Sunday, July 22, 2012

Garifuna Workshop

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- Belizean Garifuna singer/musician James Lovell returned to his ancestral homeland of St Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, to continue the Garifuna Cultural Retrieval Workshop he started in 2011. 

Lovell will be joined later by accomplished dance/choreographer Erica Zuniga from Los Angeles. The 2011 workshop is sponsored by author Trish St Hill, James Cordice, Verna Arthur, Kyla Herbert, James Lovell and Eleanor Bullock. 

According to this year’s workshop promoter St Hill, the workshop will continue to focus on the Garifuna language, drumming, poetry, singing and dancing and will culminate with three concerts on August 17, 18 and 19. 

St Hill said this year the workshop will also focus on the food, because much of the Vincentian diet came from Garifuna heritage, but some foods that are heavily Garifuna are no longer being made in SVG or have taken on a different twist. This, said St Hill, is not unusual in any culture, but she said this year her contribution to the workshop would be to introduce the kids to some of those foods as well as show the Garifuna linkage between current foods in SVG and Central America.

St Hill went on to say that this year’s workshop recipients would also be vetted to receive several scholarships that would assist them in their education. There are many vetting criteria, she said, one of which would be the recipient’s ability to speak basic Garifuna salutations. She is currently working with SVG TV to show a video of the 2011 workshop. 

St Hill credits much of the groundwork for this year’s workshop to Anthony Theobalds at the Culture Department, who she said was an invaluable resource in getting things done on the ground. Additionally, she thanked former minister of culture Rene Baptize, Dr Cadrin Gill MD of Los Angeles, and The United Vincie Culture Group of Brooklyn for their support in making the workshop possible.

St Hill urged everyone to come out and see the Vincentian children display their natural Garifuna talents at the concerts and asked the Vincentian public to continue to grow culturally and to ensure that future generations are more knowledgeable about their culture than she was. 

She said it gives her much pleasure to see the eager faces of the children who participated in the workshop in 2011, and she hoped that individuals and organizations will work together to make this workshop possible year after year. She pointed out that there are many ways the Vincentian public can help either financially or with in-kind assistance.