Carriacou Shakespeare Mas / Pierrot
Carriacou may be small in land area, but it’s large when it comes to cultural offerings. In addition to its famous Big Drum Dance, Maroon Festival, and Parang, its most unusual Carnival tradition is Pierrot. Every Shrove (Fat) Tuesday, pairs of masked, costumed men (see pictures) move from town to town around the island reciting from Julius Caesar (yes, you read that correctly) and, when a mistake's been made, hitting each other over the head with a stick.
A carryover from the plantation era when slaves were forced to perform for their owners (and were hit when they recited in error), it’s an annual opportunity to mock the mannerisms and cruelties of the past. (In today's performances, toned down from the violent forms of the past, padding is placed under the headwear to assure that no one is hurt.)
Photos of Carriacou Shakespeare Mas 2014
For More Shakespeare Mas Pictures click here
Shakespeare Mas Special Feature
April 25th- 27th -Carricou Maroon and String Band Music Festival
For those of you who have always wanted a pure and culturally untamed experience, then the 2013 Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival is definitely the event for you! Maroon culture is about thanksgiving and prayers to the source of all life, production and prosperity. Its African origins are authentically depicted through the drumming, singing, eating of 'smoke food' and other rituals practised in the unique Carriacou way by its people.
Sample the taste of this traditional smoked food, enjoy performances from various Caribbean islands and come out with the family for an evening of fun, games and pure entertainment. Move to the vibrations of the heavy drumming and groove to the sweet sounds of string band music from Carriacou's popular musicians.
Come enjoy string bands, smoked food, drums and dance. Three days, three venues but one festival. As we say, once you have experienced the Carriacou Maroon and String Band Music Festival, your life will never be the same!
August 11th - Carnival Monday
From dawn on Carnival Monday, the streets of Grenada's towns are filled with traditional masqueraders depicting Devils (Jab-Jabs) and social commentaries of the highlights of the past year (Ole Mas). Spectators and masqueraders dance to the sounds of steel bands and DJ’s playing the latest carnival melodies.
On Monday afternoon the fancy or pretty bands appear briefly on the streets. Later in the evening the Monday Night Mas bands make their way through the streets from 8 pm onwards dancing and waving brightly coloured lights. Carnival Monday is a public holiday. Banks and most shops are closed.
Many revellers begin their Carnival marathon at the Dimarche Gras Show and continue straight into the J’Ouvert celebrations, where in the early hours of Monday morning, "...The Traditional Jab-Jab Or Devil Mas Bands Emerge From The Darkness Of The Night To Parade Freely Through The Town."
Blackened with stale molasses, tar, grease, creosote or mud, and wearing little more than their horned helmets, these masqueraders in previous times set out to terrify onlookers with their grotesque appearance and repulsive dances.
In modern times, the traditional Jab-Molassi have mutated into other creatures of colour, with Blue, Yellow and Green Devils joining in the early morning parade. These colourful devils are much more playful in character, wanting only to dab a bit of their body paint onto unsuspecting bystanders, as they dance through the streets to the rhythms of the accompanying drums, steel bands and calypsos from huge DJ trucks.
The Ole Mas bands are the only other inhabitants in the early morning, bringing international and local events to the fore through their double entendre (or double talk) placards and satirical costumes.
The Carnival Devils Disappear With The Rising Of The Sun, Making Way
For The Traditional And Fancy Mas Bands In The Monday Parade Or Pageant.
Each parish has its own brand of traditional mas usually represented by Short Knees, Vekou and Wild Indians.
With Arab-like head coverings, jumbo collars, batwing sleeves and three-quarter (short knee) baggy trousers, the Short knee Bands are now the most prevalent of the traditional masqueraders. Almost identical in appearance, they dance through the roads from their respective villages, into the town of St. George’s, passionately chanting, boxing the air and scattering baby powder with abandon.
Next come the modern costumed bands of revellers, who cross the stage at the National Stadium and then parade through the streets of the capital city of St. George’s in the afternoon sun, gyrating to the beat of the year’s most popular calypsos. Listen out for the song most played throughout the day, as this is the basis for the Annual Road March King Competition. Costumed bands are often heralded by the arrival of the King and Queen of the band, the large costumes which vied for King and Queen of Carnival during the Sunday night Dimarche Gras.
Carnival Monday Ends With The Monday Night Mas'Street Jump-Up, Where Party Goers In Brightly Coloured T-Shirt Bands, Wave Fluorescent Wands And Dance Through The Streets Into The Wee Hours Of The Tuesday Morning.
