Recording history

Minister Stephen Lashley
Minister Stephen Lashley

About a month after Crop-Over ends this year, officials at the National Cultural Foundation will begin recording the history of the festival ahead of the 40th anniversary in 2014.

CEO Cranston Browne yesterday announced as he launched the Republic Bank Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes that they had entered an agreement that would see locals as well as the Diaspora getting involved in the project.

“One of our upcoming cultural initiatives that will be officially launched at the Gala is the Crop-Over Oral History Project. As we approach the 40th anniversary of the rebirth of the festival, the foundation and the National Oral History Programme, have teamed up to record the accounts of those who have helped to conceptualise and to shape our festival through their contributions at the plantation period, balls, concerts and other associated events during the 70s and 80s, including those who participated in the very first Grand Kadooment in 1978.

“The interview process begins in earnest at the beginning of September 2013 and will culminate in August 2015. Barbadians at home and abroad will have an opportunity to submit their own oral history, using electronic devices, smartphones or tablets,” he said.

Browne told reporters after that it would be the perfect opportunity and time to trace the history of the festival, interviewing sponsors, stakeholders and others who would have been part of the early festival from 1974, when it restarted in earnest.

He said too they were also not ruling out even those who would have been part of Crop-Over before that time, calypsonians and other musicians, moving up to present day.

“So we are going to trace it, Crop-Over and the heritage right through the 40 year period…,” he said, adding that they have taken steps to get the Bajan diaspora in on this historical record.

“We have invited submissions, but if the time comes that we have to send a representative out of the island, we will do that because we want to capture a true picture and there we would take steps to make sure we get a true picture and get the real story, but we have invited submissions from all the Barbadian communities no matter where they are,” he said.

The island’s centenarians, the CEO said too, could be an integral part of the tale and they were hoping to capture some of those memories.

“The centenarians could be a perfect place to start. I think we have one here who was born in the early 1900s and she is still living. So she would have a good knowledge of the early plantations and things like that,” he said. (LB)

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