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Picture is a reproduction of THE INHERENT NOBILITY OF MAN by Carlisle Chang A mural of Independence destroyed by order of the State in 1976 . Reproduction of the image is with the consent of the estate of Carlisle Chang (deceased) Photographed by Noel Norton while the mural was being destroyed

 

 

CONVERSATIONS

(PREVIEWS)

 

 

 

 

A Banyan & Gayelle production 2010/11

 

 

 

 

 

DVDs of all these programmes are available

 

 

Pat Bishop

Pat Bishop is a Musician and Artist and holder of Trinidad & Tobago's highest award -The Trinity Cross. The pursuit of scholarship, and service to her country in fields as diverse as environmental education, Government economic policy and the development of Carnival represents but a small fraction of her pursuits and interests.

She has directed the Lydian Singers, one of the nation's premier choirs for thirty years. She has arranged and conducted most of the Nation's most accomplished and established steelbands and has been a tireless advocate of music literacy in the steelband movement, forming her own steelband section to accompany the Lydians.

She has just completed the production with Lydians and Lydian steel of the world's first performance of the entire Handel's Messiah with Steelband accompaniment.

 

 

 

 

Rubadiri Victor

Writer, Publisher, Musician, Artist, Commentator and Cultural Activist, Rubadiri Victor has distinguished himself as an ardent advocate for the recognition and recording of the legacy of lost generations of cultural elders and the enshrining of this legacy in the 'missing cultural institutions'.

 

 

 

Rawle Gibbons

Rawle Gibbons is a writer and dramatist. His Calypso Trilogy of plays was a landmark in the exploration of calypso, history and politics on stage. He was the first head of the Centre for Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies - St. Augustine, a post he held for 20 years.

Recently retired he runs a bookshop -The Blue Edition - with his wife Patricia and continues his research into Calypso, Orisha and the festival arts in the Caribbean with an eye to their dramatic components.

His abiding passion is education through drama and the folk and popular art forms. He recently produced a drama, The March to Caroni which documents the events of the 1970 revolution in Trinidad.

 

 

 

Frances-Anne Solomon

Frances-Anne Solomon is one of the most prolific of contemporary Caribbean filmmakers. Among her feature films are: What My Mother Told me, Peggy Su! and A Winter Tale. She has produced documentaries such as Reunion (about women from the West Indies serving in the armed forces during WWII) and television series such as the sitcom Lord Have Mercy.

Frances-Anne founded the Caribbean Tales film festival in Toronto, Canada, some five years ago and recently mounted The Best of Caribbean Tales film festival in Barbados. She has recently established Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution, a distribution company for Caribbean films. Through the Caribbean tales initiative Frances-Anne has focussed attention on the growing volume of films being produced in and by the region.

 

 

 

Kim Johnson

Historian and Journalist Kim Johnson's research and publications span Indian music in Trinidad and the Chinese contribution to Trinbagonian society. His major interest and the main focus of his work over the past decade has been the oral and pictoral history of the steelband. His interviews with pioneers and others in and around the movement together with the photographs and film that he has unearthed are powerful testament to what Kim has referred to as The Audacity of the Creole Imagination, the title of a film he has recently completed and are the subject of his forthcoming book, The Soul in Iron: The Genesis of the Steelband Movement in Trinidad 1939- 1951.

 

 

 

Pat Mohammed

A professor at the University of the West Indies at the Centre for Gender and Development studies, Pat Mohammed is among the pioneers of gender studies in the region and in the field of Caribbean Studies has become more and more engaged in studying the visual dimensions of the Caribbean experience.

She has produced a number of short films that explore the imaging of the Caribbean. Her film Coolie Pink and Green has attracted attention both in the region and in India. It won the most popular short film at the Trinidad & Tobago Film festival, 2009 and was screened at the opening of the Pravasi Film festival in new Delhi a few months ago.

