Entertainment News

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When dogs’ tails lose their wag

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/29/2018 - 02:42

Acute caudal myopathy is the scientific term, but other more common slangs for the same syndrome include dead tail, swimmer’s tail, limber tail, cold tail, broken tail, sprained tail, sprung tail and broken wag, amongst others. But, what is it? Limber tail syndrome is when your dog’s tail suddenly goes limp.

Apart from being painful and physically distressing for the dog, this syndrome affects the ability of the dog to move and to communicate. Dogs use their tails for balance when walking, running and turning corners, and they use them as rudders when they are swimming so without a working tail, these simple activities become challenging for the dog. Additionally, dogs speak to us with their tails. We can read that a high, rapid tail wag is a sign of friendliness and wanting to play; an erect, rigid tail is a sign of aggression; a slowly wagging tail is a sign of anxiety or wariness; and a tail tucked between the legs is a sign of fear.

It is hard for the dog to express his emotions to us if his tail no longer wags.

Any dog can be affected by this syndrome, but it is found to be more common in breeds such as Pointers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Beagles, particularly if they are working dogs. Males and females are equally affected. Genetics may be at play, as dogs that suffer from limber tail are more likely to be related to each other, and reputable breeders will take this into account.

The symptoms of limber tail can vary slightly between individuals. In some cases, the tail is completely limp and just droops between the rear legs from the base; in others the first part of the tail sticks out while the rest hangs limply. The fur over the top of the tail may be raised which can be a sign of swelling underneath. Your dog may have difficulty in getting up because he needs his tail for balance. The condition is very painful, and he may whimper, whine, or lick and chew at the tail.

The cause of this condition is a sprain or strain of the muscles used to wag and support the tail. Overuse of the tail causes trauma to the bony vertebrae of the tail and the surrounding muscles and ligaments. It can look as if the tail is broken, but the damage is to the tail muscles, not to the tail bone. Dogs who develop limber tail usually have a history of recent intense physical exertion involving the tail. Swimming appears to be of the biggest risk factors because dogs use their tail in the water more than they usually do when they are on land. Other risk factors include prolonged cage transport and exposure to cold weather or very cold water. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose this syndrome by careful palpation of the tail, radiographs to rule out a fracture, and a detailed history provided by you.

The good news is that the syndrome usually resolves itself within a few days to a week. The most important aspect of treatment is rest, until the tail returns to normal. Your veterinarian may prescribe mild painkillers to ease the soreness in the tail. Never give your pet medication that has not been recommended by a veterinarian!

You can help to prevent limber tail syndrome by ensuring that your dog is not a couch-potato. Get your dog accustomed to some level of physical activity to keep the muscles flexible and toned; the exercise will also be beneficial for you.

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

Dance, dance, dance

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/29/2018 - 02:40

Dancers all over the world will be celebrating International Dance Day 2018 today.

Here are some highlights from Candace Clarke Academy of Dance’s production GLORY, which was held on April 14.

“Human beings, when in sync with our creator, are the embodiment of the glory of God. We are the crowning act of his creation,” said director Candace Clarke. She said through the testimony of dance the juniors showcased their talent and inspired with their performances.

Categories: Entertainment News

Paying homage to La Divina Pastora

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 01:27

Last Sunday, the Feast of La Divina Pastora was held at the Siparia RC Church. Both venerated by Catholics and Hindus alike, La Divina Pastora  (The Divine Shepherdess), Mother Mary or, for the Hindu faith, is a manifestation of the Goddess Kali, Durga, Lakshmi as Siparee/Supari Mai (Mother of Siparia).

This is the second of the two Black Madonnas in Trinidad, the other being in Tortuga, at Our Lady of Monsterrat. Many devotees, both Catholics and Hindus, attribute miracles to this statue, with many coming with their prayer requests while touching her garments.

After the mass is performed, the statue is taken out for a street procession in the vicinity of the church.

Categories: Entertainment News

Block and Blue in art

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 00:42

How do we relate to the objects around us? Why do we keep some as precious and throw others away? Artist Shane Mohammed explores some of these ideas in the art he will be exhibiting in Block and Blue, his exhibition at the gallery The Frame Shop, A Space Inna Space from April 28 to May 12.

Mohammed uses everyday objects embedded in concrete blocks to reflect on the environment around him. “The objects I collect range from the everyday plastic bottle to the inner workings of an antique clock and everything in between. We all collect and value these objects, whether as heirlooms or the everyday meals we have. It’s a lifetime of collecting objects, using them, displacing them, storing them, putting them on the top shelf or below the sink and just sometimes disposing of them. That to me was quite interesting that we would take this sort of colour and form and texture and dispersed it within the environment, contributing to pollution, etc.”

Saying that he began looking at these objects as substitutes for paints while studying at the UWI, St Augustine, Mohammed said: “I wanted to tackle the ideas of painting itself, what painting meant to the Caribbean and to Trinidad. In a bold move, I just decided to take that object and paint with it and use it as a paint and work with it from there.”

He said he did not initially begin working with concrete, but with a series of different adhesives. “It went from being pigment to being adhered together, first with resin then glass and grout. When testing concrete, it seemed to have this idea that whenever it’s locked into that concrete block you can’t really tell what could be inside and what could be outside.

“I wanted to develop that and build that. The outside of the blocks would have certain things that I allowed to show and certain things on the inside would have this aspect of, the deeper you look into it you still wouldn’t be able to figure out what was really inside. It’s the idea of the unknown, what is really seen and what is unseen and what is not seen.”

Mohammed said the blue collection is a series of 20 pieces which he defines as “constructs based on unconventional and intuitive contemporary practices and guidelines of creating while considering traditional elements and principles of art. It is reliant on process whether it be searching for a specific colour or form, the concept of an unintentional colour, audience and self interaction and connection to the objects.”

Mohammed said he sees the project as a type of recycling in that he’s repurposing them and taking them out of the environment. “In a sense it is me living and working to obtain the objects and then using the very same objects to make a living to then use that living to buy objects or gather objects to make a living to buy more objects.”

