[00:00:00] Dev Ramsawakh: This is Jumbie. You’re going to want to hit that subscribe button
[00:00:24] Clif Knight: With your hosts, myself, Clif Knight and Dev Ramsawakh.
[00:00:29] Dev Ramsawakh: On Jumbie, we’re going to hear dark and haunting stories from local storytellers that are inspired or about the spirits, monsters and other cryptids from colonized places.
[00:00:39] Clif Knight: These are stories that don’t often get to be told on larger stages.
Not everybody grows up with stories of vampires and werewolves, or at least like the ones you can buy books about.
[00:00:49] Dev Ramsawakh: Then we’ll sit in conversation with our storyteller to explore their relationship with their story with horror and how colonization ties into any of that. On this episode, we have Ryan Persadie. Ryan Persadie is a queer artist, educator and writer based in Toronto. His work interrogates relationships between queer Indo-Caribbean diasporas, Caribbean feminisms, and legacies of indenture within performance, embodiment, and popular culture.
This is Ryan Persadie, or Tifa Wine with The Churile.
[00:01:35] Ryan Persadie: Churile by Tifa Wine.
The spirit or Jumbie of a long gone indentured labourer whose life, and in some cases, child’s life as well, was cut too short is known in the Indo-Caribbean as a churile. In Guyana, she’s also referred to as a bhoot or a vampiric supernatural being that lives on in the physical world as the ghost of a harmed deceased coolie woman.
In some stories she is noted as being killed during childbirth, through the act of giving life into the world while others note, she committed suicide during pregnancy, for reasons we do not know. In other oral traditions, the child continues to live while the mother has died. In this moment of passing the churile is so enraged that she cannot be with her child.
She cannot rest peacefully. And instead the separation from her child disrupts her spirit so much that our condition is consumed by anger that can only be expressed through inflicting harm upon other mothers. The churile is usually depicted in tattered clothing, long black, messy hair that drapes her face caught in eternal grief and sorrow longing for the child that was so painfully taken away from her.
She often dresses in all white holding her unborn baby in her arms and in the depths of the night by straining to hear it has been found that she wails sorrowfully as the unborn child cries into the night and into her.
The churile is unable to pass into the next world, eternally damaged by the lingering and haunting grief that only the loss of a child can bring. In Guyana, the terror of the churile is in her disguise. She looks like any other coolie woman, only decipherable by her feet, which if you can glance upon them are turned backwards and in other case has flipped upside down.
The churile is capable of adopting her form specifically using conventional beauty to allure, lusty men into her arms. It is said that the churile seeks revenge on women and men alike, but especially targets abusive men and ones who seek to harm pregnant Caribbean women. Tales in Trinidad and Guyana noted that her favorite victim is the pregnant woman who she haunts and possesses.
Her jealousy is unimaginable as she creeps maps and traces the joy of Caribbean mothers as they experience that which the churile so desperately desires. Her being as solely attached to feelings of dangerous envy and inconsolable trauma, her choice of inflicting harm is set to take the form of causing pregnant women to miscarry while also harming the father of these children through inflicting illness.
The churile also disputes absent fathers and those who were and are abusive to the bearers of life, working to destroy those who even attempt to neglect their offspring. Churiles can be found in many places in the Caribbean, but most often can be spotted at a field, near the water or at a crossroads. Often tied to the traumas of the plantation, the churile wanders and her voice carries through the night to those looking for her.
However, once she’s found it is largely impossible to outsmart her. Those who have encountered her have said that crossing water or leaving shoes behind you will save you as churiles do not move through water and instead will spend all night trying to put on shoes that they cannot maneuver with their unforgiving feet.
[00:05:00] Clif Knight: Welcome back to Jumbie. Before we do anything I want you guys to go hit that like, subscribe, follow us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Make sure you go follow us on Instagram and Twitter @JumbiePod.
Today, we do have a very special guests in the studio. Give it up while you’re listening for Ryan Persadie or Tifa Wine.
How you doing today?
[00:05:22] Ryan Persadie: I’m good. I’m excited.
[00:05:23] Clif Knight: Thanks. Thanks so much for, uh, coming in and sharing your story with us. Listeners have just heard more research, but, uh, yeah, we’re going to get into some questions about you and your relationship to this story. But before we do that, yeah. Can you tell me a little bit more about your background, your cultural background?
