SEPTEMBER 12, 2007
Special for THE NEW TIMES HOLLER!
© Amir Bey, 2007
Fred Jean-Baptiste, founder and producer of his music company, Mizik Label, in his studio. Fred, a drummer and proponent of Bele music and dance, would like to see it have its rightful place with other traditional forms of music.
Liliane Rose St. Meril, is a source of much information about Martinique's culture and quite knowledgeable about its plants. She is the generous hostess at The Beach Palace; see her in the video Liliane Rose St. Meril..
As this photo of a bridge over La Riviere Chopin shows, Nature Rules! We'll just have to imagine the massive flooding, the sound and force of the huge trees and mammoth boulders smashing this bridge, because no one was around to witness it!
Special for THE NEW TIMES HOLLER!
By Amir Bey
September 12, 2007
Have something to say? Say it to the Sea?
THE NEW TIMES HOLLER! recently spent over ten days on the verdant island of Martinique. The original plan was to contact and seek individuals there who would like to share their stories and views in recorded videos for The NOWSROOM. However after arriving there on August 22nd, it was apparent that Hurricane Dean had brought much devastation to the island and hardships for her people. It’s estimated that 80% of the sugar cane crop was lost, 100% of the banana trees gone, and almost complete destruction of the bee hives. Concerning the latter, since most of the flowers were blown away, it will be hard for the bees to collect their (and humans’) nutrition their usual way; this loss of flowers also effects the hummingbirds and butterflies found there. One apiculteur (bee keeper), Andre Mangatal, who runs La Miellerie Du Morne-Vert, in his interview with THE HOLLER! in BEES: HURRICANE DEAN'S DESTRUCTION, said that it will take about two years to get the honey industry back to its normal rate of production. The open-air markets had less fresh vegetables, fruits, and other products available, with a kilo of broccoli going for about 15 Euros, or about 7-8 US Dollars a pound. Normally Martinique has good utilities, but Dean knocked out many power lines. This resulted in short periods without electricity, especially in the smaller towns; in some areas phone service was intermittent during that time, as was internet service for some.
That kind of destruction is not in the magnitude of the tsunamis that hit Indonesia where thousands have been killed, but it is irreversible, given Martinique’s tropical environment with its year-round growing season and rich soil supported by an infrastructure that has been in place for sometime. It’s interesting how the French government was not only quick to bring certain types of aid, but equally quick at letting the world know that France will not let Martinique languish in the neglectful misery New Orleans did.
After spending a few days unsuccessfully resisting hot sunny beaches at a beautiful place, The Beach Palace in Bellefontaine, struggling with staying awake in hammocks that seemed to sway with the sea breezes, not being able to stop eating some of the best food in the world on any given night prepared by the proprietor, Lillian Rose St. Meril and not having to be anywhere in a New York minute, THE HOLLER! was able to crawl out from paradise and conduct some interviews and put together some imagery for y’all; besides the interview with Andre Mangatal mentioned above, here they are:
The pecheur (fisherman) Antony Mouriesse sailed with a group of people in search of dolphins, whales, and intriguing points along the Caribbean Sea. He headed north past fabled St. Pierre, which suffered complete destruction from the 1902 eruption of La Montagne Pelee and ushered in the science of Volcanology. On this voyage he also talks about the “Tombe de la Caraibes”, a cliff-like stone that the remaining Carib Indians were said to have jumped off of rather than be slaves to the French. Visit SAILING WITH ANTONY MOURIESSE
Pelee’s eruption and its lone survivor are also dramatically discussed by Liliane Rose St. Meril. There was one survivor, August Cyparis, who ironically was saved by his jail cell. See LILIANE ROSE ST. MERIL RECOUNTS AUGUSTE CYPARIS AT ST. PIERRE
A birthday celebration for Milene Bey was held on August 29, with a coterie of musicians and dancers in MILENE'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
Try and imagine the force of nature, not when you hear descriptions of the hurricane, but when you study the video of the total destruction of the bridge that crossed the Riviere Chopin; what were the sounds, how much water did it take to unearth such huge boulders, and massive trees? What kind of power could change the course of the river? There were no witnesses! Hurricane Dean’s devastation is further described by images and eyewitness accounts in HURRICANE DEAN'S DEVASTATION IN MARTINIQUE
In Sully Kally, Musician, Tambour maker, instructor and historian we have a cultural worker who has dedicated his energies to the preservation of Martinique cultural history.
Musicians and entrepreneurs will find inspiration in AN INTERVIEW WITH FRED JEAN-BAPTISTE, PRODUCER, MUSICIAN as he describes his efforts to produce and distribute his valuable artists’ music in the forms of Jazz and Bele in CD and video
Visit AN INTERVIEW WITH THE MIXED MEDIA ARTIST IWA for insights into the necessities of an artist who’s vision takes him around the world
Yvan Laramondier, Martinique’s director of Carnival, explains the history of the celebration and tells us that it began as and still is a rebellion in YVAN LARAMONDIER, CARNIVAL DIRECTOR OF MARTINIQUE
And finally, want to have fun? Check out MARTINIQUE MAGAZINE for some spontaneity!