In Dominica, a New Look at Creole

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Above: Dominica (CJ Photo)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Next month, Dominica will be celebrating its annual World Creole Music Festival — one of the region’s major music festivals.

When the festival was first established in 1997, the aim was to explore more than Creole music, however — to examine Creole customs, cuisine, dress, food and heritage.

In a bid to do just that, Dominica will be holding a Creole Symposium and Exposition this year in the three days before the Music Festival.

“One of the things we initiated last year after WCMF and after Carnival was two short seminars where we looked at all of the factors affecting or associated with the festival to see how we could repackage and remodel the strengths of the festival, how we could build on the weaknesses and even eradicate the weaknesses associated with the festival to continue to make it fresh and as appealing to Dominicans and to overseas visitors alike,” said Tourism Minister Ian Douglas.

That led to the creation of this year’s symposium.

“It was not just when it was originally conceived, not just about the three nights of pulsating rhythms but much more than that,” he said. “It was about everything that makes us unique as a Creole People. We felt that we needed to go back to the original purpose for the festival.”

This year’s symposium will focus on the way Creole language and culture are developed and promoted, and to consider ways to give exposure to the Creole culture in the region, according to Gregory Rabess, who is coordinating the symposium.

The three-day conference will be held at the Arawak House of Culture in Dominica from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24.

So far, the symposium has confirmed the attendance of people from Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Lucia and even the Seychelles.

The hope is to make it an annual event.