Mohammed emphasised that this work is for private showing and not for sale, as many of the objects he uses, although they were disposed of, are examples of intellectual property. He said the work was “not intended to harm or represent any of the individual companies in a bad way but more of a reflection on the objects around me.”

Many of the objects used in the current exhibition were recycled from previous shows, as Mohammed said he was reluctant to get rid of them. “They were first created at a point in time where I had a mental block of knowing what to do with the vast collection of objects I possessed and issues regarding their importance and storage. It stemmed from a sort of mental state of not knowing what to do with the objects, and trying to represent it in a physical state while also not knowing what’s inside of the block or what the block is about. After I took all that down from the museum I didn’t want to dispose of it because I would be not only losing something valuable that I had put a lot of meaning into and that had a lot of meaning built into it, so I decided to build on that and to let the work continue into what it’s going to become next.”

Admission is free. The exhibition begins today from 4 to 7 pm and then runs during normal gallery hours until May 12.

For more info, find Shane Hanson Studios on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

JA students transform Woodford Square into lively marketplace

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/28/2018 - 00:35

Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, was transformed into a lively marketplace as hundreds of students attached to Junior Achievement (JA) offered a wide variety of products for sale at the organisation’s 2018 annual Trade Fair on April 13.

Representing 33 companies, the students represented secondary schools from across Trinidad who participated in Junior Achievement, T&T’s after-school JA Company Programme, the organisation’s signature youth development initiative.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work and perseverance. We faced many challenges in forming our company and getting to the stage where we are offering quality products for sale,” said Delilah Mohammed-Khan, president of Big Money Productions, one of several companies sponsored by platinum sponsor, bpTT.

A student of ASJA Girls High School, Tunapuna, Mohammed-Khan said the experience has given her and her colleagues greater self-confidence and taught them the benefits of business enterprise. “Today is not Black Friday. It is Great Friday,” she added, with a wide smile.

Joel Primus, Community Sustainability and Stakeholder Relations adviser, bpTT, challenged the young entrepreneurs to use the JA experience as a driving force in determining their future.

“We are witnessing hundreds of young people engaged in productive activity this morning. Junior Achievement has done a remarkable job of preparing you for the future and I urge you to grasp it with both hands. I want you to consider a future as an entrepreneur where you are your own boss, directing and charting your own future. Instead of looking for a job, be in a position to offer a job,” Primus told the students.

Recalling that Woodford Square had witnessed many epoch-making events in the country’s history, Primus exhorted the young achievers to make their own mark on its landscape by taking the first steps to become future entrepreneurs.

JA executive director, J Errol Lewis, recounted the history of Junior Achievement in T&T, starting in 1970 with the very first trade fair.

“Who wants to get a job when you can create your own employment? Take this opportunity to consider seriously the option of becoming your own boss and creating employment for others,” he said.

The JA executive thanked bpTT for its long-standing partnership with the organisation in its youth development initiative.

He also lauded the support of the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business which facilitated training courses in business operations, and Dawn Richards and Company for giving the students insights in customer service.

Items peddled by the JA young entrepreneurs included hand-crafted products such as printed tee-shirts, wrist and hand bands, earrings, bracelets, chains and necklaces made of beads, souvenir buttons, designer bandanas, mugs and glasses, cushions, pastries and plants.

Categories: Entertainment News

Pan lovers feast on tasty musical diet

Entertainment - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 01:45

Pan lovers turned out in their thousands in Siparia last Saturday for Pan on the Move, hosted hosted along the streets of the townby the Diantoic Pan Institute (DPI), under the direction of former Pan Trinbago vice-president Keith Byer.

The April 21 edition was the eighth staged and 11 Single Pan steelbands faced the adjudicators, performing the music of veteran calypsonian Johnny King, religious items as well as being judged for having the best flagwaver.

Heading the dignitaries present were Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly who presented King with a plaque in appreciation of volume of songs produced through the years.

Bands competing and providing the large audience with some beautiful arrangements were T&T Fire Services, La Brea Blanker 47, Harlem Syncopators, Uni Stars, Trinidad East Side, San Juan All Stars, Gonzales Sheikers, Scrunters Pan Groove, Arima All Stars, Polyphonics and Nu Pioneers.

Calypsonians who have been previously honoured by DPI with steelbands being required to perform selections from their discography have included Calypso Rose, Black Stalin, Lord Nelson and Baron.


Religious Song/Hymn
1. Gonzales Sheikers
2. T&T Fire Services
3. Trinidad East Side
Johnny King Calypso
1. La Brea Blanker 47
2. T&T Fire Services
3. Polyphonics
Best Repertoire
1. T&T Fire Services
2. East Side Symphony
3. La Brea Blanker 27
Best Flagwaver
1. Winston Hope (Scrunters Pan Groove)
2. T&T Fire Services
3. La Brea Blanker 47


Categories: Entertainment News

Music music everywhere ...at home and abroad

Entertainment - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 01:42

Champion in the spotlight

Thousands of pan lovers converged on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook, last Sunday for the premiere of the Live Music District, produced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Music TT, in conjunction with the Port-of-Spain City Corporation.

Also in attendance were Trade and Industry Minister Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon; Port-of-Spain Mayor Alderman Joel Martinez and his wife, Marcelle; San Fernando Mayor Alderman Junia Regrello and his wife, Kamla; Senate VP Senator Nigel DeFreitas; manager, Government and Stakeholder Relations, bpTT Gerard Jackson; and, Port-of-Spain City Corporation Councillor Stephen Harper.

The evening’s programme hosted Gerelle Forbes, headline act was 2018 National Panorama (Large) champion bpTT Renegades and the 70-year-old Charlotte Street steel orchestra showed why it is one of the best steelbands on the planet by offering a repertoire of varied music selections. 

As part of the MusicTT vision to empower musicians and artistes nationwide, the audience was also treated to performances by a number of young artistes, including Chenko, Xone, Neal & Joel and Sherisse Collymore, plus former Byron Lee & The Dragonaires vocalist Oscar B.

