of the poetry world’s highest honours. For Capildeo, it was an affirmation of a career spent subverting the idea of simple journeys, as Andre Bagoo explains

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hen my name was announced, it was as if time split and there was a parallel universe in which some other, ‘real’ poet was receiving the award,” says Vahni Capildeo. She is speaking about the moment last September when she was announced as the winner of the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Collection. “Aren’t many writers afflicted with a feeling of being not quite real?” Time travel, parallel universes, epistemological conundrums — it’s fitting these fall freely off the tongue of a poet of boundless talent, skill, and imagination, whose lines mesmerise us, show us miracles. Capildeo was born in Trinidad in 1973 and left for Britain in 1991. Her poetry argues that both details are at once significant and insignificant: people do not cross boundaries; they carry worlds within. From her first book to her most recent — starting with No Traveller Returns and right up to her Forward-winning Measures of Expatriation — Capildeo has invited readers to reject the idea of simple journeys. The result is a body of work that is now gaining greater international attention. Just weeks after winning the Forward, Capildeo’s book was also shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, another major honour, previously won by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott.

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Praise has come also from critics and colleagues. “Capildeo prods us to re-imagine how words live, and what they do to our sense of whatever we call reality,” says Edward Baugh, the distinguished Jamaican poet and literary scholar. And Indian poet and editor Vivek Narayanan remarks on Capildeo’s breadth of interests and references. “What always impresses me about Caribbean culture and literature is its profound need and ability to reinvent the world,” Narayanan says. “Take nothing for granted, but taking all materials to hand. Vahni does that, but in her own completely unique way — Dante, the Nordic myths, Old English, Trinidadian folklore, Hindu iconology all come together and are transformed.” “Vahni was making verses from the time she could hardly write,” says her mother Leila Capildeo, in an interview at the house in Federation Park, Port of Spain, where Capildeo spent her early years. (The very name of the residential district evokes memories of the Caribbean’s failed flirtation with a postcolonial political union.) Her father, Devendranath Capildeo, was a children’s poet. Her grandfather was Simbhoonath Capildeo, the elder brother of Rudranath Capildeo, a major figure in T&T’s Independence-era politics. Capildeo’s uncle, Crisen Bissoondath, married Sati Naipaul, a sister of V.S. Naipaul, the Nobel laureate. And her cousin Neil Bissoondath is a novelist.


Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society

Capildeo studied first at Dunross Prep School (where a school magazine published some of her early poems) then at St Joseph’s Convent in Port of Spain. “I was very eager to learn, and I wasn’t getting pushed,” she says. “That can be quite frustrating as a child. I was envious of my brother Kavi, who was at St Mary’s College. He was under a lot of pressure there, getting pushed.” She would later read English language and literature at Oxford University, where she was involved in a serious car accident in March 1994. On her way to hand in a Shakespeare essay, she was knocked over and suffered head injuries. But she survived — and thrived. (She got a first.) Capildeo later pursued a DPhil in Old Norse on a Rhodes scholarship, seeing parallels between medieval Scandinavia and its colonies, and modern-day regions with asymmetrical power relations with a “mainland” territory. After graduating, Capildeo became a

research assistant at the Oxford English Dictionary, delving deep into the roots of language.

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apildeo’s books remind us that words inhabit the present, manifest the past, and are deployed in poems that are, by definition, open to future readers. In these feats of timetravel, language is our home. “She liked to sing, she did a lot of music, piano, classical guitar,” says her mother Leila, a former national scholar who also writes. “It came to the point where she could just take up an instrument and play it. Except the violin. I couldn’t find a teacher for that.” Something of this virtuosity is apparent in Capildeo’s poetry, particularly her prose poems. They implicitly argue that the idea of writing a poem halfway across the page is relatively new. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Adrian Pope, courtesy the Forward Arts Foundation

“I have always been moved by poems that have the compendiousness of novels,” Capildeo says

Oral histories, stories, and poetic works do not depend on such margins. And why can’t prose, they ask, be put in service of poetry? Yet Capildeo’s books do not have the air of theoretical treatises. They come alive as perspectives, times, and places shift. The prose poems draw attention to themselves, as if to remind us every now and again that this chunk of text should not be limited. Consider the moment from “A Book of Hours: From Aidoneus to Zeus”, a poem in Undraining Sea, when a man encounters a presence: Then, standing in the corridor that lacks any intruder, the man on his day off screams He screams screams realising he will see it again. The line breaks and use of punctuation (lack of full stop; capitalisation of the next line) draw attention to the fact that this is poetic language being disrupted, like the man’s perception is interrupted. The poet at once transcends and re-affirms the medium; just as a filmmaker might leave in subtle reminders of craft and magic. And Capildeo’s poems sometimes work like films, even if she does not aim to let us see characters as a film might. The narration is part of a sequence. Elements are presented one 70

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after the other, and the relationship between them (or lack thereof) is what creates something, does something to readers cinematographically. Like mid-twentieth-century American poets such as James Wright, Capildeo is concerned with deep image, though she pushes that concept to even more dynamic moorings. Here are deep songs, deep films, deep dances, deep Carnival mas bands. The poet revels in this mental imagery, sometimes for lyrical purposes, at other times to scorch. The result is far from difficult; it is successful. The innards of the stage are laid bare. We travel across terrains, experience the psychogeography of bedrooms and cities alike. And each poem is its own animal. A reader is free to make and repurpose what the poet has presented. In fact, nothing more is expected.

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he political within everyday situations forms another key strand in all of Capildeo’s books, starting with the opening poem of her debut, No Traveller Returns. In “Amulet”, a conversation between voices shows up what might be called micro-aggressions. The very first line, “That’s an unusual pendant you are wearing,” is a statement loaded with judgments and therefore appropriations. We recognise this conversation: it might be banal banter at a reception or a party. Yet we are given room to fill in the gaps, to invest questions of gender, race, economic status, work hierarchy, educational background, and more. When the wearer of the amulet declares a desire to sleep for two full


Vahni Capildeo’s books

Adrian Pope, courtesy the Forward Arts Foundation

months, this is not just a shutting down of the conversation, but a changing of the playing field. We are invited to think of different realms, to dream of dreaming. Another important poem in her first book is “In Cunaripo”, an example of how narrative in Capildeo’s poetry is often inflected. Animals — in this case, caimans — irrupt within the confines of what is being described, not to re-enforce the arbitrary distinction between animal and human, but to do the opposite. The caimans are in character. And while Capildeo can be described as a poet of globalisation, this is just one strand in a diverse body of concerns. “Pin them down at your peril,” remarked Forward Prize founder William Sieghart, on Capildeo’s book and the work of the other poets honoured last year. In a blog piece for the UK Guardian, Sieghart recalled hearing Capideo read from her work at the Royal Festival Hall in London on the night the prize was announced. “She spoke as if addressing an invisible hawk,” he wrote. “She told us the idea for her poem, ‘Handfast’, was inspired by a hunting glove belonging to Henry VIII, that most dominant of English kings. Hawks are Ted Hughes territory. A glove? No, Capildeo . . . was throwing down a gauntlet.” Capildeo troubles the nation, place, education, fauna, and even how we process day and night as individuals. She embodies what D.H. Lawrence meant when he said, “the essential quality of poetry is that it makes a new effort of attention, and ‘discovers’ a new world within the known world.” Her latest book is an amplification of many of the themes apparent in Capildeo’s previous works. “Measures of Expatriation was my attempt to go both wide in place and deep in time, the way we do in our lives,” Capildeo says. “We do not see our own width and depth the same way if we are following ‘a character’ in a film or book, or the ‘voice’ of a single, shorter poem. I tried to create a series of imaginative extensions and portals.”

