Entertainment News

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Iere stages Temple in the Sea

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:26

When Indian immigrant and the son of indentured labourers, Sewdass Sadhu, returned to Trinidad from India in the mid-1940s it was as a man on a mission to recreate the sacred aura of the Ganges River he had witnessed in his native land.

He was born in Benares in 1903 to Boodhram and Bissoondayia who later moved to Trinidad as indentured labourers when he was three.

He later returned to India but dreamt of replicating the sacred river location in the land that became his home.

Little did Sadhu know then that his tenacity and faith would someday become an enduring story of persistence and pride and the subject of the dramatist’s and numerous other pens.

Iere Theatre Productions has been in rigorous rehearsals for months to stage Temple in the Sea - the remarkable story of this Hindu holy man who insisted that in his adopted land, Trinidad, his religious practices should find a respected place among equals, even in the face of stout resistance from colonial authority.

The current structure, known as the Sewdass Sadhu Shiv Mandir was finally completed and consecrated at Waterloo in Central Trinidad in 1995 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indian indentured labourers.

The original temple was built at MacMillan Park in 1947 following Sadhu’s return from a trip to India. But the structure was erected on land owned by sugar manufacturers Tate and Lyle and was demolished in 1952 after the company went to court to have it removed. In the process, he was fined and thrown in jail for two weeks.

Upon his release, and through the use of a bicycle and basic tools, Sadhu went on to single-handedly construct a new temple 500 feet out at sea, in the Gulf of Paria at Waterloo where he grew up.

This production of the story of Sadhu and his Temple in the Sea is an encore performance for the group and a hat trick for director, Victor Edwards, who worked on a 2002 UWI production of the play and the 2012 version produced by Iere.

In his 2012 director’s note, Edwards pays tribute to Sadhu as “a resistant force to the colonial presence.” This time around, the role is played by accomplished thespian Martin Sahadath.

“In spite of his fine, his term in jail, and the eventual destruction of the first temple built, he persevered in constructing a second temple on ‘no man’s land’,” Edwards says of Sadhu. That effort took 25 years to complete.

The rest, as they say, is history – a tale this Iere production hopes to capture through drama, dance and a variety of musical genres.

An Iere backgrounder describes Sadhu’s story as “magical, mystical yet true” and “an integral part of our nation’s history.”

Edwards believes that relating the story on stage can contribute to a stronger sense of nationhood.

“We should first shape our intention in ancestral memory and allow the architect of their resolve to guide our tasks and aspirations as we consciously construct a meaning for nationhood,” he says.

There will be seven performances of the play from May 24-27. On May 24 and 25, there will be three performances for school audiences and on May 26 and 27, there will be general performances, all at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa).

More info

For further information, Iere Theatre Productions can be contacted via its Facebook page. Tickets are also on sale at Books Etc., Browwwsers, Elle Fashion, MS Foodcity and Nigel R Khan Booksellers.

Categories: Entertainment News

Concert for St Theresa’s church bell tower

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:17

As parishioners of St Theresa’s RC Church in Woodbrook continue raising funds for their Bell Tower Fund, a concert will be held at the church on De Verteuil Street on May 11, headlined by honey-voiced Natasha Babwah-Tim Kee.

As a young girl, Natasha Babwah’s principal would call on her to sing for the other children while they waited on their parents after school. Just about 15 years later, through a chance meeting with a record producer, Babwah became the unique voice on the runaway hit Jab Molassie, written especially for her by Chris Ulerie and featuring Machel Montano.

In an interview the classically trained Babwah said: “I don’t think a lot of people realise that it’s my voice on the track, those were very exciting times.

“I toured with Machel for approximately a year, but singing soca was just not my thing. I knew I wasn’t comfortable on the soca stage. Don’t get me wrong, for any 20 year-old that would be an exciting experience, but after serious thought I concluded singing soca wasn’t for me. My friends and family all thought I was crazy to walk away.”

Babwah, who later became Babwah-Tim Kee, is the holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Language Science with a Minor in Music pursued from the University of Miami and UWI. She instead turned her sights on raising her two lovely daughters, while training other young voices, teaching and preparing them for recitals and music festival. This she did while performing at galas, corporate gigs, weddings, funerals and her first love, at church. Babwah released her first Christmas single last Christmas titled One Small Child and she currently leads the Maria Regina Grade School Choir.

“I offer my gift back up to God…I sing in the St Theresa’s RC Choir every week and it’s like perfection for me. I really love my church and I also love to sing, so I thought why not combine the two and assist my parish,” said Babwah.

Like many of the Catholic churches around the country St Theresa’s RC, Woodbrook is in need of repairs, standing close to 90 years old.

Babwah said: “Our roof needed to be refurbished, however, I learnt that in order to restore the roof, the Bell Tower which we jokingly say is leaning more than the leaning Tower of Pisa, had first to be attended to.

“This is the tower that houses the bell that rings gloriously every Easter. I was compelled to do something so I reached out to my musical friends who immediately jumped at the opportunity to be part of the concert Faith, Hope and Love.”

Faith Hope and Love the Concert headlines Babwah-Tim Kee and will feature music of varying genres, including spiritual, classical, contemporary, musical theatre and Latin.

The cast includes celebrated tenor Wendell Constantine, Marvin Smith, David Huggins, former School’s Chutney Monarch and Music Festival 2018 winner Christian Mendez, three-time Guinness World Record Holder pianist Charles Brunner, pannists Ray Holman and Johann Chuckaree, Latin band Solo Para Ti, the Maria Regina Grade School Choir and the St Theresa’s RC Church choir.

Showtime for the May 11 concert is 8 pm and contributions towards the church’s Bell Tower Fund are invited and appreciated.

Categories: Entertainment News

Trini wins Americas Regional Award

Lifestyle - Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:14

T&T’s Jonathan Barcant has received the Caribbean and the Americas Regional Award for Excellence in Development at the Commonwealth Youth Awards. He received the award for his work in T&T on building climate change resilience through adaptation, and towards reducing the damage caused by climate change. Climate Action is the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13.