[00:05:39] Ryan Persadie: Yeah. So my dad is from San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago. I’m mixed race. So my mom is actually not Caribbean. She’s from Portugal, but I grew up a lot with my, like my cousins on my dad’s side and with my grandparents on both sides, but spent a lot of time with my Trini family, doing things like going to soca fetes, you know, like basement jams, you know, all those sorts of things.
Tifa Wine is literally like a middle-aged Tanty. And so, so a lot of my work speaks back to the Caribbean and the queer Caribbean and the Indo Caribbean and sort of the sort of archives of knowledge that all those spaces hold. Yeah.
[00:06:11] Clif Knight: For sure. And yeah, kind of the whole point of this podcast is getting back down to the roots of some of these and like understanding more what we might’ve missed, you know, seeing ways that it probably has evolved over time. I’m going to ask what’s your relation to this, this story or this myth?
[00:06:28] Ryan Persadie: I knew of churiles before, but I, as I was just saying, I don’t come from a Hindu or Muslim Indo-Caribbean family, which is often like the mainstream kind of dominant representation you often have.
So my grandparents were like very, very pious Christians and it was actually interesting because they always had this, not all of them, but they had this sort of disdain toward Hindu communities. Like it was almost like, and I think it’s a lot of that is internalized colonialism about, we’re not like as those people, don’t be like those people.
And I think for them, maybe Hindus represented a kind of backwards indentured historical Coolie past. Whereas, you know, especially in the context of Trinidad, a lot of Christians were forcibly converted by the British, in order to socially mobilize. Right? So your marriage was not legible in Trinidad for like decades unless you were Christian, therefore, meaning your children would not be legible citizens. Right?
So a lot of people, especially in San Fernando were actually converted. It’s actually really wild that I’m also in Canada now because the Canadian Presbyterian church was the one that converted all these coolies. So it’s kind of interesting now to like be born and raised in Canada. And so Canada’s have always kind of had their foot in the door.
[00:07:36] Dev Ramsawakh: I did not realize it was the Canadian Presbyterian church because my family as well, both my, my Guyanese side and my Trini side are Christians and like very, very much so, like my grandparents were like, we went to, we were supposed to go to church every weekend. Like my parents were a little bit more lax, but my, the only reason we are not more religious in my family was yeah, my brother and I grew up here. Um, my brother became a hardcore atheist as a teenager, like 12 years old, questioning my mother on everything and she has no answers. And, uh, that’s really the only reason. But I remember talking to my mom about wanting to learn about being like, uh learn about Hinduism as, as a culture, as a religion, a little bit more, not even convert, just like learn about it. And she got so offended, like why, she literally said, but they’re so backwards and all of this, and we end up having a conversation about like, why she sort of felt that way, but it definitely is like a major cultural thing. Cause I know as well too, in order to have, own land in Trinidad, you had to, to convert to Christianity.
And so that’s something that I’ve thought about a lot in terms of that and like why my family probably didn’t share some of these non-Christian stories with me as a child and stuff like that. Like why I had to go like looking for it.
[00:09:14] Ryan Persadie: Yeah. Like my grandma, she only mentioned it once. She used to like, come to our, my, like my parents’ house when I was a teenager. And she would like spend like a week with us, like during Easter, like whatever, we would just like hang out. And she would just like, tell me all these stories. And like, this was just kind of like a passing sort of thing.
But I, she was also a very God-fearing person. So I think it was more with the aim of being like you know, like, don’t be bad. Like she used to always say, like, to me, like, are you acting propuh? Like that was like always her language. And that was also I think, coding for like, don’t be gay, but like also I think it was to do with respectability and like modesty and sort of very like Christian and very, I want to say like, like also like Coolie masculinity, ways of being like a boy or being a man or what she understood as being a man, right?
But I remember hearing these stories throughout, around of, you know, of like fear and paranoia and not so much as like, oh, this is like really creepy and cool. It was also like when I was thinking about the churile, I remember. And then this is, you know, trigger warning is very anti-Black, but I remember I had one aunt who is dougla, meaning for anyone who doesn’t know that she has mixed Black and Indian ancestry in the Caribbean. And I remember like when my grandfather died, like her husband, there was this one and I never seen her before, never really met this woman before, but apparently she had met me when I was like a month old and like she knew who I was.
[00:10:31] Clif Knight: You didn’t remember her? She held you when you were this small!
