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'Rastamouse' comes home to Animae Caribe
It is caricature! It is fun! It is ‘cool’! It is the very first British animated series on television to feature Caribbean culture. Michael De Souza, the creator of Rastamouse, has accomplished an extraordinary feat: A BBC CBeebies (British children’s TV) cult hit that has also been sold to 52 countries, including Poland, Canada, Australia and Israel. Rastamouse has more than 12,000 fans on its Facebook page, and a soon-to-be released album with the big music recording company, EMI. The BBC TV series is based on the Rastamouse children’s book series, written by Trinidadian, Michael De Souza, and co-writer and illustrator, Genevieve Webster. The cartoon series features Da Easy Crew, a group of stylish, musically inclined, crime-fighting special mouse agents. Rastamouse, Scratchy and Zoomer solve mysteries and have adventures in Mouseland. The show has an appealing aesthetic: Mice puppets decorated in rasta threads, a pronounced set (solid colours/ simple design) and paper board props. It also has a unique voice: The Jamaican patois, recurring in prose and sound. The idea of crime fighters, whose villains are normal, everyday people (or rather mice), and whose main aim is not to fill some prison with these ‘villains’, but to offer them a chance to redeem themselves, is a very refreshing one. The stories show how people can solve problems through understanding, love and respect.
Michael himself has followed an unconventional path to his international success. He left Trinidad to join his parents in London’s Notting Hill and spent most of the last 15 years teaching swimming, but it was his love of working with children that inspired him to pursue a career in the unknown world of writing and publishing. The imagination and bravery of the children in overcoming their fear of water encouraged Michael to write the first Rastamouse book, which was published in 2003. By 2011 Rastamouse had become a much-loved animation series for children and is now becoming a part of British pop culture. Michael de Souza and Genevieve Webster will address the Animae Caribe audience of writers, illustrators, and animators on Wednesday 2nd November at 3.30 pm at UTT APA, Keate Street, Port-of-Spain as part of the 10th anniversary Animae Caribe Festival that takes place from today and runs until 5th November.
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