No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003) Person Animal Figure (Landfill, 2005) Undraining Sea (Egg Box, 2009) Dark and Unaccustomed Words (Egg Box, 2011) Utter (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) Simple Complex Shapes (Shearsman, 2015) Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016)

The book, she explains, was written over six years, and arguably has the same kind of impact a novel might. “I have always been moved by poems that have the compendiousness of novels,” Capildeo says. “Most years, I set myself an exercise of reading a long poem or series of connected works aloud over a number of days, beginning every day religiously with a portion of the poem, before breakfast or human contact or anything else, in that vulnerable gap when the mind is engaged in both its night and daytime states. There are moments in this process of reading that feel unbearable.” In her poems, layers of meaning create dazzling whirlpools: what Vivek Narayanan refers to as “the working and reworking of grammar, in its flow or its sudden arrest, through absence, or through, often, a kind of semic overloading.” In “A Book of Hours: From Aidoneus to Zeus”, “amber” begins as a name, but then becomes colour, texture, signal. In “Winter to Winter”, structures and systems of naming suggest the complexity of overlapping layers of personality. Cardinal points, literary devices, verbs, colours, situations, imperatives are used as markers simultaneously. The effect of all of this is poetry that is impossible to box. “I shed forms like a shapeshifter shedding skins,” Capildeo says. Readers be warned, then fly in. n

Opposite page Vahni Capildeo at the 2016 Forward Prize ceremony Left The three winners of the 2016 Forward Prizes: Sasha Dugdale (Best Single Poem), Tiphanie Yanique (Best First Collection), and Capildeo (Best Collection)

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BACKSTORY

Forgotten beauty

Among the works of the nineteenthcentury British Pre-Raphaelite artists, one mysterious face recurs, and stands out for its “exotic” beauty. It belonged to the artists’ model Fanny Eaton, a mixed-race Jamaican woman who found herself for a time at the heart of London’s Victorian art world. As Judy Raymond writes, relatively little is known about her life — but her image survives in some of the world’s most famous museums

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hen Fanny Eaton died in west London on March 4, 1924, her memories were already lost to senility. She had worked as a cleaner, a seamstress, and a cook, and raised most of her ten children on her own after being widowed in her forties. But the life of this brown-skinned old lady full of years, though often modest, had been a remarkable one in other ways. By the time she died at eightynine, Eaton must have had an English accent for decades, and blended into the London workingclass milieu in which she lived. But she was born in the parish of St Andrew, eastern Jamaica, on 23 June, 1835 — less than a year after emancipation. Her mother, Matilda Foster, may have been a domestic servant, on an estate or in a town, or even a field labourer on a sugar plantation before she gave birth to Fanny at seventeen. Matilda and her own mother, Bathsheba, had formerly been enslaved. Fanny Matilda Eaton, unlike her mother and grandmother, was of mixed race. She was described as a mulatto — that is, half black and half white — so her father may have been a white estate

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owner or manager, or possibly a British soldier, James Entwistle or Antwistle, Fanny’s original surname. He died in Jamaica aged only twenty, but perhaps it was he who funded Matilda and their daughter’s voyage to London, for somehow they found their way there in the 1840s. In London, they settled into working-class life in St Pancras. Matilda, a laundress, later married, as did Fanny, in 1857, aged twenty-two: her husband, James Eaton, nineteen, was a hansom-cab driver, and they had ten children between 1858 and 1879. Since she was sixteen, Fanny had worked as a charlady, or cleaner, but she had another way of making money, a way that allowed her to sit quietly for hours, away from the drudgery of her cleaning work and of running her small, crowded home. Her thick, kinky hair and “exotic” mixed-race features made her an irresistible model for artists, some of them still famous today as members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. As a result, her likeness hangs today in the galleries at Tate Britain, in the British Museum, the Yale Centre for British Art, and the Princeton Museum of Art, among others. For Eaton was a favourite model among the artists who had been members of the Brotherhood — and no wonder: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, one of its leaders, described her in a letter to fellow artist Ford Madox Brown, written when Eaton was thirty, as having “a very fine head and figure — a good deal of Janey.” This was Janey Morris, the first, quintessential Pre-Raphaelite “stunner.” Founded in 1848, the Brotherhood had an ideal that they sought out: they had found her first in Jane Burden, who was tall, dark, and sturdy, with a mass of curly hair, a firm jaw, strongly drawn brows, and bee-stung lips. At nineteen, in 1859, she married the designer and writer William Morris, though she and Rossetti later became lovers.


Mrs Fanny Eaton (c.1859; chalk on paper), by Walter Fryer Stocks

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For Rossetti to have likened Fanny Eaton to Morris shows that Fanny too must have been thought a considerable beauty among the group. Eaton’s fine but strong features, thick, massy curls, and her grave, sometimes even careworn expression f itted in perfectly with the PreRaphaelite type (though her air of melancholy may have been due to the preferred mood of the artists as much as to her everyday life as the workingclass mother of ten.) Many images of Eaton show a resemblance to Jane, and in them she wears her hair drawn low over her forehead, as they liked to portray the latter. Certainly they painted and drew Eaton often enough. Yet a blog post about Eaton written in 2012 described her as “the forgotten stunner,” and there have been suggestions that she has been sidelined owing to her race. But that didn’t stop her being painted in the first place, or from being included in some of the best-known and the most beautiful paintings and drawings of the period. The PreRaphaelites, like many artists, were not confined by many social conventions: class, religion, and ethnic differences meant little to them. (Rossetti himself was the child of Italian immigrants, and lived out of wedlock with the model and artist Lizzie Siddal for years.) The Pre-Raphaelites have also fallen from favour in recent decades, after a revival in the 1970s, but interest in them is now growing again among art historians. More portraits of Fanny Eaton are being discovered, acquired, admired, and written about, along with details of her life, thanks to the growing recognition that she was one of their important models.

Class was no deterrent when it came to the PreRaphaelites’ choice of models. But although Eaton could sit for the painters, she would not have had the time to socialise or dally romantically with them 74

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nother reason Eaton may have previously been less well known than other Pre-Raphaelite muses was that she was not, as far as is known, romantically involved with any of the artists, or caught up in any of the ensuing scandals. The copper-haired Siddal, for instance — an artist herself, whose patron was the critic John Ruskin — is best known for catching pneumonia while posing as the drowned Ophelia for John Everett Millais in 1852. She may have suffered from tuberculosis, and died — of an overdose of laudanum, possibly intentional — in 1862. Rossetti, who had eventually married her in 1860 after a long, tempestuous relationship, famously exhumed her to retrieve a book of unpublished poems he had buried with her. Fanny Eaton featured in no such outlandish incidents. During her engagement, Janey Burden, the daughter of a stableman and a domestic servant, was hastily educated to be a suitable wife for Morris, a gentleman — they had met while he was at university in Oxford. Other models were less fortunate. Eaton went from being charlady to dressmaker. Other Pre-Raphaelite muses were working-class too — Siddal began as a milliner’s assistant — and worked as models to supplement their income. Some were actresses or prostitutes; some were gypsies. So class was no deterrent when it came to the Pre-Raphaelites’ choice of models. But although Eaton could sit for the painters, she would not have had the time, even if she wanted, to socialise or dally romantically with them. By the time she began modeling, she was already married and a mother.


