by Marlon Bute
Reporting from Toronto
T-Dot Griots – described as a labour of love – is the fine work by a young performance poet and writer of Vincentian parentage. Co- edited by Karen Richardson, whose parents hail from the Marriaqua Valley, the book is an anthology of poems, articles, stories, plays and songs with an excitingly creative and deep African focus. ##M[more]##
Karen, presently a journalism student, has been wooing audiences since 1995.
A graduate of the prestigious Mc Gill University with a B.A in political science and economics, Karen is of the view that art is organic and creativity is innate to all humanity.
The publication, with over forty contributors of African descent, several with Vincy roots, was also co- edited by Steven Green – known in Toronto theatre circles for previously produced works such as, âda kink in my hairâ and âthe real Mc Coyâ. The talented Kevin has Jamaican background.
The cover of the compilation – which appropriately illustrates appreciative faces enjoying the teachings of the griot; African storyteller, musician and teacher – was crafted by Jabari Elliot, a Sheridan College graduate.
Now, a highly acclaimed animator, Jabariâs exceptional gift for art was visible since his early school days at St. Martinâs back in the early 90s.
T- Dots griots – 181 pages of collectible material, resounds with the struggles which Africans have had to battle in their everyday life as they trek that often, seemingly insurmountable journey for happiness, for freedom, for fulfillment of self-actualisation.
Rising as victors. Heroes and heroines. Signaling renewed hope.
Necessarily therefore, the outstanding contributions of other fruits of Hairouna, like Jeddiah Ishmael, Cheryl Hazell and Kathleen James – all steeped in the richness of the artform – must be heralded.
Put succinctly by Dr. Afua Cooper, professor of Caribbean studies at Ryerson Polytechnic university, in the foreword, â[These] Greater Toronto modern day griots have taken on the roles of their ancestor-griots. They too are the keepers of law, tradition and history. They too are the conscience of the community. They too use humour and morality to instruct, educate and entertain, even if they do it at a Kwanzaa inspired storytelling event, with a seven piece reggae band, a hip-hop ensemble, or an intense pressure-cooking poetry slam.â
T – Dots Griots is a treasure. Read more of Searchlight for more on this literary work where we will continue to feature T – Dot Griot and Karen Richardson and others.
by Marlon Bute