At 10 am today in the Supreme Court, an inter-parties hearing will take place between unusual opponents: Roman Catholic Bishop of Belize Monsignor Dorrick Wright and Jamaican dancehall star and journalism student Earlan Bartley, 20, also known as “Alkaline,” reports.

Alkaline is in Belize to perform concerts in San Ignacio and Dangriga as well as a pool party over the Independence holiday weekend as part of his “Live Life Tour.”

But the Cayo event is scheduled for the Sacred Heart College Auditorium, which was rented out by school management.

An angry Bishop Wright fired off a press release today, scolding the school for providing the venue to a performer who he says has been harshly criticized by his own peers for an act which can feature satanic symbols, and glorifies immorality.

He argues that “this event presents a grave moral danger to the socially fragile and impressionable youth of the college and those from all over Belize who will attend.”

Having been banned in some Caribbean islands, he should not be welcome here, the Bishop said, adding that he pleaded with parents of concert-goers not to allow their children to attend, lest they be negatively impacted by his performance.

Late on Friday evening, Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel temporarily granted the injunction pending the rare Saturday hearing.

Reached for comment this evening, promoter Martin Castillo says they will fight to keep the concert at the venue as the school signed written contracts for the rent of the venue.

For the original report go to


Saturday September 27
The Small World Music Festival presnts
Revival, 783 College St.
Doors 7:00pm / show 8:00pm
Tickets: $30 @

‘A living legend of calypso! This lady is 74 years old, but on stage, still moves like a young girl!’ – Festival Nuits d’Afrique, Montreal

McArtha Lewis, aka Calypso Rose, was born in the small island of Tobago in the West Indies. She started singing at the age of 15, and over 50 years later she is the reigning Queen of Calypso. In a world where men dominate, she was able to stand out through her strong personality and her stage charisma. Calypso Rose has received more honors and medals that any other living Calypsonian. In 1966, she wrote “Fire in Meh Wire”, which has become one of the international anthems of Calypso, translated into eight languages. In 1977, she was the first woman to win the crown of Calypso Monarch (originally called Calypso King re-named Calypso Monarch after her win). From there, there was no stopping this energetic and powerful woman, who has taken Calypso all over the world and has shared the stage with some of the biggest international stars, Miriam Makeba, Tito Puente, Mahalia Jackson, Michael Jackson, Roberta Flack, Bob Marley among others.

Toronto’s Kobo Town, led by singer Drew Gonsalves, has made an international impact with their modern interpretation of traditional Caribbean sounds. Some traditionalists, however, carped about the new elements Gonsalves included in his music. “I’m not sure I should call it calypso,” he says. “It is calypso inspired and derived, but it’s a conscious departure from the way it developed back home. Calypso is the folk music of urban Trinidad, but it has always drawn on outside influences, from big band and jazz in the 30s and 40s, to funk and disco in the 70s and 80s. It’s hard to pin down pure calypso. For me, the calypsonian is a singing newspaperman commenting on the events of the day, with an attitude halfway between court jester and griot.” The band’s recent CD, ‘Jumbie in the Jukebox’, which was recorded in Belize, Montreal, Toronto and Trinidad has won acclaim throughout North America and Europe.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 20, 2014

Palenque: Cuban Artists Exhibition Opens in France


The exhibition Palenque (hiding place for slaves), with some 100 works by Cuban artists, opened today at the Oscar Niemeyer site, in the building designed by the famous Brazilian architect in the 20th district of Paris.

The exhibition is part of the activities for the 20th year of the Slave Route, a project of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the objective of which is to show the scourge of human trafficking and the African influence in the world.

“This exhibition that we admire today seeks to show the legacy of slavery in the Caribbean. It illustrates the link between Africa and its diaspora in the world”, said Alfredo Perez de Armiñan, deputy director general for culture of that organization.

On behalf of Irina Bokova, Director General of the organization, Perez de Armiñan appreciated the Cuban Permanent Delegation to UNESCO and the association Made in Cuba for the exhibition.

The opening ceremony was attended by Hector Igarza, Cuban ambassador to France, Yahima Esquivel, third secretary of the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, Ali Moussa, head of the Slave Route Project, Pierre Laurent, secretary of the Communist Party of France, members of the diplomatic corps and the association Made in Cuba.