Fanny Eaton’s thick, kinky hair and “exotic” mixed-race features made her an irresistible model for artists, some of them still famous today as members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Opposite page The Mother of Moses (1860; oil on canvas), by Simeon Solomon Right Head of Mrs Eaton (1861; oil on paper laid to linen), by Joanna Boyce Wells

Women are hugely important in the Pre-Raphaelite oeuvre, and not merely as muses: they are often at the heart of paintings, stately, statuesque, unsmiling, mysterious, mystical. For these artists, a woman of another race, or, more intriguing still, a mixture of races, might have possessed these alluring qualities even more abundantly; and as much as any of their other models, Eaton symbolised the ideal of female beauty and fascination. They were preoccupied with “the Other,” depicting familiar scenes from unexpected angles and featuring characters rarely focused on. The Pre-Raphaelites also combined visual realism with a nostalgia for medieval painting and literature, and painted many biblical stories and archaic and classical myths; hence the women in them were often ethnically ambiguous (in his letter about Eaton, Rossetti explained that she was “not Hindoo . . . but mulatto”). So for them Eaton’s racial mixture may well have been an added attraction. Among their other models and muses were the Greek painter Maria Zambaco, lover of Edward Burne-Jones, and Keomi Gray, the gypsy mistress of Frederick Sandys. The latter is said to have used Fanny as the original model for his Morgan

Le Fay — evil enchantress and half-sister of King Arthur — but eventually replaced her head with Gray’s. The Pre-Raphaelites also used Eaton in Arabic and biblical scenes. Like other artists of the era, they sometimes also painted people with traditionally African looks: black people figure widely in their paintings, as in other Victorian art, sometimes chosen in order to stand out, sometimes blending into a crowd scene. The Pre-Raphaelites differ, however, in also using non-white models like Eaton to depict figures of ideal beauty. The first known sketches featuring Fanny were made in 1859, by Simeon Solomon, already noted for his draughtsmanship at nineteen. He may have met Eaton by chance, as he lived not far from her. Sometimes he even used her as a model while changing her gender in his drawings. He made pencil studies of her as the basis for a painting of Moses’ mother, shown at the 1860 Royal Academy Exhibition. Thus, as well as finished paintings, there are also many drawings of Fanny, often with her hair unbound and realistically textured. The portrayal of her as Moses’ mother is especially interesting because of its reference to slavery, with a mixed-race West Indian depicted as an Israelite woman enslaved in Egypt. Solomon’s sister Rebecca, by contrast, painted Eaton as an Indian ayah in A Young Teacher, in which the nursemaid is being “taught” by the child she looks after (an innocent-seeming painting which nevertheless seems to take WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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The Beloved (1865–66; oil on canvas), by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Fanny Eaton is the third bridesmaid from left, her face half visible behind the bride

a colonialist viewpoint). Solomon’s friend Albert Moore used Eaton as The Mother of Sisera, a biblical character who has already died in battle; the 1861 painting shows her waiting patiently but in vain for her son’s return, a figure of pathos and anxiety. Eaton also appears in Millais’s Old Testament painting Jephthah (1867). She was sketched by Rossetti, and in his painting The Beloved (1865), now in Tate Britain, she is among the bridesmaids, at the centre, behind the bride. And probably the most beautiful and impressive image of this once-forgotten model is a portrait by a forgotten painter, Joanna Boyce Wells. The sister of another Pre-Raphaelite artist, George Boyce, Wells studied in Paris and showed at the Royal Academy, was praised by Ruskin and called “wonderfully gifted” by Rossetti, but died at twenty-nine. Her painting is said to be a study for the head of a Libyan (that is, African) Sibyl (a prophetess of classical times) or of Zenobia, a Syrian warrior queen of antiquity — Wells apparently planned to use Eaton in full-length 76

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paintings of both. Previously referred to as Head of a Mulatto Woman, the picture is now known as Head of Mrs Eaton. Seen in profile, she is regal and dignified, her shoulders wrapped in fine draperies and with jewels looped through her luxuriant hair. But a recently discovered study by Walter Fryer Stocks looks most like a portrait of Fanny Eaton as herself. The little-known Stocks was the same age as Simeon Solomon, and might have attended the same life-drawing classes for which Eaton sat. In this sketch in black, red, and white chalk, the woman he drew, though young, is watchful and tired, with shadows under her eyes; it dates from 1859, when Eaton was twenty-four, but she looks older than her years (by then she would have been married with a small daughter, and her second child perhaps on the way). Eaton also modelled for painting classes at the Royal Academy between July 1860 and January 1879. After that, she may have been too busy — at least nine of her ten children, six daughters and four sons, had been born by that time. Or perhaps by then she looked too careworn, owing to her hard life; or she may have moved away. Her husband died in 1881, when she was fortyfive, leaving her to raise seven of their children; the youngest, Frank, was just two. She never remarried. Little more is known of the life she led between the peaceful interludes of sitting to artists and the more glamorous moments when pictures of her went on show. In her sixties, Eaton lived on the Isle of Wight, working as a cook for a wine merchant’s family. Two of her daughters had followed her by becoming seamstresses, and two were servants; but one, Miriam, was briefly a sculptor’s assistant. By 1911, Eaton was living with another daughter, Julia Powell, and her family in Hammersmith, west London, and she died in nearby Acton. Fanny Eaton has been saved from obscurity by the images of her that hang in some of the world’s great galleries, depicting heroines and famous beauties. But sadly, despite their numerous foreign settings, none depicts her against the West Indian landscapes among which she was born. n


PHB.cz (Richard Semik) / shutterstock.com

ARRIVE

72 Tobago therapy 82 Roseau, Dominica Escape

Neighbourhood

85 Carnival planet 98 St John’s, Antigua Round Trip

Layover

Don’t underestimate the recuperative power of Tobago’s gorgeous beaches


ESCAPE

Tobago therapy

PHB.cz (Richard Semik) / shutterstock.com

It’s Carnival time! And the heart of the action is the place to be — unless, instead of non-stop partying, what you’re looking for is a quiet retreat. In that case, the place to be might just be Trinidad’s sister isle, says Caroline Taylor

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The serene bay at the fishing village of Parlatuvier

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caristock

Paddleboarding at Pigeon Point

You may be forgiven for thinking that Carnival is an ever-present phenomenon in both Trinidad and Tobago at this time of year. But what if you’re a local or an international visitor who’s not really into Carnival? What if you’d much prefer to escape and recharge on the open water, under a waterfall, on a beach, or immersing yourself in culinary and cultural explorations? Then perhaps you’re best served avoiding Trinidad altogether — and giving yourself the gift of a Tobago escape. Your spirit will surely thank you.

By the water Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit. This is for the beach bums. And beach bumming is a fully legitimate option in Tobago. Folks who love to fill their lungs with sea air, work on their tans (or snooze in the shade), and enjoy some leisurely swimming and snorkelling are unlikely to want for more. The two staples around Crown Point, Tobago’s bustling southwestern hub, are Pigeon Point and Store Bay. The water at both beaches — like many bays on the island’s leeward coast — is generally calm, sheltered, and great for swimming. You’ll also enjoy the convenience of these beaches’ plentiful amenities, like eateries, craft shopping, parking, watersports operators, changing facilities, and bathrooms — even if you sacrifice a bit of the peace and quiet you’ll get further afield. Popular glass-bottom boat tours to Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool also leave from here. But an invigorating alternative for 80

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strong swimmers is to paddleboard or kayak to the Nylon Pool instead. Now, those are the two go-to beaches in Tobago’s tourist centre. But there are many, many other beaches around the island which deserve your beach-bumming attention. If you’d prefer more quiet and privacy, you’ll want to venture up the Caribbean coast to gems like Englishman’s Bay, Parlatuvier, Castara, Bloody Bay, or Charlotteville. Canoe, Back, and Stonehaven Bays — still in the southwest, but much less frequented — are also solid options. At Buccoo Bay, you also have the opportunity to not just enjoy the beach and great swimming, but to ride on a swimming horse. If you could be convinced that would be amazing, make sure to check out Being with Horses. Last but not least, divers and birders will certainly want to head to Speyside — but more on that later.