Oscar B, accompanied by Renegades, helped spice up proceedings with his performance of Lord Nelson’s One Family. He even got Minister Gopee-Scoon and other dignitaries to join him centre stage.

Special mention was made of pan pioneer Anthony Williams who at one time during Renegades’ performance, stood from his wheelchair to dance to the infectious music of the steelband.

Woodbrook, a community that is legendary for producing excellent sports personalities, must have felt like a return to home base on Sunday to former football stars as several of the past greats were seen, like New York-domiciled Hugh Mulzac, Baby Headley, Gerry Brown, Rolph Clarke, Brian Rigsby and Ulric Boxhill.

Renegades, under the direction of arranger Duvonne Stewart and led by Candice Andrews-Brumant, really brought its A-game to the event as its repertoire included timeless classics of various genres as well as new hits from the just-passed Carnival including Blaxx’s Hulk, Kees’ Hello and its winning Panorama selection Voice’s Year for Love. Other well loved selections in the band’s two sets Let it be, Besame Mucho, Maria Maria, Be Strong, Kingston Town, Now that we’ve found love and a Black Stalin medley.

Organisers are well advised to establish this type of family, outdoor activity as a regular event. Also, to further empower residents of the communities in which the Live Music District is staged, they ought to be encouraged to sell home-made snack and delicacies, perhaps even partnered with a mini Namdevco green market at which fresh produce can be on sale.

The potential of this initiative is immense and augurs for even stronger ties between community, central and local government and community poliicing.

...audience inspired

On Sunday, April 15, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and music therapist Martina Chow launched her debut EP album, Inspire, at Kaiso Blues Café, Newtown. The venue was filled to capacity as Chow shared her hope and positive message for our society and its people through her music.

With an angelic voice and emotion-filled performance she captivated all in attendance. Chow had her audience singing along to her pop songs Fly and Resilient, with their motivational words and easy melodies.

She also showcased her expert skill on the flute, at the beginning of another single titled Keep on Keeping on.

Chow’s well-rehearsed band included Mark Brewster, Michael Chang Wai, Tamo Harewood, Shaquille Noel, Stephen John and Gerelle Forbes.

A very touching video produced and directed by Richard ‘Charsu’ Ahong, the single Fly was premiered at the end of the event.

The multi-talented Chow is certainly shining a light in these dark times with her inspiring music.

To purchase her EP Album visit www.martinachow.com/music For bookings: [email protected] Follow her on Facebook and Instagram: @martinachowmusic

T&T’s Strings to headline 2018 Dominica Jazz

Trinidadian string sensation Xavier Strings and Dominica’s Princess of song Michele Henderson will headline what is being billed by organisers as one of the best ever Dominica Jazz ‘n Creole, the 2018 edition, in May, at the historic Cabrits National Park in Portsmouth on Dominica’s north-west coast.

Patrons can expect a real treat at this year’s main stage event in the Jazz ‘n Creole programme which also features several fringe events at venues across the island and in particular, the north.

Dominica’s Jazz ‘n Creole has become a staple on the entertainment calendar held on Pentecost Sunday (May 20)and features a family event, providing relaxing jazz music and activities for children. Patrons can therefore anticipate stirring Caribbean rhythms on violins played by the Xavier sisters ( Janine and Janelle) as well as the melodious harmony of Henderson’s voice.

Attendees are encouraged to display their patriotism by incorporating some aspect of Creole in their outfits for Jazz ‘n Creole 2018. In doing so, a lucky individual will have the opportunity to a win a ticket for this year’s World Creole Music Festival carded for October 26 – 28.

The ninth edition of Dominica’s Jazz ‘n Creole is presented by the government of Dominica through its Ministry of Tourism and Culture and Discover Dominica Authority alongside headline sponsor Range Developments. Range Developments are developers of the Cabrits Resort Kempinski which will be opened in 2019.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The printer’s devil was at work last Friday. Guy Beckles was reported being killed during the Black Power era, instead of Guy HAREWOOD.

Apologies to Guy Beckles and family. He is alive and well in the US.

Categories: Entertainment News

Charli Griffith hosts This is Me on May 6

Lifestyle - Fri, 04/27/2018 - 01:33

On May 6, Charlene “Charli” Griffith embarks on her first solo tour—This is Me—which places the spotlight on her compositions and arrangements to music that influenced her style. Griffith was a well-known name in the T&T music circuit in the early 90s.

Under her performance name Charli Griffith, she was part of the sister duet 2Ntrigue, the young, hot R&B singers who created a signature sound fusing soca with their R&B soul. Charli was also a frontline singer with the soca band Traffik Plus and has also represented T&T in the US, France, Spain and Cuba.

“It’s something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I decided to go full speed ahead and just do it,” she said. “It’s a bit scary because I am the one producing the show but at the same time, it’s exciting because I am finally giving my dream life.”

One of the highlights in the first stop of her tour, at Central Bank Auditorium, is the launch of her first composition Blind Faith. The song relates to Griffith’s inner strength to overcome a traumatic period in her life.

The music video, produced by Digital Film Institute will be premiered at the concert.

“Blind Faith is so different from the other songs I have sung. But it’s a chapter in my life that needed to be written and at the same time, needs to be heard. It was an opportunity to create that peaceful space,” said Griffith.

Guest performers for This Is Me include Jamelody and upcoming artiste Donovan Withfield. Tickets are currently available at 212 - West Mall, Westmoorings and its downtown location at Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.

Categories: Entertainment News

Choka Fest offers taste of Middle East

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:59

ASJA Boys’ College, San Fernando, in conjunction with its’ Parent Teacher Association, will be hosting their 14th Annual Choka Fest at the school on Saturday, April 28, at 4 pm.

PTA president Selvon Ramroop said, “This year, our themed event will take you on a Taste of the Middle East where you can enjoy the savoury dishes as well as tempting Arabian desserts like the Basbousa, while sitting in a transformed setting.”

A group of dedicated and committed parents, who constitute the PTA, takes the time from their busy schedules to support the teachers and the school’s administration led by principal Alim Ali.