Posted by: ivetteromero | September 20, 2014

Art Exhibition: John Akomfrah’s “Imaginary Possessions”

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John Akomfrah’s solo show “Imaginary Possessions” will be on view from September 19 to February 1, 2015, at the Eli and Edythe Broad Museum at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. [Many thanks to Smoking Dogs for bringing this item to our attention.] In this exhibition Akomfrah (b. 1957, Ghana) “engages with questions of memory and identity to create moving-image works that address the histories of the African diaspora.”

Description: Pioneering filmmaker, director, and theorist John Akomfrah (b. 1957) engages with questions of memory and identity to create moving-image works that address the histories of the African diaspora. His early projects with the seminal media group Black Audio Film Collective chronicled the emergence of multicultural identities in 1980s Britain while forming the cornerstone of radical artistic practices that address Western society’s anxieties around the legacies of colonialism and empire. With an acclaimed practice that spans more than thirty years of production in cinema, television, and gallery-based installations, Akomfrah is renowned for pushing the boundaries of the documentary form and for innovating with the format of the film essay through a dynamic use of archival and staged footage with multilayered voiceovers. He has exhibited widely at international museums and large-scale exhibitions as well as in numerous film festivals. In 2012 Akomfrah debuted The Unfinished Conversation and The Stuart Hall Project, respectively a multiscreen video installation and documentary on the life and work of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall. [See previous posts John Akomfrah’s “The Stuart Hall Project” and John Akomfrah: migration and memory.]

The first substantial presentation of his recent work at a U.S. museum, John Akomfrah: Imaginary Possessions presents three distinct films and a new commission that deftly excavate the fragmented identities of colonial subjects while challenging the received codes of cinematic representation. Peripeteia (2012) unearths the lost histories of black subjects depicted in Western artworks as read through two drawings by German painter Albrecht Dürer. Interweaving fragments from notable costume dramas that have influenced the artist, Psyche (2012) pays homage to the genre while revealing its structural underpinnings. Through an exploration of the theater surrounding the birth of independent African nations after World War II, Transfigured Night (2013) speaks to the fleeting promises and ensuing disappointments of the post-colonial state. In its inventive staging of works across two galleries, this exhibition engenders multiple viewing modalities and cinematic experiences to underscore the fluidity of image and narrative in Akomfrah’s oeuvre.

John Akomfrah: Imaginary Possessions is curated by Yesomi Umolu, Assistant Curator, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU.

For more information, see

Also see


“Seven Elementary Memories” at the A Priori Art Gallery in Panama is part of a larger event—Documented Stories—a photography circuit going on simultaneously in the Central American country. A Priori, one of the art galleries of the circuit, is exhibiting works by seven devoted award-winning photographers; among them is Bancarrota [Bankrupcy] a work by Cuban artist Yasser Lezcano, a specialist in photo ceramics. [Lezcano is also known for his impressive ceramic photos depicting Cuban heroes José Martí, Antonio Maceo, and Máximo Gómez in the series “Dicha Grande”—see photo above.]

Other artists in this exhibition are Irene Chamorro (Panama), Víctor Santamaría (Spain), Nathalie Beard (Guatemala), Chrisse Harwanko (United States), and Michael Sager (Canada).

Lezcano, considered the main example of photo ceramics and pioneer of this technique in Cuba, has a permanent collection in his country, and some of his works are now in private collections in the US, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Israel, Guinea Bissau, and the Dominican Republic. Lezcano is focused on the production of large format murals, based on the printing of his photos on ceramic support—as may be seen in the more than his 500 murals, each of them a unique piece [. . .]

Documented Stories, is an event sponsored by the National Institute of Culture, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Panama, the Embassy of Mexico, Conaculta and some art galleries, among many other entities.

Lucy Barrios, director of the Art Gallery in Panama, said that this year they have tried to turn this event into something much more than a common exhibition, for which they have invited different institutions to participate.