[00:10:36] Ryan Persadie: But I remember my grandma like fully pulled me aside and she was like, be careful with that woman. And I was like, what are you talking about? And she was like, she does jaadoo. And I was like, what? Because I just thought it was so ridiculous to for her,to hear this like word come out of my grandmother’s mother who was like super religious, super Christian. And she was like, oh no, no. Like she does a witchcraft, like be careful with her. She’s going to
[00:10:56] Clif Knight: She has confirmation that she does.
[00:10:57] Ryan Persadie: Apparently, apparently, but I remember going to my dad afterward and I was like, why did she, I used to call my grandma Ma right. So I was like, why did Ma say that? And he was like, oh, she goes and makes stuff up all the time. But like, she was really serious.
Like I think a lot of it also had to do with anti-Blackness. Because most of her generation of people married other Coolie people. And so I think there was an era of like direct anti-Black racism that comes with that as do many stories in the Caribbean. But yeah, it was just interesting to kind of hear that language come out of her mouth and I’m just like, woah! And she kind of, I was the one I was thinking at the churile, I was like, she never fully said churile, but this kind of witchy figure, you know, she would kind of hit, hint it here and there. It was super strange to hear like at a funeral, like of all places.
[00:11:34] Clif Knight: I think, and part of this myth comes, uh, or could be attributed, I’m sort of guessing here, especially in a time where, yeah, parts of the culture Hindus and whatnot is that they would have arranged marriages and possibly it wouldn’t be, you know, to the bride’s liking. So it’s like, yeah, if you were pregnant or whatever, you don’t want to have this child, you don’t even want to be in this marriage. So it’s very likely, it’s like probably take steps to not have this baby themselves, you know, or like, yeah, as you said, part of the research, like they would commit suicide before coming to term.
So it’s like, yeah, you would need to have some sort of cultural warning for this sort of thing. It’s like, yeah, even though if you have an arranged marriage, you don’t, make sure it goes well, or you’re just going to come back as this spirit of vengeance and you know, or have one chase you or anything like that. So there’s definitely parts of this where it’s, it feels like it’s created within that marginalized culture, but then also probably propagated by colonialists who were there. It’s just like, of course. Yeah. That’s what you believe you believe it.
[00:12:36] Dev Ramsawakh: I’m like really glad you actually chose this story because it brings to mind such like the, the weird complexities of like, yeah, patriarchy and stuff like that within the Caribbean. And this was a large part of why I did disconnect from like Caribbean culture very early on. Um, I grew up in the suburbs. So my only experience with Caribbean really was with my family, like specifically Indo-Caribbeans was with my family who were, you know, one very racist and two, anytime you kind of questioned them on, on patriarchy, on racism or anything. It was very much like, oh, well that’s the culture back home. So like, it’s okay if I do it. And it would very much be like, oh, okay, well that’s the culture that I don’t really want to do that.
But when I was like, Because I’ve, uh, read up on the churile a little bit before this. And what I really noticed was like, yeah, like she goes after abusive men. And I thought that was really interesting in that I do feel like there is this like tension between in the, in the Caribbean of wanting to have these, you know, female figures who do push back and are very, like, very much like matriarchal leaders in their, their communities, but also having this patriarchal resistance to that in which it’s like, well, women aren’t even really supposed to be like that. So if you’re like that, you must also be like a witch or a demon or, you know, a jumbie.
Uh, so yeah, I, I know that your work as a scholar, as well as an academic, ties into this a little bit. And you have also kind of looked into this for your own photo series that you did called Coolieween. Can, can you tell us a little bit more about that?
[00:14:29] Ryan Persadie: Yeah, no, this works really well because even the churile. So I produced a series, I think I started in 2019, or maybe 2018, where I was thinking through this paradox or this juxtaposition of pain and pleasure that I think is really central to Caribbean lived realities right now. And particularly when I started thinking about this, I was thinking about really real issues in our community. And this is the wider Caribbean community, but I also was thinking specifically through the queer Caribbean and sort of this sort of marginalizations and struggles that are happening right now. And one of them for me was domestic abuse and gendered violence that happens in specifically Indo-Caribbean communities.
Just last week, another woman was killed by an intimate partner in the GTA, and I was seeing this happen again and again and again, and what I was really, going to your question of like my work as an academic really fueled my work as a drag artist. Like they went hand in hand because I was always doing research for my own scholarly work, I was mind blown by all these historical connections between the past and the present, that really haven’t escaped us, right?
