PRESS RELEASE – The Folk Research (FRC) is making early preparation for Creole Heritage Month (CHM), October 2015.
FRC’s Creole Heritage Month Committee has been meeting to discuss programmes for CHM 2015. A draft programme of activities for the festival has already been drawn up.
The cultural shows such as Lawenn Kwéyòl, Jennes Kwéyòl, Music, Storytelling and Poetry Fiesta and the popular Woulélaba competition that have been the main events of Creole Heritage Month will continue to be featured this year.
Creole Heritage Month is the busiest time of year for the 42 year-old cultural institution. Educational activities aimed at schools, traditional cultural activities organised throughout the month in all communities, media features, are all included in the regular programme of events.
The month climaxes with what is the most popular national cultural event, Jounen Kwéyòl, held on the last Sunday of October. This began in 1985 and has continued, growing in size and popularity with every year.
Two weeks of special programmes are planned for schools. Students accompanied by teachers receive lectures at the FRC on various aspects of St. Lucia and get the opportunity to meet leading cultural personalities who perform for them.
Ms Lindy Ann Alexander, a Board Director of the FRC and a lecturer at the SALCC, has also organised cultural clubs in schools, where they study various aspects of language and culture.
Approaches are being made to a number of communities to host Creole Heritage Month/Jounen Kwéyòl for 2015. There are communities which have approached the FRC very early expressing their interest in hosting the most widely celebrated cultural extravaganza in St. Lucia. There are plans to include more events this year as the festival continues to grow year by year.
Last year 2014, was among the most successful years of the festival with the heightened popularity of the Lawenn Kwéyòl and Jennes Kwéyòl competitions. The collaboration between the Folk Research Centre and the Ministry of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, added additional impetus to the celebration.
One of the outstanding activities for the 2014 Creole Heritage Month was the annual Music, Storytelling and Poetry Fiesta, held at The Pyramid, Alliance-Francaise de Sainte-Lucie on Wednesday 22nd 2014.
Organised by the Folk Research Centre and the Alliance Francaise from 2009, the event has become a standing-room only affair. The night’s programme was dedicated to the Hon. Derek Walcott in recognition of his contribution to Kwéyòl culture in his poetry and plays.
A translation of his play Ti Jean and his brothers by Allan Weekes, veteran director and translator, was given a staged reading. This was directed by writer and director Travis Weekes. In the presence of Walcott, the readings were very well done and the translation itself proved to be a very good one in quality of language and capture of Walcott’s original script.
As they had done from 2011, the Kweyol Language Committee, led by Laurent Jn Pierre, was responsible for organising the dramatised readings of the Walcott translation by Allan Weekes. This replaced the Kwéyòl Poetry competition which had been organised by Mr. Jn Pierre and the Committee from 2011.
Manmay Kweyol led by Augustin Papius, and Menell, former calypso monarch, gave wonderful performances of the late Dame Sesenne Descarte’s classic music, to the emotional response of Walcott and much of the crowd.
Liz Faisal gave a reading of Walcott’s Kwéyòl poem Iona. Mr. Hilary La Force was the story teller. Marylin Hyacinth of NTN was the MC for the evening which opened with a rendition of the National Anthem, Kwéyòl version, by Sam Eudovic.
Readers for the play came from St. Lucia and Martinique. The Alliance sponsored the visits of the Martiniquans. The idea for the staged reading and the dedication of the evening to Derek Walcott came from Laurent (Jomo) JnPierre of the FRC’s Kweyol Language Committee.
Special congratulations and praise must also go to Laurent Jn. Pierre for his immense dedication and drive which contributed to the success of the 2014 Fiesta.
The FRC has extended condolences to the family of the late Frank Norville who made a great contribution to the work of the FRC over many years.
He was a leading tutor in the FRC’s educational programmes, lecturing for local students and overseas visiting groups. His publications and CD’s are on sale at the FRC Bookshop.