Ramroop said, “This is the flagship fundraising venture of the PTA and proceeds are used to assist the school in pursuing and acquiring additional resources aimed at ensuring the development of the school.”

As one of the school’s major fund-raising events, Choka Fest was introduced in 2004 by Ramroop. It consists of a variety of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian dishes such as aloo,  tomatoes, bhaigan, eddoes, dasheen bhagi, salt fish buljol and the ever popular fish choka prepared in various culinary styles.

Over the years, the Choka Fest has evolved by adding a variety of desserts to choose from, an enhanced ambience where one can sit and enjoy their meal while being entertained by live entertainment or simply enjoying a cup of tea or coffee in a friendly atmosphere.

Ramroop extended thanks to the sponsors who over the yearshave continued to support Choka Fest and other events at ASJA Boys’ College.


For additional information or to assist, contact ASJA Boys’ College (657- 8373) and, or PTA Secretary (390-7368).

Categories: Entertainment News

Animation, the dark horse emerges

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:57

The T&T Animation Network has congratulated the Animae Caribe Animation and Digital Media Festival (Animae Caribe), Coded Arts and Lagoon Animation Studios, for being three of only six companies, to have been awarded grant funding for training and development under the Skills for Global Services Initiative.

These three companies cover a cross-section of the animation sector. Animae Caribe has 17 years of expertise in running its animation and digital media festival; Coded Arts comprises a dynamic group of award-winning animators and programmers dedicated to becoming the key player in video game development outsourcing in the Caribbean and the collaborative Animation production company in T&T.

Dubbed ‘a vision 2030 initiative’, Skills for Global Services is a grant of the Ministry of Planning and Development’s Global Services Promotion Programme (GSPP), which will provide the awardees with funding to support training and skills development. The three animation companies will receive a total of approximately 1.5 million dollars in funding.

Skills for Global Services comprised of a competitive and rigorous bidding process, only six of 26 applicants, were awarded grants. Companies were required to submit proposals that were not only novel, cost-effective and well-designed but needed to prove their ability to increase exports and create jobs.

The success of Lagoon Animation Studios, Coded Arts and Animae Caribe, therefore, was no small feat and represents a significant milestone as a testament to the animation industry’s economic viability.

“Coded Arts is very thankful to have been awarded the GSPP grant and with this our plans are to begin working with some of the top talent in the US to bring the skills of our local artists to another level,” explained Coded Arts director, Andy Berahazar.

“This is all to encourage and facilitate the growth in our animation services sector and help foster a thriving digital media outsourcing industry here in Trinidad and Tobago,” he concluded.

According to Carolina González-Velosa, Labour Market and Social Security Specialist of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the awarding of three of six grants to animation companies, demonstrates why animation, is an industry front-runner for the economy of T&T.

With a mission to cultivate an environment of collaboration and innovation, empowering artists to reach their full creative potential through a holistic educational experience, founder and chief creative o fficer Karisa Phillip of Lagoon Animation Studios outlined her company’s future contribution to animation sector development.

“We would like to sincerely thank the Ministry of Planning and Development, and the Global Services Promotion Programme for honouring our organisation with this award, thereby enabling us to fulfil this objective,” she stated.

“With this opportunity, Lagoon is poised to actively participate in the ongoing collective effort to develop the local animation sector, through the execution of our Online 3D Animation Skills training Programme.”

The Ministry of Planning and Development administered programme in partnership with the IDB: Skills for Global Services, also, offered an unconventional but welcomed approach to skills development. The T&T Animation Network wishes to congratulate and commend the Ministry of Planning and Development for engaging in effective and innovative policymaking.

Its intervention in the animation sector has created a landmark opportunity for sector development, not only in training but also in the structuring how animation products are developed for future distribution and export.

“Animae Caribe is pleased to be an awardee of the GSPP grant,” confirmed Youth and Festival Coordinator, Jessica Yawching.

“With this grant we are able to train the producer talents of Caribbean Animated Content while also creating a model for the development, marketing and distribution of Intellectual Property to a global audience.

This will have a direct impact on the animation industry as it will increase employment opportunities, acknowledge the Caribbean as an international player and raise the standard and amount of local content created.”

By allowing the private sector to take the lead in determining their training and skills development needs and facilitating that process through much-needed funding and technical assistance, we believe it will result in a more impactful programme. We hope that Skills for Global Services will be the first of many initiatives, to be implemented by the Ministry of Planning and Development.

To learn more about the initiatives of the T&T Animation Network (TTAN) visit ttanimation.org or email: [email protected]


Animae Caribe has 17 years of expertise in running its animation and digital media festival; Coded Arts comprises a dynamic group of award-winning animators and programmers dedicated to becoming the key player in video game development outsourcing in the Caribbean and the collaborative team under Lagoon Animation, a 3D Animation production company in T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

ALTA Students Write

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:56

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta students around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives. Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing. Alta students enrol in the programme at many different levels of literacy and leave when they have accomplished their literacy goals.

While it is difficult to manage work and family life alongside Alta classes, students continue to persevere and in all cases see changes in their lives after attending Alta classes. In the coming weeks, Alta will share their pieces through this column. This week, two students from the San Juan North Secondary venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student Name: Marissa Collins

“My name is Marissa Collins, I am from the lower Santa Cruz area. I am the mother of two beautiful kids. I heard about Alta over the television, radio and Facebook so I decided to look into it more. In my research I learn that Alta teaches you to read and write. I have trouble in spelling and the pronunciation of words and also understanding English. My friends and family will laugh when I say certain words and ask me “Where you come from?” So I decided to join Alta.

On my first day I went to class I felt scared. I thought that I would be the only one there, but it had more people. When I sat and looked around at people in the class they were different age groups. I thought the teachers would be impatient and only here for the money.

In continuing to attend class it became more friendly and welcoming. The teachers are always willing to assist you with your questions and concerns. At the end of class we always have a game to play, (and) we all have fun. The teachers help you get a better understanding about English language, reading and writing. By attending these classes my spelling, pronunciation of words and sound is improving.