And so I was reading this one book by Gaiutra Bahadur, who’s a journalist in New York City and the book is called Coolie Woman, right? And then we can also talk with this language of Coolie. A lot of people don’t like the word. I find the word is really important in the diaspora for thinking about, again, this juxtaposition of pain and pleasure, but also reclamation and power and agency that’s particularly rooted in in Caribbean, feminist sort of knowledges, right? Um, where Caribbean, feminist women, whether they identify that way or not have always been at the forefront of teaching us what it means to reclaim your body, to mash up the space, to free up yourself. But all of these ideas are on free up are also loaded in pain, right?
This, in enacting pleasure, we have to also think through what pain was the cost to allow that pleasure to happen, right? And so I was really interested in like images of the horror and the grotesque and the paranormal to help us think through those sorts of intimacies and those sorts of relationships.
And so, you know, when I was thinking about the churile, I was thinking specifically about, you know, the ways in which Afro- and Indo-Caribbean women have always been rendered as carnal or aggressive in different racialized capacities, right? But have been aggressive, carnal, over the top, unruly, wutless, like all these terms have been used to describe Caribbean women because they have been seen as sort of the antithesis or the opposite of the normative white femininity, right? And specifically the Tanty, right? Like I’m obsessed with Tanties because they’re unruly. They will tell you you’re fat, they will come for you, but then they’ll also like fight for you the hardest, right? Um,
[00:16:58] Dev Ramsawakh: Can you describe what you mean by Tanty?
[00:17:01] Ryan Persadie: Sure. So, um, a Tanty is, for anyone who’s Caribbean knows what that word means, but it’s really just an aunty figure. But Tanties can be made
[00:17:08] Clif Knight: Not necessarily your like relation aunty. It’s just,
[00:17:11] Ryan Persadie: they can be
[00:17:12] Clif Knight: who you call aunty.
[00:17:13] Ryan Persadie: Yeah, but I mean, like, I literally have this like article coming out, like in a couple of months called Tanty Feminisms to think about, a tanty can be made like through a best friend or through a cousin, or it can be like a queer and trans person who has like, was an elder in your life, right. That works through this archive of like strong and assertive femininity, right. In a particular way.
I was interested in all of these sorts of tropes of resilience and revolutionary practice that are like rooted in the queer Caribbean. And I’m just using figures that are scary to talk about that, right. Because I think they’re really central to kind of Caribbean knowledge systems. And when we think about strong, fierce, you know, queer creators or queer figures in the Caribbean, they often take the shape of the tanty or take the shape of someone like the churile. And like, what would, if we were to read the churile as a source of Indo-Caribbean or queer Caribbean or Caribbean feminist knowledge, like, what would she offer to us in those conversations?
[00:18:03] Dev Ramsawakh: I think that’s really cool.
[00:18:07] Clif Knight: I mean, you are a performer and whatnot. What made you start to getting into live performance?
[00:18:12] Ryan Persadie: Oh, man, this sounds, so it sounds so bad, but literally RuPaul’s Drag Race. Like I hate the show now I have to show, but like, as a young gay, I like was obsessed with it. Like I literally watched it like ridiculously.
[00:18:22] Clif Knight: The early seasons are good.
[00:18:23] Ryan Persadie: The early seasons! Yeah. And not, not, it’s changed now.
But that was, I mean, I’m from Mississauga. And so like, there weren’t really any like drag bars to go to. But I mean, I was always in like, you know, I was like an arts kid. I was in music and drama. So I was always really obsessed with like makeup and fashion and like exuberance and extraness and like all those sorts of things. And so then when I just saw drag, I was like, okay, there’s something really exciting about what is happening there because also the drag artists I cling to are like, not people who adhere to like traditional femininity or like cis understandings of what gender is.
My favorite drag queen of all time is Nina Flowers, for anyone who knows who she is. She was on season one of Drag Race. And like, doesn’t look like any conventional gendered person whatsoever, right? Like is bald, has a bunch of tattoos, but her like eye makeup is half her face, super heavy contours. I’m like, that’s the drag that I like, that is like extra and exuberant and hyperbolic and really fucks with gender and a lot of ways and notions of what we think gender is.
And so, yeah, I literally started doing drag just like in my bedroom. Like there was like, no, really where to go to do it at the time. And I just would like take pictures. And then when I moved back to Toronto, I would like go to bars and stuff for fun.
