The Ramoutar family from Lower Mc Bean, Couva

The Ramoutar family

Kerrie Ramoutar is one of the young members of the Lower Mc Bean Ramleela and Cultural Group. She is considered to be a professional dancer with sixteen years of experience behind her. Kerrie has danced with most of the major dance teachers in Trinidad such as Krishna Persad, Michael Salickram and a few others. Having covered just about all of the Indian dance styles like Classical, Chutney, Folk and so on, Kerry feels confident that she is ready to have her own group called the Nritya Dance Company which she will manage from her home in Lower Mc Bean, Couva. Kerry and her parents Celia Nath and Sookram Ramoutar were eager to share some of their personal experiences with

TRINIVIEW.COM: What do you do in terms of this community group?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: I am the secretary of the Ramleela group.

TRINIVIEW.COM: What exactly is this Ramleela celebration all about?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: It is the story of Lord Ram, taken from the Ramayan. Historically, it is the only open air play that is still being performed in the Caribbean.

TRINIVIEW.COM: The structure that was built, describe it for us.

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: It is supposed to be someone called Rawan. He is the evil person in the play. Usually, Rawans are built with bamboo and they are covered with newspaper. They are stuffed with things like diesel and pitch oil so you would be able to get sparks and so on. I have never been with the boys to cut the bamboo but they have a ritual where they have to do a puja when they go to the bamboo patch to cut the bamboo. They need certain lengths and a certain number of joints and things like that. They have to strip it and leave it to dry and then who ever is building it will come with wire and paste and they will put it together.

TRINIVIEW.COM: In terms of this community group what is the aim and function of the group?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: Our main function for the past fifty-two years has been Ramleela. We are now getting into the other aspects of culture and so on but our main thing is Ramleela and we are trying to bring the youths from the community into the group which is pretty hard; but we are trying.

TRINIVIEW.COM: What are some of the challenges in bringing more young people on board?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: Young people today are really not interested in it and the fasting thing because a lot of them want to go and party on a Saturday night. We will fast for probably a month or more before we do this so that is a big deterrent.

TRINIVIEW.COM: In terms of the actual Ramleela, how involved is the wider community in the Ramleela?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: They are not involved. It is mainly just us who are in the group. This year, we got some support, but other than that, we do not really get any support. Whatever support we get is what we have to beg for.

TRINIVIEW.COM: Do you think that more information about these types of cultural activities needs to be available in the mainstream?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: Yes, definitely. Because the events that are covered mostly around this time will be the Divali Nagar we don’t really get them to highlight the community stuff which is what they should really be focusing on.

TRINIVIEW.COM: What plans do you all have in terms of the committee for the future?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: We are trying to get a portion of land set aside for us specifically for Ramleela where we will be able to erect a building for our stuff, have our own place that we can fix up the way we would like to and have everything in a more professional manner instead of having to run around every year.

TRINIVIEW.COM: From working with young people you would have been exposed to a lot of the challenges that they would have to face. What do you see as some of the main challenges facing young people in this community?

KERRIE RAMOUTAR: Being young people asking for support, the adults look at you like, “Why? You all are young. All you all want to do is lime around and just play. You all are not serious.” That is our main challenge really.

TRINIVIEW.COM: Mrs. Ramoutar can you tell us a little bit about your daughter Kerrie?

CELIA NATH-RAMOUTAR: Kerrie was born in the San Fernando and she lives here in Lower Mc Bean, Couva ever since.

TRINIVIEW.COM: Are you and your husband Mr. Sookram Ramoutar originally from Mc Bean?


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