Caribbean At the 59th GRAMMY Award

The 2017 GRAMMY Awards, the 59th edition, proved to be quite fruitful and rewarding to recording artists of the circum-Caribbean. Ziggy Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, won his sixth Grammy for Reggae, and Cuba’s pianist Chucho Valdes the Grammy for the Best Latin Jazz Album.


Reggae singer Ziggy Marley and his kids at the 59th Grammy’s. He won his sixth Grammy for Reggae Album of the Year. (Twitter image)

See the News Americas Now article published on Mon. Feb. 13, 2017 for more details.

Caribbean at the Grammy’s

8 Largely Forgotten West Indians In US Black History

The following article was published by New Americas Now on Feb. 8, 2017.

As the US continues to mark Black History Month, here are 8 West Indian black immigrants who made a significant contribution to black history in the United States, but who today remain largely forgotten.

1: Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael

Trinidad-born Stokely Carmichael, who later changed his name to Kwame Ture, was a prominent figure in the black US struggle for civil rights and in the global Pan-African movement. He migrated to the United States at age of 11 and became an activist while he attended Howard University. Ture later became active in the Black Power movement, first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later as the “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and finally as a leader of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (A-APRP).

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QUILIBY MOURNS THE PASSING OF DR. SAMUEL FLOYD JR. – FOUNDER OF THE CENTER FOR BLACK MUSIC RESEARCH

The following is the announcement and obituary released by the Center for Black Music Research on the occasion of the death of the Center’s founder – Dr. Samuel Floyd Jr.

Dear CBMR friends and associates:

With great sadness, I write to inform you of the passing of the CBMR’s Founder and Director Emeritus, Dr. Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., who died on Monday, July 11, in Chicago, following an extended illness.

Please see the attached obituary, which was written by former colleagues Suzanne Flandreau, Morris Phibbs, and Rosita M. Sands. It will also be posted on the CBMR web site, at http://www.colum.edu/cbmr. I know that all of us who knew Sam personally or had the opportunity to work with him professionally, profoundly mourn his loss. Yet we are grateful for the rich legacy of work he leaves behind that has forever changed the landscape of musicological research.

Sincerely,
Dr. Rosita M. Sands, Interim Director, CBMR; Chair, Music Department, Columbia College Chicago
Dr. Monica Hairston O’Connell, former Executive Director, CBMR
Morris Phibbs, former Deputy Director, CBMR
Suzanne Flandreau, former Archivist and Head Librarian, CBMR

Dr. Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.
2/1/1937 – 7/11/2016

Dr. Samuel Floyd Jr.

Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., educator, musician, scholar and champion of black music research died in Chicago on Monday, July 11, after an extended illness. Dr. Floyd was born in Tallahassee, Florida, on February 1, 1937. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida A & M University and later earned a masters (1965) and Ph.D. (1969) from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He began his music career as a high school band director in Florida before returning to Florida A & M to serve as Instructor and Assistant Band Director under legendary band director William “Pat” Foster. In 1964 he joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and in 1978, he began a faculty position as Professor of Music at Fisk University, where he founded and served as Director of the Institute for Research in Black American Music. In 1983 he moved to Columbia College Chicago to found the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR), which became an internationally respected research center under his leadership. Critical to the creation of the CBMR was the establishment of the CBMR Library and Archives, which has grown to be one of the most comprehensive collections of music, recordings, and research materials devoted to black music. At Columbia College, Dr. Floyd also served as Academic Dean from 1990 to 1993 and as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost during 1999–2001. He retired as Director Emeritus of the CBMR in 2002.

At the CBMR Dr. Floyd devoted himself to discovering and publishing the information that would allow black music to receive its rightful recognition from audiences and scholars. His early publications (with Marsha Heizer) were bibliographies of research materials and biographical resources. Later he edited a collection of essays, Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance (1990), which won the Irving Lowens Award for Distinguished Scholarship in American Music from the Society for American Music. He also edited the International Dictionary of Black Composers (1999) a reference book that won several awards from the library community, including an honorable mention for the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal in 2000.

While still at Fisk, Dr. Floyd founded Black Music Research Journal, a juried scholarly journal which moved with him to the CBMR in 1983; it has been published continuously since its founding in 1980. He also founded and edited a grant-funded journal, Lenox Avenue: A Journal of Interartistic Inquiry, dedicated to exploring the role of music within the broader arts of the African Diaspora, the Music of the African Diaspora book series, which is published by the University of California Press, a monographs series, and several newsletters. Under his direction, the CBMR held numerous national and international conferences highlighting scholarly research, sponsored a series of postgraduate research fellowships funded by the Rockefeller Foundation for scholars studying the music of the African Diaspora, and taught two seminars for college teachers on African-American music, under the auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He also established the Alton Augustus Adams Music Research Institute in St. Thomas (2000–2006), U.S. Virgin Islands, to study and document black music throughout the Caribbean.