Barcant was given the award at the Commonwealth Youth Forum 2018, for developing a unique plant solution called the Vetiver System (VS), while leading IAMovement, an NGO he cofounded, which has been driving the civil society conversation on climate change in T&T.

In his application for the Youth Award, Barcant said: “The Vetiver System (VS) is a unique, cost-effective bio-engineering tool for solving many land and water related challenges. This is because of its deep  penetrating root system which can extend to ten feet deep in the first two years, and many other characteristics which allow it to stabilise land, prevent erosion, slow down runoff and promote groundwater recharge.

“The leaves may also be used to make many household items and handicrafts such as baskets, mats, chairs, and as mulch for topsoil rebuilding in sustainable agriculture.”

Using the VS, Barcant implemented the Vetiver Education & Empowerment Project (VEEP) in Paramin, where a total of 25,000 plants were installed on 15 properties, over 20 individuals were directly educated and over 30 more were educated indirectly.

Four plant nurseries were also created to provide ongoing supply into the future, and a new brand of sustainable carbon negative products called House of Vetiver was also launched through a handicrafts component of the project. He said: “Within the Paramin community, the project brought a greater overall sense of togetherness, environmental consciousness, as well as a sense of empowerment and ability to tackle land and water related challenges which were otherwise insurmountable.

It was also learned that older generations used to know about vetiver grass, but the knowledge was lost.”

Through the IAMovement, Barcant started the Climate Talk project in 2017. For this project, he and the other members of the NGO produced a short documentary called Small Change, which they took across T&T into over 40 schools, organisations and public spaces, and also hosted discussions about matters of climate change and building resilience. The NGO also hosted the People’s Climate Marches in 2014 and 2015.

Said Barcant: “Through Climate Talk we are tying together the conversation that climate action, economic prosperity and job creation in T&T now go strongly hand in hand. It is one which has been hugely successful in helping not just open up the people of T&T to the conversation of climate change, but to completely shift minds towards appreciating the value of climate action through renewable energies and energy efficiency.

“The project’s success can be seen in that IAMovement, a grassroots climate change NGO which is now partnering with the Ministry of Energy, National Gas Company and Energy Chamber to take the conversation further in 2018.”

Barcant said he planned to continue with the VEEP, having completed a proposal to carry out a nationwide programme over three years, “to take it into 12 more communities where it is needed most, along with installation of one million plants.

A digital application will also be created to allow citizens to learn through educational videos, and to identify and geotag landslide and erosion issues across the country in need of attention.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Pundit Sat returns home to serve

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/22/2018 - 05:58

The Satya Anand Ashram, temple of Truth and Bliss at Dookhan Drive, Johnny King Road, Aranguez, is only two years old, but many of its members and devotees have been quietly involved in charity and social work in the community and beyond without any unwanted publicity long before the construction of the temple.

Satyanand Maharaj, fondly called Pundit Sat, has been a pundit since the age of 16. Even from that young age when he did not have an ashram, he was donating items to the poor and destitute.

At 48, he has returned to his home village of Aranguez after working in Tunapuna for more than 20 years to serve the people in the community.

Speaking to the Sunday Guardian at the temple, Pundit Sat said “Our primary purpose is to propagate holistic living through spirituality.

This is achieved by following the Hindu way of life, calendar of events, and practising the tenets of Hinduism.

“We observe all the Hindu rites, fasts and festivals, we’re are also a point for the dissemination of religious material.

“In addition to that, we also do social work which constitutes helping the less fortunate and distributing food packages to those in need.”

He said the organisation did not advertise their philanthropic work, instead members went out into the community very quietly and looked for people that needed assistance the most.

Pundit Sat said there were working poor in this country who may not be able to even buy food with the money they worked for, and many of them they aided treasured their privacy and anonymity.

He said he spent most of his 32 years as a pundit serving in various bodies organising Ramleela, Holika and other celebrations, and his experience will be utilised in the village temple.

Pundit Sat said the members were letting their work grow organically, looking at the needs of the community.

He said they did not want to duplicate what was already being done in the community by other religious groups, such as Phagwa.

Pundit Sat said members had in mind to do a Ramleela, walk for peace, and a soon to be implemented yoga class.

Picking up slack in school feeding programme Pundit Sat said they were monitoring closely what was happening with the school feeding programme in relation to cutbacks and were going to pick up some of the slack with schools in the district.

He said they were looking for ways in which they can help and channel the resources of the community to such an end.

He said they had support from the business community, and quite a number of their members were ready and willing to help.

Pundit Sat said such people wanted to give but were not looking for publicity or recognition, “they know they gave, God knows they gave, the people they helped knew, and that was enough for members.”

The retired teacher said no one was exempt, their charity was extended to people of different religions, race, and gender.

He said members believed that the hands that served were greater than the hands that prayed.

He said while members meet once a week for formal prayer sessions, they worked in the community almost every day via a network.

Pundit Sat said they met on Thursdays to identify people’s needs and how best to help— whether they needed clothes, school books, shoes, and also by networking to help people get jobs.

Temple’s panchayat like King Arthur’s round table He said humanity superseded religion, it was an indescribable feeling when serving that money cannot bring; it was right dharma or action and they wanted others to live, share and experience.

He said his wife, Vandana, was chairman of the group and was responsible for the organization, coordination, and management of events at the temple.

Pundit Sat said members had a panchayat, or village council where everyone sat at a round table patterned after King Arthur’s where everyone had an equal say and voice.

Pundit Sat said besides spiritual counselling, religious activities such as the reading of the Ramayana, Hanuman Chalisa, Shaligram, Tulsi and Surya puja at the temple, weddings can be held there for people who cannot afford lavish celebrations, the temple and services of the pundit were free, but there was a caveat; no meat or alcohol at the reception.

• If you would like to volunteer or make donations, call 727-5712 or email: [email protected]. com for more information.

Categories: Entertainment News

Celebrating creative entrepreneurs

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/21/2018 - 01:06

The upcoming event, Creative Juice: A Creative Entrepreneur Expo highlights and celebrates entrepreneurs in the creative field. The expo takes place tomorrow at the Pleasantville Community Centre, San Fernando.

