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Governor-General Applauds Bahamian Performers Going to UK in July

BIS Photo Raymond A Bethel

Nassau, The Bahamas - Governor-General His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes said, on June 25, 2010, that culture is indeed about "what and who we are" and should be valued as an integral part of society. "Some of us have been saying for many years that sun, sand and sea - those things are great; but what the world is looking for today is a cultural experience," Sir Arthur said. "Some of us have been conscious of that for many, many years." The Governor-General was speaking during a courtesy call from some of the members of a delegation of Bahamian musicians, performers, Junkanoo and visual artists, who will be showcasing the country's talent, throughout July, in various cities in the United Kingdom.

Project Manager for the delegation Angelique McKay said  the group was honoured to make the courtesy call on the Governor-General, especially because of the high regard he has for Bahamian culture.

"We know he loves the culture of The Bahamas," Ms. McKay said.

Sir Arthur said  he was also very pleased that, in recent times, more young Bahamians seem to be rediscovering their culture.

"There was a time when our musicians, for instance, were all too anxious to imitate whatever they were doing in America," he said.  "Now we are becoming more proud of what we are, of our own culture, and we have a rich culture."

Ms. McKay said that the initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Ministry of Tourism, Cultural Experience Productions and private sector sponsors, from which they are still in need of support. 

Interested corporate and private persons can direct any questions regarding this overall project to Ms. Angelique McKay at geliquesmck@yahoo.com or 242-466-4364, or Cultural Experience Productions Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Margaret Elizabeth Hepburn-McKay at catislandlady@hotmail.com or (242) 557-1537.

Ms. McKay added that the Bahamian presentation in the UK would be in two parts.

In early July, "Bahamas Rakin' n' Scrapin'" will carry a contingent inclusive of singers Kirkland "K.B." Bodie, Terez Hepburn and Ira Storr, half of The Spank Band and visual artist Allan P. Wallace to venues such as the Henley Festival in Henley on Thames and Petworth Festival in West Sussex.

From July 15-26, "BAHAMAS JUNKANOO DEY COMIN" will showcase Junkanoo with a contingent of Junkanoo dancers, from various groups, at various festivals and workshop sites, including the Brouhaha International festival in Liverpool and events in Brighton.

"The selection of this group of Junkanoo artists is strategic," Ms. McKay said in an earlier interview.  "They are all well accomplished in their areas of Junkanoo artistry, and they will be called upon to conduct several workshops during their time in Liverpool.  These artists also represent the top-three 'A' category Junkanoo groups in the country and have, themselves, received awards or represented Junkanoo, in either the international or local arena."

Ms. McKay added that several of those Junkanoo artists would have been a part of the successful 2008 initiative and are very familiar with how to facilitate successful workshops.

Sir Arthur also encouraged the artists to explain to young people in The Bahamas that a part of the Bahamian culture is about being gracious, mannerly, kind and generous in spirit.  He said that what could be seen in the Western World is a "coarsening of culture" with popular culture showcasing crude and rude behaviour as a norm.

"I think we can make a huge difference and we could be what we used to be and what we are supposed to be: a gentle people, a mannerly people, a cultured people," he said.  "That, too, is a part of our culture.

"I know that you will take that wherever you travel, so that people will say, 'These Bahamians are different.'  I also want you to try and inculcate that into our young people."

"I congratulate you all on this effort", Sir Arthur said.

A group of Bahamian Entertainers, Musicians,Visual Artist and others made a courtesy call on Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes on Friday, June 25, 2010 at Government House. They are a part of a delegation heading to the United Kingdom in July for several performances and workshops there, highlighting Bahamian culture. From left seated are Entertainer, T'rez Hepburn, entertainer; Angelique' McKay, project manager;  Sir Arthur; Margaret Hepburn-McKay; and Ira Storr, band leader. From left standing are Treilon Stuart, Junkanoo Builder; James Frazer Sr., Junkanoo artist; Eric Rose, Information Officer BIS;  Peter Francis, musician; Alkeno McPhee, Musician; and Lorenzo McKenzie, photographer.