EXCLUSIVE: Know details about 2023 Guyana Folk Festival Symposium
EXCLUSIVE: Know details about 2023 Guyana Folk Festival Symposium || Picture Courtesy: Facebook
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Georgetown, Guyana: Symposium Organising team has shared a glimpse of an update regarding the 2023 Guyana Folk Festival Symposium, according to the update shared by a Guyanese named Vibert Cambridge.

Accordingly, Gyaaf “is a unique style of verbal communication covering a range of topics characterized by the animated, exaggerated articulation of facts … when I hear the word, I know the conversation will not be a dry discussion of boring facts, but filled with laughter and exuberant hand gestures.”

The 2023 Guyana Folk Festival Symposium, a collaboration with the Prospect Park Alliance, is scheduled for Sunday, August 6, 2023, from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, at the Boat House, Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

As per the shared update, the symposium celebrates the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM’s) 50th anniversary. This anniversary is of significance to Guyana, one of the founding members of CARICOM in 1973.

The theme for the 2023 annual Guyana Folk Festival season is “CARICOM@50: Recognizing and Celebrating Its New Roots.”

The symposium will take a deep dive into the origins and nature of New York’s Caribbean presence, including the ideas and practices highlighted in CARICOM’s vision: unity, inclusiveness, resilience, and “sharing in economic, social, and cultural prosperity.”

It further stated that the symposium will be an open, free, friendly, and multisensory exploration of the Caribbean presence in New York from pre-Columbian times to the present. It will feature eight interconnected “gyaaf-styled” conversations. It will also include performances, a sweet potato-and-corn cookout, and a soundtrack. The interrelated gyaafs will examine the following:

• Origins and Early Colonial Relations: The transatlantic routes of New York’s Caribbean roots
• Exploring the Harlem Renaissance: Writing the West Indies and its impact (1914–mid-1930s)
• Music: Early “jammin” (1900–1945)
• Shape and movement: Dance since the mid-20th century
• Since 1964: How we stay in touch
• Now: Religiosity and the wisdom of a folk culture
• Now: Soca, chutney, dance hall, and hip hop in Brooklyn
• Now: Solidarity

The “gyaaf-styled” conversations will draw upon biography and autobiography to identify and recognize Caribbean engagement in and contributions to the development of New York’s economic, social, political, and cultural life, especially since the 17th century.

The anticipated performances will include poetry, music, dance, fashion, and theatre presentations.

The “soundtrack” (featuring live performances, video, and audio recordings) will serve several functions: supporting the ambience, introducing “gyaafs,” serving as illustrations during conversations, or providing transitions.

It also stated that the sweet potato-and-corn cookout brings the taste of ancestral agriculture to the gathering.

The symposium format will be hybrid: online and face-to-face. The face-to-face sessions at the Prospect Park Boat House will be live-streamed on Facebook. Online participation will be via Zoom webinar. The schedule, online links, and Zoom registration process will be provided in an upcoming update. It is shaping up to be a satisfying, family-friendly day.