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Carib Lit Plus (Mid to Late November 2020)

A reminder that the process with these Carib Lit Plus Caribbean arts bulletins is to do a front and back half of the month, updating as time allows as new information comes in; so, come back. (in brackets, as much as I can remember, I’ll add a note re how I sourced the information)

News

Before the end of November, news of another passing and another blow to the local calypso fraternity. In a year that took former kings Edimelo and Swallow (one of the Big Three), Calypso Joe, who claimed the crown in 1971, has died (per a report from ABS TV). We have nothing further to report but remind you that you can read about Calypso Joe here on the blog. With songs that are part of the fabric of Antiguan and Barbudan life in the 20th century, songs that are part of the story of Antigua and Barbuda, he truly was a classic. And thanks to TEDx Antigua a few years ago, we got to hear his story.

(Source – Facebook)

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Remember to D.A.R.E.
(Source – Daily Observer newspaper)

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Antigua and Barbuda’s Culture Minister Daryl Matthew has had Education added to his portfolio in light of the arrest of the Education Minister Michael Browne on unspecified (for legal reasons) charges and Browne’s removal from Cabinet (unclear at this time how this affects his elected office as representative for All Saints West). Matthew is reported to be the Minister of Education, Sports, and Creative Industries. The confusion that creates for me is is this a rebrand of the Ministry of Sports, Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, of how we think about art and culture, or an erasure of same. If you’ve read my thoughts on Culture developmentally on this blog, you already know I don’t think the PTB have been nearly proactive, intersectional, nor intentional enough (nor have they prioritized the kind of continuous engagement with and engagement of the artistic community I would like to see as a member of and advocate for that community) and I wonder how/if this will shift that. Beyond that, trippling Education with Sports, and the Arts (assuming its embedded in the catch-all ‘creative industries’ term) makes sense as all have a built-in youth development agenda. Perhaps I’ll be able to discuss these and other issues with the new Creative Industries minister for my CREATIVE SPACE series at some point. (Source – local news and social media generally)

Professional Development

Antiguan and Barbuda commercial producer-director, visual artist, and owner of Palette Designs Ad agency Lawson Lewis “is among 30 professionals from within the region who are participating in a virtual script writing and film production programme sponsored by the Caribbean Export Development Agency. The intense sessions cover areas such as story development, screen writing, film scheduling, film budgeting and pitching.” (Source – Daily Observer newspaper November 20th 2020 pages 8-9)

Story and Book Recs

Dominican writer Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea is an undisputed classic of West Indian literature. Here’s my review of the book. But this post is about the recent Royal Society of Literature event ‘What’s So Great About… Jean Rhys with Linda Grant, Shivanee Ramlochan, Lauren Elkin and Shahidha Bari’. You can find my review of another Rhys favourite discussed in this conversation, After Leaving Mr McKenzie, here. You can view the whole RLS conversation here. Framing it at the beginning, the Caribbean person on the panel Trinidad and Tobago’s Shivanee Ramlochan, said, “In a year in which we are having this phenomenal event, it’s heartbreaking to know that Rhys’ childhood home in Dominica was demolished in May to make way for commercial properties. What I find instructive about that is that on the one hand it is for someone like me an unbearable tragedy but in looking at the responses of Dominicans many of which were suffused with grief, there are others that quetion the legitimacy of Rhys to that climate, to their environment, to the idea of why a white Dominican woman who spent scant time in Dominica should be venerated in a certain way. So the response to Rhys is not just one thing; it’s comprised of so many interweaving and complex parts about what makes Caribbean identity and what makes a Caribbean writer.” I’m listening to this after reading an article of Louisa Mae Alcott (of Little Women fame’s) house. I’ve toured that house in Concord, Massachusetts (and took with me a rich appreciation for the opportunity to do so, and a mug with Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy, and a kite) and appreciate what it means to hold certain spaces, not just because of the individuals but because of the stories they have told about those spaces. Also, since this is substantially what matters in the Caribbean, there is missed literary tourism value – I think of the times I’ve been contacted with inquiries about Jamaica Kincaid’s childhood home here in Antigua (which spoiler alert has not been preserved nor exploited for whatever value it holds to literary wanderers) and about the time I took a literary bus tour (a BIM book fair event) in Barbados that included spaces chronicled in literature and the homes of some who either made or facilitated the making of literature about Barbados. It was fascinating. And too often we are shortsighted – especially when it comes to the arts. (Source – via email from The Royal Society of Literature)

