Festival of Fire

Commentary: Santiago’s Festival of Fire: Cubans hug up their Caribbean culture
Published on July 14, 2011 in Caribbean News Now!

By Norman Girvan
Norman Girvan is Professorial Research Fellow at the UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine, Trinidad

Santiago de Cuba’s Festival of Fire, held each year in the first week of July, is the Cuban version of CARIFESTA. Artistes come from all over the Caribbean, highlighting the popular and traditional culture of the region.

This year the Festival was dedicated to Trinidad and Tobago, which sent a 70-odd multi-cultural delegation of dancers, pan men, drummers and other performers headed by Culture Minister Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters.

Performances were held in Santiago’s Teatro Heredia and at public spaces throughout the city, all free to the population, and mostly enthusiastically attended. Judging by what I experienced during this and other visits, culture is to Cubans what shopping is to Americans. …read more

Author: Ken Archer

I am an ethnomusicologist, who obtained my doctoral degree at the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. My areas of interests include the musical, ritual, and celebratory traditions of the circum-Caribbean and the African Diaspora. I worked as a lecturer at the Columbus and Marion Campuses of the Ohio State University, where I taught classes in World Music, Rock and Roll/American Popular Music, Western Art Music, and directed the OSU Steel Pan ensemble.