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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 18
MO N’MO MUSIC In the Land of Dominica

by: Delmance Moses (Ras Mo)

Dominica's music artist Greetings and best wishes from California. I recently had the opportunity to participate in the annual World Creole Music Festival. It was a phenomenal, orgasmic, spiritual event that everyone should experience.

This visit has renewed my confidence in the Dominican people and the potential of my country. I have also observed a revival in the live music scene. There are a number of young bands in every nook and cranny of the Island while the veterans and stalwarts keep playing.

All this goes on without music education programs and clear strategies for the contribution of the arts to the economic development of Dominica in a diversified economy with a strong focus on eco-tourism.

As we explore means to contribute to the economic and educational development of our beloved Dominica, I want to share with our readers a project that we are pursuing.

Dominica music

While we are aware that there needs to be a forum for exploring the broader strategies for the contribution of the Dominican diasporic arts community, we want to be practical and realistic. Musicians and artists are difficult to organize for a number of reasons, which we will not detail.

Therefore, our strategy is to begin with a project that is hands-on, product-oriented and fulfills a need in Dominica. Our hope is that this project will lead to broader collaborations among artists, business personnel, promoters, scholars, and educators, writers, and archivists, activists at home and abroad.

While we have been physically away, our hearts have been in Dominica and with Dominicans every where. On January 8, 1998 three Dominican artists based here in the USA, Ignatius "Nasio" Fontaine, Pat "Musician", Aaron and Delmance "Ras Mo" Moses, met at Rockets, a recording/rehearsal and equipment rental facility owned and run by a Dominican Lenny Shillingford based in New York.

At that meeting we discussed how we can together make a contribution to the cultural development of Dominica. As we move forward in a new millennium, we pledged to keep Dominica’s culture alive and pass it on to future generations.

Since that meeting I have had discussions with Alwyn Bully, Cultural adviser to UNESCO’s Caribbean desk. I also had discussions with Levi "Super L" Loblack, Lazarus “Lazo” Jno Finn, Sinky Rabess and Bellony Bird (Reggae Cowboys), based in Toronto, Anthony Gussie (Examples), based in France, and former calypso kings Solo and Tokyo, based in New York. They all expressed enthusiasm for the project. This dream that we share can only be achieved with serious commitment, organization and hard work. Below is a brief outline of our initial concept.

Twenty Dominican artists resident overseas will contribute to an compilation recording of some of their best works. This album will be an historical event: a rich and diverse cultural experience reflecting the cultural heritage of the island’s people, from indigenous forms to contemporary pieces.

This valuable collectors’ item will not only be a celebration of our culture, but will also be a gift to the young people of Dominica.

The proceeds raised from sales of this album will go towards a fund which will assist in teaching music and performing arts to young people around the island.

This fund will be called the Ralph Casimir and Orian Cultural fund. The fund will keep alive the name, memory and work of two great Dominican artists who contributed tremendously to the cultural development of the island and Caribbean region.

Ralph J Casimir was a Garveyite, poet, writer, and journalist who wrote extensively and with a passion about the plight and struggles of people of color.

Orian, whose first name is the only name I know is at the moment, a household word in the southern part of Dominica, because of her contribution to the playing, dancing, and teaching of the ancient African tradition of Belaire drumming and dancing.

I thought it wise to name it after a man and a woman in order to have some gender equity, since in many cases the contributions of women are quite often over looked.

The fund will be administered by a committee called The Ralph J. Casimir and Orian Cultural Development and Education Fund. This committee will be a collaboration of organizations, agencies, and individuals, including the Small Projects Assistance Team, Movement for Cutural Awareness, Dominica Writers Guild, Front-line Cooperative, the Festivals Committee, Komite pou Etude Kweyol (The Kweyol Committee) and the Cultural Division of the Ministry of Culture.

The fund will provide musical equipment to public schools in several villages. It will also fund summer and other school-break holiday programs in several schools and community centers.

These workshops on writing, the performing arts and different aspects of the music industry will be conducted by successful and experienced Dominican artists and personnel living at home and abroad.

We are presently negotiating with other artists far and wide to accept and contribute to the idea and have outlined the following steps to proceed and make it happen.

To date, we have written letters to the Cultural Division, UNESCO’s Cultural Adviser in the Caribbean, and to Dominican Organizations in Dominica.

We still need to send letters to artists and Dominican Organizations in North America and Europe ; circulate draft fund raising proposal with budget for input ; form committees in Dominica, USA, Canada, and Europe to help design a constitution etc. ; select artists and move toward the launching of the album. We also plan to Organize and implement workshops and classes.
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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 18
National Development Fund
Visit to Dominica
Mo and Mo on Music
Gender War
Making a Contribution
India in the West Indies

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