Performance was another important aspect of the CBMR’s programming. Dr. Floyd created four professional ensembles at the CBMR: the Black Music Repertory Ensemble, devoted to music by black composers; Ensemble Kalinda Chicago, which performed African-influenced music of Latin America and the Caribbean; Ensemble Stop-Time, which concentrated on African-American popular music and jazz; and the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble, which combined the performance capabilities and repertoires of the previous three ensembles. The ensembles, which introduced audiences at every level to black music, produced recordings, performed nearly 200 concerts locally and on national tour, recorded eight nationally broadcast radio shows, and presented lecture-demonstrations in schools.

Dr. Floyd was a prodigious grant-writer who won significant funding to help support the CBMR’s public programming and the development of the CBMR Library and Archives. Among the most supportive agencies were the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Illinois Arts Council, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Chicago Community Trust, and the Sara Lee, Joyce, Ford, John D. and Catherine T. Rockefeller, MacArthur, and Fry foundations, among many others.

Samuel Floyd was a true visionary. Through the CBMR he was able to realize his concept of black music as a totality expressing African Diasporic culture across genre and time. His book, The Power of Black Music, published by Oxford University Press in 1995, epitomized his ideas. It was one of the first scholarly studies to transcend historical reporting and synthesize the information he had founded the CBMR to discover and preserve. In his retirement he was engaged in further studies intended to carry his synthesis even further. Two new books are scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press.

Among the awards received by Dr. Floyd in recognition of his vision, service, and contributions are: the National Association of Negro Musician’s Award for Distinguished Contributions to Music, the Pacesetters Award in recognition of Outstanding Achievement in Higher Education from the American Association of Higher Education Black Caucus, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Music. Floyd was a Fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities, and was twice a Fellow at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle, North Carolina, including a term as the John Hope Franklin Senior Fellow. He was also Scholar-in-Residence at the Bellagio Student and Conference Center (Italy), a Robert M. Trotter Lecturer for The College Music Society, and was named an Honorary Member of the American Musicological Society.

Dr. Floyd is survived by his wife of over 50 years, Barbara, and their three children—Wanda, Samuel Floyd III, and Cecilia. No formal memorial has been planned by the family and services will be private. Expressions of condolence may be sent to Mrs. Barbara Floyd, 2960 North Lake Shore Drive #408, Chicago, IL 60657. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to benefit his alma mater at the FAMU Foundation, 625 East Tennessee Street, Suite 100, Tallahassee, FL 32308-4933. http://www.famu.edu/index.cfm?GiveToFAMU&FoundationHome.

Carnival, Calypso and Steel Pan:

A Bibliographic Guide to Popular Music of the
English-speaking Caribbean and its Diaspora

By John Gray

DESCRIPTION
A companion to the author’s earlier volume Jamaican Popular Music, this landmark new work helps fill a major gap in the reference literature. For the first time ever it offers students and researchers an in-depth guide to the large body of materials available on masquerade and popular music traditions of the English-speaking Caribbean. Comprised of some 3400 annotated entries it documents a literature, both popular and scholarly, that now spans more than 85 years and ranges across disciplines as diverse as social and cultural history, anthropology, ethnomusicology, literature and economics.

The book’s main focus is on three tightly intertwined topics—Carnival, calypso and steel pan—and how each has evolved, both inside of Trinidad, their most important hub, and abroad in the large West Indian enclaves of New York, London and Toronto. The Carnival side of this trinity, a critical showcase for the region’s music and dance styles, is treated comprehensively. This includes an unprecedented level of detail on each of the four major Caribbean Carnivals—Trinidad Carnival, Brooklyn’s Labor Day Carnival, London’s Notting Hill Carnival, and Toronto’s Caribana—as well as important precursors such as Harlem’s West Indian Day Parades of the 1940s and ’50s and the early London Carnivals organized by Claudia Jones. Carnival’s musical aspects, both calypso and steel pan, are also covered in depth. In the case of calypso that encompasses all of its various forms, from its antecedents in kalinda stick-fighting to the “jump and wave” soca of today. A multitude of contemporary offshoots, e.g., binghi, chutney soca, ragga soca, ringbang, and gospelypso, are also documented in full. Numerous other sources help illuminate calypso’s central role as a vehicle for social and political commentary and its perspective on issues as diverse as immigration, race and gender relations, and national identity. Steel pan, calypso’s cousin, is discussed from the music’s introduction on the regional and international scene in the 1950s to its more recent role in the music programs of North America and Great Britain. A substantial Biographical and Critical Studies section documents the contributions made to these traditions by almost 600 individual performers and ensembles.