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Trinidad and Tobago writer Barbara Jenkins’ ‘A Good Friday’ was plucked from the pages of Pepperpot: Best New Stories from the Caribbean for reading by former Reading Rainbow host (and Roots start) Levar Burton on his Levar Burton Reads podcast which began in the early days of COVID quarantine in America. We’ve just added it to the latest Reading Room and Gallery but wanted to big her up here as well. His Trini accent not bad. (Source – via email from John Robert Lee of St. Lucia)

Publications and Postings

I have uploaded the video, in fulfillment of my grant requirement for the Catapult Caribbean Creative Arts online, to my YouTube channel AntiguanWriter. Please view, like, comment, share, subscribe.

(Source – Me!)

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Intersect Antigua-Barbuda has launched its online platform with a huge upload of stories, poems, and art consistent with its particular brand of gender artivism.

You can read and listen to the to the stories (which includes Carnival Hangover by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator and Belonging to Barbuda by Wadadli Pen team member Barbara Arrindell) on the site. Kudos to the Antiguan and Barbudan activists that spearheaded this regionally-focused global initiative, and who, thanks to an international grant, have been able to take it to the next level. (Source – initially, social media, primarily instagram)

Kudos

To Ingrid Persaud and Monique Roffey, two Caribbean writers, both originally of Trinidad and Tobago, who have been shortlisted for 2020 Costa Book Awards – Persaud for best first novel for Love After Love and Roffey for best novel for The Mermaid of Black Conch: a Love Story. (Source – initially Ingrid’s page on instagram which led to research on the Costa page)

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Happy 50th to Hansib Publications: the Caribbean focused, UK press was founded in 1970. Per its latest catalogue, “Hansib’s legacy as a campaigning
publisher has few equals in Europe, let alone Britain, as victims of bigoted bureaucracy, police brutality, nazi savagery and even internecine violence found a platform and a template for resistance in the weekly newspapers later founded under the Hansib umbrella: Caribbean Times, Asian Times and African Times.” It continues, “The flame which was fanned by these
assorted ventures abides in the content of the tomes which Hansib continues to publish. Professional wordsmiths with international
reputations jostle with first-time authors within a catalogue that stands as a monument to Caribbean ingenuity and West Indian obstinacy and speaks truth to power that Caribbean nations provided the first examples of
modern multi-cultural societies. …Hansib Publications is proud of its
reputation in providing an outlet for the many voices that remain unheard. It continues to encourage the personal narratives that are testimonies of struggle, survival and success that cannot get beyond the portals of mainstream publishers.” Among the narratives published by Hansib are Antiguan and Barbudan titles like London Rocks by Brenda Lee Browne, Antigua and Barbuda: a Little Bit of Paradise Seventh Edition (which I had the opportunity to work on as an editor), The Art of Mali Olatunji: Painterly Photography from Antigua and Barbuda by Mali Olatunji and Paget Henry, King Short Shirt: Nobody Go Run Me: The Life and Times of Maclean Emanuel (a book longlisted for the Bocas Prize) by Dorbrene O’Marde, Shouldering Antigua and Barbuda: The Life of V. C. Bird by Paget Henry, and my first book The Boy from Willow Bend (2nd and 3rd edition). There are also intriguing titles like Before Windrush: West Indians in Britain by Asher and Martin Hoyles, Daughter of the Great River by Khalil Rahman Ali, Lest We Forget: The Experiences of World War II Westindian Ex-Service Personnel by Robert N. Murray, and West Indian History and Literature by Frank Birbalsingh Here’s their current catalogue:

