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Updated: 51 min 23 sec ago

Lady speaks the blues

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:00

Spoken word poet and artiste Arielle John’s first solo concert, Bout Blue, was a breathtaking mixture of elements which came together to examine the poet’s relationship with the colour blue. The show was the first of the Atlantic Future Series, a collaboration between the Little Carib Theatre and the 2 Cents Movement.

With pre-show performances by Arianna Herbert, Majeed Karim, Javaughn Forde and Deneka Thomas, with MC Derron Sandy, the show was a prime expression of the growth the Spoken Word genre continues to experience in T&T.

John’s one-woman show incorporated drums, dance, movement, music and voiceovers. Her pieces included odes to the ancestors, an exploration of her name and her relationship with her parents, elements of culture and religion including stickfighting, Kambule, blue devils, Kali, Yemanja and the Virgin Mary.

The moods engendered in the audience ranged from sombre when she spoke about the loss of a child to laughter when she appealed to the Virgin Mary to speak to her son about lifting the curse of Eve. John said her experience of a 3Canal concert at age 15 introduced her to a consciousness of resistance, describing being dumbfounded at seeing the Prime Minister’s wife applauding a performance of Salt. The work was heartfelt and left the audience feeling touched.

In her artiste’s talk immediately following the show, John saluted her parents, as she said “they always get all kinds of questions because I’m the child who’s putting their business out in the road, but my father is also a really lovely preacher who also uses my name for exemplary things when he’s preaching.”

John said her father had been diagnosed with cancer while she was studying abroad and while she wasn’t around to help her family deal with it, “it has taught me how to value life and to take life a little more seriously and to make the best use of my time that I have, when I am able-bodied, when I am in full health, etc. In terms of my personality, it has given me a greater appreciation for life, time and physical ability and in terms of spirituality, it took me up a level to learn how to trust more and to have bigger faith.”

The talented artiste said it can be dangerous for a Spoken Word artiste to be vulnerable on stage if they have not worked through the necessary emotional hurdles or done a certain level of healing work. “If you throw that up on a stage, it doesn’t really help you. I think it pushes the trauma a little deeper and a little further, it just becomes a shared trauma.

“But for me, in terms of making choices around the stories that I choose to tell, these would have been things that I would have worked through. I would have processed, and then I ask who are the people that have had similar experiences in my space who can benefit from my story, whether it’s one of resilience or looks at healing or looks at how we can move out from a place of trauma?”

John said studying abroad was critical in developing her drive to do more spoken word theatre and also facilitating younger people to develop this type of work. She said independent shows such are these are important in the evolution of Spoken Word here in T&T, where currently the Slam form is predominant. She said: “That’s for me one of the motives behind the Atlantic Future Series idea.

“Slam poetry has its place in T&T culturally; we’ve found a real incubator space for it but there are also other different types of poetry that exist and there are other ways of storytelling within the same art form that I think we could make use of and develop further, just as the Slam scene has developed.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Write ‘Bout This, Talk ‘Bout Dat!

Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:24

This year thus far, almost every weekend of the past eight months has had at least one theatrical production. If, however, you are looking to support and enjoy a show that supports the positive values that makes us uniquely Trinbagonians, make an effort to attend the annual Tim Tim Storytelling show, scheduled for September 15-16, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

Entitled Write ‘Bout This, Talk ‘Bout Dat! An Evening with Paul Keens-Douglas. The show will highlight the latest works of Paul Keens-Douglas and other featured artistes, as they continue to promote and preserve the value and art of storytelling in its traditional forms. You can look forward to an evening of fun, humour, poetry, social commentary and storytelling at its best.

Celebrating his birthday exactly one week after he premieres this latest production, Keens-Douglas has been an integral part of the T&T and Caribbean literary and theatrical landscape for the past 42 years, creating his own niche, and producing an outstanding body of work.

Every year on this show, he focuses on recreating those magic moments of yesteryear, when we used to tell stories, talk to each other, and just enjoy each other’s company. It was in this telling and talking and listening that were the beginnings of the understanding. It is also an opportunity for Keens-Douglas to do work that is not in our educational system, no longer heard in our media, ignored by our academics and being slowly lost to this new generation.