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Under the water

On the water Water babies and watersports fanatics will find no shortage of activities to take on in Tobago, especially at this time of year. The dry season means cooler, drier weather with bright blue skies and strong breezes — manna from heaven for those into wind sports like windsurfing and kitesurfing. Sailing enthusiasts also have the Tobago Carnival Regatta to look forward to in mid-February — that is, if they wouldn’t prefer to cruise up the leeward coast on a catamaran like the Island Girl. In addition to being relaxing and decadent, those sailing tours make stops at stunning beaches like Cotton Bay that are only (or mostly) accessible by sea. But that’s not all there is: we’re talking an extravaganza of kayaking, kiteboarding, paddleboarding, snorkelling, stand-uppaddling, and surfing. Even if you’ve never tried any of these before, but they sound like a blast, this is a perfect time to learn, as lessons are also readily available. If you happen to be on the island around the new moon, there’s one special experience you’ll want to consider. Conditions then will be perfect for you to do a bioluminescence tour in Bon Accord Lagoon. Phytoplankton in the water emit flashes of light to produce a bluish glow as you paddle through on your board or kayak. Stand Up Paddle offer tours. And while it doesn’t involve a watersport — apart from swimming and snorkelling — those who love the water and coral reefs will want to make sure they get up north to Speyside. Glass-bottom boat tours out to Angel Reef depart at least once a day from Batteaux Bay, and there are also tours to the birding paradise of Little Tobago island. Angel Reef is perhaps the most abundant of the island’s many offshore reef systems, so a mustsee for those who’d like to get a look at Tobago’s rich marine ecosystem. 82

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Ever wanted to learn to dive? Or perhaps you’ve already learned, and have been meaning to upgrade your certification? Then Tobago is the perfect holiday location for you, w ith some of the Caribbean’s best dive sites. And that’s no hyperbole. The island’s nutrient-rich waters nurture an abundance of diverse aquatic life in offshore reef systems and strategically sunk shipwrecks. A few hundred species of coral — including what’s reported to be the largest living brain coral in the world — plus reef fish, manta rays, and sharks are among the main draws. Off Speyside, in the northeast, this is also the time of year when you might be lucky enough to spot an elusive whale shark. But whatever your level of ability, there’s a range of dive experiences to suit you. If you’re ready to take the plunge, make contact with a PADI/SSI-certified diver operator through the Association of Tobago Dive Operators (ATDO).

Falling water Two of Tobago’s tallest and most dramatic waterfalls are Argyle (near Roxborough), and Highland (near Mason Hall). There’s a gentle hike to Argyle, the taller and more visited of the two, but what you save in strength en route can be spent climbing to the top of the falls’ three tiers, some 450 feet high. Your reward, other than bragging rights? Three levels also means three refreshing pools to enjoy on the way back down. The trek to Highland waterfall is more challenging, but equally worth it. Highland is also a good option for those who love roads less travelled, as you’re unlikely to find many other visitors. So: here’s to all-natural, high-intensity waterfall massage jets.

Little Tobago Charlotteville

Black Rock

TOBAGO

Buccoo Reef Pigeon Point Store Bay Crown Point

Scarborough

Speyside


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Opposite page Tobago’s mangrove wetlands are a refuge for wildlife This page The hike to Argyle Falls includes the chance to cool off in three freshwater pools

Foodie escapes You could actually skip all the sun, sea, and sand stuff altogether and just — well, eat. Tobago food is divine, especially if you don’t limit yourself to any particular niche. For a thoroughly local experience, stop in at roadside eateries and beach bars, and chow down on Tobago’s signature dishes, like crab-and-dumpling, oil down, bake-and-buljol, or any of the delicious fresh fish that comes straight from the sea. What’s more, there’s a range of fine-dining establishments serving up international and fusion cuisine, local dishes, or regional fare — even tapas. You’ll have a particularly wide variety of options in the southwest (Crown Point, Black Rock, and Lowlands), with many fine restaurants attached to popular resorts. And luckily, at a healthy number of them, sites steeped in history or beautiful ocean views are an aperitif. We’ve also got some recommendations for the dessert course: make sure to sample some premium chocolate made from locally grown cocoa at the Tobago Cocoa Estate. Free samples are a benefit of touring the estate, but bars are also available for sale across the island. You might also want to try some local specialties: benne balls, toolom, paw-paw balls, tamarind balls, sugar cake, cashew cake, cassava pone . . . Just take care with your teeth!

Birds and other natural encounters Other than diving and turtle-watching (typically from March through September, though you might be able to catch some early nesters around now), birding is one of the most popular and rewarding eco activities in Tobago. There are over two hundred recorded bird species on the island, including bananaquits, boobies, cocricos (one of T&T’s two national birds), frigatebirds, hummingbirds, rufous-tailed jacamars, kiskidees, bluebacked manikins, blue-crowned motmots, pelicans, tanagers, tropicbirds (which nest in Little Tobago from December to July), woodpeckers, and many others. Two of the best spots for bird-watchers are Little Tobago island, and the central Main Ridge Forest Reserve — which is also the oldest protected rainforest reserve in the western hemisphere (designated in 1776). Other rewarding sites include the Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve, a twelve-acre property in Arnos Vale — where birds swoop in for feedings at the ring of a bell — the Grafton Caledonia Wildlife Bird Sanctuary, with daily bird feedings, and the recently opened Corbin Local Wildlife Park. This flagship project of the International Natural Forestry Foundation (INFF) occupies twenty acres in the hills near Mason Hall, and incorporates captive breeding areas for rescued animals and threatened species. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Tobago’s Main Ridge is home to over two hundred bird species, like this parrot, swooping down on an immortelle tree

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Fort King George is one of the best preserved of Tobago’s historic sites — and enjoys some of the most impressive views

The historic view Historic sites are not only boons for heritage buffs — many also offer the most breathtaking views in the island, often out over the Caribbean Sea. In the hills above Scarborough, just over 450 feet above sea level, head up to Fort King George — the most impressive of Tobago’s forts, and perhaps the best preserved of the island’s historic sites. Here you’ll find the Tobago Museum, housed inside the old guard barracks, which displays relics from the island’s ancient and colonial past, including First Peoples artefacts, maps, photographs, and military memorabilia. Keeping company with the museum are cannon, a military cemetery, the old chapel and cellblock, and stunning views of Scarborough, Bacolet, and up the windward coast. Other forts that boast relaxing sea views include Fort Bennett (overlooking Stonehaven Bay), Fort James (overlooking Great Courland Bay), Fort Milford (overlooking Store Bay), and Granby 86

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Point (overlooking Barbados and Pinfold Bays). But old military sites aren’t the only spots laying claim to picture-postcard views. Among my favourites is the view of Parlatuvier Bay as you drive north along the Northside Road (on the leeward coast). Further north, near Charlotteville, there’s Flagstaff Hill. This was once a Second World War American military lookout and radio tower. It has an appropriately panoramic view, encompassing Charlotteville, the St Giles Islands, and further south along the leeward coast. n

Caribbean Airlines operates numerous daily flights to Arthur N.R. Robinson International Airport in Tobago from Trinidad, with connections to other Caribbean and North American destinations.


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NEIGHBOURHOOD

Roseau, Dominica The picturesque capital of the “Nature Isle” retains a small-town French Creole atmosphere, with its historic architecture, dense grid of streets, and the backdrop of Dominica’s spectacular mountains

History The earliest known community on this site, at the mouth of the Roseau River, was a Kalinago (or Carib) village called Sairi. Long overlooked by European colonising powers, the island of Dominica was permanently settled by the French in 1690, who chose the Kalinago village as their headquarters, and renamed it for the reeds growing along the river. Under French and, after 1763, British control, Roseau was laid out in a neat grid of streets, with the Old Market as the original centre. Though the city’s built-up area has spread into nearby suburbs — like Newtown to the south and Goodwill to the north — Roseau remains relatively compact, sandwiched between the Caribbean Sea and the foothills of Dominica’s dramatic mountainous interior.