Alta turned out to be just what I wanted it to be. It made me feel more positive in myself. I can also assists my kids in there homework; with a better understanding as I go along. I am really happy that I made this step.” 

Student Name: Colin Renaud “I am a student of Alta at the San Juan Secondary School, I am 49 years of age, yes I said 49. And I’m very proud of being a part of Alta. I started in 2017 and only missed one class, I’m enjoying every day of class. I have two wonderful and if not the best and understanding tutors.

I became a student at Alta because I needed more out of my life, and to reach for the stars but I could not spell and pronounce some words well and I was too ashamed that others would find out. Now because of this I could not read well so now at Alta I am learning to spell and to read and the pronunciation of words.

I am taking this head on. Now I am able to help my son Elyiah with his homework, something I could not have done before but because of Alta I now can.

I’m so proud of myself and my son as well. We now help each other. He helps me with my spelling, pronunciation and reading. (Before), I would send him by a cousin to do his homework. Now we do it (together) and she checks it to see if we are right or wrong. Alta made me understand English the way it should be. I did not expect Alta to be so helpful. At first I was ashamed now I am proud. I also have lots of fun meeting others, my confidence has gone up by almost 100 per cent. I did not expect this level of understanding at Alta this experience has change my outlook on my life and others.

Alta is making me and my family life better, I knew that I needed more, so this is why I came I said to myself it was now or never so here I am helping myself to help others like myself.”

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more Alta student writing on the impact the organisation has had on their lives.

Categories: Entertainment News

Pan Rocks LA

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:51

Tracy Thornton continues to be the fusion mad man who is preaching the marriage of hard rock, heavy metal, and steelpan. His latest effort was a recording session in June 2017 when 25 pannists came togetherwith several rock stars and  recorded a five-song digital EP that has now been released on Apple Music.

You can check out the songs on the Pan Rocks website with videos of each and a 15-minute video documentary on the project. The project was also the subject of a feature piece in the April issue of Drum! Magazine.

The songs include classic rock hits like Kiss’s Detroit Rock City from 1976, Led Zepplin’s Kashmir from 1975, and Been Caught Stealing was a number one hit for Jane’s Addiction in 1990.

There is also an original by Tracy, Dain Brammage, which as he notes is a silly way to say brain damage and a wacked out—Trans Siberian Orchestra inspired-version of the Christmas classic, Carol of the Bells.

The trap drummer for thevsession was Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction that had put steel drums on the recording of one of their biggest hits, Jane Says, which is how Thornton had first heard pan.

Perkins was someone that Thornton was most excited to get. The other rock musicians on the session were guitarists Bruce Kulick from Kiss and Tracii Guns leader of LA Guns, bass player Billy Sheehan from Mr Big and the Russian cellists Emil and Dariel from America’s Got Talent. Another rock drummer Matt Starr produced the project.

Once they got dates fixed, Thornton started calling his list of folks he had met at Pan Rocks concerts at schools across the US and assembled a group that were jazzed to be part of it.

Thornton moved from being a rock drummer to pan player in the 1990s and has from the beginning wanted to merge the two.

He went to the Festival of Steel in Morgantown that led him to 1995 Panorama and he has been coming to Trinidad every since, bringing school groups a couple summers.

He formed a group called Been Caught Steelin, toured the United States with the youth steelband Sons of Steel, and taught pan at every level. He has recorded albums too as issued tribute albums on pan to artists like the Ramones and Jane’s Addiction.

In November 2013, Thornton organised with Angel Lawrie the first major Pan Rocks concert with a dozen steelbands participating with guest artists including Liam Teague.

He got 80 players for a mass steelband doing his charts at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in San Antonio, Texas in 2015.

That really opened things up for him as word of mouth spread on what he was doing to more school steelband directors and ever since has travelled across the US going to schools interested in putting on a Pan Rocks concert. He is going everywhere the last few months across the US and Canada including recently New York, Texas, Ohio, Michigan and California.

Thornton has put a lot of time and money into Project LA but from the beginning was confident it would work.

“I just knew this fusion would work. The same energy, the same power, the same intensity.” Now he hopes to take it on the road.

He keeps researching various options, what avenues, what connections might make it come together. Vegas maybe.

Thornton dreams one day to bring rock stars to Trinidad and having Pan Rocks rock Port-of- Spain and the rest of Trinidad.

RAY FUNK is a retired Alaskan judge and Fullbright scholar who is passionately devoted to pan, calypso and mas.

Categories: Entertainment News

Jazz in the capital

Entertainment - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 05:52

The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts will be hosting two jazz concerts tomorrow. The first concert will be the second edition of the [email protected] concert entitled Simply Jazz and it will be held in Woodford Square, Port-of-Spain, from noon to 1 pm.

This event supports the Live Music District initiative for Port-of-Spain; a collaborative project among CreativeTT (MusicTT) and the Port-of-Spain City Corporation. With support from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts. This endeavour is aimed at creating a platform to promote the upcoming musicians of T&T across all genres.

Last Sunday evening, Live Music District treated a large audience to a live command performance by 2018 National Panorama (Large) champion bpTT Renegades and five artistes on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook.

Featured acts for tomorrow’s [email protected] concert are jazz pianist Adan Hagely, fast-rising LeAndra Head, Moricia Cagan, Shaniqu3, Shannon Z Francois and Candice Caton.

The second concert, titled Fusion, the Jazz Experience, takes place tomorrow evening at 7 pm, on the Steps of National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain. As a special treat to the public, the ministry will host a Craft Market at 3 pm at the same venue.

Headliners for tomorrow evening’s free concert are the National Steel Symphony Orchestra, Vaughnette Bigford, Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung and the UTT Jazz Ensemble.

