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Poet Laureate Eintou Pearl Springer had a memorable birthday on November 24, as it coincided with the launch of her latest video project, Ah Payap, Story Fuh So!, presented by Idakeda Group Ltd. The video features Springer and longtime friend, Pundit Ravindranath Maharaj—better known as Ravi Ji—telling the story of T&T’s cultural history to an audience of children.
It was launched in the Audio-Visual Room of Nalis on Abercromby Street in Port-of-Spain.Guests were greeted by live parang music and festive refreshments before the formalities began.The first item on the programme was Seeromani Maharaj Naraynsingh singing a pichakaaree song called Mission to the Caribbean, written by Ravi Ji.
Her sweet voice sang of the Mother of the Universe sending her children from India to this part of the world, across the kala pani (black water), telling them to go, build a rainbow nation and “make this place a noble place.”Springer’s daughter, Dara E Healy, of Idakeda Group Ltd, welcomed the gathering and said “Idakeda is about transformation,” citing their motto, “transforming communities through culture.”
She said the new video was a gift to the country’s young people, who were not fortunate to grow up immersed in T&T’s rich and diverse culture, and should be shown across the diaspora and at home to promote tourism.Nalis librarian Gerada Holder spoke next, noting that the library had had a long and fruitful relationship with Springer, recently hosting the launch of the biographical film on her life, Ida’s daughter.
Dr Brinsley Samaroo said Ah, Payap! represented a model for educators interested in reversing the psychological damage that had been done to colonised peoples. He said both overt and subliminal methods had been used to negate people’s sense of self, and that the same techniques had to be used to reverse the process.
“That is precisely what this film does,” he said, “…returning the gaze inward, letting us see our own civilisation…the world on two islands.”
He said the film was full of humour, and that the presence of the two elders from the two main ethinc groups in this country was a symbolic demonstration of unity.
He said it should be in the library of every school and university in T&T.
The 25-minute video was then screened for the audience. It showed Springer and Ravi Ji telling of First Nations chief Hyarima, Tobago wedding, Phagwa, dancing cocoa, Divali, Emancipation and more. Activist Attillah Springer, also Springer’s daughter, gave a vote of thanks, and urged nationals to embrace technology in the recording of their cultural forms.
Guests were then invited to enjoy more refreshments, to the sounds of tassa and African drumming.
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