Hansib is listed in the Publisher’s section of our Opportunities page. (Source – email from Hansib)

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The Caribbean Writer literary journal out of the US Virgin Islands has announced its 2020 prize recipients. They are Carmelo Rivera (The Daily News Prize for ‘About My Identity Journey’), Eugenia O’Neal (Canute A. Brodhurst – best short fiction – Prize for ‘Harold Varlack’s Return’) w/honourable mention to Sara Lynn Burnett (‘Occasional Moonlight’) and Rafael Gamero (Gringo Pobre), Natalie G.S. Corthésy (The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize for ‘The Helper Experiment’) w/Chike Bukka Roots Pilgrim (Ananci) and Althea Romeo Mark (The Returned, Los Cocolos) also shortlisted, Rajiv Ramkhalawan (The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize for ‘An Unkept Heart’) w/Latoya S. Smith (‘Diaspora Darling’) and C. Andie Davis (‘Spinner’) shortlisted), and Rohan Facey (The Vincent Cooper Literary Prize for ‘Fi We Language’). (Source – initially one of the prize recipients on social media; then the substantial list from TCW via email)

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(Source – Social media – Facebook, specifically)

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Jamaican Curdella Forbes, based in the US, won this year’s Hurston Wright fiction prize for A Tall History of Sugar . See the full Legacy awards breakdown here. (Source – Hurston Wright email)

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Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, the oldest surviving (uninterrupted) steel orchestra in the world, has gotten its roses. This Independence (November 2020) they were bestowed the award of National Institutional in The Most Precious Order of Princely Heritage (Gold). “We are truly thankful that our commitment and contributions to the the Steelpan artform and Antiguan Culture for 75 years has not gone unnoticed. We have toiled tirelessly over the years to keep the artform alive and pass it on to future generations,” the band posted to its facebook page. “Many have made sacrifices to help make this band what it is today and this award is proof that those sacrifices have not gone in vain.” Hell’s Gate is the first group and/or band in Antigua and Barbuda to receive a national award.

(Source – the source of the image and quote is the band’s facebook page, but I first heard about their award during the announcements on radio here in Antigua and Barbuda) ETA: Observer article announcing the award

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure/Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe, and Oh Gad!). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page on WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Legendary Reggae Singer Toots Hibbert, Frontman of the Maytals, Dies at 77 — Variety

Toots Hibbert, an influential and veteran Jamaican ska and reggae singer and founder of the band the Maytals, has died. He was 77. The cause of death is as yet unclear though he had been recently tested for Covid-19. A statement from his family released on Sept. 11 reads: “It is with the heaviest of…

Legendary Reggae Singer Toots Hibbert, Frontman of the Maytals, Dies at 77 — Variety

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Carib Plus Lit News (Late August 2019)