Categories: Entertainment News

Plymouth community starts Jazz in Tobago

Entertainment - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 05:49

The highly anticipated 2018 Jazz experience in Tobago has started. Community-based organisation Plymouth Bethesda Heritage Development Foundation (PBHDF) was first to host its Jazz event—Plymouth Jazz @Dawn Breakfast Fest—with the theme Let’s Start the Experience, on Sunday, April 22. The event, which is in its second year, promotes local breakfast dishes prepared by home-grown cooks and chefs in Plymouth such as the traditional heart-warming cocoa tea, roast bake with a variety of favourite fillings.

The community group teamed up with API Record Label CEO Avery Seaton, who conceptualised the event, with the intent of reviving the community by creating interest and revenue for local business owners. Many may recall that Plymouth was the first district in Tobago where the Jazz Festival was held in 2004. However, due to a decline in revenue in the heavily touted event, the Festival was postponed. In 2010 the Festival was revived by the administration but was never returned to Plymouth.

In 2017, a group of dedicated members of the (PBHDF) took up the challenge of reinstating Jazz with the Breakfast Fest concept and christened it Plymouth [email protected] Dawn. The main intention of returning Jazz to Plymouth is to give the villagers a sense of hope and recreate the excitement that was once enjoyed by business and community. The organisers intend to promote performers from Tobago and Trinidad, initially, to provide a space for local acts and build interest in Jazz among this sector.

The headline performers for Plymouth [email protected] Dawn Breakfast Fest 2018 were, from Trinidad, Brendon “I-Sasha” Young, Tobago songstress Adana Roberts, pianist Sean “Sesalito” Mc Coon, 2018 Tobago Soca Monarch Jehvon “Royal” Jackson and veteran artiste Jeffery “Prince Unique” Thomas Upcoming Tobago artistes Sarah “Devine” Clarke and Kelsie “Kellz” Robley also featured at the event.

Plymouth/Golden Lane area representative Assemblyman Marisha Osmond has taken keen interest in the event’s development and was one of the main sponsors this year. The 2018 sponsors included Darryl’s Famous Foods, Davyn’s Limited, Angostura, Quality Stamps, Men of Exile, Trico Industries, and Street 91.9FM.

The organisers also extended special thanks to Buccoo/Mt Pleasant and Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah area representatives Ancil Dennis and Sheldon Cunnigham, respectively.

Organisers say some of the sponsors and individuals who have already committed to support the event in 2019 and the theme for next year’s event has already been identified—Plymouth—I Am Jazz.

[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Nalis partners with MOE, embassies to celebrate Spanish Language Day

Lifestyle - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 05:47

Last Monday, the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis), in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain and the Ministry of Education (MOE), through its Curriculum Planning and Development Division, Secretariat for the Implementation of Spanish (SIS), hosted activities to commemorate World Book and Copyright Day and the International Spanish Language Day at Nalis. Other partners for the day’s activities included the Embassies of Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic and the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Events began at 9 am with the screening of the Spanish children’s film Atrapa La Bandera at the Audio Visual Room. This formed part of the CineLit Festival, which has become a fixture at the annual Bocas Lit Fest. Other films screened included Lluvia en los ojos, El regreso del Vampire, ¿Qué es la guerra?, Un día en familia and El Regalo de Anancy.

From 10 am, at the Abercromby Street arcade of the library, students showcased their Spanish-language talents during the Spanish Read-a-thon. From noon, the Children’s Library Storytelling Room was the venue for Spanish language workshops targeting children between the ages of six and 12 years and Form Four pupils attended a writing workshop with Chilean autor, Marcelo Simonetti, at First Floor Seminar Room.

Students of Spanish at UWI joined the day’s activities to recite poems and literary fragments. The day’s events concluded with the screening of the film La Novia at 5:30 pm and a promotional video on the importance of learning Spanish.

Debbie Goodman, Nalis’ manager corporate communications said that Nalis’ commemoration of Spanish Language Day is yet another effort by the Authority to promote the use of Spanish as a second language and Spanish and Latin American culture. In addition to Spanish classes conducted by libraries, in June 2017, Nalis introduced its Latin Nights programme which celebrated Latin American traditions, music, dance, films, art, poetry and cuisine.

Last year, Latin Nights was held in association with the Embassies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba and El Salvador. The second edition of Latin Nights will be held from June 11 – 16 this year.

In September 2017, as a result of the association with the embassies for Latin Nights, Club de Español, a Spanish language conservation club was born. Sessions are held every Wednesday at the National Library from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Categories: Entertainment News

Are police trained to deal with the mentally ill?

Lifestyle - Wed, 04/25/2018 - 05:45

There are those in authority who have said that police are trained to treat with the mentally ill and there are also those in authority who assure us that police are not trained to deal with those presenting with acute mental ill health.

They may both be right depending on where you stand. What to your mind, for example, does being “trained to treat with the mentally ill” entail? We know police can train guns on the mentally ill, as they have been known to do, but what training is that based on? What directives are given to officers and what modes have they been trained to employ to subdue those in distress before the “shoot-to-kill” instruction?

I even venture to ask, “What in the belief system about the mentally ill makes a police officer shoot a person, not to maim or subdue—like on the leg—but determinedly to kill?

Looking at the research, the expert consensus in many jurisdictions and countries with seemingly better policing than ours is that “officers often lack the training to approach the mentally unstable”.

A 2008 study says, “Police officers report such situations as problematic because persons with mental illness may not respond well to traditional police tactics (Engel, Sobol, & Worden,2000).”

But it seems here, as in many other places where we have regular shooting to death of the mentally ill by law enforcement, all police seem to employ is “traditional tactics” in situations where they are treating with the mentally ill who do not process thoughts and behaviour in any “traditional” manner.

Lack of competence

Police display lack of competence, compassion was this column’s headline when they killed Paul Marchan (http://www.guardian.co.tt/lifestyle/2017-03-29/police-display-lack-compe...)

Marchan, 30, was shot dead on March 16, 2017, by officers of the Western Division Task Force who responded to reports he was acting in a deranged manner.

The news story then said, “Marchan went to a relative’s Diego Martin home and was hurling objects. When the police arrived, he allegedly doused himself in a flammable liquid and locked himself in his car. When the officers finally got him out the car, he allegedly slashed one of the officers on his hand with a piece of broken bottle and stabbed the other with a knife.