Thirsty?

steve bennett / uncommoncaribbean.com

Near the Roseau waterfront, the eccentric Ruins Rock Café is definitely not your typical bar or rumshop. First of all, the location: literally in the ruins of a burned-out historic building, now roofed against the elements. Then there’s the drinks: not just the usual tropical cocktails, but a hair-raising, palate-bracing menu of locally distilled bush rums, with flavours ranging from the relatively straightforward — cinnamon, ginger — to exotics like sea grape, to others that sound like you should drink them only on a serious dare: grasshopper, centipede, snake. Safer, but in its own way no less deadly, is the famous rum punch.

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Streetscape

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French Creole influence dominates Roseau’s traditional architecture — steep-pitched roofs, intricate wooden fretwork, shuttered jalousie windows, shady verandahs and arcades. A handful of British Georgian-inspired buildings are also scattered throughout the historic centre, alongside modern structures of all descriptions, some borrowing traditional decorative elements. Though central Roseau is laid out on a more or less regular grid, the narrow streets and tiny blocks can give the impression of a labyrinth, with surprises round every corner. It is notoriously easy for visitors to get lost, especially in the area known as the French Quarter. The Old Market, now a pedestrianised square, is still the city’s central point, marked by a red-painted cross. Just west of central Roseau, the dense warren of streets gives way to the Botanical Gardens, founded in 1890, and long considered one of the Caribbean’s finest. Apart from the collection of trees and other plants from across the tropical world, this is the headquarters for the conservation programme protecting Dominica’s two rare endemic parrot species, the sisserou and the jacko.

Co-ordinates 15.3º N 61.4º W Sea level

Venturing out

DOMINICA

Roseau

As befits the capital of the Caribbean’s “Nature Isle”, Roseau is surrounded by green — a backdrop of precipitous hills and mountains. Less than five miles from the centre of the city are the twin Trafalgar Falls, with cold and hot cascades (the latter volcanically heated) plunging side by side. There’s a hiking trail, a viewing platform for photos, and natural rock pools for swimming and splashing. Or, heading south instead of west, a five-mile drive will take you to the village of Scotts Head, near Dominica’s southern tip — gateway to the Soufrière–Scotts Head Marine Reserve, one of the Caribbean’s most famous dive sites. A dive, snorkel, or swim over Champagne Reef is one of Dominica’s unmissable experiences. Vents in the sea floor release a continuous fizz of volcanic gases, heating the water to bathtub temperature and creating a natural Jacuzzi effect.

The Rhys tour

arun madisetti / images dominica

The writer Jean Rhys — born Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams — may be Dominica’s most celebrated child of the soil, even though she left the island at the age of seventeen and spent her life elsewhere. Her childhood Roseau home, a wooden house on the corner of Independence Street and Cork Street, still stands, slightly battered-looking. Elsewhere in the city, you can visit St George’s Anglican Church, where Rhys was christened, and the site of the convent school near the Roman Catholic cathedral which Rhys attended (and described in her novel Wide Sargasso Sea).

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua, with connections on other airlines to Dominica WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Advertorial

The Bahamas Home to the one and only Junkanoo Carnival

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he debate on the merits of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival goes on, but the positives can’t be denied! The inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival in May 2015 was a huge success, and brought smiles of joy to many a sceptic. Thousands of people flocked to our beautiful Bahama shores to participate in the newest cultural extravaganza in the region. An estimated ninety thousand revellers from the Family Islands of The Bahamas, several countries in the Caribbean, the Americas, and places as farflung as the UK, Europe, Australia, and China converged at Clifford Park for a smorgasbord of culture, creativity, and cuisine. And they weren’t disappointed — in fact, the word is that this “new kid on the block” event exceeded all expectations and created a thirst for more.

Thousands of people flocked to our beautiful Bahama shores to participate in the newest cultural extravaganza in the region Mandated by Prime Minister Perry Christie to produce an epic festival which would redound to the benefit of Bahamian entrepreneurs, young cultural ambassadors, and fledgling artistes, Chairman of the Bahamas Festival Commission Paul Major, his Chief Executive Officer Roscoe Dames, and the other Commissioners worked really hard to put together an unforgettable experience for all to enjoy. Of course, the Commission was fully aware of the daunting task ahead — but the excitement of Bahamians having their own Carnival was too enticing, and numerous persons from New Providence and many of our Family Islands flocked to be involved in costume production, cultural presentations, and gourmet creations to tantalise the tastebuds of the world.

An essential and irreplaceable ingredient of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival is the unique infusion of the indomitable Junkanoo spirit, culture, and drive of our dedicated, devoted, and experienced Junkanoos into the unadulterated passion, abandon, and free-spiritedness of lyrical latitude and prancing in the streets. The combination is electrifying! But you’ll experience it for yourself only if you join us for the Carnival Kick-Off in Freeport, Grand Bahama, in April and the grand finale in Nassau in early May. While wending your way back home with strains of melodious Music Masters in your head, you’ll also be saying Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival really got it going on! Come, see for yourself: “Bahamas got carnival too! Oh yeah!” For further information, please visit bahamasjunkanoocarnival.com or bahamas.com Written by Elaine Monica Davis

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T photography / Shutterstock.com

ROUND TRIP

Carnival planet The pre-Lenten Carnival season, celebrated across the Caribbean, isn’t unique to our region. Carnival is a global phenomenon, with festivities at this time of year on five continents — and usually in countries and cities with a “creole” cross-cultural history

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil It’s the world’s biggest Carnival — with over two million revellers on the streets — and probably the most famous. Carnival is celebrated in cities across Brazil, but the most spectacular of them all is in Rio, the former capital. And the centre of attention is the Sambadrome, a canyon-like parade route lined with spectators gathered to watch the energetically choreographed procession of the samba schools, escorting gigantic floats with historical and political themes. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Massimo Calmonte (www.massimocalmonte.it) / GETTY IMAGES

Venice, Italy Distinctive masks hand-made from glass or porcelain give Carnival celebrations in Italy’s city of canals an eerie atmosphere, in keeping with the winter fogs that swirl in from the Adriatic Sea. Venice’s long history as a crossroads of trade between Europe and Asia inspires elaborate costumes that blend medieval and Renaissance touches with fantastic visual elements. Traditional mask styles suggest a range of traditional characters: such as the Plague Doctor with his long nose, or Pantalone, Colombina, and Arlecchino from the Commedia dell’arte, or the ghostly, stark-white volto. 92

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MIC DAX

Mindelo, Cape Verde Off the west coast of Africa, the island nation of Cape Verde shares a history of Portuguese colonisation with Brazil and Goa — and the annual Carnival is a close cousin as well. The traditional centre is the port city of Mindelo, where tens of thousands of revellers gather for samba-inspired music, and costumes that range from pretty feather-and-sequin creations to head-to-toe layers of paint, mud, or oil, recalling J’Ouvert celebrations across the Atlantic in the Caribbean.

