A carnival treat

The Cayman National Cultural Foundation is to host a lecture by performer and carnival historian Ray Funk during Gimistory 2007 at the Harquail Theatre Sunday, 2 December.

According to a CNCF release, the lecture titled ‘Midnight Robber’ of Trinidad Carnival will comprise talk, performance and audio visual elements.

Sponsored by Cable and Wireless, the presentation is part of the 9th Gimistory celebration and is a tribute to Brian Honore. Audiences in the Cayman Islands may well remember the ‘Midnight Robber’ as performed by the late Calypsonian, teacher and actor, Brian Honore. He was one of the major exponents of this traditional Trinidad & Tobago masquerade.

Ray Funk, a U.S. District Judge in Alaska and a fellow of the University of Trinidad and Tobago. He has been fascinated with the midnight robber tradition for the past decade and has extensively researched the history of the tradition.

He has also become an active performer as part of Brian Honore’s band, the Midnight Raiders, performing as the Arctic Avenger and the Ravenous Raven of the North. This is his first trip to the Cayman Islands and he is said to be excited to leave the snow of Alaska to participate in Gimistory and honour his friend, Brian Honore.

Funk, who leads the Mystery Raiders; the primary band of midnight robbers in the Port of Spain carnival for the last several years, travels around Trinidad & Tobago and the world leading workshops on aspects of the carnival tradition.

In his presentation, Funk will explore the history of the ‘Midnight Robbers’ from their origins approximately 100 years ago in cowboy masquerades, to their evolution as a separate mas in the Trinidad Carnival in the 1920s, to its blossoming in the middle of the last century and its survival today.

The talk will also consider how the tradition of ‘Midnight Robbers’ has seeped into almost all aspects of Trinidad culture – literature, novels, poetry, theatre, art, advertising and editorials.

The audience will see video clips and rare images of ‘Robbers’ never previously seen and will hear rare and unheard recordings of ‘Robbers’ from as far back as Dan Crowley’s 1954 recordings and Alan Lomax’s field recordings in 1962.


Gimistory ’07 is produced by CNCF in partnership with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism and made possible by Camana Bay, The Ritz-Carlton, Comfort Suites and Courtyard by Marriott.

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