|Tuesday, July 4 2017|
THE Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts together with Brooklyn’s Borough president Eric L Adams supported the JouvayFest initiative – a collective of expert carnival creatives from the Caribbean, USA and Europe– in launching Africa’s first J’Ouvert experience in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire scheduled for March 2018.
A JouvayFest group recently travelled to the West African country where team members met with and presented snapshots of the proposed J’Ouvert/Carnival performance. Witnessing the presentation were officials of Marche des Arts du Spectacle Africain (MASA ) Market and Festival for African Performing Arts; the director general of the Palais De La Culture; the commissioner general of the town of Bonoua; the director of culture, sport and tourism and the professor of sociology at the University of Cocody.
Director general of MASA Prof Yacouba Konata said: “I like the fact that JouvayFest are from the diaspora and want to come to Cote D’Ivoire to showcase the Trinidad and Tobago culture. We are committed to make this happen.” This sentiment was echoed by Madame Prof Toure Diabate- Tenin, Knight of the Order of Merit who said: “This is a great opportunity to build a sustainable cultural relationship between Cote d’Ivoire and Trinidad and Tobago.” Award-winning pannist Dane Gulston together with Dirk Harewood – percussionist and assistant musical director, performed selections of their repertoire which completely mesmerised the dignitaries and audiences who all exclaimed that it was absolutely magical, said a media release.
Gultson said: “Being in Africa was a great spiritual experience that will stay with me forever. I’m an excited musician and can’t wait to carry my talent and Trinidad culture to the people of Abidjan.” At a press conference hosted by Radiodiffusion- T?l?vision Ivoirienne, the Head of Alliance Francaise Zie Coulibaly said: “It’s the first time I have ever seen and heard a steelpan.
I would love for it to be introduced to our schools, and strongly want the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Ministry to help bring steelpan to Abidjan.” The Ivorian Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has invited JouveyFest to be a main feature at its Caribbean Day celebration.
The ministry has formally asked the group to return to tutor the youngsters in Abidjan in all things carnival, thereby taking the cultural expression full circle from its original African roots to the Caribbean, North America, Europe and now, back home to Africa.