Trinidad's National Archives celebrate Edric Connor

Trinidad’s National Archives celebrate Edric Connor

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Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago introduced the Trinbagonian singer, folklorist, and actor Edric Connor, to the general public of the twin-island country. It also recalled the popular song “Day-O” by Harry Belafonte.

It furthermore informed that he was born on August 2nd, 1913, in Mayaro, Trinidad and Connor was known for his work in theatre and films. However, he also released “Songs from Jamaica”, an LP of Jamaican folk music with the song “Day Dah Light” in 1952. This song was later rewritten by American songwriters and given to Harry Belafonte to perform in 1957, becoming the international hit we now know as “Day-O”.

Connor also starred with actors Rita Hayworth and Robert Mitchum in the Hollywood movie “Fire Down Below,” filmed in T&T in 1957, and in 1958, he became the first black actor to perform for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Additionally, it stated that at age 16 in Trinidad, Connor received a scholarship to study engineering while pursuing Caribbean folk theatre. In 1944, he moved to the UK, where he established himself as an actor and musician and hosted a BBC programme for Caribbean listeners.

In 1948, he married Trinbagonian cultural activist Pearl Connor, who shared his passion for Caribbean folk theatre and named Beryl McBurnie as her greatest influence. The couple promoted Caribbean folk music in the UK and supported the creative careers of many Caribbean immigrants of the Windrush generation.

In 1956, they opened the Edric Connor Agency. Through this, Pearl Connor was the first agent to represent Black and ethnic-minority actors, writers and filmmakers, including author Earl Lovelace.

In the 1970s, the Edric Connor Agency was renamed the Afro-Asian-Caribbean Agency to represent persons of all art forms from the Caribbean, India and Asia. Under Pearl’s guidance, it distributed landmark Caribbean films to British audiences: “Pressure” by Samuel Selvon, Trinidad’s “Bim”, and Jamaica’s “The Harder They Come” starring Jimmy Cliff, as per the update by the National Archives.

Throughout their careers, Edric and Pearl Connor were committed to the recognition and celebration of Caribbean art forms. In 1972, Pearl Connor was awarded the Hummingbird Silver Medal for “outstanding services to the immigrant community in the United Kingdom.”