Musical Road thru UNESCO Creative Cities

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On the first official musical walk through Port of Spain as a UNESCO Creative City of Music in the making, was also the week I learnt to clap. Formally. So this is now deserving of some applause. Let’s do a slow clap for having made it and share in the national happiness.

They say you are never too old to learn. The three-step method of clapping:

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Dr Kris Rampersad, launching the Creative Cities Initiative in Port of Spain
on the first musical walk through the city.

1.       You clap as fast as you can and faster than the person next to you;

2.       You clap with your whole body;

3.       You say some pleasantries about which you are clapping.Subscribe

So let’s try that and applaud, because we are happiest people on earth, right?

Momentous Launch: First musical steps, First Clap

History lives in memory and other forms despite the attempts by the unenlightened to erase it. Below is my address at the official launch of the Creative Cities Initiative – after long months of preparation. Ironically, then too, was election silly, season, the time that brings out the worst of us, when we have so much to celebrate as the best in us.

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Promoting, Reggae, another Caribbean Musical TraditionGraduating Bunny Wailer, the Last of Bob Marley and the Wailer, who was part of the UNESCO workshop I facilitated for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in preparation for Reggae’s entry into the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Honourable Minister of Community Development and Acting Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston Gypsy Peters – one of our veteran calypsonian and certainly part of the musical heritage of Trinidad and Tobago…. Friends in the culture fraternity; other distinguished citizens, friends all.

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New Children’s Festival Fables. I the Sky & Me the Sea by Dr Kris Rampersad. Get it for Christmas.

Isn’t it remarkable that at a time that brings out the worst in us – as election ‘silly season’ seems to do – we can find the time and a space like this at the iconic Casablanca Steelpan Yard here in Belmont, to celebrate the best in us.

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I can only begin to describe the pleasure and sense of fulfillment in being able to open this first step of Trinidad and Tobago musical walk towards engaging with the UNESCO creative cities network – and to do that here, in Belmont one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most talented, most accomplished, most diverse district – a microcosm of the people and cultural achievements of Trinidad and Tobago.

The launch today of the Musical Belmont walk is just a small first step towards an incredible journey of becoming a member of a UNESCO global partnership that networks cities around the world, all representing and all sharing a common goal for developing urban areas and harnessing their cultural diversity for sustainable development.

This creative cities initiative is one of the flagship projects I initiated for Trinidad and Tobago  Read More…

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Begins with an idea & proposal

It began after I presented a proposal to UNESCO for Trinidad and Tobago to enter its Creative Cities Network as a city of Literature and Music.

Making Dreams Real for Real and Reel

We succeeded in getting a small grant from UNESCO, to seed the initiative, which we hope to multiply in value as only we in Trinidad and Tobago can do, and I here invite partners and sponsors to work with us and now you, the community who must now own this initiative, to moving this forward.

Dr Kris Rampersad address sustainable development of small island stes

Let us look closer at two phrases that we keep hearing here today: Culture in Development and Sustainable Development: We know, do we not, what it means to do a whole lot with very little. The steelband and creative cultural heritage sector have been providing food and clothing, sustaining families and communities and regenerating and recycling and recreating – using the very little it gets to generate so much – that is really those words mean, so, really, no one can teach us about that; we know what it means when we say culture drives our development, if only others recognise that and invest in this so we could do so much more.

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A few years ago, Minister Gypsy and I were in Bali for a UNESCO meeting on Intangible Cultural Heritage. We witnessed first hand how culture forms the driving force of an entire nation; every industry – agriculture, textiles, tourism, arts and craft, transport, being pushed by the culture and heritage of the people of Bali who are happy with their identity so other people around the world flock to them to share in their happiness.

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Don’t we consider ourselves the happiest people in the world? How can we better share that? By making the people in culture happy; by engaging other sectors to recognise the value and benefit of utilising our cultural resources to enhance progress and development.

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Dr Kris Rampersad in present Trinidad and Tobago comparative
heritage connections in Toronto.

This is a first step to stimulating development of the infrastructure for the support mechanisms for the creative heritage sector and already we have here, TUCO – the Trinbago Unified Calyposonian Organisation, Pan Trinbago, the Carnival Institute, the Remember When Institute, the Government through the Ministries of Education, the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism. Let us work now to make this a network; to grow linkages and ties; to understand the interconnections between the activities of all sectors.

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Dr Kris Rampersad, author of LiTTscapes with LiTTours through our hertiage landscapes. By Request only 

Creative cities are driven by the districts, and localised government, the city council and national government and other community partners including public/private sectors, professional organizations, civil societies, cultural institutions, business organisations, churches, schools, and all in between.

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What a walk towards national harmony, national respect, national recognition and appreciation we are initiating here! Let us make the dream real and let us dream of unreeling this in other dimensions to other communities and districts and indeed the wider world.

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I invite you to join us in this creative musical heritage walk through Belmont and work with us to advance our trip to UNESCO Creative City status and I thank you all for being here to participate in this memorable momentous launch.

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Dr Kris Rampersad works with Jamaica on journey to World Cultural Heritage and preparing Reggae and other elements for UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage reccognition.

Where can this take us…to be continued …stay tuned for part 2 Value of UNESCO Creative Cities

Dr Kris Rampersad is a heritage educator. To make bookings and more information go to this link

From Open Remarks by Dr Kris Rampersad, Vice President of the UNESCO Programmes and External Relations Commission of the UNESCO Executive Board, at Launch of Musical Heritage Walk of Belmont. March 26, 2015, Casablanca Steel Orchestra Pan Theatre, Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago(required)(required)Submit

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