Shanya Springer leads Kambule Campus: Songs of Kambule
We are pleased to have cast member Shanya Springer lead this 5th workshop in the Kambule Campus series which explores some of the songs, chants, and lavways that are a part of Kambule – the Ritual Re-enactment of the 1881 Canboulay Riots.
Join us on Saturday 16th January for our first Kambule Campus Workshop of the year!
Participation is free! Please like, share and donate to our campaign to do a digital production of Kambule for Carnival 2021 @ https://fundmetnt.com/campaign/kambule-the-spirit-of-resistance-and-creativity-in-the-trinidad-carnival
The session will be broadcast live on Facebook @kambulett and Youtube @Kambule Movement at 5 p.m. on Saturday January 16.
With the Kambule Campus online series now in full effect the word has started to spread! Recently the series was featured in the news as Atillah Springer, one of Idakeda’s directors, gave an interview to TT live online. The interview featured the back story behind the online series and its function as a vehicle of learning and culture.
Join us on Tuesday November 17 for our second Kambule Campus Workshop! We are pleased to have cast members Brendon Lacaille and Keon Francis lead this workshop which looks at the performance elements of Kambule – the ritual re-enactment of the 1881 Canboulay Riots.
Participation is free! Please like, share and donate to our campaign to do a digital production of Kambule for Carnival 2021 https://fundmetnt.com/
You can watch live on Facebook @africanlegacytt or Youtube @Kambule Movement! You can also join via Zoom to interact directly with our facilitators.
Topic: Theatre of Resistance
Time: Nov 17, 2020 05:00 PM Caracas
Meeting ID: 850 1837 3281
Carnival traditions Celebrated in online workshop series ‘Kambule Campus’
With Carnival 2021 officially cancelled due to ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19 Idakeda Group, producers of the annual Canboulay re-enactment are keeping the spirit of the season alive with a series of online workshops focusing on the theory and practice of Carnival’s traditional artforms.
‘Kambule has become a staple of the annual Carnival celebrations, but it’s so much more than a play,’ explains Idakeda founder and Kambule choreographer Dara Healy.
‘We have a returning cast of over 50 young people and we think it’s important for us to continue that connection regardless of whether there is an official two day observance on the streets.’
Healy says they have stayed in touch with the cast through this year of challenges for artists and cultural workers.
‘All of us felt it was important to keep going. This is the essence of what Kambule teaches us, that we must keep our traditions alive. And the digital space offers an opportunity for us to do so.’
The online workshop series began on November 14 2020 with drumming led by Kayode and Iremide Charles and continues this year starting on January 16 2021 at 5pm. There will also be workshops in dance, protection of artistic copyright, and Kalinda!
Preparations are also underway to re-imagine the pre-dawn production for an online broadcast.
Written by poet and playwright Eintou Springer, Kambule imagines the conversations between the stick fighters and jammettes as they prepare to do battle with Police Commissioner Captain Arthur Baker. Springer uses the spelling ‘Kambule’ – a Kikongo word that means procession. This meaning became conflated with the more widely known spelling Canboulay, which is a French patois word meaning burnt canes.
Alongside these workshops we are asking participants to support a 2021 online Carnival production of Kambule by contributing to our fund-raising campaign at https://fundmetnt.com/
Every year, Carnival lovers the world over flock to Trinidad to indulge in revelry infused with an explosion of colourful costumes, wanton revelry, soca and calypso.
While most mas fanatics are familiar with the party side of Carnival, it’s easy to overlook the multi-layered elements of the season as well as what its origins entail.
Indeed, present-day Carnival is a celebration of island pride and freedom of expression but it’s important to remember that the festivities are deeply rooted in rebellion and the re-enactment of Canboulay Riots stands as an artistic ode to our revolutionary past.
Carnival during post-Emancipation held a different meaning than its celebrations during enslavement. In the late 18th and early 19th century, the planter class and free coloureds hosted masquerade balls symbolising a “farewell to the flesh” ahead of the Catholic Lenten season. These masquerade celebrations included dressing up and mimicking each other as a form of entertainment. Following the end of slavery, however, ‘mas’ celebrations converged into that of defiance. As scholar JD Elder noted, “Canboulay is basically a ceremony symbolising cane-burning that Africans of Trinidad devised to celebrate their ‘freedom from slavery’ in 1838.”