Citations span from 1852 to 2012, with the bulk having been published between the 1930s and 2012. They encompass musical and cultural analyses, ethnographies, oral histories, popular histories and reportage along with a wealth of archival, audio-visual, and electronic resources. The book concludes with an extensive reference section that includes a list of Sources Consulted, a guide to relevant Libraries and Archives, two appendices, and separate Author and Subject Indexes.

for more information

Caribbean-American History: The Manhattan-based Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society

The following article was written by Jared MacCallister and published in the New York Daily News, Sept. 14, 2013.

AntBarbThe national flag flies proudly outside the Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society’s Harlem headquarters, purchased in 1964. Picture by Jared MacCallister.

Those who think Caribbean immigrants are newcomers to New York really need to think again. The 79-year-old Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society shatters that untruth.

The Manhattan-based organization will have its history and decades-long dedication to Caribbean culture and Harlem, and some of its artifacts, touted in “A Lighthouse in New York: Opening Reception; Panel Discussion,” a free exhibition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. (at W. 135th St.), from 6 p.m to 9 p.m., in Manhattan, on Sept. 27.

“Everything is going very, very well,” society spokeswoman Mona Wyre Manigo said of the exhibition, which reflects the trials and tribulations of Caribbean peoples — here and abroad — over the organization’s first 50 years of exsistence. “It’s going to be an exciting moment for Antigua and Barbuda. I’ve looked at the documents and every time I think about it, I get chills.”

For example, said Manigo, there are documents about an urgent meeting calling “all Caribbean people in Harlem” to support a letter to Britain, demanding that the head of colonial Antigua be removed from office for mistreating island residents. Antigua and Barbuda gained independence from Britain in 1981.

The donated materials also contain historic correspondence from institutions and individuals, such as Antigua Trades and Labour Union President V.C. Bird, before he became Antigua and Barbuda’s first prime minister.

Donated in 2011, the historic records provide a detailed glimpse into migration to New York and the life and pursuits of new arrvials. The records will later be available for researchers.

In 1934, James Roberts and 22 other Antiguan immigrants started the Antigua Progressive Society, which was incorporated the following year with the goals of promoting their culture, aiding members and their families in times of sickness and death, aiding their Caribbean homeland and encouraging “educational excellence” among youth.

The Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society was created through a 2010 bylaw change designed to incorporate Barbudian New Yorkers who were served by the now-defunct Barbuda Benevolent Society of America. The Barbuda group was established in 1915 and lasted 62 years.

Today, Antigua and Barbuda Progressive Society members continue to work hard at maintining cultural — and many civic — commitments under a board of directors, including President M. Roz. Olatunji. The group meets monthly at society headquarters, the Antigua and Barbuda House on W. 122nd St. in Harlem.

In addition to aiding Antiguan and Barbudian nationals, the children in the Harlem and other projects, the group fulfills its civic responsibility by participating in the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association, Central Harlem’s Community Board 10 and the 28th Precinct Community Council.

In October, the society will commemorate its birthday with a 79th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Banquet, “Honoring Our Past and Embracing Our Future.” The event will be held Oct. 19 in the faculty dining hall of the City College Of New York, 160 Covent Ave., from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Donation is $75 and proceeds will aid the organization’s building renovation fund.

Read more: NYDailyNews

India’s hidden African communities

The following article was written by Dr. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya and published in Global: The International Briefing.

Indians with African ancestry often go unrecognised but perhaps this is to be expected in a country with a population of 1.2 billion whose diversity is as wide as the Indian Ocean.

Africans traders, sailors and missionaries moved across the Indian Ocean of their own free will for centuries. From the 13th century, African traders operated from Jan­jira, an island off the west coast of India, and from the 16th century Janjira became a power base for Africans who ruled not one, but two states in western India. In 1948, a year after independence, when India’s princely states were incorporated into the new India, the states of Janjira and Sachin were ruled by Sidis – the name by which Indians of African descent are generally known today…

Being a heterogeneous group, they have lost whatever African languages they spoke in the process of settling down. A few of the elderly can recall some Swahili. But as many generations were born in India, most Sidis today speak the local languages -Gu­jarati, Marathi, Kannada and Telugu, for example.

Sidis are Indian, and blend in with the multicultural mosaic of India. In terms of clothing, housing and language, they can­not be differentiated from other Indians. Sidis have all but adapted to life in India, similar to the numerous other migrant groups. What really sets Sidis apart from other Indians are their artistic traditions. Sidis blend into India’s diversity but their music and dance signal a connection with Africa. Melodies and themes in Sidi mu­sic have been identified as Tanzanian and Ethiopian.