For original article, see

For more info on Lezcano, see


In the Dominican Republic, Editorial Santuario and the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) announce the launch of Alanna Lockward’s anthology Un Haití dominicano: Tatuajes fantasmas y narrativas bilaterales (1994-2014) [A Dominican Haiti: Ghost Tattoos and Bilateral Narratives (1994-2014)]. The compilation, which features cover art and illustrations by renowned artist Raúl Recio, will be presented on Thursday, September 25, at 7:00pm in the main auditorium of the MAM, located at Plaza de la Cultura in Santo Domingo. The book will be presented by Soraya Aracena and Rubén Silié.

The leading session at the presentation will consist of anthropologist Soraya Aracena and artists Teresa María Díaz Nerio and Raúl Recio, as well as historian Juan Daniel Balcácer, president of the Efemérides Patrias Committee, which co-sponsors the publication.

Argentine semiotician Walter Mignolo (Duke University) writes:

“[. . .] first, I read the manuscript Marassá y la nada, and soon after, the version in print. Marassá y la nada is a beginning work by an already well-formed writer. [. . .] Concise writing, precise and understated, yet complex. As I read it, I heard the murmurs of an existentialism that is Caribbean and, at the same time, female. Then, another surprise by Alanna fell into my hands: her journalistic essays written mainly between 1994 and 1998 (written on the island), and retrospectively extended to 2014 (written in Berlin) [Un Haití dominicano]. The texts offer a window to the island in the late twentieth century. Racism and genderism are rampant through these pages. But not only that, political and economic issues, as well as immigration policies affecting sex workers and manual laborers. The texts also draw a map that transcends the island and traces its connections to Miami and Mexico. [. . .] Decoloniality is liberating and revolutionary insofar as it gives us the option to let go of hierarchies that are not ontological but modern/colonial fictions. To rid ourselves of these illusions is a daily task at all levels. Un Haití dominicano contributes to this task to the extent that it invites us to ‘feel,’ in one way or another, the relationships between the two parts of the island.”

Alanna Lockward has distinguished herself as a journalist, classical dancer, writer, and curator of contemporary art. Born in Santo Domingo, she holds a Bachelor of Communication Sciences from the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico City, and an MA in Art in Context from the Berlin University of the Arts. She received a degree in Dance Education from the Royal Academy of Dancing and, among other companies, danced with the National Classical Ballet, the Chamber Ballet of Jalisco, the Australian Opera, and Ballet Neubert. Lockward is the author of the novel Marassá y la nada (Sanctuary, 2013) and Apremio: apuntes sobre el pensamiento y la creación contemporánea desde el Caribe (Cendeac, 2006). She was cultural editor of Listin Diario, a researcher at the magazine Rumbo, and a Miami Herald columnist. She is currently a a columnist for

At the Museum of Modern Art [in the Dominican Republic] she served as Officer of International Affairs (1988), was a member of the selection jury for the XX Biennial of Visual Arts in 1996 and 2011. Lockward lives in Berlin and directs the Art Labour Archives, a platform that organizes interdisciplinary events in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and the United States, founded in 1996. She is also associate curator of avant-garde theater space Ballhaus Naunynstrasse and CEO of her own Transnational Decolonial Institute. As curator, she has been awarded by the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the Danish Arts Council, and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

See more at or contact the writer at

For more information on the book (a 2009 prologue by Rubén Silié, Dominican Ambassador to Haiti; a 2012 prologue by Mexican journalist Paco Navarrete; and an introduction by the author) see

Posted by: ivetteromero | September 20, 2014

The Cuban Book Institute’s 2013 Annual Award for Literary Criticism


The annual prizes for literary criticism 2013, organized by the Cuban Book Institute [Instituto Cubano del Libro] and coordinated by the publishing house Editorial Arte y Literatura, were awarded on September 18 at the Dulce Maria Loynaz Cultural Center in Havana, Cuba. The prizes were awarded by Zuleica Romay, president of the Cuban Book Institute, and Víctor Rolando Malagón, director of Editorial Arte y Literatura. They also announced the call for next year’s awards, which will choose the best essays, articles, and reviews published between January 1 and December 31, 2014. [We extend our most sincere congratulations to the winners, with the warmest applause for Emilio Jorge Rodríguez and Luisa Campuzano, scholars with whom we have had the pleasure of collaborating and whose work we admire and respect.]

The jury for this year’s competition, chaired by writer Mirta Yáñez, evaluated 19 works by 9 authors decided to confer an award to Laidi Fernández de Juan for her review of Variaciones al arte de la fuga (published in La Jiribilla) for its clarity and the ability to motivate the readers’ interest with commendable simplicity and effectiveness.