CARIFESTA

Antigua and Barbuda met up with the rest of the Caribbean in Trinidad for CARIFESTA (the largest showcase of its kind for Caribbean talent) – and, in case you didn’t know, Antigua and Barbuda is the venue for the next CARIFESTA (in 2021). I have very few details but I  got the image of the passing of the baton from the last venue to the next (via proxys Trinidad and Tobago’s Culture and Arts Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister responsible for Culture, National Festivals and the Arts, Daryll Matthew) from the Antigua and Barbuda CARIFESTA facebook page and  believe you can link up  there for things related to AnB and CARIFESTA as plans evolve. You already know my thoughts and that of some other writers in our community on the (non/under/limited) presence of Antigua and Barbuda literary arts in CARIFESTA over the years, and Mark Brown – one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top artists – expressed concern re the (lack of) visibility of visual arts at this year’s event as well on his social media. Granted, there’s a bit of the grass is greener dynamic at play as well as I’ve seen countries which do better on arts generally weigh in with similar complaints via social media; and from the images and videos generally Trinidad and Tobago and the participating countries put on a good show. I’ve tried to share what I could on my social media (because I still support Antigua-Barbuda, and Antigua-Barbuda arts every time, notwithstanding my criticisms [or my haterade/grudgefulness/badmindedness, for those who choose to see said criticisms that way]) – highlights like the Antigua and Barbuda delegation enthusiastically singing Burning Flames ‘Swinging Engine’ in the opening parade (minus the “in she gear box” part), and Hell’s Gate performing a medley of tunes by one of our Big Three calypsonians, Swallow, with infectious youthful enthusiasm. I know a number of our soca stars – Ricardo Drue, Menace, CP, Tizzy – performed, as did the national youth choir, and, I believe, the Antigua Dance Academy (founder of which, Veronica Yearwood, I spotted in some of the images). Shout out to our community of artists, always! And, a personal note, shout out to TnT writer and illustrator of my children’s picture book Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure who presented our book during a session with children and shared on social media – so that I had a small presence there, in spirit. Pardon any oversights in the mentions – it’s not intentional. To that point…I note that a film I worked on as associate producer HAMAfilms The Sweetest Mango, Antigua and Barbuda’s first feature length film (released 2001) also showed – for the record, as you know from our data base/s we are all about the record here at Wadadli Pen, and because I’ve caught this error in a few reports, the film was produced by Howard and Mitzi Allen, directed by Howard Allen, but written by D. Gisele Isaac (both this and HAMA’s second film, No Seed, on which I served as production manager, were written by D. Gisele Isaac, who before her current life in politics also penned the boundary shifting book Considering Venus, not to mention being a founding partner of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize). The record is important. And, for the record, I wish the hosting of CARIFESTA in Antigua and Barbuda well. Someone posted wondering if they would expect full participation from the artists who have been overlooked CARIFESTA after CARIFESTA (the 2019 edition was the 14th iteration, going all the way back to the 1970s); and they well might…and I venture that for the love of the arts, our artists will show up; still, it is cynical to expect support from the artists in an environment where support for the artists has been so lacking. Hopefully, the road to CARIFESTA will include some reflection and a renaissance that embraces all forms of artistic expression.

Art Conversation

I wrote before about the Rooted at Home and Abroad exhibition at the national museum featuring the works of Zucan Bandele and Walter J. Parker. The exhibition will run to the end of August. Meanwhile, last Friday (August 23rd 2019), the exhibitors invited the community in for a conversation around the art being displayed. Curator Mali Olatunji (who was fine arts photographer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for more than 20 years) also spoke about some of his own art (e.g. the dirty beauty of the polluted sea at sunset) and about other art made in Antigua and Barbuda. And as he showed works by Frank Agard (copper and brass craftsman whose displayed work was an image of the St. John’s Cathedral) and Freeston Wright (an image of his work on canvas – a scene from earlier Antigua), I couldn’t help lamenting, again, the lack of a national art gallery (as a repository of Antigua and Barbuda’s art past and present, a creative space to encourage new artistic expressions, and a showcase with potential commercial value). Too often we find ourselves rediscovering what should never have been lost and not recognizing, embracing, celebrating, and encouraging what is.  A space for discussions like this. One young girl stood and spoke about her own art, and about what she saw in Parker’s art, and in some ways a connection she saw between them: “I totally get that he would make these beautiful things and not be caught up in exposing them.” Yes, among the things discussed was why the artist makes art, and how we interpret art – with attendees noting that sometimes the artist’s intention is clear and sometimes “the persons who look at it will get different interpretations” (Olatunji). Bandele spoke about his masks series and about the African deities he had captured on canvas – the former, poetic pieces inviting the viewer to look in to the head of the masquerader and the latter embodiments of goddesses like Yemojah (Mami Wata) who has dominion over the water. The works of the two exhibitors – Bandele and the deceased Parker whose paintings were of people in different poses and scenarios, all colourfully masked – seemed to be in conversation with each other.