The report said that when Task Force officers arrived Marchan reportedly charged towards them with the knife and they shot him twice.

On April 1, 2017, according to reports, Raymond Joseph, 51, of Mahaica Road, Point Fortin, was shot and killed by municipal officers inside the Point Fortin Area Hospital after he was allegedly behaving violently and grabbing an officer’s gun.

Joseph allegedly grabbed the gun of the municipal police officer who had assisted in taking him to the Area Hospital. Relatives of Joseph, a retired soldier, had sought the police’s help to take him to the hospital for treatment. He allegedly began acting violently at his home and relatives sought help from officers.

He was shot three times.

The final story highlighted today, mercifully ended with the “assailant” being hospitalised.

On Saturday, November 25, 2017, the headline read, Police shoot man after roadside rage and told of the story of a man suspected of being mentally ill who picked up a two-year-old boy and shook him “like a stuffed toy” along the Tarouba Road, San Fernando.

Police said that around 8 am, the suspect walked up to a doubles van at the top of the Tarouba Interchange, where the boy was standing with his mother from where he grabbed the child.

Police reported that it took several minutes after the suspect was shot for him to lose enough energy for them to detain him, so severe was his tantrum.

The Guardian news story reported that, “The suspect asked for water, but before he could be given, he smashed the glass case holding the doubles. As patrons stood in shock, the man picked up the boy and choked him, while saying ‘This is a robot’. A woman pulled the boy away and ran.”

A fruit vendor who witnessed the incident, alerted two officers who were on traffic duty. The suspect began biting Dulan’s fruits and throwing them on the roadside before capsizing the stall.

The story said, “As WPC Mahabir approached the suspect, he picked up a piece of wood and struck her in the head. But as the man advanced towards Mahabir’s colleague, the officer shot the suspect twice in his leg. This did not stop him as he took up and a piece of wood and banged it against the police vehicle.”

The officer was treated and discharged. The man was hospitalised.

– Caroline C Ravello is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of Public Health With Distinction (The UWI). Write to: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Rath Yatra Festival held in Port-of-Spain

Lifestyle - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 02:08

Hare Krishna devotees celebrated the Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) last Friday with a procession along Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain. One of the largest religious festivals in India, three deities— Jagannath in the form of Krishna, Subhadra, and Balabhadra—are seated in Raths (chariots) and pulled along by devotees.

Celebrations are held at three locations in Trinidad —Port-of-Spain, Chaguanas and Debe—at different times of the year.

For Rath3-Chariot, the dieties are carried; for Rath4, women dance in the streets; for Rath5, male devotees celebrate and for Rath6, there is the custom of sweeping with a broom in front of the procession.

Categories: Entertainment News

Close to my skin

Lifestyle - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 02:07

Feminist activist and writer Amanda T McIntrye explored the intersections between race relations, misogyny and Carnival in T&T in her recent talk, Close to My Skin. She said the intersection of the three is related to T&T’s colonial legacy.

McIntyre said Carnival as a cultural expression and the way men treat women in this space are part of the colonial legacy, where Caribbean masculinity was molded by colonials who oppressed black men, who then reclaimed their power by oppressing black women and children. This way of life then spread from the home into the wider society and is seen in the way we treat each other. She argues that the plantation owners felt entitled to our bodies and this feeling of entitlement and ownership transferred into male and female relations and is exaggerated during Carnival.

Said McIntyre: “This continued oppression is a way of avoiding who we are as people; an avoidance of confronting our pain, and dealing with how colonial violence has damaged us. We see this damage as part of our identity and are frustrated because we don’t know how to move past it.

“We have suppressed our historical trauma and erased our true selves by assuming identities, taking on roles, putting on masks, switching codes and compartmentalised our distress in order to survive in a post-colonial space. She said while this performance is laid bare or made most plain during Carnival, to the point of spectacle, we do it consciously and unconsciously during the year as part of a post-colonial self-preservation.”

McIntyre said a lot of what we understand about empowerment has to do with appropriation of masculinity and whiteness. “Images of whiteness came here with Europeans and were presented as an ideal that was further established in religion with the presentation of the white Christ figure and continued to be imported through visual art and literature, then later through television and cinema.” She noted that the importance of whiteness in cinema post-emancipation and Independence had dissolved the black identification.

As an example of this she contrasted the media and national attention given to the stories of Neisha Wattley and then-President Anthony Carmona. Wattley was criticised and vilified for refusing a house after losing her home and a child in a fire while the issue of Carmona and the stolen housing allowance received little or no attention in comparison. “The difference between the two cases is a matter of respectability, as what we feel is good, worthy and deserving is determined by adjacency to whiteness or distance from blackness.”

McIntyre said she came to the realisation that black men recreate colonial patterns in the way they treat black women after years of observing the heightened misogyny at Carnival time both in songs and the general liberties men take with women’s bodies during the season. This came in the height of a Carnival season when an advisory was issued by the TTPS reminding the nation that ‘tiefing a wine’ was an assault. The nation was given a very basic explanation of consent, a further explanation of what constitutes assault and why this is punishable by law.

Shortly thereafter Machel Montano advised people that they could dismiss the advisory of the police, denying the agency of women in front of thousands. Even though, following a social media backlash, he changed his tune and gave an explanation of how he felt about women in Carnival culture, the damage had already been done.

Traditional and independent mas form an important part of the remedy for understanding the way we have contributed to the construction of a post-colonial society, McIntyre said. “This is why each year as I play mas with independent mas band Vulgar Fraction I use Carnival as a platform for protest action. I also look on in awe whenever I witness the Sankar-Charleau family in action, as that is the type of energy activation needed in communities, our nation and in the Carnival.

“It is through play that we can figure out how to escape and answer the question of how not to play and how to be. Then there may be healing on individual and community levels.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Calypso in London

Lifestyle - Tue, 04/24/2018 - 02:02

Lord Beginner and Lord Kitchener caught the HMT Empire Windrush to London almost 70 years ago in June 1948 with Kitch making a name with his newsreel appearance on arrival, singing London is the Place for Me.