The event is being put on by the Youth Can Create programme, as the final year project of Department of the Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA), UWI, St Augustine student Shedrack Worrell. He explained, “The Festival Project of the Bachelor of Arts in Carnival Studies requires students to develop and implement a programme based on a talent or skill which they possess which they feel needs to be shared with and will benefit a particular group or community.”

Worrell made the decision to focus on Event and Festival Management, as he felt this was the area where he had the most knowledge to contribute. “The programme is about teaching and imparting knowledge on a specific group in the field of events and festival management, creative planning and business for the arts by extension. In addition, it creates a practical experience as they will be planning, designing and running the expo.”

Worrell chose to work with six members of YOUSERVE, a youth ministry group attached to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help RC Church in San Fernando. He said: “When I pitched the idea to the chairperson Lee Quan Chan, she immediately said this is something they need, because the group has events and activities that they throw as the ministry group for the parish and they really need to brush up on their creative skills and think differently and more creatively.”

Worrell said the expo is also based around creating a creative design experience for attendees. He added that this is an upcoming trend in marketing, which he learned about from his mentor Brendon Brathwaite of Buzz Concepts.

“Experience design means you don’t just come to the expo to watch the exhibitor and the items, but you engage with them. Our Expo has a theme, passion fuels the process, and using this theme we are encouraging our exhibitors to not only tell their story but to show their story and the process by which they convert their skills or talents to products or services.”

Other exhibitors will include Artspire Theatre Arts Company, spoken word artiste Kyle Hernandez, singer Dominique Friday, graphic design companies NZ Creations Graphic Design and Out the Box Designs, pannist Dike Samai, limbo dancers and others.

Worrell added: “Most importantly though we have a segment with creative entrepreneurs teaching the business aspect, so we have a financial advisor coming to advise the exhibitors, because creatives need to learn how to manage money and we need the basic tools to survive, especially as entrepreneurs. We also have a motivational speaker, a reputable creative entrepreneur in events and a group which does team building coming to do Business Development.”

Most of the exhibitors were hand-selected from Pleasantville and the surrounding communities and Worrell said this is an aspect he wants to build into the project when it is run again.

“I think moving forward we can really pull people from the community who have small businesses and who are creative entrepreneurs in some regard or are aspiring, where they could have a chance to meet the public and showcase themselves. I think it will be good for the neighbourhood to realise that you can make a living from being a creative, as people ultimately think that creative entrepreneurs are broke.

Creative entrepreneurs aren’t celebrated but as our theme says, passion is something that really plays a key role in the success of your business and is a continuation of your business. Something like this is needed to really bring awareness to Trinidad and to the communities that this is actually a job.”

• For more information, email [email protected], telephone 268-4463 and find Creative Juice - A Creative Entrepreneur Expo on Facebook. Admission is free.

Categories: Entertainment News

Kathak Kala Sangam celebrates

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/21/2018 - 00:42

The Kathak Kala Sangam (KKS) celebrates its tenth year of operation as an institute for the Fine Arts in T&T. Founded in 2009 by author, choreographer, director and dancer Dr Satnarine Balkaransingh, Samaroo Dowlath and a group of like-minded supporters of the arts, it has grown steadily over the years into a literary, teaching and performing institution. The Sangam teaches vocal and instrumental music and Kathak classical and Indian folk dances. Its teachers, Purva Joshi, Shivan Seenath and Balkaransingh, are all performing artistes.

To celebrate its milestone anniversary, the Sangam, which is a convergence of all aspects of the arts; literary, creative, performing and culinary arts, is hosting a concert and dinner on Friday, April 28, at the Chandelier Hall, 3rd Floor, Passage to Asia, 7 Yves Street, Chaguanas. This fund-raising event also coincides with the beginning of the Indian Heritage Month 2018.

The evening’s programme begins at 6.30 pm with performances by Smt Purva Joshi, Shivan Seenath, the Kathak Kala Sangam Performers and Balkaransingh, together with guest artistes Amit Sooknanan, Sunil Ramnath, Pooja Malhotra and young vocal sensation Neval Chaitlal in classical, folk and contemporary items of music and dance.

Having just returned from a successful concert in New York in March, Balkaransingh will team up with young artistes of the Sangam to perform in the concert. This one-hour concert will be followed by an authentic and sumptuous Indian vegetarian dinner at 7.30 pm which Passage to Asia restaurant is ideally suited to tantalise the taste buds.

Contributions ($200) to this fund-raising event would be used for a major concert later in the year.

Tickets for the event are available at Little Store and Praimsingh’s Pooja Bhavan, Curepe; Valini’s Drugs, Sutton street San Fernando; Naipauls and Raj Jadoo’s Stationery and book store, Arima; and, from all members of the KKS. Parking is secured so patrons a can enjoy the evening free from worry.

Information on the event available on the Sangam’s Facebook, or call (309-5151), or email [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Lydians showcase on the Mount

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/21/2018 - 00:39

Hot off a resounding success and over ten championship trophies at the recently concluded T&T Music Festival, The Lydians head to the majestic setting of The Abbey of Our Lady of Exile at Mount St Benedict for a fund-raising concert in aid of the church.

Titled Lydians on the Mount—Glorious!, this fourth edition of the choir’s collaboration with the Abbey continues the celebration of Easter featuring the Lydian Singers and Steel on Sunday, April 29 from 6 pm, against the rolling backdrop of the Northern Range. Within the magical acoustics of the Abbey on the Mount, the Lydians will make a joyful noise with voices, steel and instruments celebrating the Risen Saviour, Jesus Christ, The Lord.

With this fund-raising effort, the Lydians continue to offer its community music ministry in support of the Abbey in its efforts to restore the holy site and continue its mission.

Founded in 1912, Mount St Benedict is the home of the Benedictine monks who live and work in T&T and is the oldest monastery in the region. They follow a way of life that traces its roots to St Benedict of Norcia who was born in Italy in the year 480.

