Cultural Icon Series commences with celebration of Charles Cadet


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PRESS RELEASE – The Cultural Development Foundation envisions a strong, united and proud Saint Lucian community empowered by culture and creativity.

This vision can be realized with dedicated participation by Saint Lucians in every sphere. The desire for a community of patriots burns within the hearts of many of our people with vociferous cries for mentors and positive examples for our youth to follow; calls for diversifying the options available for youth to find gainful employment; the need for Saint Lucia to cultivate her National pride and cultural identity.

The Cultural Icons Series is a concerted effort to fill this void with high quality, comprehensive and captivating activities and products that ensure the full stories of our cultural greats are known, celebrated and available for the inspiration and enjoyment of generations to come.

This year’s Icon Celebration, being the inaugural, is slated for May 3rd, as part of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival and will honour musical genius Honourable Charles Cadet. Charles Cadet, whose name is synonymous with Saint Lucian folk music was born on December 16th 1924.

He came from a family of naturally talented musicians and his innate skill to create beautiful music has bequeathed to Saint Lucia many outstanding works. Cadet’s partnership with  the late Roddy Walcott brought to Saint Lucia and the world the music for “Banjo Man”and the Musicals “The Legend of Tom Fool”, “Chanson Marianne”, “The Guitar Man’s Song” and “The Wonderful World of Brother Rabbit,” the latter dedicated by Walcott to Charles Cadet. He similarly partnered with Mc Donald Dixon to compose the music for Tinday which was performed at CARIFESTA 1992.

This Saint Lucian Cultural Icon’s reach spans many decades and goes far beyond our shores: “Chanson Marianne” was performed by 100 school children in a concert at London’s Albert Hall in 1986 and the London premiere of the cantata “A Dream of Freedom” in honour of Jamaica’s 25thAnniversary Independence, was composed by Cadet in collaboration with Richard Beckford to words by Norman Rae.

In the BBC Open University Programme, his Kyrie was used to analyse the impact of cultural hybridization.  Charles Cadet was the first recipient of the M&C Fine Arts Lifetime Achievement Award and was awarded The Saint Lucia Cross (SLC) in 2005 for distinguished and outstanding service to Saint Lucia and an O.B.E in 1987.

His Christmas song “Poinsettia Blossoms” originally sung by Lenny Stone and more recently by Shayne Ross has not only become one of the season’s classics in Saint Lucia but in the Caribbean and beyond.

Charles Cadet has without doubt, gifted Saint Lucian culture with a legacy that should last through generations to come.  Now, in his declining years, it is entirely fitting that he be recognized in our inaugural Cultural Icons Celebration.  The honour will take the form of a musical concert chronicling this musical giant’s artistic journey.

The audience will be captivated by music from his well-loved musicals as well as the premiere of an entirely new work “Le Fin Journée”.  They will be enthralled by the full spectrum of his works including Contemporary, Latin, Folk, Sacred and Jazz genres, performed by some of Saint Lucia’s leading artists including Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Derede Williams, Lenny Stone, Elra Ermay, Shayne Ross, Special Blend, Ready, Jessy Billy and others.

This extraordinary evening of tribute takes place on May 3rd at thenewly refurbishedNational Cultural Centre from 7:30 p.m.Tickets cost $75 and are available from The Cell, CDF, Splendour Gifts, Budget Travel and the St. Lucia School of Music.  Proceeds go to the development of arts and culture in Saint Lucia.

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