Wayne Morris, better known as Rafiki, is an accomplished muralist, painter, writer and poet. He was born in October 1956, and at the age of four years he was already revealing his artistic and literary potentials. In 1968, at the age of twelve, Rafiki was taking art classes at Morgan State University in Maryland, U.S.A. and covering the family home with his first murals. His professional artistic endeavors began in 1974 with the founding of “The New World Poets” and continued over the years into countless major programs and campaigns both nationally and internationally. Rafiki’s paintings have been exhibited in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and New York City. His local murals are located at U.W.I.’s (The University of the West Indies) JFK Memorial Auditorium; City Hall Port of Spain; San Fernando Art Center; Rudranath Capildeo Learning Resource Center, Couva; the Fairfield Complex and Bacolet Tobago. Rafiki is currently serving as Artistic Consultant and Designer for ‘The East of the River Pilot Project’, ‘Pan Theatre Project’ with Trinidad All Stars and the Ministry of Culture, the ‘Dragon’s Nest Project’ with the National Carnival Commission and the ‘Crosstown Carnival Committee’. Rafiki is also currently preparing to publish his second book of poems and short stories entitled, “Space Between the Hard Lines”.
The Grenadian born Anthony Emrold Phillip, better known in the Calypso arena as ‘Brother Valentino’, has proven his worth as a riveting performer, expressing his political and social awareness through songs such as ‘Life is a Stage’, ‘Stay up Zimbabwe’ and ‘Dis Place Nice’. Brother Valentino has expressed his love for the Calypso artform, the struggles of aspiring Calypsonians, as well as the behind the scenes ordeals of Calypsonians. Valentino walks us through his life experiences and the ups and downs of the Calypso world, which is largely unknown by those outside the realm. Valentino tells it as it is.
Calypsonian Black Prince exemplifies persistence and determination in the calypso arena. This experienced calypsonian has been singing since the 1950’s and has graced the stages of a number of early calypso tents. Black Prince also appears on the Raw Kaiso CD: a recording of live performances, with other kaiso powerhouses such as Zandolie and Lord Blakie. At age 61, Black Prince continues to compose music and perform for appreciative audiences around the world. In this interview, he shares the highs and lows of his experiences in the calypso world.
Mr. Michael Goring is considered one of the most informed Elders on the St. James Hosay. Our recorded interview with him allows us to share his story of the local Hosay. Mr. Goring also shares some of his views on life in general.
Narcenio Gomez better known as Señor Gomez, is one of the leading wire benders (sculptors) in Trinidad and Tobago. He has been designing, bending wire and making costumes for over 50 years. Mr Gomez shares his experiences with us.
Glendon Morris, the son of legendary Ken Morris has created a history of his own. Following the footsteps of his late father, Mr. Morris continues traditional mas making, including the use of copper work in mas. Morris is fundamental to Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, keeping alive the traditional Fancy Sailor mas. He has also displayed his skills as a talented costume designer, with consideration for past traditions. Not limiting himself, he is multi-talented as he has done work as a dye-sinker, plumber, electrician, carpenter, and welder.
Muhammad Abu Bakr is a Trinidad and Tobago national, Band Leader, Costume Designer, Mas Maker, Singer, Tailor and so much more. He builds constumes locally and abroad. Mr. Bakr said: “The love in it is not the money, although we need the finance to do it, but the love that exists in it is important. There is nothing like that love you experience. If paradise is like that I want to go, where else would you get that. You should really get into a Mas camp and see how it functions.” Read on as he shares his experiences of Carnival through the years.
Jason Griffith, one of Trinidad and Tobago’s renowned mas men was born on the 20th June 1927 at Pelham St. Belmont. He attended the Miss Lewis Private School and Belmont Boys’ Intermediate School. As a youth growing up, he was influenced by Jim Harding’s Mischievous Sailor Band, a very popular band in the thirties. He participated in the revelry of masquerading for the first time in 1946 and has been actively involved in the production of headpieces for the mas ever since. After working with the mas director, Cecil Jobe, Griffith felt ready to launch his own production unit – the “U.S.S. Sullivan” – in1949 and joined with other bands – the “Syncopaters” and the “Desperados”. This was done in the attempt to increase the band’s numbers to participate in “big band” competitions.
Bertie Marshall (1936- ) is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s living icons who has made an invaluable contribution to the evolution of the steelpan instrument. Marshall, an adept pan-tunist, introduced several fixtures and accompaniments to the instrument that are evident today such as the canopy, and the popular double tenor pans. He is also responsible for other innovations made to the pan such as the introduction of the chromatic scales to the instrument and adding a “keyboard face” to the pan for greater proficiency. Bertie Marshall was also the leader of the “Armed Forces” band and later ascended in the ranks of the band “Highlanders” and became captain, as well as its tuner and arranger.