And then, yeah, literally, I started performing because an organizer and I hope she doesn’t hate me for putting her up here, but on Anu Radhu Verma who runs QTBIPOC Sauga was organizing a show. And literally my first gig was Out Pride Toronto, which is wild. Because most Queens or Kings or artists go to like open stages.
[00:19:49] Clif Knight: Go to something first.
[00:19:51] Ryan Persadie: And she was like, do you want to perform in front of like 200 people? And I was like, sure, I don’t know what I was doing, but I did this whole, like, what was the number? Um, you know, the song “Pipe”, the soca song “Pipe”? The whole song is literally like, you want some pipe, you want some pipe? Like, it’s like a play on like “dick” basically. And again, it was from a woman’s voice. And so this like hyper excessive sexuality was like my, literally my first number.
And then yeah, from there, I just. My work became really entangled with my research work. And so, you know, I’m really committed to doing like educational spaces and outreach and community engagement and that sort of thing, as well as, you know, performing in the clubs and the clubs are an important space as well.
But I think in this city too, the clubs sometimes miss the sort of radical potential of drag.
[00:20:31] Clif Knight: I mean, uh, based on my experience in performing in live spaces in Toronto, the clubs, once again, do not really care. They kind of just care about the drink sales. Usually, if you can, if you can sell some tickets and bring the people in, they’ll be like, yeah, sure. What is it? Churile? Sure. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:20:48] Ryan Persadie: Well, that’s the thing you have to, like, there’s only certain sorts of numbers you can do in the clubs and potentially in the spaces that you’re in. So most of the spaces I perform in are usually not in the Village. I think I performed in the Village, maybe five times in my whole like five-year career.
Most of the spaces that I do are like, you know, with other like-minded political thinkers and performers, so.
[00:21:07] Clif Knight: Okay. Uh, what, uh, specifically, uh, do you see going forward? Like, do you see any changes in the myth? Like anybody doing any particular takes that you notice that you like or something that you might want to do?
[00:21:21] Ryan Persadie: In drag, I haven’t, I haven’t actually seen it. Um, I mean, also there aren’t that many like Indo-Caribbean drag artists in, in the, in Toronto, but I have seen, there’s a lot of storytellers. So like a lot of my work, that I was, when I was trying to understand and put together, this photograph that you mentioned was like, again, I had to go back to the oral traditions that mostly are rooted in the Caribbean, right. So mostly it’s very hard to find writing on the churile. And most of them are like from like blogs or like stories or old traditions that like people have told.
I mean, so like when I did that picture. We were given, there was a person in the Caribbean that was like, oh no, your churile was like, very like glamorous, because she was like, when I heard of the churile, the churile is supposed to be like messy and like ugly and like haunted and all these sorts of things. And so, you know, mine was a very kind of diasporic drag imagining of what the churile would look like. You know, I was wearing like, you know, like a synthetic wig and like glitter and like all these sorts of things. But again, the churile can, you know, as often a manifestation of people’s imagination, I also had never met one in real life. And I don’t know if I want to. So, um, it’s kind of my kind of reading based on my research and people’s stories.
But there’s, you know, there’s, I mean, even with your podcast, there’s a lot of people, I think that have always been interested in the horrific, right, and the grotesque as a kind of political resource.
Particularly, I think for me, I mean, I did the soucouyant, I did the churile, and then I also made up some characters, but it was to help us to think about particularly Caribbean feminism and what, you know, decolonial efforts and lessons that the Caribbean offers us. So, you know, when I’m thinking about the churile, I was like, it’s also this representative metaphor for the ways in which women of color in the Caribbean have been again, rendered as like too much, excessive, too loud, in need of, um, regulation and control.
And the churile is uncontrollable, right? Like, she doesn’t give a fuck about men, right. And so that kind of was my lesson to, to like, to think through that archive of Caribbean womanhood and femininity and gendering, that has always been fierce and in your face and over the top. Uh, which is really, I think important for, especially for me as like a cis queer person to, to draw upon that legacy.
[00:23:17] Clif Knight: It’s odd though, that what they’ve gone ahead and done. It’s just like all women, the weakness of the churile is shoes, so.
[00:23:26] Dev Ramsawakh: I, um, I did want to ask about, you brought something up and that is how do you think, like engaging with these stories and with this particular type of storytelling, like using fear and horror and the grotesque, how does engaging with that from the diaspora, help us make those connections back to our culture and like back to our, building relationships with folks who maybe aren’t in the diaspora?
