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A love letter to doing everything for Trinidad Carnival #TBT

Published as part of the "Carnival is love" series in the Jan/Feb 2022 edition of Caribbean Beat Is a vibe coming outta we soulEverybody take up yuh roleThis year we playing brave and boldJumbies coming out ah dey hole— Machel Montano, “Jumbie” Picture it: Port of Spain, 2007. For a plucky twenty-something, it is the …

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Remembering Gillian Nathaniel-Balintulo

I was just going to do a short post on Facebook. But I realised there was too much to say. One of the things I cherish about the way I grew up is that all I saw was that steelbands could be and do anything; choirs could be and do anything; and women could be …

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Golden voices | Caribbean Beat

Originally written for and published in Caribbean Beat magazine in 2013 The half-century anniversary of Trinidad’s popular Marionettes Chorale It was all a little inevitable. My mother was the conductor, and my two godmothers were the executive management. Some of my best-established blackmailers are those who can recount me “conducting” from the audience as a pre-schooler, with …

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Love after love | Caribbean Beat

Originally written for and published in Caribbean Beat magazine in 2008 Painting the Spectrum: A Celebration of Love It takes a fair amount of courage to put on a film festival in the Caribbean. Resources are often limited in terms of funding, venues, and sourcing Caribbean-oriented material. Nevertheless, in the last few years, festivals have emerged in several …

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The books are back: the Caribbean Literary Festival | Caribbean Beat

Originally written for and published in Caribbean Beat magazine in 2007 Just in its second year, the Caribbean Literary Festival is set to return to Antigua this November. The festival was launched by Montserrat-born sisters Joy Bramble, founder of the Baltimore Times publishing company, and Pam Arthurton, founder of Carib-World Travel. They wanted to make a contribution to the …

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Songs of freedom | Caribbean Beat

Originally written for and published in Caribbean Beat magazine in 2007 This September, Geraldine Connor’s epic musical Carnival Messiah will be presented in a rather unusual setting. The mammoth production will be staged under a 1,000-seat big top on the lawn of the sprawling Harewood House, home of the Queen’s cousin the Earl of Harewood, and an estate …

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Jazzing up Jamaica | Caribbean Beat

Originally written for and published in Caribbean Beat magazine in 2007 June is jazz month in Jamaica, with the 17th Ocho Rios Jazz Festival continuing this year as the main attraction, running June 9-17. Founded back in 1991 by Sonny Bradshaw, the festival started as an experimental one-day event they called the Ocho Rios “Mini” Jazz …

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Review: Carnival Messiah (2004)

I had heard all the buzz, and I’d read the awful deconstructions in the press, and was eager to see how I felt about Carnival Messiah. As I expected, I could see where the strong feelings for and against the production had originated. The programme described it as a ‘two-hour spectacular’, but in reality, it was some three and a …

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