Educated in Rome, Benedict of Norcia was exposed to the onslaught of hedonism that was rampant at the time, as people became disoriented from their principal purpose in life. Benedict sought out the solitude of a cave at Subiaco, some 30 miles east of Rome, to recapture what he perceived to be the primary purpose of life: the search for God.

This Easter, the Lydians do it all for the glory of God. Lydians on the Mount – Glorious! will be inspired by two verses; 1 Corinthians 10:31 - “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” and 2, Corinthians 4:6 - “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

The concert will feature both quietly prayerful and fanfare choral works and will include a special selection of 2018 T&T Music Festival performances including championship winners Alliyah Boland, Janine Charles-Farray, Kory Mendez, the Lydian Ladies and Lydian Men’s choirs. Genres to be offered will include Operatic arias, Gospel and powerful Negro Spirituals including I Know I’ve Been Changed passionately performed by Tenor soloist David Williams backed by the full choir, all under the musical direction of Lorraine Granderson.

A section of folk, calypso and a local original local composition by John Jacob with the Lydians will also feature along with the fanfare concert signature piece, Glorious Everlasting by Cousins. The Lydian Steel ensemble will accompany the choir along with Lydian African drummers. Lindy-Ann Bodden-Ritch along with Myrtle Cumberbatch will accompany the choir on keyboards with Lydian Steel led by co-Captains Tonya King and Astra Noel. Sound will be provided by Kino Alvarez.

Tickets for Lydians on the Mount—Glorious! are only $150 and are available from all Lydian members and from the Information Booth at the Mount St Benedict. Parking for patrons is available in the church yard.

For reservations call: 268-9556/338- 6024 or e-mail thelydiansi[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

NCIC Youth host night of fashion

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 02:08

The Youth Arm of National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) successfully staged Khoobsurat, a night of fashion and dinner, at Bisram Gopie Sangeet Bhavan, NCIC Nagar, Chaguanas last Saturday.

Patrons were treated to a collection of fashion from a number of local designers including Aaron Moneer, Myndy Ramsook and Dress to Impress, She Rocks. Moneer, who celebrated his 22 birthday on that night, presented eight pieces from his collection Thunder. Ramsook, who operates as Myndys Fashion Designs, showcased items from her collection Mya, named after her daughter.

Moneer said he has an upcoming three day event carded for April 27- 29 in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando.

NCIC Youth Arm Chairman Sarika Boodoo said the event was held to raise funds for upcoming charitable and youth oriented projects by the Council, inclusive of a cricket tournament, a legal aid and medical clinic, workshops on yoga, stress management, the promotion of positive thinking. She added that events are free to the public. The cricket tournament begins on Sunday, April 22 at the NCIC Nagar starting 9 am.

Boodoo hopes the general public will attend this family day outing.

Categories: Entertainment News

Thanks to Alta, I can read and write

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 02:06

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 thiscolumn. This week, two students from the Laventille Open Bible venue share how Alta has impacted their lives. 

Student Name: Bliss “I was doing Bible studies with Jehovah Witnesses. Whenever they came to do studies I told them that I don’t have glasses. “The truth is I didn’t know how to read and write. I knew I had to get help. My son told me about Alta. I called and they tell me to go to the library and register. I was told it have a class in Open Bible Church. (I was afraid to go) but I know I needed help. I meet Miss Campbell (at the class) she was so nice to me and tell me to do my best. Alta did a lot for me.

“My goal is to write a book and I am going to get there with the help from my teachers and the people around me and my family. Thanks to Alta I can now read and write.”Student Name: Pat

“I always wanted to learnto read and write so I told my  boyfriend I couldn’t read and write. My boyfriend and I saw the advertisement for Alta on the television so I told him I will give it a try. I went to the location (for class) and met the tutors. I was so frightened because of what they will say. When I reach in the Alta class they ask me my name.

I did not expect they will be so kind to me, the tutor was very nice to me and the others.

“It was a good experience (for me) because I made friends and I got to open up to the tutors.

Alta helped me to read, write and spell. What a great thing it has done for me. I could recognise words and sound out my words. It make me help my grandchildren with their homework. My boyfriend is so happy I could read and write.”

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Taromi Lourdes Joseph

Lifestyle - Thu, 04/19/2018 - 02:03

Count on the musical director of the UWI Arts Guitar Ensemble, Anthony Williams, to keep things cheerful and lively whenever his charges appear before a largely knowledgeable audience.

So it was when the ensemble staged Unsquare Dance at the UWI Department of Creative and Festival Arts building in St Augustine on April 14.

Named for Dave Brubeck’s 1961 classic, Unsquare Dance, the programme, was actually an eclectic hodge-podge that never ventured too far in delivering creative outputs, but maintained interest and enthusiasm by players and audience alike.

It may have been preferable to have more rigorously challenged the guitarists under the baton, but the director pretty much kept things straight and safe.

The selections included, among others, two Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi pieces originally composed with the piano and strings in mind, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Edelweiss and an interpretation of traditional Dame Lorraine dance music.

Student conductors Natasha Joseph—an accomplished pan player in her own right— Callina Morrison, Andrew Samlal and Renée Roberts did the honours on Hisaishi’s Howl Moving Castle, Dimitri Shostakovich’s Valse No 2 and Edelweiss respectively.

Morrison would return to lead the ensemble on Dame Lorraine and a faithful rendition of Hit the Road Jack, while Natasha Joseph closed things off with Unsquare Dance—Brubeck’s hastily composed masterpiece with the unorthodox time signature that never fails to make the feet tap.

There was nothing particularly elaborate or adventurous about the Williams arrangements that evening, except when a recognisable riff from Fela Kuti’s Egbe Mi O turned up in the middle of Dame Lorraine and when trombonist Keitje Greaves let loose on Diana Ross’ I’m Coming Out which featured Samantha Joseph on vocals and able support from Morrison on the electric guitar, and Chevone Pierre and Keon Galere on the trumpet.

Samantha Jones had returned to the stage having earlier joined with vocal group Music Sensation, led by Jenevah Chadband, for a rendition of Wayne Watson’s preachy ballad, Friend of a Wounded Heart.