Sidi servants once entertained the noble courts with their ngoma drums, rattles and conch shells. Music and dance took on an important function, as it gave them some­thing of Africa to hold on to while adapting to their new country. Sidis in Gujarat felt a need to form a new identity and entrenched some aspects of their ancestral culture by gathering at the dargahs (shrines) of their Sidi Sufi saints: Bava Gor, Bava Habash and Mai Mishra.

Sidi religious practices involve music, song and dance. Their polyrhythmic drum­ming style, known as goma, brings their African roots to the fore. Though origi­nally a religious performance, goma was brought to the stage by the Sidi Sufis who considered the theatrical performances an extension of their worship. African drums (mugarman, which stands on feet; musindo, similar to a dhol, or double-headed drum, but only played with the hands; and armpit drums), malunga (braced musical bows), mai mishra (coconut rattle) and nafir (conch trumpet) add to the authenticity of the performance.

There are several goma groups, and the tradition has become a vehicle for Sidis to travel outside their village, across the coun­try and overseas. Dressed in animal skins decorated with peacock feathers, and with painted faces, Sidis perform their African-derived music all over the world – in Ma­laysia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, the USA and the UK. One audience member in Delhi admitted to having seen Sidis on the Discovery Channel but had not known that they lived in India.

Some Sidis believe they are descendants of the Prophet Muhammad’s first muezzin, Hazrat Bilal, an Ethiopian. Bilal’s beautiful voice and devotion to the Prophet won him this important position.

Over the past decade, scholarly interest in the Sidis has grown. They have estab­lished the Sidi Goma Al-Mubrik Charitable Trust, which is administered and managed by Sidis. The Trust aims to enhance the economic, social and educational needs of the community. This exemplary initiative might be a model for migrant communities to follow throughout the world.

For the original and full report: India’s hidden African communities.

Diaspora Tourism Significant To Caribbean Economies

A Caribseek News report:

Diaspora Tourism Significant To Caribbean Economies

Revealing the economic power of the Caribbean’s overseas communities, the half-hour documentary “Forward Home” will have its UK premiere on Monday, November 5 at 6 p.m. at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall.

2012-1031-car-ca-uk-forward-home-dr-keith-nurse-webDr. Keith Nurse. The film’s executive producer is economist and creative industries specialist, Dr. Keith Nurse, who is the WHO Chair at the University of the West Indies.

Produced and directed by award-winning Trinidad-based filmmaker Lisa Wickham, with stunning cinematography by Sheldon Felix,  “Forward Home” illuminates the findings of Dr. Nurse’s ground-breaking research project, “Strategic Opportunities in Caribbean Migration”, which studies four Caribbean countries and their counterpart communities in global cities: Jamaica and London; Guyana and Toronto; Suriname and the Netherlands; and the Dominican Republic and New York.

“We have begun to document the uncharted territory of what we call ‘Diasporic Tourism,'”, explained Dr. Nurse who added “what has been widely known anecdotally, we now have empirical data – solid facts and sound research – to back it up.”

The groundbreaking two-year study shows that more than 60 percent of the tourists who arrive in Guyana and Suriname are “Diaspora travelers” or Caribbean nationals living abroad. In Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, these nationals account for between 15 to 20 percent of tourists who travel to the region.

“We have found that Diaspora Tourism is a significant component of Caribbean tourism, and it is not a monolithic construct. These are not just leisure tourists, but people who come for educational and medical reasons, for festivals and other cultural events. We have also found there is an intersection between Diasporic Tourism and the telecommunications, airline, shipping and media industries,” he said, noting that the findings have been far more dynamic than expected.

Dr. Nurse, who was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in Trinidad, recommends more strategic planning and marketing on the Diasporic sector to further propel diversification of the Caribbean economy. By so doing, “we can encourage and enlist more Diasporic entrepreneurs, both at home and in the global cities where Caribbean diasporas predominate.”

Purchase tickets by logging on to www.imaginemediatt.com.

For original report: Diaspora Tourism Significant To Caribbean Economies.

Thousands line up for West Indian Day parade in New York

Metro New York reports on the 2012 West Indian/Caribbean-American Carnival, which is hosted annually in Brooklyn New York.

Grey skies and threats of rain didn’t deter the thousands who celebrated New York’s thriving Caribbean heritage with a vibrant parade on the streets of Crown Heights on Labor Day.

Participants were covered in body paint and elaborate feathered costumes. People practice all year long for parade dances.

People waved flags, played drums, danced and wore bright costumes of feathers, sequins and little else.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Parade Grand Marshal Harry Belafonte all joined in to honor Caribbean cultures.

The NYPD had no reports of violence or unrest at the parade, but there were two shootings and a stabbing after the parade, according to the Daily News. Last year, a bystander was killed by a police officer’s stray bullet during a shooting after the parade.

For original report: Metro – Thousands line up for West Indian Day parade in New York.