Emilio Jorge Rodríguez was also awarded for his article “De unas ínsulas multilingües y sus escritores” [On multilingual isles and their writers], published in Revolución y Cultura; he was honored for the quality of his writing, accessible but profound, and his well-documented exploration of the Caribbean literary world in its current coexistence in diversity, its historical trajectory and geographical ramifications.

The jury conferred an honorable mention to Cristhian Frías for his essay “Virgilio Piñera: la negación como destino” [Virgilio Piñera: denial as destiny] published in La Siempreviva, for his well-argued inquiry into the literary and social legacy of Virgilio Piñera.

Dr. Luisa Campuzano was also awarded for her essay “Hacia los protagonistas, escenarios y motivos habaneros de El siglo de las luces” [On the characters, settings and Havana-based motifs of Explosion in a Cathedral], published by Casa de las Américas, for her scholarly elaboration of the motifs of the novel by Alejo Carpentier and diligent tracking of the sources that inspired him to create his characters and situations, using the author’s papers to provide a rich dialogue between reality and fiction.

For original article (in Spanish), see

Posted by: ivetteromero | September 20, 2014

The Surinam Java Festival and “Stille Passanten” Exhibition


Hans David Tampubolon (The Jakarta Post) announced that the Erasmus Huis [Erasmus House], the Dutch cultural center in Kunigan, Central Jakarta, is launching the Surinam Java Festival on today to mark 125 years of connections between Indonesia, Suriname and The Netherlands. The festival’s opening will feature concerts by @Six and Steelwave.

“We’re trying to connect and make people again aware of the shared history we have,” Ton van Zeeland, the theater and gallery director for the Erasmus Huis, said. “It is very important to not forget about this history — the good things and the not so good things,” he added.

[. . .] The festival’s opening will feature concerts by @Six and Steelwave. @Six is a Surinamese-Javanese band that earned its spurs in the Caribbean music scene and beyond, mixing Javanese pop, Bollywood, Latin and R&B influences, while Steelwave, also from Suriname, uses steel-based materials, such as barrels, to make music ranging from Rumba to bossanova.

Visitors can also enjoy a feast of Surinamese food on Saturday, served by Sherwin Alexander and chef Jethro Wirht, top chefs from Suriname who have won many national and international cooking competitions. The chefs will prepare food on the spot with students from the Sahid Institute of Tourism in Jakarta and give live commentary as part of a culinary show featuring famous dishes, such as cassava soup and the popular moksi alesi rice dish. Van Zeeland said that Indonesian visitors would find Surinamese food an interesting mix of the cuisines of Java, South America and India. [. . .]

The festival will also feature a documentary and photo exhibition titled “Stille Passanten”, which runs to Nov. 15, featuring portraits of Javanese who chose to settle in Suriname and images of contemporary people of Javanese descent who live in Suriname or the Netherlands. Van Zeeland said that the photographs would show young people in Indonesia what became of their brothers and sisters in the small South American country.

“People often ask ‘Why do you do something with Suriname, aren’t you Dutch?’. We think it is a part of our cultural heritage too. Like Indonesia is also part of our cultural heritage [....] We still have different feelings about Indonesia because we share the same genes and, in some parts, cultural genes,” he said.

It was in 1890, when the first Javanese, then colonized by the Dutch, pulled up stakes to settle in Suriname, another Dutch colony, in the Caribbean. The migration reflects the shifting social and political landscapes of the era, particularly on the abolition of slavery. After abolition, freed slaves in Suriname left their plantations, leading the Dutch to seek cheap labor by offering five-year contracts to work there on a trial basis. After the contracts expired, the Javanese were free to stay, migrate to the Netherlands or return to Java. Many stayed in Suriname, fearing the long and risky passage by sea back to Southeast Asia.

[. . .] The Javanese have also become an important and influential part of the social and political life in Suriname. Javanese language is one of the nation’s main languages and people of Javanese descent comprised 14 percent of Suriname’s population of 567,000 in 2013.