 

 

 

Raymond Ramcharitar

Writer, Critic, Commentator and Journalist Raymond Ramcharitar  has distinguished himself for his insightful and often acerbic commentary on Literature and the arts and on the media.

He is the author of Breaking the News: Media and Culture in Trinidad and American Fall (poetry). His recent collection An Island Quintet was shortlisted for the Commonwealth new writers prize.

 

 

 

Tony Hall

Actor, Dramatist, Writer, Television Presenter, Filmmaker, Tony Hall, drawing from his experience working with catalyst theatre in Edmonton, Canada, continued his work in developing socially conscious, popular theatre and drama for social action in Trinidad where he has been working for the past thirty years. His play Jean and Dinah - who have been locked away in a world famous calypso since 1956, speak their minds publicly is acknowledged as a new Caribbean classic.

Tony has developed the Jouvay Process, used in many parts of the world for the teaching of acting and performance using among other concepts 'Jamette Consciousness'. In recent years he has been working on the development of feature films, not least among them a screen version of Jean and Dinah.

 

 

 

Raviji (Ravindranath Maharaj)

Founder of the Hindu Prachaar Kendra, a community cultural organisation, in Longdenville, Trinidad, Raviji has been a major influence on the articulation of the nature and role of the Hindu contribution in the Caribbean, especially among the younger generation of East Indian descent.

He has been a consistent activist in the cause of recognition of the place of Hindus in the history and culture of the region. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Trinidad & Tobago with responsibility for Art and Culture.

 

 

 

Paul Keens-Douglas

Paul Keens-Douglas, poet, storyteller, performer and media consultant is one of the best known and loved personalities in the Caribbean which he has criss-crossed, especially during the eighties and nineties, performing his stories and carrying with him his books, discs and video-productions.

Paul stands out among Caribbean cultural workers for the way he has combined prodigious talent with an astute capacity to handle the business side of his profession.

His stories have documented and celebrated ordinary, everyday, Caribbean life in a way that has endeared him to millions and assured his characters an enduring place in the hearts of Caribbean people everywhere.

 

 

 

Sunity Maharaj

Few in the last two decades have had as much influence on the way news is treated on the media in Trinidad & Tobago than Sunity Maharaj. She has been Editor and Editor in Chief of the Trinidad Express, Head of News on CCN TV6 and has been a veritable midwife in the creation of newsrooms in almost all the new television stations that have mushroomed in Trinidad in the last seven years. In 2003 she founded the Caribbean Newsroom, a company which provides production and consultancy services to the media.

She is presently Director of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies and editor of the influential T&T Review.

 

 

 

Marc Matthews

Award winning poet, storyteller, recording artist and actor, Marc Matthews has influenced a generation of performers and writers.

In 1973 Marc and Ken Corsbie as the groundbreaking DEM TWO and later with Henry Muttoo and John Agard as ALL AH WE criss–crossed the Caribbean playing to thousands in auditoriums, cinemas and schools exposing us to the wealth and joys of Caribbean literature and oral culture.

 

 

 

Christopher Cozier

Christopher Cozier is an artist and writer. He has participated in a number of exhibitions focused upon contemporary art in the Caribbean and internationally. Since 1989 he has published a range of essays on related issues in a number of catalogues and journals.

Cozier has taught at various institutions and works in collaboration with a number of younger developing artists, designers and illustrators. His work has consisted of multi- media projects, involving sound, video, live performances and installations, including drawings, constructions and appropriated objects. Christopher's works are in a number of collections both private and corporate in the USA, Europe, and Africa and in the Caribbean. The artist is a Senior Research Fellow at the Academy of The University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) and one of the collaborators in the experimental space, in Port of Spain, called Alice Yard.

He has been a central figure in the development of a discourse around art in the Post- Colonial Caribbean which while not endearing him to the local art establishment has created space for a new generation of Caribbean practitioners anxious to engage the world.