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Dinodia Photo / PASSAGE / GETTY

Goa, India A Portuguese colony on India’s west coast for over four centuries, the state of Goa has a unique hybrid culture, exemplified by the annual Carnival celebrations, centred in Panjim. Presided over by King Momo, a deity of revelry, Goa Carnival began in the eighteenth century. Troupes of masqueraders accompany floats through the streets, ending with a famous red-and-black dance. Meanwhile, in the state’s rural districts, Catholic families celebrate the pre-Lenten “farewell to the flesh” with music, feasting, and house-to-house processions. 96

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Binche, Belgium Near the border with France, the Belgian town of Binche is home to one of Europe’s most distinctive Carnivals, where hundreds of local men don identical costumes of wax masks, striped linen suits, and wooden clogs to represent the character of Gilles. Dancing to the beat of drums, the Gilles carry bunches of twigs, said to ward off evil. After assembling at the town hall, the Gilles trade their masks for towering headdresses of ostrich plumes, and throw oranges into the crowds of spectators — tokens of good luck. 98

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Cape Town, South Africa Unlike most other Carnivals profiled here, Cape Town’s Minstrel Carnival falls not in the days before Lent, but at the start of the New Year, on 2 January. With its heart in the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood (or Malay Quarter) at the foot of Signal Hill, the Minstrel Carnival began during the era of slavery and evolved over two centuries into a commemoration of Cape Town’s creole culture, reinvigorated after the end of Apartheid. Like traditional minstrel characters in Trinidad Carnival, Cape Town’s minstrel troupes were influenced by nineteenth-century minstrel bands from the United States — subverting a racist tradition and transforming it into a celebration of the mixed-race “Cape Coloured” community and its perseverance. 100 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Rapport / GALLO IMAGES / GETTY

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gary yim / Shutterstock.com

Oruro, Bolivia Long before the modern Carnival, the city of Oruro in the Bolivian Andes was a centre of religious pilgrimage for indigenous peoples. Officially banned by Spanish colonisers in the seventeenth century, the annual Itu festival was continued by indigenous locals under the guise of a Catholic ceremony on the feast of Candlemas. Today’s Carnival retains these religious elements — and also reflects the region’s dominant industry, silver mining — paying homage to the Virgen del Socavón, the Virgin of the Mineshaft, patroness of miners. Dozens of traditional dances include the Diablada, whose performers wear alarming devil costumes with bulging eyes. 102 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Siouxsnapp / Shutterstock.com

New Orleans, United States Mardi Gras festivities in Louisiana — then a French colony — date back to 1699, predating the founding of New Orleans. Opening on 6 January, the Mardi Gras season includes weeks of masked balls and parades, culminating on Fat Tuesday itself. Spectators vie for “throws,” trinkets like beads and wooden coins, flung into the crowds by revellers riding on decorated floats. Another distinctive element: “tribes” of Mardi Gras Indians from New Orleans’ black communities, in costumes influenced by Native Americans, performing traditional dances and songs — cousins of Trinidad Carnival’s fancy Indians. n

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Eric Baker / shutterstock.com

LAYOVER

At just over one hundred square miles, and famous for its reputed 365 beaches — one for each day of the year — Antigua is both a popular holiday destination, home to some of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts, and a common hub for intra-regional travellers. It’s also just small enough for you to get out of the airport on a long layover and enjoy a taste of the landscape and culture, before you board your connecting flight.

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A day to spare on a business trip? Head out of St John’s to English Harbour on Antigua’s south coast, and explore a historic site that was once the main Royal Navy base in the West Indies. Alongside the Nelson’s Dockyard Museum buildings, you’ll find a yachting marina, restaurants, and nightspots. Where better to taste the Antiguan rum that once helped Britannia rule the waves? A Saturday morning in St John’s before your afternoon flight? Head to Market Street, where Saturday vendors offer everything from famously sweet Antigua black pineapples to homegrown herbs, souvenirs, and tasty street food. It’s a chance to pick up some bargains and some local gossip at the same time.

Lawrence Roberg / shutterstock.com

Alessandro Lai / shutterstock.com

History buff? Also within easy reach of the airport are the restored windmills of Betty’s Hope plantation, now run as a museum. The interpretive centre tells the story of the island’s sugar industry, run for centuries using the labour of enslaved Africans. Also in the vicinity: the historic churches of St Peter and St George.

Or, with a whole afternoon to while away, head into the capital, St John’s, and to Redcliffe Quay, where a cluster of historic Georgian buildings on the waterfront have been converted to restaurants and quaint shops offering local goods. Lunch and a spot of shopping? Why not?

ATGImages / Shutterstock.com

courtesy cecIlia’s cafe

The nice thing about island airports: sometimes there’s a beach practically on the terminal doorstep. Like Dutchman’s Bay, a few minutes’ drive from V.C. Bird International Airport, where the popular Cecilia’s Café offers not just delicious food and drink, but a changing room with showers, where you can slip into and out of your bathing suit. Why spend hours inside the airport when you could be having a swim?

courtesy key properties

Near the northern end of the Leeward Islands, Antigua is a frequent hub for Caribbean travel. Our guide to exploring the island when time is tight


courtesy megapower barbados

engage

100 Electric avenues The Deal

102 The remains of the Danes On This Day

Barbados leads the Caribbean region in adopting environmentally friendly electric vehicles

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THE DEAL

Electric avenues

Around the world, entrepreneurs are investing in electric cars as the transport of the future. But are they taking off in the Caribbean? Shelly-Ann Inniss investigates Photograph by Nerhuz / Shutterstock.com

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ome of my fondest childhood memories involve cars. My father and I used to play a game called “guess that car” — down to the year of the vehicle. I wanted my own car very badly, so my parents bought me several toy versions. What I really desired was a remote-controlled car, but that was an extravagance my parents didn’t indulge. Luckily, in my adult years, technology has exponentially evolved. Now those remote-controlled cars have morphed

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into full-fledged stylish, economical, fast, smart, road-worthy electric vehicles — minus the remote and with a much bigger battery — and they seem ideal for the Caribbean, due to the size of our islands and our abundant renewable energy resources, like sunlight. Pure or one-hundred-per-cent electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by energy stored in their rechargeable batteries, or other energy storage devices. Fundamentally, engines, gas tanks, oil filters, and tail pipes are non-existent in these vehicles,


which makes EVs one of the cleanest forms of transport. No more changing of gears, either. With electricity comes acceleration, and it’s instant, smooth, and exhilarating. Some people have “range anxiety,” and worry about running out of battery power before reaching their destination — but the drive range of an average EV is approximately one hundred miles on a single charge. Given the average mileage on daily commutes and the size of most Caribbean islands, a full charge may last up to three days. It also costs less to recharge than to fill up at the gas pump, and the added value is that there’s little maintenance cost over the lifetime of the vehicle — the only servicing these vehicles need is tyre alignment, changing the wipers, and new batteries every six to eight years. Some Caribbean drivers have already become early adopters of these cars, and it’s possible they won’t even check their rear-view mirrors to see what the old internal combustion engine vehicle is up to. In 2009, Cayman Automotive pioneered the presence of EVs in the Caribbean. They also fostered EV rentals as a tourism product in the Cayman Islands. From there, the rest of the Caribbean gradually took interest, thus leading to the first-ever Caribbean International Electric Auto show in 2012, hosted in Cayman. Almost like passing the baton in a relay, other islands began running with the idea, researching and putting measures in place to introduce these vehicles. Today you’ll also find EVs in Aruba, Trinidad, Grenada, St Vincent, Montserrat, Cuba, Bermuda, St Lucia, Guyana, and the Bahamas. And currently leading the way, with over 160 privately owned EVs, is Barbados. At the 2015 Caricom energy conference, it was announced that Barbados is ranked sixth in the world in percentage of EVs relative to total vehicles in the country. Barbados is just 166 square miles, hence making an encounter with an EV, or one of the thirty-nine available charging stations, almost inevitable. Joanna Edghill, managing director of Megapower, believes Barbados and the islands of the OECS don’t have an argument for

hybrid vehicles — a cross between an EV and a gas-fuelled vehicle — like larger countries. Megapower is Barbados’s only specialist EV garage, and is considered an infrastructure expert, over and above EVs — especially with their advanced solar carports. Their concept is to offset the charging of EVs with renewable energy: the net effect is to pump sufficient solar power into the grid to offset pulling electricity from it. The solar energy generated using this method can reduce your electricity bill or reward you with credits. Grenada Electricity Ser vices Ltd (Grenlec), in partnership with Megapower and supported by the Grenada government, embarked on an EV pilot project in September 2015, to obtain relevant data on the use of EVs in their local environ-

