SAINT-MARTIN (BELLEVUE) - The tribute concert with 25 poetic performances for the late Raymond Helligar takes place here at The Gardens on Saturday, August 7, said organizer Sabrina Charville.
The open-air program “under the mango trees,” which begins at 4:30 pm, honors the work of Raymond “Big Ray” Helligar as a spoken word artist, said Charville. He was a “founding poet” at the recitals in Sandy Ground organized by Coffee & Soda Biscuits, a cultural association founded by Charville in 2017.
A number of the poets and spoken word artists scheduled to perform on Saturday will don a black beret, a cap often worn by Helligar. Melissa Fleming, Thierry Stephen, Clara Reyes, Sarina Alexander, Prisca George, Cristine Maccow, Lise Coats Flanders, Jeremie Huot, “and many more” readers are lined up to take the stage, said Charville.
Among the guest readers are writers published by House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP). “Tamara Groeneveldt, Rhoda Arrindell, Fabian Adekunle Badejo, Faizah Tabasamu (Rochelle Ward), and Magueda Jackson are listed to recite their poetry or read from Helligar’s work,” said HNP projects director, Lasana M. Sekou.
The signature poem of Helligar, “Sin Martin is We’z Own,” and his popular and defiant pieces, “Wee Mother Tongue” and “Holding on to We Cock,” could be a challenge to writers and performers asked by the organizer to read those selections, but they will delight and inspire the audience, suggested Badejo on his Culture Time radio show last Sunday.
“Sin Martin is We’z Own” is one of the poems found in the book Where I See The Sun – Contemporary Poetry in St. Martin (HNP, 2013).
Raymond Helligar was also known as a workers rights organizer, chamber of commerce officer in Marigot, and a businessman. He passed away last June at age 73.
The concert admission fee is $5 or 5 euros. Covid-19 mask-wearing and distancing will be observed, said the organizer. For event details see the Facebook page of Coffee & Soda Biscuits https://fb.me/e/2y2aBQFkv.
The sponsors of the Raymond Helligar tribute include the Collectivity, CCISM, SoualiganSlangs, 92.5 FM, SKA, Radiance, and 4 Real We Agree with Culture, said Charville.