Published Mar 02, 2020
‘I knew nothing about Kambule. But they (Idakeda) came to my school as a part of their social outreach and engagement, and during my performance in one of our school’s presentations, they saw me and said “We want you to be a part of our performance family.” I started with them when I was twelve years old. I was shocked and a little confused when I first entered the space and stayed to myself. I was unsure because I didn’t know anything about this, but they didn’t allow me to stay in the corner and pulled me centre stage.’
Read the full interview with Idakeda troupe member Kamaya Francis here:
It’s been just over three months since Eintou Springer’s annual re-enactment of the Kambule Riots at Picadilly Greens in Port of Spain, Trinidad. It’s the kind of production that leaves you questioning your true purpose in life. Even as I type this piece, I haven’t fully understood why Kambule has affected me in the way that it did. I decided to write about it to help bring about clarity.
Kambule captures a critical chapter in our history – the birth of our nation’s greatest cultural spectacle, Carnival. The hypnotic sea of colour, a blend of traditional, ingenious and often daring mas, the unique musical tapestry that is pan, calypso, extempo, soca and its Indo-Trinidadian cousin chutney-soca (and all the heated analysis about lyrics, a song’s Road March-worthiness), the beauty of J’Ouvert’s muddiness, the hundreds of fêtes (parties) that relieve us from life’s inhibitions. The perfect synonym for ‘bliss’.
Yet amid this chaotic revelry, there is the navel string that is perhaps often sidelined. In 1881 our African ancestors fought to have their own masquerade validated by the ever classist British empire. Kambule was originally a procession held during Carnivals of the time. It commemorated the harvesting of burnt canes (cannes brulées) during slavery. Kalinda. Chantwells. Drumming. Dance. All powerful expressions that must be remembered amidst the blinding glitter of the modern festival. Expressions deemed ‘barbaric’ in the eyes of the then ruling British. Captain Arthur Baker, then head of the country’s police force, embodied the Monarch’s derision. He was determined to cease this ‘threat’ to public order.
Captain Baker is the most hated man at Picadilly Greens…
Growing up in a conservative community in Central Trinidad, I never understood the origins of Carnival and why it occupied such a vast space in our nation’s consciousness. Carnival was a distant, ‘uncultured euphoria’ that wasn’t for us. You saw it, heard about it, but never indulged in it. Witnessing Kambule has not only deepened my understanding of the festival; it reiterated how ‘the system’ continued to violate the African civilization after Emancipation. However, this violation was met with unmatched resilience. There is fiercely guarded pride in one’s ancestry. There is victory against all odds.
Read the full review here:
Published April 24, 2020
Stories heal and unify in times of trouble. A new online series featuring TT poet and storyteller Eintou Springer along with other storytellers celebrates this truth during April. The first instalment, How Handwashing Came into the World, aired on Sunday on the poet’s Facebook page and can be found there.
The initiative is being carried out worldwide by members of an international organisation of traditional storytellers called the International Ananse Movement (IAM) convened by Dr Amina Blackwood Meeks of Ntukuma Jamaica, hosts of the Ananse Sound Splash, an international storytelling festival and conference. Ambassadors include Springer, Jan Blake and Michael Kerins from Europe, Jeeva Raghunath from India and Nomsa Adlalose from South Africa.
Blackwood Meeks said IAM is motivated by a desire to give recognition and visibility to indigenous and original cultural forms.
“It takes its name from the Spider God of Wisdom of the Akan people of Ghana, who has survived in stories across many areas of the African diaspora. With Ananse as the symbol of resistance and retention, IAM is inclusive of all cultural forms that have survived in stories, songs, chants and in our unique drum rhythms on the fringes of mainstream consciousness.
“The Stories that Heal and Unify project represents the commitment of storytellers to assist people to understand and cope with the current crisis brought on by covid19 by sharing stories that highlight the values by which we have lived in the past as well as stories that demonstrate our capacity to survive. Our spelling of Ananse is in keeping with the spelling used among the Akan people who gave us Ananse and this reclamation of the name is important to reparation.”
Springer said following a conversation with her daughter Atillah Springer about how to use storytelling to help people during this time, Atillah suggested they reach out to Blackwood Meeks, who was the convener of the IAM.
Springer said the storytellers will tell the same stories at the same time each Sunday in April, in their native language and storytelling traditions. In the story, Ananse, the Spider God of Wisdom of the Akan people of Ghana, decides to cook himself a meal. One of the animals often found in the Ananse stories, Turtle, decides he wants some food, but Ananse says he can only have some if his hands are washed. The ending would come as no surprise to those familiar to Ananse stories.
PAULA LINDO T&T Newsday, Published Sa