National Gas Company also recently invested TT$150 million in compressed natural gas (CNG) infrastructure: the construction of CNG stations, the conversion of vehicles to CNG, and public education and marketing. With over eight hundred thousand licensed vehicles on Trinidad and Tobago’s roads, approximately four thousand are CNG vehicles — including thirty-five buses owned by the Public Transport Service Corporation. So EVs may be not be a high priority on the T&T government’s agenda at the moment — but the Trinidad-based company Smart Energy believes that CNG vehicles will soon be surpassed by EVs. Smart Energy CEO Ian Smart is adamant that renewable technology is the way of the future. His company launched EVs in Trinidad by introducing the Tesla. Costing upwards of US$100,000, these are sleek, highend, luxurious EVs with advanced features like auto-pilot, automatic software updates, and other innovative technology. “I’m not sure the world fully recognised what Tesla meant when they said their cars are full robots that can drive themselves,” says Kurt Valley, a sales executive at Smart Energy. He compared this world-changing development to when the Internet was first designed and people didn’t know what it could lead to. At present, EVs are making a parade lap, as people become more aware of their environmental benefits. Since the Paris Agreement on climate change has become international law — putting caps on global emissions and establishing guidelines for international collaboration — it’s probable there’ll soon be a greater demand for EVs. Here in the Caribbean, Caricom continues to develop policies for sustainable transport. And with government support — and perhaps the incorporation of EVs as public service vehicles — there’s a strong chance that within the next decade these vehicles will be widespread in our region, gradually pushing old-fashioned internal combustion vehicles to the back of the lot. It certainly seems like EVs are in the fast lane, driving towards a brighter, cleaner future. n

Electric vehicles seem ideal for the Caribbean, due to the size of our islands and our abundant renewable energy resources, like sunlight ment. Preliminary data show savings of fifty per cent of the cost of gas. And although the power plant that generates electricity does produce emissions, EVs operate at a much higher efficiency, and therefore produce fewer pollutants than gas-powered vehicles.

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owards the shift to sustainable transport, other governments are actively encouraging EVs as a viable option, either waiving the import duty and VAT, or reducing motor vehicle taxes. According to Edghill, the Barbados government has even purchased two Nissan Leaf EVs as part of a pilot project. Five years after its introduction, the Leaf became the world’s bestselling pure EV by surpassing two hundred thousand vehicles in December 2015. In Barbados, the cost of a brand new Leaf ranges from US$30,000 to US$33,000. On the other side of the track, Trinidad and Tobago may be a “backmarker” with EVs, thanks to subsidised gas. T&T’s

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on this day

The remains of the Danes The Danish West Indies? It’s a part of Caribbean history that’s little remembered today. James Ferguson explains how and why the Kingdom of Denmark got into the colonisation business — and sold its Caribbean possessions to the United States, exactly a century ago Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

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he Caribbean, as we know, is a part of the world with a long, complex, and quite often unpleasant colonial history. We also know who the main colonial powers were, and which islands and mainland territories they controlled. They were, of course, Spain (first to arrive on the scene, courtesy of an Italian navigator named Columbus), England (before union with Scotland created Britain), France, and the Netherlands. These four European nations accounted for the vast majority of Caribbean colonisation, and their West Indian assets changed hands at a regular rate during three centuries of superpower rivalry played out in the region. But there were other, less known, colonisers. Sweden owned the island of St Barthélemy from 1784 to 1898, while colonists from the now-disappeared Duchy of Courland (in present-day Latvia) had a precarious toehold in Tobago for five years before surrendering to the Dutch (who, in turn, relinquished the island to English forces). And then there were the Knights of Malta (or, to give them their full title, Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta), who between 1651 and 1665 ran St Barth, St Kitts, St Croix, and St Martin. This religious and chivalrous order, born out of the medieval crusading tradition and allied to early French colonisers, understandably favoured islands named after saints.

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Among the also-rans of Caribbean colon ia l i s m w a s a not he r u n l i k e ly European contender, but this one had greater staying power than those above. From 1672 until 1917, a small part of the Caribbean — the Virgin Islands — was ruled by another Scandinavian nation, Denmark, until in January of that year, exactly one hundred years ago, the Danes decided to sell up and move on. Back in the seventeenth century, though, every self-respecting European country wanted a tropical colony, mainly because domestic demand for sugar was seemingly insatiable, and the best way to ensure supply was to establish suga rca ne pla nt at ion s a nd i mpor t what they produced. The problem for Denmark, however, was that most of the Caribbean was already colonised. Several exploratory missions ended in fa ilu re, but t he Danes persevered, and in May 1672 founded a settlement on the island of St Thomas, dislodging a small contingent of Dutch traders (or pirates). To ensure the commercial viability of the venture, King Christian V had formed the Danish West India Company in 1671, a state-backed business that would manage the settlement and its plantations. It very nearly collapsed even before it had started. Of the 190 people on board the frigate Færøe, which sailed from Denmark — twelve officials, 116 company “employees” and sixty-two released criminals and ex-prostitutes — only 104 made it, seventy-seven dying en route and nine escaping. Another seventy-five died within a year, leaving just twenty-nine souls in the colony.

initially leased part of St Thomas to a slaving company based in Brandenburg (later Prussia), but in 1693 confiscated all the company’s assets and began importing slaves from Danish trading posts on the west coast of Africa, principally presentday Ghana. This initiated the classic “triangular trade” system, practised by other European powers: manufactured European goods were sent to Africa, where they were exchanged for slaves, who were brought to the Caribbean to produce sugar that was then shipped back to Europe. The heyday of Denmark’s Caribbean empire was probably at the end of the eighteenth century, when St Croix’s dynamic sugar industry depended on some twenty thousand enslaved Africans. The two-thousand-strong white population consisted of many European nationalities,

already under pressure from European beet production. Exports and prices plummeted, while the formerly enslaved were forced to work for a pittance as “free” labourers. What had started as a dream of cheap sugar and prosperity now turned into an economic nightmare, where the Danish government was subsidising its failing and rebellious colonies. Eager to cut its losses, Denmark entered into negotiations with the United States over the islands’ sovereignty in 1867. Several agreements were reached and then abandoned, but the Americans’ desire to increase their presence in the region (Puerto Rico had been acquired from Spain in 1898) was matched by Denmark’s wish to withdraw gracefully. The tipping point came with the First World Wa r a nd t he sinking by Germany of the Lusitania in May 1915. The US administration was fearful that Germany could use the Danish Virgin Islands as a base for submarine operations in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Secretar y of State Robert Lansing made his feelings clear to the Danish authorities: if they were unw illing to agree to a peaceful transition, the US would simply occupy the territories. Not surprisingly, a deal was quickly struck. Signed by President Woodrow Wilson on 16 January, 1917, the agreement came into force three months later, with the transfer to Denmark of US$25 million in gold coin (nearly US$550 million in current value). Five days later, the United States declared war on Germany. So began a new chapter in the history of what were now the US Virgin Islands, whose people are technically American citizens but cannot vote in presidential elections. Support for independence is minimal, even though poverty remains stubbornly prevalent. But with the advent of the mass tourism industry, financial services, and a growing high-tech sector, the worst days of these islands are long in the past. And Denmark, today a model of liberal European values, can now also forget its less than glorious foray into empire-building. n

Back in the seventeenth century, every self-respecting European country wanted a tropical colony, mainly because domestic demand for sugar was seemingly insatiable

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rom this unpromising start, the Danish venture not only survived, but even began to expand. In 1675 the neighbouring island of St John was annexed (the third territory, St Croix, would be purchased from the French in 1733, bringing the entire area of the three-island group to 133.73 square miles). But life was still precarious, with frequent pirate raids and inadequate manpower to make the plantation system viable. The solution was slavery, and the Danes

and English was more widely spoken than Danish. But after a series of slave revolts was met with harsh repression, the French Revolutionary Wars resulted in the British occupying St Thomas for a year from 1801. The subsequent upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars led to another period of British occupation, with St Thomas and St Croix ruled from London between 1807 and 1815. These events ended the distinctively Danish identity of the islands. Some aspects of Scandinavian culture might have survived in architecture and food, but new settlers, particularly after the abolition of slavery in 1848, included indentured Indian plantation workers and others who made St Croix more cosmopolitan. St Thomas, meanwhile, was almost a British colony, with its bustling free port — “the emporium of the Antilles” — home to the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. Abolition, however, had effectively crippled the sugar industry,

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puzzles

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SPOT THE DIFFERENCE by James Hackett

There are 10 differences between these two pictures. How many can you spot?