 

 

 

Mungal Patasar

Mungal Patasar has pioneered the fusion of Indian classical and traditional folk music with other Caribbean traditions. His band Pantar has achieved widespread success locally, regionally and internationally, especially in Europe.

Born into a musical family in Trinidad Mungal started playing music from a young age, mastering many instruments, both Indian and Western. He won the local Mastana Bahar television talent show playing the sitar and went on to India to study the instrument distinguishing himself in the discipline.

He was Director of Culture in trinidad and Tobago for three years, was awarded the Humming Bird Gold in the national awards of 1994 and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Trinidad and Tobago where he now serves as Distinguished Master Artist in Residence.

 

 

 

Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba)

Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba) is the Godfather of Rapso - talk or chant kaiso.

A graduate in Economics from the University of the West Indies, he was a founder of the Network Rhythm Band and associated enterprises, he is an actor, performer, composer and cultural activist.

He is President of the Copyright Organsiation of Trinidad & Tobago (COTT) and interim President of the Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO).

 

 

 

Ray Funk

Ray Funk is a State Court Judge in Alaska, but he is one of the world's foremost authorities on the international presence of Steelband, Kaiso and Mas' .

Fifteen years of exhaustive research, trolling the internet and a growing network of informants has yielded a treasure trove of documents, films and audio recordings which chronicle the way these Trinidadian cultural forms have influenced the cultural life of the globe.

Ray is in Trinidad frequently to show and share his latest finds and is a fellow of the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) with which he is presently working to produce a book on the mas' of Stephen and Elsie Lee Heung..

 

 

 

Wendell Manwarren

Wendell Manwarren is an actor, rapso artiste, music producer, masman, and Carnival bandleader whose theatrical productions have consistently won awards both locally and internationally.

Wendell has worked extensively with Peter Minshall and his Callaloo Company as creative assistant and as an actor with Nobel laureate, Derek Walcott.

He is in demand for workshops and presentations which articulate the complexity and richness of Caribbean culture to international audiences.

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Burton Sankeralli

Burton Sankeralli is a Theologian, Philosopher, writer, poet, cultural anthropologist and political and cultural activist. He is a founder of the Philosophical Society of Trinidad & Tobago and a keen observer and thinker on Caribbean matters past, present and future.

 

 

 

David Abdulah

David Abdulah was Chief Education Officer with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) for some thirty years and is now its General Secretary.

David has recently been appointed a Senator in the recently elected People's Partnership Government.

Despite decades on the pickets lines and as a political and cultural activist, David is well respected across the political spectrum for his reasoned, informed, astute and considered commentary and analysis of the events in the world around us. Consequently he is in demand by the media and he has been a columnist in the newspapers as well as a talk show host both on radio and on television.

 

 

 

 

Dennis 'Sprangalang' Hall

Dennis Hall is a Comedian, Actor and television and radio personality. As a comedian he has pioneered political and social commentary in local comedy; he has done more than most to demonstrate the creative possibilities of Trinidad & Tobago language. Those two attributes have naturally allied him to the kaiso fraternity and, besides producing his own Soca recordings, he has been a popular and much respected master of ceremonies in Calypso Tents for that past twenty years.

In the mid 1980s he developed a segment in the popular Gayelle television cultural magazine called 'Cultural Sprangalang' which quizzed viewers on local and Caribbean culture. The show's popularity led to Dennis being more widely known as 'Sprangalang'.

 

 

 

Samantha Pierre – A Special Tribute

Samantha Pierre was one of the Caribbean's most talented young storytellers, one of those extraordinary Caribbean artists who passionately take on board the traditions of their calling and reinterpreted them, made them live anew, in the light of current needs and circumstance.