For Joseph Manone’s all-time swing jazz favourite In the Mood, Williams prepped the audience by introducing a piece he said would have “fingers snapping, feet tapping and mouths dribbling.”

As DCFA head Jessel Murray says in his programme note, the group is “one of the unique entities of this type” in the country.

With Williams at the helm, ensemble members Pam Carimbocas-Snaggs, Trinity Cockburn, Kemi Ible, Phelix John, Wendell Moreau, Aneeia Ramdhan together with Callina, Roberts and Samlal are cutting a unique path for the DCFA music programme.

According to Murray, the progress of the guitar ensemble is “part of the exponential growth of instrumental and vocal opportunities in the music unit of this department.”

The audience dispersed following an interesting excursion, hopefully to re-assemble when next this new fixture on the UWI musical landscape emerges.

Categories: Entertainment News

The Spectacular Zico at Queen’s Hall for the family

Lifestyle - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:20

From the imagination of Carvalho Productions, a leader in children/family theatre production, comes a magical journey—The Spectacular Zico. The production continues daily at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s until Tuesday, April 24, at this venue. It travels to South Trinidad afterwards to be staged at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa) on April 26-27.

At Queen’s Hall, this family production will host daily school shows at 9.30 am and 1.30 pm, with weekend shows at 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm. For the Sapa run, school shows will be at 9 am and noon.

Carvalho Productions has entertained thousands of Trinbagonians over the years and its new production, conceptualised by veteran actor/producer Fareid Carvalho, introduces new dynamic talent of T&T, written and brought to the stage under the esteemed direction by multiple Cacique Award winner Penelope Spencer.

The production promises the usual Carvalho signature of fun filled learning, diversity of our local culture, importance of respecting our elders and also includes riveting acting performances, exciting dance numbers, theatrical makeup and breath-taking sets.

This localised tale as old as time opens in a market scene with a grand palace as the backdrop, where a young peasant girl runs into a young boy and there is a little spark as they smile and sing together. We will soon learn that this young peasant girl is actually Jewel (played by Rebecca Elias) the Princess of the Kingdom, and the boy we learn is Aldon (played by Fareid Carvalho) who goes through some difficult decisions that most children have in growing up. Thankfully he makes all the correct decisions with the help of his friends such as Wally, Cat, Monkey, Mat and the rest of the cast. He then gets his wish of marrying the princess.

For more information, call 684-8382, or visit our Facebook Page: “Carvalho Productions

Categories: Entertainment News

Lend a hand to Sherrez

Lifestyle - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:17

Web developer Sherezz Grant has less than two weeks to raise over eight thousand euros (TT$69,000) to pursue the Full Stack Software Engineering Programme at Codeworks, an advanced web development course which will add to her core competencies. She is attempting to raise the funds through the scientific crowdfunding website FutureFunded.

The 29-year-old, who has ten years experience in music production and the music industry, said she began taking coding seriously in April 2017.

Said Grant: “Growing up I was very computer savvy, I started to use computers at around five years old. I was good with math, IT, Sciences and problem solving, and I always loved solving puzzles and being creative. I have always been able to adapt quickly when it comes to learning software, and while I’m not a graphic designer, I have an eye for design, so basically all these things combined into web development and that’s why I gravitated towards it.”

Grant said she’s been doing music production since she was 18, and feels that coding and web developed are another form of creativity. “Finding a way from the unknown to the known, like something that you thought was impossible before and then making it possible, I think all of that in itself is creativity.

“Coding for me blends a bit of art and creativity with science, because I feel like web design somewhat toes the line between graphic design and web development. However, I think it’s viewed as a more valid way of earning a living than say music or art, and it’s more in demand.”

Grant said she loves being able to share knowledge and help people, and this training programme will help her in doing that.

“I just feel with web development I want to make people’s lives easier and simpler. For example, I suffer from procrastination a lot and I would like to be able to develop an app that could really help with procrastination.

“I’m also passionate about the subject of relationships and I would love to develop an app as well in that area. So I think that’s one of the benefits of web development, that you can solve life problems and impact a lot of lives through a piece of code.”

Grant said she chose to study at Codeworks because she felt it would be the most intense and comprehensive JavaScript boot camp to supply her with the skills she needed to fulfill her career goals in web development.

“It’s going to mainly focus on JavaScript language and focus further on some of the frameworks that are built on JavaScript that our favorite apps like Facebook or Netflix use, so I think this would make me even more of a qualified web developer because these are some skills that are in demand by employers.

“It’s going to teach me basically what it’s like to be in that kind of environment working in a team, concepts in terms of how to come up with the most elegant code, how to make your code more efficient so that it doesn’t take so long to execute and much more.”

Grant said she was worried about getting the substantial total together in time for the funding deadline on April 27.

“I’m trying my best. I’ve reached out to friends and family,” she said. “I’m trying to reach out to companies to see if they’re willing to sponsor me, and maybe businesses as well, offering to build a website for them or optimise one of their existing websites.

“I’m really trying to pitch myself and see if I can make this money in this short space of time.”

For more information on Grant and to contribute towards her goal, go to https://futurefunded.co/project/sherezz/


Codeworks is the leading immersive course in Europe. It teaches participants to become software engineers and learn how to build complex apps, with an advanced understanding of JavaScript.
Codeworks offers a 12-week coding bootcamp in Barcelona, Spain. At the end of the course participants will be able to make entire applications, and contribute to coding projects of any size.
Subjects included in the course are CSS, Git, HTML, Javascript, jQuery, react, react native, meteor, SQL, MongoDB, and more.

Categories: Entertainment News

Outstanding mental health advocacy at ‘Inside Out’

Lifestyle - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:40

Theatre has been used for and as advocacy for decades.

It is not unusual to employ the creative and performing arts to carry society’s deepest and often obscurest messages.

But visualising mental health issues in dance was a refreshing element for me when dance as social commentary and advocacy made me sit up last Thursday, at Queen’s Hall.

Metamorphosis Dance Company (MDC) premiered its 2018 production Inside Out that night.