Spot the Difference answers Woman’s visor has a pattern; there are different details between the steelpan sticks; bandanna on the left has a pattern; woman’s top has different details; hair shape is slightly different; pan notes are aligned differently; there is an earring on the woman to the right; background is different; skirts are different colours; woman on the right has knuckle details.

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WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 113

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81% (2016 year-to-date: 7 December)


Caribbean Airlines CARIBBEAN Trinidad Head Office Airport: Piarco International Reservations & information: + 868 625 7200 (local) Ticket offices: Nicholas Towers, Independence Square, Port of Spain; Golden Grove Road, Piarco; Carlton Centre, San Fernando Baggage: + 868 669 3000 Ext 7513/4

Antigua Airport: VC Bird International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing: VC Bird International Airport Hours: Mon – Fri 8 am – 4 pm Baggage: + 268-480-5705 Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun, or + 268 462 0528 Mon, Wed, Sat. Hours: Mon – Fri 4 am – 10 pm

Barbados Airport: Grantley Adams International Reservations & information: 1 246 429 5929 / 1 800 744 2225 (toll free) City Ticket Office: 1st Floor Norman Centre Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados Ticket office hours: 6 am – 10 am & 11 am – 7 pm daily Flight Information: + 1 800 744 2225 Baggage: + 1 246 428 1650/1 or + 1 246 428 7101 ext. 4628

Grenada Airport: Maurice Bishop International Reservations & Information: 1 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing: Maurice Bishop International Main Terminal Baggage: + 473 439 0681

Jamaica (Kingston) Airport: Norman Manley International Reservations & information: + 800 523 5585 (International); 1 888 359 2475 (Local) City Ticket Office: 128 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6 Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30 am – 5.30 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm Airport Ticket Office: Norman Manley Airport Counter #1 Hours: 3.30 am – 8 pm daily Baggage: + 876 924 8500

Jamaica (Montego Bay) Airport: Sangster International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing at check-in counter: 8.30 am – 6 pm daily Baggage: + 876 363 6433

/ Across the World

Nassau Airport: Lynden Pindling International Terminal: Concourse 2 Reservations & information: + 1 242 377 3300 (local) Airport Ticket Office: Terminal A-East Departure Hours: Flight days – Sat, Mon, Thurs 10 am – 4 pm Non-flight days – Tues, Wed, Fri 10 am – 4 pm Flight Information: + 1 242 377 3300 (local) Baggage: + 1 242 377 7035 Ext 255 9 am – 5 pm daily

St Maarten Airport: Princess Juliana International Reservations & information: + 1721 546 7660/7661 (local) Ticket office: PJIA Departure Concourse Baggage: + 1721 546 7660/3 Hours: Mon – Fri  9 am – 5 pm / Sat 9 am – 6 pm

Baggage: + 407 825 3482

New York Airport: John F Kennedy International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Concourse B, Terminal 4, JFK International – open 24 hours (situated at departures, 4th floor) Baggage: + 718 360 8930

Toronto Airport: Lester B Pearson International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticket office: Terminal 3 Ticketing available daily at check-in counters 422 and 423. Available 3 hours prior to departure times Baggage: + 905 672 9991

St Lucia Airport: George F L Charles Reservations & information: 1 800 744 2225 Ticket office: George F.L. Charles Airport Ticket office hours: 10 am – 4 pm Baggage contact number: 1 758 452 2789 or 1 758 451 7269

Tobago Airport: ANR Robinson International Reservations & information: + 868 660 7200 (local) Ticket office: ANR Robinson International Airport Baggage: + 639 0595 / 631 8023 Flight information: + 868 669 3000

NORTH AMERICA

SOUTH AMERICA Caracas Airport: Simón Bolívar International Reservations & information: + 58 212 3552880 Ticketing: Simón Bolívar International Level 2 – East Sector Hours: 7 am – 11 pm City Ticket Office: Sabana Grande Boulevard, Building “Galerias Bolivar”, 1st Floor, office 11-A, Caracas, Distrito Capital + 58 212 762 4389 / 762 0231 Baggage: + 58 424 1065937

Guyana Fort Lauderdale Airport: Hollywood Fort Lauderdale International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Terminal 4 – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – 7 am to 6 pm) Baggage: + 954 359 4487

Airport: Cheddi Jagan International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticket office: 91-92 Avenue of the Republic, Georgetown Baggage: + 011 592 261 2202

Suriname Miami Airport: Miami International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: South Terminal J – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – 11.30 am to 3.00 pm); Baggage: + 305 869 3795

Orlando Airport: Orlando International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Terminal A – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – Mon/Fri 10:30 am – 1.30 pm  Tue/Thur 12.30 pm – 3.30 pm)

Airport: Johan Adolf Pengel International Reservations & information: + 597 52 0034/0035 (local); 1 868 625 6200 (Trinidad) Baggage: + 597 325 437


737 onboard Entertainment — JANUARY/FEBRUARY Northbound

Southbound

J ANUARY

Queen of Katwe

The Hollars

A young girl from the streets of rural Uganda is introduced to the game of chess and cultivates a dream of becoming an international chess champion.

When John Hollar returns to his hometown as his mother needs brain surgery, he attempts to straddle the line between his old life and his current one.

David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o, Madina Nalwanga • director: Mira Nair • drama • PG • 124 minutes

Sharlto Copley, Charlie Day, Richard Jenkins • director: John Krasinski • comedy, family • PG-13 • 89 minutes

Northbound

Southbound

FEBRUARY

Pete’s Dragon

Central Intelligence

An orphaned boy named Pete embarks on an adventure with his best friend Elliot, who just happens to be a dragon.

When a fast-talking accountant reconnects with an old high school acquaintance, he finds himself drawn into a world of shootouts and espionage.

Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence • director: David Lowery • fantasy, adventure • PG-13 • 102 minutes

Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Amy Ryan • director: Rawson Marshall Thurber • comedy, adventure • PG-13 • 107 minutes

Audio Channels Channel 5 • The Hits

Channel 7 • Concert Hall

Channel 9 • Irie Vibes

Channel 11 • Calypso

Channel 6 • Soft Hits

Channel 8 • East Indian Fusion

Channel 10 • Jazz Sessions

Channel 12 • Steelband Jamboree


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parting shot

This old house One of the treasures of Cuba’s capital is the concentration of historic architecture in Old Havana, reflecting five centuries of evolving style and taste — boasting everything from colonial baroque to early twentieth-century Art Deco, and ranging from the picturesquely crumbling to the meticulously restored. Photography by jedamus / Shutterstock.com

120 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM



Caribbean Beat — January/February 2017 (#143)