August 12th - Carnival Tuesday
Carnival celebrations come to an end on Carnival Tuesday with the parade of the bands. Masqueraders dance through the streets showcasing their brightly coloured costumes to the delight of the crowd with sounds of steel bands and DJ’s playing the latest carnival songs. Carnival Tuesday is a public holiday. Banks and most shops are closed.
Oct 15th - 19th - Aunty Tek Spice Word Festival
The first annual Spice Word Literary Festival was held in 2010. Fully supported by a visionary private sector it was voted a timely intervention and a resounding success by all Grenadians.
It was the culmination of lengthy discussions and debates by authors, policy makers and other stakeholders. Persons in the like of Jacob Ross, author of Pynter Bender, impressed upon Senator Arley Gill, Minister with responsibility for Culture, on the urgent need for Grenada to host its own festival.”
The name and tagline, Spice Word Festival - Feel the Rhythm in the Word, was decided on by Senator Gill and an exploratory planning committee from the St. George’s University which included Dr. Antonia McDonald and Mr. Colin Dowe,
In 2008, at a meeting with the Board of the Grenada Cultural Foundation, Senator Arley Gill, shared the vision and expressed the strong desire of both himself and Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to see Grenada stage its own Literary Festival. Understanding the magnitude of the undertaking, he exhorted the GCF to assist the Ministry of Culture to make it a reality.
Two years later, October 2010, this dream became an unforgettable reality. At the launch of the festival, one of the gurus’ of storytelling in the Caribbean region, Grenada’s own Aunty Tek – Thelma Ermintude Knight-Philip, was honoured and awarded as the “High Priestess of Storytelling.” Three Grenadian Authors were featured at the Spice Word Festival: Dr. Merle Collins, Clyde Belfon and David Oomawalee Franklyn. These authors were selected not only for the brilliance and range of their works, but because their writings predominantly make use of the “Grenadian Voice, the vernacular” - the Creole or Patois that adds the rich flavour to our everyday speech.
The festival was successfully staged over a five day period, October 19th to 23rd, perhaps one of the most gruesome and poignant times in Grenada’s history: the fall of the Grenada Revolution and the subsequent invasion of Grenada by American troops.
It realised most of its fundamental aims: to highlight and showcase the work of Grenadian Author’s and to undertake developmental activities that would support and encourage the work of published and emerging authors. In particular, it demonstrated how the vernacular could be employed to enhance our literary works to reflect a true Grenadian experience
Daily books fairs were hosted by the local library; authors from all walks of life shared their works and were broadcast live on local television. At a “Poetry Slam” in Heroes’ Square, Victoria in St. Marks, poets got the opportunity to perform their works and show-off their talents. Storytelling was held in St. Patricks on the famous Bathway beach under the ambience of a blazing bonfire. Eighty-four year old Aunty Tek mesmerized the audience with performance of the Zien and ‘Nancy stories and inspired a new generation of storytellers.
Perhaps it would be true to say that the boundless and unflagging enthusiasm of Senator Arley Gill, his drive and single-minded focus, has ensured that, The Aunty Tek Spice Word Festival – Spicelitfest, is now an annual event in Grenada’s cultural calendar as we continue to ‘Feel the Rhythm in the Word’.
Dec. 5th - Dec. 7th - Camerhogne Folk Festival
The first Camerhogne Folk Festival was held in 2010. This festival was initiated by the Division of Culture upon recognition that the number of folk groups and performances during major National festival and other cultural events had declined considerably over the years.
Two of major factors that has contributed to this demise were the limited number of trained persons in the various disciplines within the performing arts and the lack of financial and technical support from both the public and private sectors. The absence of specific platform and forums geared towards showcasing folk presentations have also impacted negatively on this sector. These factors listed above, among others,
has reduced interest in membership of community folk groups, and consequently our National Folk Group. As a result the Ministry has taken the initiative to design and develop a platform for folk arts in Grenada, hence the birth of the Grenada folk festival “dubbed Camerhogne”(the name “camerhogne” was the name given to the island by the indigenous Amerindian inhabitants how were first settled here)
The festival was staged over a three day period December 3rd to 5th and entailed an Opening Ceremony, Symposium, Costume Day, Local food and games day, Traditional Music Night, Exhibition and a Final Concert. The festival was held under the theme “The New way to experience our Folklore”
The Objectives of the Festival is to create awareness of tradition, heritage and the importance of transcendence of the real Grenadian Culture and to regenerate an appreciation for our Grenadian folklore. These objectives remains at the heart of the festival and, judging from the mass attendance at each event last year, and the level of appreciation shown, will be the guiding light for the future.. It is the expectation of the Ministry of culture that in 2011 participation will surpass that of last year, in terms of the quality of performances, the range and scope of events and the support and appreciation from the General public.