For more info, visit

For full article, see

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 19, 2014

Lasana Kwesi dies after brief illness

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The Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) has expressed its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lasana Kwesi, longstanding member of the Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago, who died on Wednesday. He died following a brief illness at the Port of Spain General Hospital, Trinidad’s Express reports.

In a news release, the ESC said, “Brother Kwesi, recruited into the National Joint Action Committee in 1969, was among the young group leaders of the Black Power movement which brought major positive changes to Trinidad and Tobago in the 1970s. During the two states of emergency in 1970 and 1971, together with another group chairman, Lidj Yasu Omowale, he led the National Joint Action Committee, in the absence of its national leaders who were incarcerated. Lasana never left his beloved Laventille, and no matter how difficult times became he would continue to organise special community events especially for the youth, believing in their possibilities for fulfilling their dreams.”

It added, “Lasana was among the early spoken-word poets of the 70s in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean. Together with other figures such as Abdul Malik, he brought words and thoughts to life through spoken-word poetry. He has published two books of poetry and one of his pieces, She, was put to dance by Astor Johnson and performed by Jo Anne Kilgour. Lasana had a gift for storytelling.

He travelled widely, in the United States and the Caribbean, both as activist and poet, addressing political and academic audiences as well as presenting his poetry.

Funeral arrangements will be announced the release said.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | September 19, 2014

Jazz at Lincoln Center opens season with ‘Ochas’


Wynton Marsalis opened Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2014-15 season with the world premiere of “Ochas,” a three-movement suite blending jazz with the traditional folkloric music of Cuba and the Afro-Cuban Santeria religion, the Associated Press reports.

At a pre-concert reception Thursday night, Marsalis said the 2014-15 season would be “a spectacular journey through the Americas celebrating the depth, diversity and influence of jazz in the Caribbean and North, South and Central America.”

The seeds for “Ochas” were planted in 2010 when Marsalis took his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to Cuba for a weeklong residency of concerts and educational programs. The trip reinforced his understanding of the links between Cuban music and American jazz, both rooted in African traditions carried over by slaves.

Marsalis collaborated with the influential Cuban pianist and composer Chucho Valdez and rising Cuban percussion star Pedrito Martinez on a JALC commission to create “Ochas,” which had its premiere at the Rose Theater on Thursday night.

“Ochas” was perhaps one of the most challenging pieces ever undertaken by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, centered on a dialogue between the jazz big band and traditional Afro-Cuban bata drums.

Martinez’s trio of bata drummers, including his mentor Roman Diaz, used their hands to play intricate rhythmic patterns on the three hourglass-shaped drums of different sizes. He also led the ritual chants sung in the ancestral Yoruban language of Nigeria dedicated to each of the deities in the Santeria pantheon.

The chants became more complex when two female vocalists joined in on the suite’s second movement, dedicated to the female deities in Santeria, also known as Regla de Ocha.

The Cuban ensemble was later augmented by a male and a female dancer in brightly colored traditional garb. They performed traditional dances of the Santeria ritual that fuses Yoruban beliefs with some influences from Catholicism.

Against this backdrop, the JLCO played jazz themes intended to evoke the spirit of each Santeria deity. Blistering trumpet solos by Marsalis, Ryan Kisor, Kenny Rampton and Marcus Printup highlighted the section devoted to Ogun, the machete-wielding blacksmith and god of war. A sensuous alto sax solo by Sherman Irby opened the segment devoted to Oshun, the goddess of love, maternity and marriage.

As an ensemble, the JLCO provided a rich palette of musical colors, with growling and muted trumpets and trombones and a reed section that played assorted saxophones, clarinets, flutes and piccolos.

Valdes, 72, made his first appearance on piano in the segment devoted to Obatala, the oldest of the deities known as the creator of Earth and sculptor of mankind. Valdes, who introduced the bata drums into a modern jazz setting with the Afro-Cuban jazz fusion band Irakere in the ’70s, provided a bridge between the Cuban drummers and jazz orchestra with his percussive piano playing and virtuosic technique.

JALC will continue its journey through the Americas in upcoming months with performances by Brazil’s SpokFrevo Orquestra and guitarist Mario Adnet; Cuban saxophonist-clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera; Panamanian singer and songwriter Ruben Blades; and Mexican singer Lila Downs.

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is planning a spring 2015 tour of Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico.

For the original report go to

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