On the prompting of friends, while masking my (current bout of ) social anxiety and very near disinterest in interacting with people in wide, open spaces, I stepped out.

When the show began with Song & Dance of the Islands, billed as “a contemporary Caribbean Ballet” and choreographed by artistic director of MDC, Nancy Herrera, in the coolness of the auditorium, I sunk into my seat hugging my tiredness and wrapped in the solace darkness presents these days. My ability to appreciate the work, after an already tiring day, was marred with the constant prattling of the three young ladies behind us.

I was at the edge of regret that I had left home and simmering with annoyance for their lack of good (playhouse) manners—a too-common occurrence in theatre here for my liking.

That trio talked through every act, scene, and movement in that accented diction that suggests superior rearing, but alas, not optimum deportment.

This was not going well. I am thinking they should have stayed home and read the review since I made so much effort to attend.

I so wanted to scold them, when suddenly, about 50 minutes into the chattering, dancers appeared onstage “acting out”—low lights, individual movements, over-pronounced actions—to only the sound of their body movements. It was fresh drama and antics!

Then the entry of another dancer with a penetrating statement: “Mental illness is a real serious problem,” which immediately contextualised the choreographed frenzy on the stage, confirming my interpretation.

Of course, the audience, mostly quiet throughout the previous three presentations, sniggered collectively…loud. I groaned and uncurled from the scarf embracing all my discomforts.

I had been taking notes from the start not intending to do anything with it, just in the usual journalistic Boy Scout mode.

Now, I am busy scribbling in the glimmer of stage lights as the dancers launched into full, brisk commentary.

The script, presented with germane movements, highlighted depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, social anxiety disorder, and suicide among other issues.

Nothing prepared me for this.

My breath was sucked in so hard by the end of the dancers’ pronouncements on mental health and other relevant statistics for T&T.

“12,000…” said one dancer.

“…Students suffer from mental illness,” said another, completing the November 2017 news headline.

“Four per cent of the national health budget goes to mental health services.”

And, to the chants of “We Jammin’ Still” and “wine and fling it up”, we were roused to issues of gun violence, greed as the most important characteristic of leaders, sexual harassment, buggery, murders, and the homicide rates for 2017 (494 murders) and to date (145) for 2018

Right after the “Split in the middle,” the social commentary on abuse of women took the finest turn of the night yet.

“It’s a woman’s responsibility to ensure she is not abused.”/

“I’m not in your bedroom.”

“A woman must be groomed like a golf course…” “We Jammin’ Still…” “T&T is the happiest country in the Caribbean.”

The choreographer’s note somewhere in the programme said: “The process between discussing an idea and bringing an idea to life through movement can be a tedious one.”

We Jammin’ Still was presented as brilliant thought, exceptional movement, sensitive treatment of social malaise, while entertaining and never losing sight of the solemnity of the issues highlighted.

Dyad, on violence againstwomen, was presented in the second half also as a PG-13 discussion— where the under aged were asked to leave the auditorium.

It was performed to a 2016 spoken word piece “For the Rapist Who Call Themselves Feminist” by US poet Blythe Baird.

After the show, two women, likely octogenarians, paused next to me in the lobby and I unashamedly eavesdropped as they conversed. “…but never have I seen that type of social commentary in dance in all my life.”

“Me either. But it’s just marvellous how they were able to treat it so sensibly. I was so surprised.”

Thank you MDC and especially Bridgette Wilson who conceptualised this piece.

We Jammin’ Still must be employed in this year’s continuing advocacy efforts to make mental health matter as we work to create better minds.

n 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

New Queen’s Hall Board installed by Ministry of Culture and the Arts

Lifestyle - Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:34

Several distinguished persons across various disciplines accepted the call to serve on the Board of Directors of Queens Hall and were presented with their Letters of Appointment from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts on April 12, at the Ministry’s head office at Nicholas Towers, Port-of-Spain.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Angela Edwards thanked the members for their willingness and enthusiasm to serve the cultural community, and assured them that the ministry stands ready to assist the team in executing their mandate.

The Board will be led by Chairman Dr Wilhemus Hidwig, who commended Queen’s Hall for its professionalism and ability to stand out as this country’s foremost cultural space.

Nisa Suepaul will serve as the Deputy Chairman, alongside Directors Zaida Rajnauth, Raymond Choo Kong, Victor Prescod, Brian Wood, Charlene Griffith, Karla Gonzales, and General Manager Yvonne Roberts-White.

Categories: Entertainment News

Canada Alumni Trinidad and Tobago launched

Lifestyle - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 01:12

Alumni from 34 educational institutions in Canada gathered on April 10 at La Cantina Pizzzeria, Victoria Avenue, Port-of-Spain, to celebrate the launch of the Canada Alumni Trinidad and Tobago.

The event was organised by the High Commission of Canada, in collaboration with the Interim Executive of the Association.

Canadian High Commissioner Carla Hogan Rufelds encouraged alumni to engage with the new Association and each other.

When asked about the importance of the event, the High Commissioner remarked: “I am thrilled at the formation of this Association.

“I am convinced that staying in touch with other alumni will allow us to engage and contribute to the growth, development, and progress of beautiful Trinidad and Tobago.”

The alumni association is a community where individuals who studied in Canada can connect with one another, stay up to date on Canadian business and discover professional opportunities and events.

The evening concluded with a social reception during which over 140 alumni mingled and networked throughout the evening.

Categories: Entertainment News

Easter fun treat for children

Lifestyle - Tue, 04/17/2018 - 01:09

Easter was extra special this year for the children of the Christ Child Convalescent Home in Diego Martin, when IGT (formerly Gtech), hosted the children and staff to a luncheon, complete with an afternoon filled with fun and entertainment.

With Shavindra Tewarie-Singh, Human Resource Manager at IGT at the helm, the IGT staff quickly settled into interacting with the young residents and the staff at the Home.

The afternoon activities began with the arrival of Hoppy the Easter Bunny who engaged the children with his fun antics. Then it was time for the children to participate in the traditional Easter egg hunt.

