Photo 1: Shelagh James, chair of the Nevis Cultural UK Exchange Fundraising Committee (file photo)
Photo 2: Sugar Hill String Band performing (file photo)
Photo 3: Masqueraders performing (file photo)
Photo 4: Calypsonian Dis N Dat performing (file photo)
NIA to honour Arthur France MBE for culture contributions through Leeds West Indian Carnival
CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – Shelagh James, chair of the Nevis Cultural UK Exchange Fundraising Committee, says plans are progressing smoothly for a delegation of 41 [people] traveling to Leeds from Aug. 23-Sept. 2 to honour Nevisian-born Arthur France MBE for the 50th anniversary of the Leeds West Indian Carnival.
James, who is also the communications officer in the Ministry of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), said Aug. 10 that France, who is a founding member of the Carnival, is being honoured by the NIA for his contribution to culture.
“One of my observations is that we as a people always recognise Nevisians here on the island, but we tend to forget those who migrated in the 50s and have made huge contributions in respect of their culture,” she said. “Arthur is a classic example of one of those [people] and a decision was taken to honour him for his contribution to the island’s folklore and culture through the Leeds West Indian Carnival.”
France left Nevis at the age of 19 to further his education. Sometime later, he became homesick and, as a result, he set out to connect with his Caribbean roots by creating a carnival such as what he had grown up with in Nevis. With the assistance of two Caribbean friends who he had attended Leeds University with, they came up with what has grown, 50 years later, to be the noted Leeds West Indian Carnival.
This year during the carnival, France will be honoured by the premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory, and he will be celebrated by various cultural performances and tributes from the mixed cultural delegation from Nevis.
The group includes the Sugar Hill String Band, Masquerades from Rawlins and Cotton Ground Villages, Calypsonians, a poet, an African drummer, a pianist and a group of cultural dancers. They will also be accompanied by a full media team and stage crew.
During the visit, they will attend the 50th anniversary of the Leeds West Indian Carnival Queen and King Show at the Leeds Playhouse Aug. 25. The following day, Premier Amory and his wife will give remarks and unveil a plaque in honour of France in recognition of the Leeds West Indian Carnival’s 50th anniversary from 1967-2017.
Immediately after the unveiling, Premier Amory will attend the third day of the International Cricket match between the England versus the West Indies as a special guest at the Headingly Cricket Ground in Leeds at which Nevisian Kieron Powell is slated to play.
Later that evening, senior calypsonian Dis N Dat will make a guest appearance at the Soca Monarch Competition at the Leeds West Indian Centre Marquee. The Sugar Hill String Band will be the opening act for the event.
On Aug. 27, the delegation, led by Premier Amory, will attend a service of thanksgiving at the Roscoe Methodist Church, where Armory is expected to deliver brief remarks.
Later that day, Nayala Daniel will perform at the Black Music Festival, a free concert at Pottenewton Park, where international acts from around the world will perform. She will be introduced as a “Breaking Act.”
At the Soca Village in Chapletown, Breaking Acts Delly Ranks and X-Man are slated to perform as guests artists.
The delegation is expected to participate in J’ouvert morning from 6-10 a.m. Aug. 28 and in the parade of costumes and troupes from 1-8 p.m. at Pottenewton Park.
On Aug. 29, the delegation will be hosted by the lord mayor of Leeds, Jane Dowson, at a cocktail reception at Civic Hall.
The following day, the delegates will be taken on a tour of Leeds by the Leeds Committee. On Aug. 31, the delegates will pay tribute to France through a number of cultural performances at the Leeds West Indian Centre before they return to Nevis on Sept. 2.