CARNIVAL WRAP

Speaking of Art conversations there are one or two stories from the Antigua Carnival season that ought not be purely seasonal – a few really – but I’m just going to drop a couple. One has to do with panorama which was adjudged a success despite a too drawn out show and the absence of one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top bands, Halcyon due to lack of sponsorship (so Babu told me when I asked him on Carnival Tuesday – as Halcyon was in the parade). I heard a media report in which when it was pointed out to our PM that the band, Halcyon, had given lack of funds as the reason for their non-participation he jested that they were just running scared. Winning band Hell’s Gate is from the PM’s community so this response was likely some of that ages old rivalry between the seasoned bands and their respective communities, no harm no foul. The rest of the comment though, that a couple of other bands had checked him for funds and Halcyon could have done the same misses the point though in my opinion that arts development is continuous, that the arts developers need systems put in place to access philanthropy, investment, and/or sponsorship – that one of the top bands bowing out due to lack of any of these is …not a good look. even as we compliment not only the winners but the growing youth participation in pan – even as we remember that not too long ago pan was all but gone from the Carnival line-up and its resurgence is owed in great part to the pan fraternity and to the advocacy and attention given to it in Culture during the tenure of culture officer Barbara Mason. This is not my area of arts, obviously, so maybe I’m missing something, but those are some of my general observations. As for the other issue that will likely continue to bubble, copyright and use of artists’ work, stay tuned, I guess.

(Source of newspaper clippings: Daily Observer Antigua)

Pengereng

‘“Pengereng” is a Belize Kriol word for the noise made when something, especially a metallic object, falls to the floor. Figuratively, it refers to a great disturbance or upheaval. Hence, the title of my new book of short stories in which each protagonist experiences a life upheaval that forces him or her to make extremely difficult choices.

Kriol activist Silvaana Udz describes the book as a “ground-breaking” publication as it includes the first major work of fiction written entirely in the standard Belize Kriol spelling system. The 74-page collection contains two relatively long stories, one of which is presented in both English and Kriol, plus an essay in which I discuss why Kriol should be used more extensively by Belizean writers and should be made Belize’s second official language alongside English.’ – Belizean writer Ivory Kelly is fresh from representing her country at CARIFESTA (August 2019) in Trinidad. Shortly before that she debuted her latest book, Pengereng. Click here to read more about it.

(Ivory, right, 2014 in Glasgow at the Aye! Write lit fest – where we met)

Rocket Mama Set to Rock the Literary World

One of our favourites on the track is Jamaican sprinter Shelley Ann Fraser Pryce – long known as the pocket rocket for her diminutive size and the way she breaks out of the blocks like a bullet. The multi-Olympic gold medalist has not let motherhood slow her down and is preparing to drop a children’s book this September.

(source of newspaper clippings: Daily Observer Antigua)

Other new book announcements include: the second edition of my teen/young adult novel Musical Youth, former Caribbean media association president and TnT columnist Wesley Gibbings second collection, Passages, and Escape by former Wadadli Pen finalist Rilys Adams (to be uploaded to the data base of Antigua and Barbuda writings as soon as I get the time – but teasing the cover here for now).

 

 

 

 

 

RIPs

The literary world was still reeling from the passing of our mother of modern African American literature, Nobel Prize Winning African American author Toni Morrison (Beloved, The Bluest Eye, Tar Baby, Sula, Paradise, Jazz, and other classic works including my personal favourite Song of Solomon) when Barbadian-American writer Paule Marshall passed as well. She won’t get as much press but the author of Praisesong for the Widow, Browngirl Brownstones, and other classic Caribbean works is a giant in her own right.

Participants in the 2016 BIM Lit Fest: front row, left to right, Olive Senior, A-dZiko Gegele, Selma James, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Tanya Shirley, and Evan Marshall (son of Paule Marshall who was there to collect a lifetime achievement award on her behalf). Middle row, left to right, me (Joanne C. Hillhouse), Mrs. Foster, and Esther Phillips; back row, Cecil Foster, Bernice McFadden, and Mervyn Morris.