From the beginning of his career, Keens-Douglas took the stage name of Tim Tim, derived from the patois saying for “once upon a time.” He has toured worldwide as Mr Tim Tim, giving a memorable Toronto performance when he shared the stage with his Jamaican counterpart the famous Louise Bennett, in the 1979 Black Theatre Canada production, Miss Lou meets Mr Tim Tim.

Every show features special guests and this year is no different, as Keens-Douglas will be sharing the stage with calypso humourist the versatile Myron B, rising Jazz Star Bri Celestin and popular Spoken Word poet Derron Sandy.

With this line-up there is no doubt that it will be an evening of top quality, clean, family entertainment, ideal for teachers, students, literary enthusiasts and those Paul Keens-Douglas fans.

The show will also see the official launching of Paul’s new website, www.pkeensdouglas.com.

Tickets for Write ‘Bout This, Talk ‘Bout Dat! An Evening with Paul Keens-Douglas are only $250 and are available at Crosby’s, St James, Cleve’s (Frederick Street), RIK-Gulf City/Trincity and Napa Box Office.

Categories: Entertainment News

Born in Darkness comes to light

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:30

Moving. Emotional. Spiritual. Powerful. All adjectives used by audience members to describe the launch of Freetown Collective’s debut album, Born in Darkness. The launch took place at Callaloo Company’s space in Chaguaramas on June 30.

The popular band, comprised of lead guitarists Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons, along with backup vocalists Shanna and Malene Joseph and Tishanna Williams, added a variety of instrumentalists and vocalists to their line up. These included members of The Lydians, All Stars Brass, guitarist Kiwan Landreth-Smith, and producer Jayron “Rawkus” Remy, with live visual projections by North Eleven. The music drew from all genres, including rock, ballads, and soca, infused with the unique sound that is Freetown Collective.

The performances, including favourites such as Normal, Born Swimma and Born Soldiers as well as new music like the album’s title track Born in Darkness, Red Eye and Human Form, drew an enthusiastic response from the patrons, who sang along, screamed, chanted, jumped around and cried and cried throughout the two hour concert. The vibe was an intimate one throughout, as Muwakil paused to regale the capacity audience with stories about the making of the album and the journey the group has taken over the three years it took to bring the project to completion.

The full song list included Incantation, featuring The Lydians; Human Form featuring The Lydians and Kiwan Landreth-Smith, whose guitar solo had fans screaming; Born In Darkness, Lightman and where I am, featuring The Lydians & All Star Brass; interludes Cure and Vice and Hired Guns; Red Eye; Normal; Feel This; Space For A Heart; Believe Me; Born Soldiers; Good Swimma; Go; and Bless Them.

The group released a new video for their song Space For A Heart, which had many audience members in tears. The video, done in collaboration with Nadia Huggins, Oliver Milne and Maya Cozier, told the story of an old man who built a makeshift boat to go back to the spot where the love of his life drowned when they were young. Muwakil revealed that the video was dedicated to a Trinbagonian poet named Eric Roach who died by drowning. He said the band was able to feel Roach’s spirit with them while they were recording the track, which was a moving experience for everyone involved.

Many patrons brought their children with them, and one child even requested that the band perform Born Soldier.

Muwakil said he was proud to see this, as the group felt that their music was for everyone.

Opening acts Rheon Elbourne and Deneka Thomas set the tone for the rest of the show, inspiring the audience to participate with their music and poetry.

Elbourne’s song Pam Pam was a hit, while Thomas performed her Trini dialect poem as well as the poem which won her the 2018 First Citizens National Poetry Slam championship, The Closet.

At the end of the main performance, the crowd was so hyped that they called for an encore, and the band obliged by singing Mama Africa and Love Transition. Many patrons expressed satisfaction with the concert and said they were going to buy the album immediately.

Longtime fans noted that the group’s sound had evolved well over time and expressed hope that they would continue to grow.


Freetown Collective’s album Born in Darkness is available on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music. For more information, find Freetown Collective on Facebook and go to www.wearefreetown.love

Categories: Entertainment News

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