She served as Artistic Director of Arts-in-Action, a community theatre unit of which she was a founder member and performed in storytelling festivals all over the Caribbean, North America and the UK. She was Master of Ceremonies for the Gimistory Storytelling Festival in Cayman for many years and pioneered the use of storytelling in the service of Parenting and Early Childhood Development for the Caribbean Child Support Initiative founding Storytelling for Early Childhood Parenting (STEPS) and her own initiative, Talk Anansi Storytelling Unit (TASU). her own.

Samantha died on September 14th 2010 at the age of 40.

 

 

 

 

Lester Efebo Wilkinson

Lester Efebo Wilkinson is a poet, playwright, diplomat and public servant. He is the recipient of many awards in the field of culture, a Vanguard Award from the National Drama Association of T&T (NDATT), a Pierrot award from Gayelle and was at one time Poet Laureate of Port of Spain.

Efebo has been Director of Culture in the Trinidad & Tobago Government, a Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Culture and Legal Affairs and Head of Cultural Affairs in the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM), playing a significant role in the mounting of the Caribbean Festival of the Arts (CARIFESTA) 5 & 6.

He has worked steadfastly in the democratisation of culture and in the public education and appreciation of our traditions and the ways in which those traditions can reinvigorate contemporary cultural practice.

Mr. Wilkinson has just returned from two years as Trinidad & Tobago's first resident Ambassador to Cuba.

 

 

 

 

Georgia Popplewell

Few people in the Caribbean have as much experience in all aspects of traditional and new media as Georgia Popplewell.

Fluent in the major languages of the region, Georgia has not been imprisoned, as many of us have been, in the Anglophone Caribbean. Instead, she has been an invaluable facilitator in the sharing of Caribbean stories through the many regional film festivals she has helped pioneer, through the major regional magazine, Caribbean Beat, or through quality television production.

In the last seven years she has concentrated on what has become know as 'new media'. She founded the region's first blogcast, Caribbean Free Radio, in 2005 and is now a Managing Director of Global Voices, a Netherlands based international citizen's media project.

 

 

 

 

Kumar Mahabir

Kumar Mahabir is a writer, and Anthropologist and cultural activist. Most of his work has centred on the cultural practices of the descendants of East Indian indenture in the Caribbean and the influence these practices and the culture that they evince has had and continues to have on the wider Caribbean civilisation.

he has a massive corpus of published work, books, magazines, and papers on a wide variety of cultural practice especially, traditional medicine, cuisine and religion. His abiding concern is to record and propagate the vanishing oral wisdom of his informants.

Kumar has established a publishing house and has, for the past ten years, published magazines to celebrate the annual Divali festival and Indian Arrival day.

 

 

 

 

Attilah Springer & Muhammad Muwakil

This episode of Eye to Eye features two guests who could be seen as representative of a new generation of social/cultural and political activism:

Attilah Springer is the daughter of two Trinidadian activist poets of national significance, Abdul Malik (deCoteau) and Pearl Eintou Springer. She is a journalist and was a weekly columnist in the Trinidad Guardian for many years. Attilah is presently the Head of News at Gayelle, attempting to pioneer a more relevant treatment of news on local television.

She is a passionate cultural and environmental activist and played a significant role in the campaign which halted plans to establish two aluminium smelters in South Trinidad.

Son of a Trinidadian political/cultural activist, Muhammad Muwakil is one of the most extraordinary of a new generation of Caribbean poets. He is a musician and radio and television presenter.

 

 

 

 

Errol Fabien

Errol Fabien is an actor, comedian, cultural entrepreneur, dedicated father of seven and, as a recovering addict himself, is a passionate advocate and activist in the cause of assisting addicts and families of addicts.

He is a co-founder of Gayelle The Channel, the region's first and still only television station which programmes 100% general Caribbean content 24/7 without relying on music videos. In the interest of full disclosure Errol has been a close associate of Christopher Laird for the past seven years of Gayelle's existence.

In recent months Christopher and Errol have passed on the management of Gayelle to a new generation and are now embarking on new enterprises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DVDs of all these programmes are available

 

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The Caribbean

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