Caribbean Datebook (September/October 2015)

Events around the Caribbean in September and October — from Young Talent at Jamaica’s National Gallery to St Lucia’s Jounen Kwéyòl

Detail of Village Crier (2015, C-print photo, 35 x 26 inches), by Cosmo WhyteWill Moreno PhotographyScene from Venice (2014), directed by Cuban Kiki Álvarez. Image courtesy TTFFOgala Lakota Nation flautist. Photograph by J J Kent (USA)Photograph courtesy Curaçao North Sea Jazz FestivalPhotograph by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.comPhotograph by Keith Sherwood / Shutterstock.comPal Pillai-IDI_IDI via Getty Images courtesy WICBPhotograph courtesy Coco Dance

Don’t miss . . .

Young Talent 2015

31 August to 14 November • National Gallery of Jamaica

Starting in 1985, and continuing at intervals of several years, Jamaica’s National Gallery has assembled a series of exhibitions focusing attention on the most promising young contemporary artists in and from Jamaica. The latest version of Young Talent includes ten artists under the age of forty, working in media ranging from painting to installation to textiles, some of whom will surely be among the Caribbean’s art stars of coming decades. Look out for works by Greg Bailey, Alicia Brown, Katrina Coombs, Di-Andre Caprice Davis, Domanie Denniston, Monique Gilpin, Howard Myrie, Richard Nattoo, Avagaye Osborne, and Cosmo Whyte.

How to get there? Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport from Caribbean and North American destinations

If you’re in . . .

. . . Belize: Carnival season

5 to 13 September • venues around Belize City

September is a hectic month for Belizeans, with over three weeks of activities for anyone’s taste. There’s the Battle of St George’s Caye Day celebration on 10 September, followed by Independence Day on the 21st — and we can’t forget Belize Carnival on 12 September. Though it’s not a public holiday, you’ll want to make sure the date is in your party calendar.

The September festivities start with a Panyard Concert on 5 September at the House of Culture, an early-nineteenth-century historical landmark. Next come the Senior and Junior Carnival King and Queen competitions on 6 September, at  Rogers Stadium. The King and Queen costumes are judged on creativity, mobility, and durability — and that’s before they even hit the stage. It leads up to the 216th anniversary of St George’s Caye Day, commemorating the 1798 battle in which English settlers repelled a Spanish invasion. Today it’s observed with regattas, parades, and parties. So it’s only natural that the fun just continues into Carnival weekend, with J’Ouvert and the search for the Road March winner on 12 September. Plus the fact that this year’s Independence Day falls on a Monday just means there’s more time to party.

. . . Trinidad and Tobago: trinidad+tobago film festival

15 to 29 September • venues around T&T

In the world of Caribbean arts festivals, surviving a decade is a noteworthy achievement. In its tenth anniversary year, the trinidad+tobago film festival rightfully plans to celebrate with a programme of special events, including a showcase of ten Caribbean film classics. A true Caribbean smorgasbord, these ten films cover four languages — English, Spanish, French, and Dutch — and nine different countries. They span twenty-five years of cinematic vision, from Cuba’s 1968 Memories of Underdevelopment to T&T’s 1974 Bim to the 1989 film What Happened to Santiago by Puerto Rican Jacobo Morales.

And the ttff’s new Caribbean Film Database is big news too: an online resource covering feature-length films made in and about the Caribbean which will allow anyone in the Caribbean film industry, and even academics, to have in one place a comprehensive guide to regional films, filmmakers, and festivals.

Meanwhile, a new Caribbean Film Mart will allow fifteen Caribbean filmmakers the opportunity to meet the movers and shakers in the international film industry over four days of meetings and networking events.

So there’s lots to toast at this year’s edition of the ttff — and so much more on the reel yet to come.

. . . Guyana: Rupununi Music & Arts Festival

18 to 20 September • Rock View Lodge, Annai

With 83,000 square miles of rainforest and savannah and less than a million inhabitants, Guyana is the perfect place to have an adventure. Visitors who travel to the country’s interior can traverse rivers, climb mountains, and explore the famous Rupununi region. It was there, while visiting Rock View Lodge in Annai, that Bob Ramdhanie imagined an “eco-oriented, camping, world music festival” — and so the Rupununi Music & Arts Festival began.

Now in its second year, the festival takes place over a mid-September weekend. And once again the culture, food, and music of the First Peoples of Guyana will be in the spotlight. Other highlights include performances by Guyanese Gavin Mendonca’s OBE, Ras Camo on the steel pan, Trevor Rogers’s Georgetown jazz quintet, and the Surama Cultural Group.

To truly enjoy this festival, it helps if you’re a committed outdoorsman, as it’s a BYOT affair — as in Bring Your Own Tent. So why not leave that laptop or smartphone behind, and let yourself be entertained by the great outdoors, and some of Guyana’s finest musical talent?

Event previews by Mirissa De Four

Super September

3 to 5 September
Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival
Piscadera Bay

John Legend and the Blind Boys of Alabama are among the headliners at this international music festival on one of the Caribbean’s most picturesque islands

15 August to 20 September
Moengo Festival of Visual Arts
Moengo, Suriname

A former bauxite mining town in Suriname’s hinterland is slowly becoming a major cultural centre, thanks to the efforts of artist Marcel Pinas and his associates

10 to 12 September
Nevis Marathon
Around Nevis

Charming Charlestown is the starting line for a full slate of long-distance race events, including full and half marathons, a 10K and a 5K. There are less strenuous ways to see Nevis, but why miss the thrill of the finish?

9 to 19 September
Caribbean Tales Film Festival
Royal Theatre, Toronto

Running parallel to the Toronto International Film Festival, CTFF makes sure TIFF’s globetrotting audience can experience the best of Caribbean filmmaking talent

20 September
Brooklyn Book Festival
Downtown Brooklyn, NYC

Caribbean writers always star in the lineup for NYC’s biggest free literary festival — no surprise, considering that Brooklyn is practically the Caribbean’s capital of the north. This year, look out for Jamaican Marlon James, Tiphanie Yanique of the US Virgin Islands, and Barbadian-American Naomi Jackson, among others

Awesome October

10 October to 1 November
Pakistan vs West Indies women’s tour
St Lucia and Grenada

Pakistan’s women’s cricket team travels halfway around the world to compete with their West Indies rivals, with four One-Day Internationals and three T20 matches at stake

11 October
NGC Bocas Lit Fest South
San Fernando, Trinidad

T&T’s festival of words and ideas makes its annual trip to the capital of South Trinidad, for a day of readings, debates, and performances

25 October
Jounen Kwéyòl
Venues around St Lucia

The climax of Creole Heritage Month falls on the last Sunday in October, a major celebration of St Lucia’s heritage. This year’s host communities are the villages of Boguis, Laborie, Ti Rocher, Micoud, and Canaries

30 October to 1 November
World Creole Music Festival
Windsor Park Stadium, Dominica

Promising “three nights of pulsating rhythms,” Dominica’s annual festival is a must for fans of the many musical genres of the Creole Caribbean

30 October to 1 November
COCO Dance Festival
Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain, Trinidad

The most innovative choreographers and companies in Trinidad’s thriving dance scene come together for a weekend of boundary-breaching performances