The winning entries from the Montserrat Arts Council’s COVID-19 Song & Poetry Competition are to be published in a book that is being compiled by The Alliouagana Singers, a choral group based in London, England. The majority of the group’s members migrated to the United Kingdom due to the 1995 volcanic crisis here in Montserrat.
The group evolved from a strong desire amongst some music-oriented relocated migrants to utilise, as well as showcase Montserrat’s musical talents. This aspiration was underpinned by this principle: ‘we have lost our homes but not our voices’, but the group is more than a singing group. Members are accomplished musicians, music producers, sound engineers, poets, authors, dancers, drummers and entrepreneurs of various kinds.
The Alliouagana Singers produced their first book in 2015 to mark the group’s 15th Anniversary. To mark its 20th Anniversary, they decided to produce a second publication. Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 situation, the group was forced to put its anniversary publication on hold. What is now on stream is the publishing of a book of Covid-19 experiences and related ideas. Having seen some of the results of the Montserrat Arts Council (MAC) Covid-19 Poetry Competition, the group’s committee sought permission from Mr Kenneth ‘Rabo’ Silcott, Director of MAC, to publish the pieces of all the finalists in its Covid-19 publication. The Alliouagana Singers is committed to promoting the creative works of all who share in the preservation of culture and its original tradition.
Director of the Montserrat Arts Council, Mr. Kenneth Silcott, remarked “I am truly excited that the Alliouagana Singers (UK) has shown great interest in publishing the winning entries from our Covid-19 Poetry and Song competition. This is indeed a great opportunity that recognizes the efforts and talents of the various writers. To the artists, your efforts have quickly reaped dividends. This is commendable and a great accomplishment, to be published and to see your work in publication.” He added “I would like to thank all the writers, MAC Team and the Alliouagana Singers, especially Dr. Gertrude Shotte –PRO and Merle Roach for reaching out and engaging the Montserrat Arts Council – great initiative.”