[00:23:55] Ryan Persadie: Yeah. And I mean, I think in my work too, I try and get away from this whole like Home/Away sort of binary, right? Like in that I don’t, I want to, I don’t want to play into discourse that’s like, we’re in Canada, therefore we’re not real Caribbeans, therefore, you know, we’re inauthentic. Because all those sorts of diaspora wars, I just find are really exhausting and it’s just identity politics. And so, you know, I’m also of the training that the Caribbean is made far beyond the territories of the Caribbean, right. And the diaspora is part of the Caribbean, always. Like a city like Toronto is a Caribbean city, right. Yeah. You know, when we think about like soca, like so many soca artists come here and New York to like to record their music and then go back and tour all over the world. And so I don’t, I don’t see Toronto as separated from the Caribbean.
Obviously the live, people are living here are different, and I don’t want to say that the same, but I think we’ve always been in conversation with one another. And I think that’s really the important work.
I’m doing these sorts of things, because it helps us too, to make those connections that are outside of like one place as the, as the authentic Caribbean and here as the inauthentic. My work sometimes troubles people because I also don’t give a fuck about India and I never have, and I know, I think a lot of people who hear the word coolie, especially like, I don’t know, certain communities have more of an attachment, I think, to the “Motherland”, whatever you want to call that. But you know, in my work too, I always talk about how Indo-Caribbeanness is made in our departure from India, right. And so that may also be because of my own political training for people that have trained me. But also because I’m someone whose father is like 5th, 6th, I don’t even know, but he’s like five or six generations removed from India. And so like we had no connection. Also my grandparents, like didn’t care about India, right. Like they would, they would really never say like, they’re Indians, they don’t see their Trinis, right. And not to like, buy into like nationalist politics. But also I think that helps us to get away from this like trauma porn stuff that’s really pervasive in like Indo Caribbean diasporic, whatever. Like, there are so many blogs and things like that are like, we need to go back to India and it’s like, they never wanted us!
So, I don’t know why we’re trying to like fight for someone’s,
[00:26:03] Clif Knight: They’re in space!
[00:26:04] Ryan Persadie: you know what I mean? And so I think that’s why also the work is called Coolieween. Cause I really want to honor the labor diaspora that we come out of, right, that is so, that is really built on the box of those, they were indentured laborers, right?
Like I think we forgot that like we descend from like sex workers and people who were criminalized and hyper policed and hyper surveilled. Like we didn’t come from like lavish, like Bollywood-esque like lehenga wearing, you know, like it’s so weird when I see these images of even like Indian Arrival Day, where like, people are like wearing lehengas and I’m like, our people didn’t wear that. Like they, were not wearing that.
[00:26:37] Clif Knight: People who were brought to the Caribbean were not the ones wearing that specifically because of India’s very rigid caste system. Yeah. Nobody who would have been wearing that would have been allowed to even get on one of those ships.
[00:26:49] Ryan Persadie: I think it’s really important to center, like the history of the coolie, because we are not the same as sort of this like South Asian national imagination. Also India is a fascist state. So I don’t know why we’re trying to like fit into something that has never given a care about us, but also is working to like harm people all across the continent.
[00:27:07] Clif Knight: Right now.
[00:27:08] Ryan Persadie: And yeah, and I’m like, I think we really need to centre more about labor in our conversations about Indo-Caribbeans because we only come to the region through labour, right. And through the work of particular types of communities.
[00:27:19] Clif Knight: So sure. I do like a, where you had mentioned that the Caribbean people were living here in Toronto and the ones that back in the Caribbean are kind of the same, but specifically I used to take note of how every Caribbean person who comes to Canada, they were already a Raptors fan. Because all their aunties live here and they send back the barrels full of Raptors gear and basketballs and all this kind of, so that’s like our first basketball team you go to, apart from the Bulls of course, they’re like, it’s yeah. This kind of like sharing of culture, even though people get here and they don’t give a shit about cricket anymore, you know, unless you’re in a team or something that is like very specific, like we are going to share that culture back and forth and find a connection any way we can, like, yeah. Scotiabank has taken over uh, Caribana but like, it’s still, we ting, you know?
[00:28:06] Ryan Persadie: Yeah. I mean, also Scotiabank bank is like literally all over the Caribbean, like commodifying space all the time. Yeah. So is CIBC. So Canada has always had a foot in the door of the Caribbean.
