I never met him personally, but those who had such opportunity agree that he was an exceptional man who dedicated his life to resize the Cuban popular culture and that he contributed with all his energies to forge a Caribbean, indigenous thinking, ours.Joel James Figarola (1942- 2006) was the founder of the Casa del Caribe (The Caribe House) in Santiago de Cuba eastern province, of its magazine Del Caribe, and of the Caribbean Culture Festival, which annually hosts Santiago de Cuba, in a successful effort to dignify and unite the peoples of the region.
During the 34 edition of the festival, also known as the Feast of Fire, to be held from July 3 to 9, 2014, a special tribute to Joel James will be paid. That is the presentation of a multimedia titled Joel James VIVE! (Joel James still lives in our hearts!), the recent proposal of Ediciones CUBARTE editing, which is dedicated to the memory of this great man whose works were always based on simple and ordinary things, taking the spontaneous and popular thing from everyday experiences.
On a digital format, you can now access some wide and valuable information on the vast socio cultural written work of James who was an essayist, novelist, short story writer, cultural promoter and received national awards for Cultural Research and Community Culture.
This multimedia compiles many materials of his wide intellectual production. It includes all his articles published on the Del Caribe magazine, a long and organized bibliography by authors referring to his work and career, a list of many collaborations by Joel James in different publications and a list of books (covers, prefaces and full texts of some) James wrote during his fruitful career in favor of the Cuban and Caribbean culture.
It also contains some photo galleries with unforgettable images on his daily life, his home environment, his relentless labor in Santiago de Cuba land where he was welcomed as a legitimate and much-loved son, and the last farewell of that people for he was considered a "intransigent defender of the popular culture as safeguarding of our independence and sovereignty. He did not come to that region, just as a curious researcher but he rushed headlong into the crater of that active volcano to join as one of them, and also as a founder founding fire of our nationality. He was like a Creole Prometheus. "
This product also presents the latest interview carried out to Joel James Figarola by a group of American students in 2005, at Casa del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba. This interview, without any kind of edition, shows this man as a simple, energetic, passionate and consistent person who is remembered by all people.
As accompaniment, two themes of a choral group called Voces del Milagro, were included. James's daily work and his extraordinary sensitivity are naturally overlapped in these themes with the purpose of remembering this simple and genuine man.
Some people close to Joel James say that he used to begin writing his works by hand, in small sheets of paper, which then would be thoroughly rewritten by a traditional typewriter. Maybe, James felt more comfortable with the traditional means of writing and therefore he never was captivated by the benefits of the digital means.
Nevetheless, in this edition of the Festival of Fire, Joel will receive a new tribute, this time from the world of digital media, by those who are almost totally dependent on the keyboards and screens, by those who hardly ever use sheets of paper and ink, although we are aware of the extraordinary potential of tools that contribute to perpetuate the work of men as necessary and unique as him.