Paule Marshall with her award from BIM.

As we mourn their deaths, we celebrate their lives and their words which have enriched, uplifted, revealed our lives.

If I missed any big news or commentary, apologies, this is just a labour of love.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure which has a Spanish language edition). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out http://jhohadli.wordpress.com Please note that, except otherwise noted, images on this site also need to be cleared if you wish to use them for any purpose. Thanks.

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Remembering Roland Prince

“Things came sharply into focus one night. The Roland Prince Quartet was riffing on Thelonius Monk, and she was enjoying it, the wind brushing her face as she stood outside under the stars on a break.”  (excerpted from Dancing Nude in the Moonlight by Joanne C. Hillhouse)

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Here is the man himself, Roland Prince, 1975, playing guitar in Italy with the band led by iconic jazz drummer Elvin Jones.

I don’t claim to be an authority on jazz, Elvin Jones, or even Roland, though I did enjoy his music Song of Roland and have had the opportunity to interview him and his wife, Calypso Val, whose music he produced. The first interview was about his extensive journeying as a jazz man and on hearing of his untimely, much too early at age 69, passing on July 16th 2016, I tried to dig it up so that I could share it here with you. But it was at least two computer crashes in the rear view and, unless I can dig through the Daily Observer archives for a hard copy, lost to me. I interviewed him for part of a series of interviews with Antiguan and Barbudan artistic masters that I called Vintage – his sister Althea Prince was also included in that series.

I say all of that to say that Roland is gone and I feel inadequate to the task of documenting why his art and life mattered – feeling keenly the absence of Tim Hector’s encyclopedic awareness of such things; people think of him and his Fan the Flame column as political commentary but for me what was particularly appealing about it was his coverage and insight as related to Antiguan and Barbudan art and culture. I do what I can here and have in other places I’ve written but there was a knowledge-base stored in Tim’s head that I don’t have.

My research, missing articles aside, and reflection turned up some things that I’ll mention, however.

Roland Prince (born January 1st 1946) was a jazz soloist, sideman, and ultimately bandleader – if you’ve been to Antigua, and dined at places like Russell’s and O.J.’s you’ve heard him play with Val, with the Roland Prince Quartet. The last time I heard him play live was a couple of years ago at the Watch Night dinner – Watch Night, on the eve of August Monday, right in the heat of Carnival, is the night set aside to honour the ancestors, symbolically, on the night they stepped from bondage to freedom in 1834. Roland lectured, I don’t know how else to think of it, as he played, and I remember being struck by his mastery of his instrument – he was on the keyboard that night – and his well-deep knowledge of music history. roland prince - Copy (1)

It hits me, not for the first time, thinking of this, how under-utilized he (many of our master artistes, because I’m thinking master classes, really) are by the powers that be – how unheralded by them and us, to some degree, even in death.

Roland’s wikepedia discography lists 1977’s Color Vision with Frank Foster, Kenny Barron, Al Foster, Bob Cranshaw and others – whose names I’m dropping by the way because the jazz folk will know who they are; 1972’s Senyah with Roy Haynes and Lean on Me with Shirley Scott; 1991’s Black & Black with David Murray; 1973’s Life is Round with Columbia Records jazz fusion ensemble Compost; and 1971’s Awareness with Buddy Terry. Then, of course, there is his extensive list of recordings with Elvin Jones:

New Agenda (Vanguard, 1975)
Mr. Thunder (EastWest, 1975)
Summit Meeting (Vanguard, 1976) with James Moody, Clark Terry and Bunky Green
Remembrance (MPS, 1978)
Elvin Jones Music Machine (Mark Levison, 1978)
Live in Japan 1978: Dear John C. (Trio (Japan), 1978)
Elvin Jones Jazz Machine Live in Japan Vol. 2 (Trio (Japan), 1978)

I am not in a position to provide a listing of any awards – national or otherwise – Roland may have received (perhaps someone will enlighten me in the comments section) but I was present at the one and only National Vibes Star Project Awards where he was presented with a lifetime achievement award – alongside Reginald Samuel, sculptor and national flag designer, and the original Burning Flames, which literally changed the rhythm of soca in the region.