[00:28:16] Dev Ramsawakh: Yeah. I, I remember seeing a post from one of the like Indo Caribbean history Instagrams that I started following recently, about the like Robin hood flour and how that’s actually a Canadian brand, but everybody uses it back home because that’s what was imported. It’s like the brand everyone talks about. And I, I do think that’s, you bring up such a great point about this relationship with, with Canada and the Caribbean itself. But I don’t think we have the time to get into that conversation.
[00:28:52] Clif Knight: No, not all of that.
[00:28:54] Dev Ramsawakh: You mentioned, yeah, like learning from storytellers and, and things like that.
And I wanted to ask if you had any specific storytellers or academics or writers and any folks who are doing this work currently, especially that you’ve drawn from, um, that you might want to like shout out or tell us about. Cause I think it’s, we have a hard time finding each other. Sometimes it’s, I’m always seeking out, yeah. Just like more, more work around this, just to see what everybody else is thinking.
[00:29:27] Ryan Persadie: It’s kind of a hard question because I think there are a lot of people doing this work in different capacities. I would say like a lot of my, sort of the, like when I think about storytelling, I don’t necessarily think about, I mean, there’s oral traditions that I draw upon, but oftentimes those oral traditions come to me from my own family or they come to me through like research that I’ve done.
I mean, I’m also like a music person and like soca and chutney is always the knowledge carrier for so much of the things that I do. And I think that’s also because as a drag artist, I predominantly perform soca and chutney. And so I think about all these sorts of political stories that are deeply embedded in this art form that often gets cast as like very apolitical and like joyful and fun-loving. And, but it’s deeply, deeply like revolutionary, right. And so I think, yeah, a lot of my, sort of, I guess a genealogy of storytelling comes through that sort of archive as well.
I think, cause I, I feel like sometimes I’m doing this work as Coolieween, I don’t know that many people doing it, especially through drag, right. So maybe I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
There’s a writer who’s actually a friend of mine based in Scarborough named Natasha Ramoutar, who’s Guyanese. She just, I think she just published a book, a poetry collection last year, oh my God, what is it?
[00:30:34] Dev Ramsawakh: Bittersweet? I have it on a shelf like right behind you.
[00:30:38] Ryan Persadie: Yeah. So she’s amazing. We actually just wrote a piece together for the Starbroek News, I think, two weeks ago. She’s really great. Oh, also Rajiv Mojahbir is really great, who does a lot of work with like chutney poetry. Aaliya Khan is an academic who does really, really great work with, with sort of these archives of indenture. I really enjoy her work too, but yeah, I think there’s a ton of people working in different capacities that are really, really critical and doing the work, but maybe I’ll get back to you. I’ll have to think of some more names and I’ll give you some. Yeah,
[00:31:04] Dev Ramsawakh: well, I think that’s all we really have time.
[00:31:07] Clif Knight: That’s about all we have time for today. Where can people check out more of your work? Where can they find you?
[00:31:11] Ryan Persadie: Yeah. So most of my stuff is on Instagram @tifa.wine. I’m also on Twitter as @rypersadie. And I also have a website, my academia website, if anyone’s interest in research.
[00:31:21] Clif Knight: Okay. For people researching, check it out. Of course, everything will be linked in the show notes. Uh, once again, make sure you go like, subscribe, follow. Find us on Instagram and Twitter @JumbiePod. Uh, my name is Clif Knight. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter @cliffy_so_funny. Uh, where can people find you Dev?
[00:31:38] Dev Ramsawakh: Also on Instagram and Twitter @merkyywaters, uh, with, with, or without the underscore. Type in Dev Ramsawakh, you’ll find me.
[00:31:47] Clif Knight: Nice. Once again. Thank you Ryan, for coming through. Now, we hope to check out your, uh, your events sometime soon. We’re definitely going to give people an update on that. Thanks everyone. Once again, for listening to Jumbie, and don’t forget to check those dark corners.
[00:32:04] Dev Ramsawakh: You are listening to Jumbie. Produced by Dev Ramsawakh. Hosted by Clif Knight. Music by Zee Thompson. Sound effects are creative common sounds from FreeSound.org. Make sure you’re subscribed so you can catch our next episode. We’ll be featuring Joan Rupram. We can be found on Spotify, apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Stitcher, and all bunch of other different directories.
Thanks for joining us and don’t forget to check those dark shadowy corners.