With Easter baskets in hand, the youngsters eagerly set off to explore the grounds and the play park of the Home in search of the surprise-filled eggs. There was laughter and shrieks of delight as the children discovered each egg.

The entertainment continued with a captivating interactive show by Kess The Illusionist. He had everyone spellbound with his array of magic tricks where rabbits and birds seemingly just appeared right before their eyes.

“We all had an enjoyable time,” said Sister Annunciata de Souza, Manager of the Home. “I truly appreciate the time and effort IGT has taken to ensure that the children had an unforgettable day.”

At the end of the event, each child received a personalised Easter gift presented by IGT staff members and Hoppy the Easter Bunny.

The relationship between the Christ Child Convalescent Home and IGT began in June 2012. IGT, through its After School Advantage Programme, partnered with the Home to donate computers to its Homework Centre computer lab.

The focus of IGT’s After School Advantage Programme is to bridge the digital divide by partnering with NGOs and organisations to provide underprivileged children with access to technology equipment. The Easter treat event is an extension of the After School Advantage Programme and is the company’s continued commitment to the children, management and staff at Christ Child Convalescent Home.

In addition, the After School Advantage Programme provides the staff at IGT with the opportunity to volunteer their time and connect with various communities.

The Christ Child Convalescent Home was established in 1946, when its original function was to provide care for children recuperating from surgeries associated with rheumatic fever and heart conditions. At that time, the young patients were sent to the Home due to the lack of beds at the hospital.

Over the years, the Home’s focus shifted to providing a safe environment for at risk children, where they are cared for round the clock by loving, dedicated staff. At present, the Home caters to 23 children who have been abandoned, abused or sent there through the Court System and the Children’s Authority of T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

Walking on a leash

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 07:17

In a previous article we covered how to safely and humanely introduce your dog to a collar and leash to avoid leash phobia.

Dogs should be walked using a body harness rather than a neck collar (which can still be used for identification purposes). The use of choke-chains or prong collars can damage the tissues and muscles in the neck and throat and cause pain. The harness gives you more control of the dogs’ shoulders, which is where the power to pull comes from.

The harness needs to be slowly introduced as we discussed with the collar and leash, and teamed with treats, attention, affection, and lots of praise. Refer to the last article to learn how to introduce the harness.

Once the harness is comfortably on, just attach the leash and leave it on while you are around to supervise the dog. Allow him to run around with it so that he becomes used to the weight and feel of the leash.

When he no longer pays too much attention to it trailing behind him, simply pick it up and stay still. This is so he becomes used to the restraint now caused by you. Let him struggle and pull against it and wait until he gives up and settles. When he does so, immediately let go of the leash and reward him. This is so he learns that if he fights against the leash nothing changes; but if he relaxes he immediately gets rewarded. We want him to learn to relax on the leash, not fight against it. Then you can start walking him with the leash, one step at a time.

If the dog freezes up on a walk; use an upbeat, excited tone of voice (you can pat your leg or clap your hands too) when you call him to entice him to come towards you. Stooping down to the dog’s level will encourage him to run to you. Do not pull him with the leash; let him take his time because he is learning. You can also use treats to make the reward of coming to you even greater.

If the dog pulls on the leash, there is a mimicking of natural scruffing action on the back of the neck with the harness, which inhibits unwanted behaviours. Remember to walk the dog at your side or behind you, and if he is pulling ahead of you, change direction, which will force him to turn also and follow you. You may be zigzagging on your walk, which may look funny to your neighbours but persevere and your dog will soon learn that the moment he pulls ahead of you, he is again made to follow. He will also start to focus on you to see which direction you’re now heading in. You can also stop suddenly so he comes back to see why you’ve stopped, at which point you start to walk again once he is back at your side. This teaches him that pulling ahead gets him nowhere, but when he stays at your side he gets to move.

The type of equipment used is not all that is needed however. The most obvious way in which we communicate with our dogs is in terms of energy. So, it is important that whenever potentially anxious situations arise; whoever is holding the leash tries to remain calm and confident at all times so that the dog also remains calm. If you feel yourself becoming frustrated because he is not responding quickly enough or not listening to you at that moment, it is best to take a break from the training and try again later rather than trying to force him.

Remember that a walk is supposed to be interesting and fun for the dog so also allow him the freedom to explore while you are out with him.

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

‘Prevention is better than cure’

Lifestyle - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 07:15

Today I am honoured to share the fitness journey of one of our readers, a lady who battled illness, disease, and being overweight to become a symbol of the power of overcoming. Through difficulty to success Per Ardua ad Astra—is a motivating force for us all.

So today I will share with Fit and Fab readers my philosophy of weight loss which is accompanied by psychological, physiological obstacles and challenges.

Together we will shift our focus from losing weight to the more important objective of creating good health and optimal wellness.

Weight-losing methods are numerous.

However, excess weight is often the result of imbalance somewhere in our lives and we need to focus on creating that realignment if we are to discover ideal weight.

Obesity affects overall health in the form of hypertension, high LD and LDL cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, sleep apnea, breathing problems, clinical depression, anxiety, body pain, and others.

We have all fallen into the dieting trap but deprivation can be very frustrating and discouraging. Our commitment to change is something that fluctuates.

Therefore in any form of lifestyle adjustment we must take the bite-size approach.

Here are some lifestyle strategies for long-term weight loss. Our number one priority must be regular exercise and active living. Research has proven that physical activity is critical not only to lose weight but more importantly to keep it off.

The second strategy is healthy eating. We have to look after this incredible machine which is called the body. What we ingest has the same function as oil in a motor vehicle relating perhaps up to 80 per cent in terms of our physical wellness.

Eating poor quality food results in low energy levels and our overall health threshold.

In any lasting weight loss programme we need to look at our stress and eating connection.

For some of us when under stress eating tends to be a coping tool. We must therefore examine our stress management mechanisms to determine whether related to food and eating. To coin an old saying, “it’s not what you eat that matters most, it’s what’s eating you.”

In maintaining good health and well-being, personal fulfilment is an important factor. We have all experienced the feeling of guilt, regret and personal bashing. For example when we have eaten too much, not wanting or needing to.

