Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / In Memoriam: A celebration of the life and work of iconic folklorist, Al Ramsawack

In Memoriam: A celebration of the life and work of iconic folklorist, Al Ramsawack

“[…] Al Ramsawack’s stories gave extensive life to the details of jumbies, Papa Bois, soucouyants, Lagahoo, Mama D’Lo, douens, jins, bhutes, La Diablesse and other characters that populate the region’s folk tales and oral histories. He also published fictional narratives that include the much cherished Monkey Polo and Sly Mongoose. 

“[…] He significantly reconstructed the collective memories of Trinidad and Tobago, and shaped the country’s national imagination while also contributing substantially to the preservation of the Caribbean’s cultural heritage…”

The following media statement paying tribute to late folklorist and national awardee Al Ramsawak came to Wired868 from She Right Collective:

Image: Remembering iconic folklorist Al Ramsawack.

She Right Collective presents a celebration to honour the life and work of the legendary and beloved folklorist Al Ramsawack, who passed away on 25 September 2021 at the age of 89.

The virtual event will take place this Wednesday 6 October 2021, from 6 to 8 pm. It will be moderated by author and cultural activist Amanda T McIntyre, with veteran media practitioner Hansley Adjodha presenting the main address. 

In a prolific career spanning over 50 years, Al Ramsawack collected, published and broadcast folklore stories in over 300 newspaper articles, 10 books, several television shows, radio broadcasts, drawings and paintings. Ramsawack’s stories gave extensive life to the details of jumbies, Papa Bois, soucouyants, Lagahoo, Mama D’Lo, douens, jins, bhutes, La Diablesse and other characters that populate the region’s folk tales and oral histories. He also published fictional narratives that include the much cherished Monkey Polo and Sly Mongoose. 

Ramsawack’s work continues to inspire generations of writers, academics, artists and cultural activists, locally and internationally. In this way, he significantly reconstructed the collective memories of Trinidad and Tobago, and shaped the country’s national imagination while also contributing substantially to the preservation of the Caribbean’s cultural heritage. For his outstanding achievements, Al Ramsawack received numerous awards, including the President’s Humming Bird Silver Medal in 2004.

Photo: (From left) Al Ramsawack, Dr Jarula MI Wegner and Amanda T McIntyre.
(via She Right Collective)

‘In Memoriam’ will feature an international selection of scholars, writers, performers and cultural advocates, including Dr Jean Antoine-Dunne, Lisa Allen-Agostini, Louris Martin Lee-Sing, Dr des Jarula MI Wegner, Dr Keith McNeal, Nyugen E Smith, Rubadiri Victor, Motilal Boodoosingh, Toni Lima, Theodora Gittens-Uleri, Conrad Parris and Alethea Beharry. 

They will offer tributes as well as readings from Ramsawack’s literary work and performances honouring this Caribbean icon and his lasting impact on the cultural heritage of the Caribbean. Discussions will shed light on contemporary folklore as well as Al Ramsawack’s inter-generational influence. Most honoured guests scheduled to appear are Papa Bois, Compè Anansi and Miss Esmie. 

For the link to this virtual event, please write to sherightcollective@gmail.com or WhatsApp Amanda T McIntyre at 868-491-1249.

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