Roland was one of a small handful of Antiguan and Barbudan musicians whose musicianship landed them a place with world class bands – the short list of these I’ve been fortunate to interview includes people like Dell Richardson of Osibisa, Calvin Fuzz Samuels who played with Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Rico Anthony who was the original drummer for Arrow’s multinational band, and, of course, Roland who played with Elvin Jones’ band.

Roland is part of Antigua and Barbuda’s Prince family which includes politician Sydney,  writers Ralph (Jewels of the Sun and inspiration for the Prince Literary Journal after his death) and Althea (How Country Pond got its Flowers, Ladies of the Night, Loving this Man, Being Black and more – also editor of So the Nailhead Bend So the Story End), educator  John (also a poet), sculptor Arnold Prince (who also authored the textbook Carving Wood and Stone: an Illustrated Manual), and others down the generations.

In a decade old interview with me (‘Althea Prince: No Labels Please’, P. 13, Daily Observer, February 3rd 2006), Althea said “’What I think is important …is that our parents provided an environment that was conducive to artistic and intellectual growth.”

There you have what I’m able to  offer (considering I’m not Tim) of what shaped the man and his contribution to arts at home and abroad, and if you were online when news of his passing broke, you might have had some insight to how he impacted others – something I hope he knew in life.

“One of Antigua’s brightest musical lights has dimmed. But his wizardry on the frets and keyboards will remain as bright as always for all time. Our icon. Our Prince.”

Though some were skeptical that he knew, that we know, even now.

“The great Roland Prince has passed away. Another one of our unknown greats. Not sure even Antiguans understood who this man really was. …We lost a genius,” wrote one poster.

Justin ‘Jus Bus’ Nation, an Antiguan raised and based music producer who’s produced Grammy nominated tracks for the likes of Snoop Dogg and Jah Cure, and whose collaboration with Roland, Free, is a favourite of mine, posted publicly, “Antigua & Barbuda just lost a great one! Rest in peace Roland the experiences you gave me in the few studio sessions we had together are timeless and forever imbedded in my mind & soul.”

I’m left – and will leave you – with one thing someone said, somewhat bitterly, and understandably so (especially considering how little newsprint our artistes rate at the end), “I’m sick of us only knowing the value of people after [they’re] dead…we, this little 108, we’ve produced so much, given the world so much, but we refuse to acknowledge each other.”

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“Roland Prince,” he said.

She was surprised he even knew who that was. Her expression must have showed as much because he laughed.

“What?” he said. “One of the top jazz guitarists in the world, and he from Wadadli. You think I wouldn’t know that? How ignorant you think me be?”  (excerpted from Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse)

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

 

 

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Before there was ‘For Cup’ there was ‘Fork up de Land’ – RIP Franco

(from the Daily Observer, Tuesday August 18, 2015, Page 7, by Tameika Malone)
“One of the sweetest calypso voices you could hear anywhere” has been silenced. Veteran calypsonian Franklyn ‘Franco’ Reynolds passed away last weekend after a diagnosis of colon cancer a week ago, his friend and colleague Ogliver ‘Destroyer Sr.’ Jacobs told Observer media yesterday. “From the day he came in it was one of the sweetest voices you could ever hear in calypso. He was a finalist for many years, though he never made the top three…” Reynolds was known for his famous songs Fork up De Land; Yes, We are Ready and Want All… he joined the local calypso arena in 1969 with the song Let us Live Together and was one of the founding members of the Calypso Pepperpot in 1972… RIP Franco

“Yes, we are ready
Ready to take a stand
Ready to redeem our native land
We’ll bury the bitter past
Build a just nation at last
at last, at last, at last…”

…in time

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