Ask ourselves: “How can I get my personal pilot light going?

What are my passions? What are the relationships I have that support me? Have I set myself goals that are empowering?”

The journey of lasting weight loss is a change process. It is a step-bystep focus on a journey, a process of learning and discovery, two steps forward, one step back.

Perfection does not exist. Expect a bit of a roller coaster. The journey to good health should be a realigning of personal self in terms of wellness goals. “The journey of a million miles begins with a single step.”—Lao Tsu.

My name is Yvette Simone Alexander and I am a 52-year-old florist and decorator from Point Fortin. At age 24, I had a stroke. It was discovered that I was suffering from multiple adenomas of the pituitary, and a mitral valve prolapse. I suffered recurrent TIA attacks or small strokes. What followed was a colourful medical history with a series of physical problems.

In a nutshell, I broke my leg in three places, ankle and double spiral fracture of the tibia and fibia. I walked with a limp and I developed hip, knee, and back issues and was hospitalised for many months with various conditions.

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, polycystic ovaries, kidney disease, and high cholesterol. In 2009, I was also diagnosed with sigmoid colon cancer Stage I.

As a result, I had to undergo major surgery. At this point, I decided on a wellness journey that involved clean eating and herbs, but it was not until I lost my mom to diabetes in 2012 that I knew my life had to change.

I was in the room and witnessed them cutting off her leg. I could hear her screams. I can still hear her voice saying, “Baby, don’t get this disease.”

After that I got insane to train.

Cardio, weights, you name it! I began to understand the healing value of food. Much to my surprise, I also discovered that I needed some emotional healing to continue to build my self esteem. Buried deep inside me was the hurt I felt for the years of unspeakable abuse my mother suffered from her abuser. I am now so much my own motivation.

I started the gym at 225 pounds, went down to 167 pounds and back up to 175 pounds, leaner than before, but my medical conditions sometimes got in the way of my progress.

Today I have almost fully recovered. I believe I look better and feel better and I have become a spokesperson and a motivator to many.

My advice: Prevention is better than cure. Clean eating is better than medication, surgery and illness.

Put yourself first.

My favourite exercises are the battle ropes and stepper.

My encouragement: With each new day we are given the opportunity to make ourselves better. We can be granted more time with our loved ones.

Remember that your present outweighs your past.  Leave everything that holds you back behind. Forget the bad memories and just do it. Nothing is impossible.


Categories: Entertainment News

Epic upgrade for Constantine Grounds

Lifestyle - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 00:45

The residents of the Tunapuna/Piarco constituency can look forward to upgraded bathroom facilities at the Learie Constantine Grounds. The initiative is being spearheaded by the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation with the assistance of Digicel Foundation.

Thanks to Councillor for Trinicty/Macoya, Josiah Austin, who applied to the Digicel Foundation for the EPIC grant last year, the Foundation invested $33,750 towards the upgrade. The Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation also invested $10,000 and provided the labour for the project.

The Grounds; named after Learie Constantine who was one of the greatest all-rounders in cricket, as well as a lawyer and politician who also served as T&T’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, continues to be the venue of choice for varying sporting tournaments and family events since the 1960’s.

Visiting the site to have a look at the progress made were Diana Mathura-Hobson, Project Coordinator of the Digicel Foundation; Councillor for Trinicity/Macoya Josiah Austin, as well as Quincy Legerton, Project Coordinator and Bevon Belgrave, Project Foreman, from the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation.

The team expects that the refurbished facility will be completed by the end of April.

Categories: Entertainment News

Children’s fest comes to Bocas

Lifestyle - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:38

T&T’s eighth annual literary festival—NGC Bocas Lit Fest—is a twin festival, with a full children’s festival running alongside the adult festival from April 25-29 at the National Library in Port-of-Spain.

“It is a stimulating, exciting programme of events for young readers and writers, who are people too,” says Danielle Delon, director of the children’s festival, which remains a core offering of the Caribbean’s premiere annual literary festival of words, stories and ideas, attracting over 1,000 children each year.

Delon added: “It starts with the Children’s Storytelling Caravan for five to 13-year-olds that every April travels around T&T, allowing children to share their wonderful stories, and there is still time to book a place.

This tour culminates in the five-day Children’s Festival at the Children’s Library (Nalis) that ends with a birthday party on Sunday, April 29 for Dragonzilla, the children’s festival mascot.”

During the Caravan, storytellers guide children through the craft of storytelling, encouraging observation of the environment, personal, social and community relationships, and unleashing and leading the children’s creativity, inspiring them to value self-expression through the written word. Each year the stories the children create are illustrated and published in a colouring book.

A festival highlight is the Imagine New Worlds event at City Hall, hosted by Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez and the Port-of-Spain City Corporation on Wednesday, April 25. Over 300 children from schools nationwide will come together to experience the work of authors, artists and performers from T&T and abroad.

Trinidad-born, New York-based editor and educator Tracey Baptiste; US-based Daniel O’Brien; prize-winning Guyanese writer Imam Baksh; Natacha Jones, Jeunanne Alkins, Danielle Boodoo-Fortune, Everard McBain, Derron Sandy and Kes the Illusionist are all part of the mix.

Readings from children’s books by their authors, illustration and graphic-novel based workshops as well as a song-writing workshop, led by the band Freetown Collective, are some of the highlights of the festival on Saturday but there are many creative activities each day.

On Sunday, April 29, children and family films will be shown as part of the festival’s annual CineLit programme.

All events are free and open to the public but pre-registration is required via www.bocaslitfest.com or call 71-BOCAS.

The National Gas Company (NGC) is the title sponsor of the 2018 Children’s Bocas Lit Fest.

Saturday, April 14:
Tobago Scarborough Library – 10 am
Couva Public Library – 10 am
Chaguanas Public Library – 2 pm
Saturday, April 21:
Toco Secondary School – 10 am
San Fernando Public Library – 10 am
Debe Public Library – 2 pm
Saturday, April 28
Port-of-Spain Children’s Library, National Library – 1 pm

Categories: Entertainment News


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