He went on to do an amazing series of calypsoes on the harsh conditions West Indian immigrants faced in London, a tale as potent as Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners. Meanwhile, all of the UK learned of calypso from Beginner’s Cricket, Lovely Cricket in 1951. Other calypsonians followed—Roaring Lion and Mighty Terror among them. But by the early sixties, all four had returned to Trinidad following Independence in 1962. Calypso in Britain seemed almost to go underground.

A recent short book has for the first time offered a history of the only major calypso tent operating in Britain since the Windrush. Calypso in London: 25 Years of the London Calypso Tent by Stephen Spark offers an informative account of the struggles of the art form in London in the past half century. There is an excellent short introduction by John Cowley on the early history of calypso in England. Stephen Spark offers a short but informed report on the struggles of the London tent over the years and a series of brief portraits of all the major participants in the tent.

Most of these calypsonians recorded little if at all and therefore their work remains almost unknown and only a few have ever performed in Trinidad. Lord Cloak, Brown Boy’s brother, was the winner of the annual competition for many years but has only recorded one album and that only in 2016.

De Admiral Jeffrey Hinds, who works as a magistrate in Reading, has also organised a tent in Reading for several years. Sheldon Skeete, who works for the RAF, has been a four time repeat winner in the tent and has been in Trinidad to perform on several occasions.

In more recent years the London Tent has seen a strong lineup of great female calypsonians like Brown Sugar, Cleopatra, Giselle, Helena B, Nikisha and Wen D. They have been offering a soca night the last few seasons and Santiago (James Walker) has been consistently outstanding. (His younger brother Luke Walker has been a front liner for Shell Invaders for years, also repeatedly winning trophies in the pan category of the biennial T&T Music Festival.)

It was the Association of British Calypsonians run by the late Mighty Tiger (Ashton Moore) who ran the organisation and kept the faith despite struggling times as the financial support from the Arts Council continued to decline.

During the heyday of the 1990s at Yaa Assantewaa, the tent was packed with many London based artists and visiting stars from Trinidad. The tent shifted with the creation of the umbrella organisation Carnival Village to the current venue at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

Moore worked hard to try to instill new energy into the tent bringing over the Trinidad junior calypso monarch for many years starting with Kerwin Du Bois and Kizzie Ruiz among others. Later he worked out an exchange scheme with the Canadian calypso association to have a trade of monarchs for their tents.

The tent continues to persevere now under the revamped organisation Association of Calypsonians UK but recently has only been open for four weekends before the start of Notting Hill Carnival at the end of August. The book does not go into the details of the calypsos themselves or offer any lyrics, being only 80 pages in length. Nor does it look at the complexity of the careers of someone like Alexander D Great who may be the UK’s only professional calypsonian.

The last few decades he has been doing many concerts, school and college workshops all over the country, recording a weekly calypso for the BBC over a period of 12 years, a new calypso each week on the latest news, and getting commissions to write calypsos on important personages in the civil rights struggles. He often comes to Trinidad for Carnival and performs at NALIS and other locations.

It does not cover two major London calypsonians from Trinidad who were not part of the London tent scene Tobago Crusoe and D’Alberto. Both have been based in London for decades doing various appearances. The two of them and Alexander have put on a series of popular shows together, some specializing in cricket calypso. Tobago Crusoe was recently featured on the children’s film Paddington where he performed “London is the Place for Me” and other Kitchener classics. He is also featured singing again in Paddington 2, released in 2017.

Besides the ABC tent, a major new force in the London scene is Michael La Rose’s Kaiso Lime, a loose monthly calypso/soca gathering with live musicians running from May to November downstairs at the Tabernacle. To get copies of the book and be informed on the London tent schedule, drop an email to [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Students argue human rights case in moot court

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:31

Naparima Girls’ High School came away winners of the UWI Faculty of Law Secondary Schools Human Rights moot court competition against Hillview College while Speyside High School won in a human rights-themed visual arts competition, last Saturday.

The competitions were hosted by the Law Faculty on the St Augustine campus and was part of a European Development Fund (EDF) project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

It was the culmination of weeks of coaching and preparation focused on training aspiring young advocates to use the law to support the rights of marginalised groups, and inspiring young artists to depict human rights-related themes. There was specific emphasis on the rights of the child.

In the moot, Form Four student Nirvana Maharaj, 16, and 14-year-old Form Three student Vrishni Maharaj successfully argued the case for the fictitious State of Socaland in response to a human rights case brought by the NGO, Speak Up, represented by lead counsel, Dylan Kowlessar —a 15-year-old Form Five student—and first former Satesh Singh, 13.

The applicants had argued that the State had been in breach of human rights law and international conventions in denying a 12-year-old blind student, who also lived in poverty and under violent conditions, the right to a place in regular school. He was also placed on a long waiting list for the school for the blind which was far away from his home.

When he eventually began a Braille programme at a nearby community centre he behaved badly in class and physically attacked another student. This led to his detention for two weeks in a jail cell which he shared with five adult prisoners on serious criminal charges.

In the end, a panel of judges including actual High Court Justices Ronnie Boodoosingh and Ricky Rahim, together with Family Court Judge, Betsy-Ann Lambert Peterson ruled for the State and lauded the efforts of all four advocates.

Special tribute was paid to volunteer attorneys, faculty and law students who coached and briefed the students ahead of Friday’s preliminaries which featured ten schools from around the country.

Mataffie Pascall of Speyside Secondary School came away with top honours in the Visual Arts component of the competition with Raeesah Ali of Naparima Girls’ High School placing second and Ayeesha Jaffrally, also of Naparima Girls’ High School, placing third.

Faculty Dean, Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine described the simulated case argued by the young advocates as “more than just a moot” and was part of an effort to sow the seeds for more intense efforts to promote the upholding of human rights.

Belle-Antoine said she looked at the young “to be the change agents that we need to turn things around.”

Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts was at hand to witness the proceedings and to assist in the distribution of awards.

Categories: Entertainment News


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