As usual my Calabash blog post is a little late. News of the weekend’s happenings would have been printed in the newspapers before today but of course they won’t put the spin on it that I would.
I must be getting old. I did not make it down to the Festival on Friday night. It was not because I was not in Treasure Beach, it was because I was dead tired. I arrived late but had made it in time for the Kingston Noir section but I did not make it. Neither did I get to see Nomadz nor Raging Fire. So I cannot say anything about Friday. I am now reading “Kingston Noir” and so far it is okay. The stories are different, but gripping, maybe not. But we all have different tastes so that comment is not to dissuade you from purchasing.
Saturday was a different matter. I was up not quite bright and early but I did not miss anything except for “The Admiral”. Again the fatigue took over. The highlight for me of the day and of the festival was Anis Mojgani. I am including a video of him performing a poem that he actually did at Calabash as well.
I also enjoyed the talk with Ronnie Kasrils. It was very enlightening.
In terms of fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed Kerry Young’s reading of an excerpt from “Pao” which I actually bought the Kindle version of (way cheaper for those of us on a tight budget).
Garfield Ellis also read and his reading got me thinking about how writers decide what they will read at any given reading. I started thinking about this because I had heard him read one of the excerpts he read at Calabash at a another event where he read not too long ago and honestly I did not need to hear it again. Truth be told it was a smaller gathering, less than 40 people I suppose, but at least 3 of those possibly 40 people were in the audience at Calabash. I suppose it does not matter if you are the event and not just part of the event because if someone came to your “show” last week unless they really want to see you again or they are groupies, they probably will not come to the reading you have this week in the same local but perhaps a different venue. I suppose there will always be favourites that you will want to read though.
Sunday as usual had fewer activities than Saturday, and of course the music was excellent. Here’s a photo of Della Manley on stage performing with the Ensemble.
Here are a few more Calabash pics with me in them may not be “Calabash pics” in the truest sense.
Me and Too Much Things to Say (I’ve got a poem in there) and The Columbina van and I 🙂
This year there was an added element to Calabash. You could give a donation is specific dollar amounts set out and you would get a band the colour of which corresponded with the amount donated. I hope this means that they are at least trying to continue the Festival next year. And yes for the record, I donated and you should too if you love the arts. It is very noble of the organizers to continue to commit every year to keeping the Festival free and I would like to say a big thank you to the organizers and their families as well as the sponsors who were on board this year. Kwame had indicated a dollar amount to put on the festival and if it was in Jamaican Dollars then if everyone in the country gave 10 dollars each it would be more than enough for one staging. So if you can, give and until you go to the Festival you won’t “know” so make a donation and see you next year!
Oh and before I forget, get the anthology “Jubilation! poems celebrating 50 years of Jamaican Independence”