CNCF launches National Folk Choir

Cayman National Cultural Foundation
is launching a National Folk Choir during Cayfest to preserve kitchen music for
future generations.

According to CNCF’s Artistic
Director Henry Muttoo, it was necessary to preserve our folk music so that it
can be seen and heard for what it is.

“We need to remove these songs from
‘behind the breadfruit tree’, where they were being obscured from the imaginations
of our young people and bring them centre stage for all to enjoy.”

He said it will become one more
means by which Caymanians would be able to assert their cultural identity.

“It is a small step but in every
respect I am positive of its potential for future growth,” said Mr. Muttoo.

During Cayfest, the choir will feature
music of Cayman’s well-known singers and musicians; it will also see the launch
of a double CD album with the music of “aunt” Julia Hydes and Radley Gourzong.

In days gone by times were hard, but
music stirred the soul. It was incorporated into daily expressions that weaved
its essence into the very fibre and fabric of the hearts of the Caymanian

Music pioneers are as part of the
backbone of cultural society as the forefathers who risked their lives at sea
to support families and build these islands.

For some, these songs have been
forgotten. For others they have not yet been discovered.  The mission of the Cayman National Folk Choir
is to keep this import element of history alive.

Aunt Julia remembers playing tunes
like polka, jig, round dance and quadrille with another famous Caymanian music
icon – Radley Gourzong to feed her family.

Traditional Caymanian music those
days was played using a grater, a fiddle, and a goatskin or cowskin drum.

Her favourite tune ‘Conch na ga no Bone,’ is the
first song on the CD to be released. The CD of old time kitchen dance music is
recorded by Quincy Brown, Raymond Scot and Vernon Smith at VJ Backyard Studio,
Cayman Brac.

Programmes Manager Donna Reid said
she thinks the formation of the folk choir will be an asset to the Cayman
Islands in terms of cultural development and placement on a global scale.

 “The participants are enthusiastic and we are
having a great time at rehearsals with the beautiful melodies and lyrics handed
down by our Caymanian forefathers.”

She also said the choir was
exploring regional, traditional folk songs to show their range of versatility.

Anyone wishing to become a part of
the choir should contact Ms Reid at the Cultural Foundation 949-5477 or email [email protected]

Cayfest lineup

Image Makers Short Film competition; deadline for
submission of entries was 1 March. The public will now have an opportunity to
vote for their favourite film from 15 March to 12 April.  Public vote will account for 30 per cent.  Log on to
to cast vote.

Deadline for Cayfest photo competition
is 15 March 2010 at 5pm.

There are four categories: Adult
professional, adult amateur, Youth and Children.  There are seven subject categories and two
photos per category can be submitted.

Categories are: Landscape, animals,
close-ups, lifestyles, portraits, underwater and photo illustration. 

Entries can be submitted to any of
the participating stores: The Camera Store, Photo Plus, Island Photo, Cayman Camera,
Cathy Church’s Underwater Photo Centre and Picture This, or directly to the
CNCF’s office at the Harquail Cultural Centre.