Trinibeat caught up with Ife Griffith the Assistant Secetary of the Belmont Freetown Cultural Arts & Folk Performing Co. a non-profit orgasination that has been performing for the past 4 years at the Brouhaha International Street Festival in the United Kingdom.
Ife how did the organisation get it's begining?
Well the organisation began after its founders Mr. & Mrs. Earl & Christine Mark decided to start this group. Through their love for the culture of Trinidad & Tobago and their many years of experience together, they decided to spread this to the youths of their community, and so Belmont Freetown was born.
What is the aim of the group?
The group's motto is 'Spreading Love and Unity Through Culture' so that, I think, puts it in a nutshell. But generally, the group's major purpose is to keep the culture alive and to increase the awareness of our culture to the youths of the nation, and to spread knowledge of our Trini heritage as far as possible.
What's the age range and size of your group?
The age group ranges from as young as 5 to as old as 55yrs. The group's membership is approximately We have had the warmest welcome in the UK 50 members, each with different talents and areas of expertise, so to say. (There are singers, dancers, dramatists, tutors )
The group has been taking the culture of Trinidad and Tobago to the UK for the past 4 years. How has our culture been embraced?
We have had the warmest welcome in the UK. We can probably say our culture has been better embraced there, than in our very own T&T! Each year we get great reviews from all that have seen us perform, and each year everyone looks forward to seeing us, and what pieces we will bring with us the next time we come up. It's been truly heartwarming.
What would you say is the groups greatest achievement to date?
Our greatest achievement has been to be able to take our culture internationally and to be able to please all that have seen us thus far. We have really been able to Spread Love and Unity Through Culture, and to spread it very far, as well. Our other great achievement would be the fact that we have been in existence for the past ten years, and we are together with some of the same members that we started off with. This shows us that we truly have something special, and of this we are proud.
With all the crime happening in Trinidad and Tobago today, what's the message the Belmont Freetown Cultural Arts & Folk Performing Co. have for the youths in Trinidad and Tobago?
We tell the youths to put down the guns, stop the violence. Crime gets you nowhere. Come and learn something from us. Learn to drum, learn to dance, learn about your history and what our ancestors went through for us to be here today. Learn about how we have this rich culture now. Crime doesn't pay.
Any upcoming performances planned for the year?
For 2009, we have a few events planned. We plan to return to Liverpool for the Street festival once again, we are hosting an Emancipation Day Celebration, we plan to enter the 2009 Prime Minister's Best Village Competition, we intend to put on a concert, mothers day show, and thanksgiving ceremony as well.
How can people wanting to get involved become a part of the group?
People interested in the group can call, come, or email us. We can be contacted at +18687444115, +18683586795, or +18686279586. We can be emailed at email@example.com and look out soon for our website! Interested persons can also visit us during a rehearsal, at Belmont Junior Secondary School, Belmont Circular Road, Belmont.
Mondays and Thursdays: 7:00 - 9:00 pm,
Saturdays: 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Belmont Freetown Cultural Arts & Folk Performing Co. performing at Liverpool Unity Theater. Photo courtesy Belmont Freetown
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