Calypso in the Spotlight at Grenada’s Camerhogne Festival

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - December 6, 2011

By Lincoln Depradine

The weekend had barely ended but cultural officials already had begun making preparations to create additional avenues for displaying Grenada’s traditional folk culture.

They have expressed deep satisfaction with the crowd attendance and the artists’ performances at the second annual Camerhogne Folk Festival held last weekend in  the town of  Sauteurs in St Patrick, Grenada’s northern-most parish.

“We are deeply satisfied with the weekend of culture,’’ said Senator Arley Gill, Minister of State responsible for culture. “All three days featured performances that were par excellence and people were appreciative and responsive. One couldn’t have asked for more.’’

The event was supported by funding from the government of Finland.

“The Finnish Ambassador who attended the festival was highly impressed with what he saw and has promised to seek ongoing support for the festival,’’ Gill said.

Saturday’s component of the weekend’s program featured appearances by visiting artists Tasha P, Black Stalin and Valentino.

Tasha P is the reigning Calypso Monarch of Dominica; Stalin is a former Calypso Monarch of Trinidad and Tobago; and Grenada-born Valentino – “The People’s Calypsonian’’ – has been living in Trinidad since age five.

Valentino, in between classics like “Stay Up Zimbabwe’’ and “Birds that Fly High,’’ said it was the first time he was visiting Sauteurs, where his grandmother was born.

The festival’s theme was, “Remembering Our African Tradition, and its motto was “Old Grenada, New Grenada – One Grenada.’’

That theme was highlighted in songs, drumming and drama;traditional games and the showcasing of the national dress of Grenada; the ritual sharing and eating of cooked food known as Saracca; as well as in traditional dances such as Quadrille, Tillingo, Bele, Kalinda, Temne, Pique and Chamba.

“One of the ideas we’re considering coming out of the Camerhogne Festival is to stage quarterly events nationwide to give greater visibility to our folk culture,’’ Gill said.

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