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BARBADOS - National Cultural Foundation

CARIFESTA VIII - Cultural Diversity on show

The Blue, yellow and black was truly represented in Suriname during yesterday’s official opening ceremony of CARIFESTA VIII. For the 40 odd members of the Barbados contingent it was the perfect opportunity to show Suriname - it is Barbados we come from.

With characters deeply embedded in the Barbadian culture, like the Mother Sally, the Mauby woman, and the hawker, elements - that were in many ways reminiscent of Barbadiana.

The magnificent Palatial Gardens of President Ronald Runaldo Venetiaan was the staging ground for what was to be the parade of 30 plus nations and the showers that came could not put a damper on what was to be a truly spectacular event.

Colourful country delegations gathered at the nearby Palm Garden dressed in their respective ceremonial wear preparing for what would be a truly magnificent celebration.

CARIFESTA VIII will for the next 10 days showcase the region’s finest in Art, Drama, Music, Theatre craft, traditional medicines and Culinary Arts and Literary Arts symposia and consolidate the idea that we are one people divided only by the sea, but united in our camaraderie.

Bajan Night a blast

Opening night of the Grand Market of CARIFESTA VIII in Suriname - the Barbados contingent stole the show. The Mighty Gabby was in stellar form as usual performing hits a number of his hits - his trademark ‘Boots’ included. This number whipped the crowd into a frenzy with many of them singing and dancing long and with some even joining him on stage.

But the performances were not limited to performances from the island’s cultural ambassador. No - they were treated to a sneak peak at what they could expect on Tuesday at Ons Erf during the Barbados theatrical presentation - Praise Song for Bruce. But the night’s presentation was not solely limited to song and dance; there were also on show the stylings of designer, Wayne Smith.

However, Bajan night at the Grand Market was about much more than song, dance and fashion; there was the craft market, book fair and visual arts exhibition. These were well represented; receiving visits from Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Senator John Williams, Former Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Dr. Allyson Leacock and Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Edwin Carrington. Of note was the fact that within the craft market, apart from the official Barbados delegation, Ireka Jalani and her Roots and Grasses of Barbados crew ably represented the island’s craft sector; coming on her own steam.

The Closing ceremony

In much the same fashion that Carifesta VIII opened in Paramaribo Suriname, it closed. With a sense of pride, dignity and the peace of mind that the people of the Caribbean were one - but with many cultures.

The closing ceremony started with a series of four parades of countries from various point in the city culminating on the palatial gardens. Accompanying each parade were the Suriname’s top brass bands, which provided for a rhythmically charged atmosphere.

As was the case during the opening ceremony, Barbados was not to be left one, making the presence of the blue, yellow and black felt once more as the parade snaked through the city.

It all climaxed after 8.30 with a dramatic fireworks display and the music of South South West, belting out the top Square One and Krosfyah hits of the last two to three years.

As to where Carifesta IX will be held next time around, we’ll just have to wait and see.


Extracts compliments of the National Cultural Foundation, Barbados.



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