Dingolay Ray

A Trinidadian in American cloth – Ray Funk

This is Gayelle’s studio in St. James, Trinidad and Tobago. From jerky camera moves to untimely pans and close-ups, all to be expected from live television. But for this man, the American Ray Funk and his love for Trinidad and Tobago’s rich culture, all quirks are forgiven.

Ray Funk has been a trial judge in Alaska for the last seven years after serving as a public defender and assistant attorney general during his long legal career. He has collected and researched traditional music for most ofhis adult life. For 27 years, he has been on the local public radio station and for most of that time has had his own world music show, Funk Roots, on Sunday evenings for two hours. He was very involved in the early history of African American vocal group traditions especial gospel quartets, given lectures, and written articles and notes for over fifty reissue albums. He has also researched what film and television footage exists of traditional music and been a consultant on a series of documentary films and the public television series, American Roots Music.

A ninety two year old Midnight Robber performing “Robber Talk” on Dingolay with Kati-Ray, a local television broadcast, Trinidad and Tobago. The hat has depictions of Africian motifs. See traditional Mas

For over a decade he has been coming to Trinidad for Carnival where a love of calypso sprouted into a passion for Carnival, traditional mas, pan, theatre, literature and the visual arts. He is involved in writing newspaper and magazine articles, album liner notes, lectures, and radio shows on aspects of calypso history. He is passionately involved in trying to help preserve the rich legacy of Trinidad’s cultural heritage and explore what happens to that culture when it leaves Trinidad.

Puzzled after the too long Robber Talk

He co-curated with the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and its chief curator Steve Stuempfle the Calypso: A World Music project, which consists of an online exhibition www.calypsoworld.org and a touring exhibit, Calypso Music in Postwar America Photographs and Illustrations, 1945-1960. The touring exhibit hasbeen to Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn College, and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. See thebookmann’s review of the exhibition, Calypso Music in Postwar America (Main text Ray Funk)

Ray as the “Ravenous Raven of the North”

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