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Updated: 2 hours 21 min ago

Alta students share experiences

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 02:45

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 experiences through this column. This week, two students from the Chaguanas Public Library venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Pamela

My name is Pam. I’m in level two. I came to Alta to better myself and my family. I expected to meet a lot of people willing to help each other. It was not the way I expected but it was better. Alta has changed things in my life because I am reading lots of books now and helping my kids with their homework. I do feel better about myself. I always wanted to spell big words.

When I was younger I didn’t have help. I thought I was managing well until reading got a little harder. I never liked the way I have to hide and make excuses when I had to read. When my children come home from school I can help them in their homework. I felt I could never take part in loud speaking or storytelling. I appreciate Alta class so much. Since I started the class I have improved a lot. As a parent I feel so proud of myself being able to help my children in their homework. I was surprised when I read my first book all by myself. I always felt that I couldn’t read but I surprised myself. At work I am being asked to write information from clients. Sometimes I can’t spell every word so attending Alta was the best thing I have ever done.

Kesha Sancho

When I was younger I always wanted to read an entire book. I would start but when I would get to the difficult words I would just give up. At school and also at meetings you would see persons taking notes. I always wish I was able to do that. Then one day I heard about Alta so I wanted to attend but was ashamed to. I wondered what people would say about this “big woman” and that she can’t read. That feeling made me sick. When someone would ask me to read I would get nervous even with little words like “where” and “there.” I was not able to pronounce them.

Now at the age of 31, I put all my fears behind me and started Alta. I am now in Level two and so proud of myself that I started. One thing I wish that I should have started years ago. In my class, there are four lovely patient and encouraging tutors who make this journey fun and simpler for me. My goal at the end of this journey is to read a book to its entirety also be able to write and pass CXC English.

• Volunteer, donate or sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA

Categories: Entertainment News

Keishea brings glamour to Fiesta Plaza

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 02:43

A high calibre performance is the only way to describe the one-hour performance by Keishea “Ms Glamorous” Stewart, backed by her band Calibre, for guests at Saturday Nights Live, held at Fiesta Plaza, MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday evening.

Calibre is a cross-over of R&B Soul and Soca band and consists of some of the finest musicians in the land, including Joey Rivers (guitar); Oslin Pompee (bass); Godwin Bowen (keyboards), and drummer Andrew Augustine. These seasoned and accomplished musicians have played with successful musical aggregations like Xtatik and Atlantik, and at the Kaiso House calypso tent, just to name a few.

The band’s debut performance to a full courtyard of patrons was a resounding success. Patrons were entertained and fully engaged, dancing, singing, laughing and flag waving during performances from their repertoire which ranged from songs like Roaring Lion’s Papa Chunks, Nadia Lafond’s Wanna Make Love To You and Camila Cabello’s Havana, but with a cross-over soca twist.|

Aimed at entertaining all ages, Calibre is available for bookings at [email protected].

Categories: Entertainment News

Kaiso Komedy at WeBeat tomorrow

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 02:41

Wit, humour and double entendre are still vital elements of good calypso and Trinidadian humour.

The St James Community Improvement Committee (CIC) is offering patrons an opportunity to enjoy these elements when it stages Kaiso Komedy, as part of the WeBeat St James Live18 programme, at the St James Amphitheatre, Western Main Road tomorrow night, starting at 8 pm.

Headlining the cast is reigning Humourous Calypso Monarch Myron B (Myron Bruce). Other members are Trinidad Rio (Daniel Brown), Funny (Donric Williamson), Brown Boy (Knolly Brown), Kid Kalalloo (Julien Hunte), Oscar B (Oscar Benjamin), David Bereaux, and Spicy (Tammico Moore). Producer is Carl “Beaver” Henderson.

“Humour in Trinidad is a way of life. It is no joke,” said CIC committee member Angela Fox. “We are offering people a chance to ease the tension. Come out and free up a bit, even for a short while, from the stresses of daily life.”

Musical accompaniment will be provided by the aggregation Kelly Green & Harmony, while show host duty will be performed by Nikki Crosby.

Patrons are asked to walk with their drinks, as only chasers, non-alcoholic beverages, and finger foods will be on sale.

Admission is $150 per person, and tickets will be available at the door.

However, before tomorrow’s kaiso show, tonight, at eight, the CIC is hosting its PanJazz/Honoree’s Night, at the Amphitheatre. Tonight’s honoree is long-standing St James steel orchestra, T&TEC Power Stars. Patrons will also be treated to live performances from the National Steel Symphony Orchestra, The Codrington Pan Family, reigning National Panorama (Small) champion steelband Golden Hands Steel and Moore’s Music.

As is traditional, and welcome highlight of WeBeat St James Live, the week’s of activity will have its tumultuous climax on Saturday night with 4 am J’Ouvert celebrations and steelband and traditional mas parade in the evening, from 7 pm. (David Cuffy)

Categories: Entertainment News

Strong Branches grow from Trini pan roots

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 02:40

While the national instrument seems to be mired in controversy in its homeland, there are pan ambassadors worldwide bringing pride to the instrument.

One of these is Branches Steel Orchestra, founded in 1978 by a group of Trinidadians who migrated to Boston, Massachusetts.

Come Sunday, Branches will a host a gala to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the band and its introduction of pan to Boston.

Some of the earliest pioneers of Branches were Lawrence Liverpool, Roy Belfast, Winston Evelyn, Ansel Niles, Leonard Frank, Lester Ross, the Tillet family and Carl Smith.

Throughout the years Branches has prided itself as a unique non-profit community-based organisation that has been instrumental in giving back to the local community.

Said Smith this week: “Not only do we educate the youths on the history and uniqueness of this modern day musical invention but, for the past 40 years, we have also taught them the art of playing the steel drums.

“Our hard work and dedication is evident every year when the children, under the artistic guidance of Justin Petty, musical director and arranger, perform at various events around Massachusetts, most notably the ICA, Martin Luther King celebrations, Newton Memorial and Everett Day parades, Needham’s July 4 Parade and the Caribbean American Festival.”

Branches has gained a reputation for outstanding artistic excellence; its programme suited for beginners with little or no music experience to experienced musicians. Branches is a well known name within the Boston community commanding respect for its artistic achievements and values that it represents and instils in our students.

The Branches Steel Orchestra programme motivates and guides young people towards lifelong goals by challenging their minds and getting them involved in music and activities that require them to learn skills needed in life such as commitment, punctuality, patience, how to be a team player, and most of all respect for self and others.

Branches Steel Orchestra is located at Smith’s residence in Boston and today comprises of approximately 60 members ranging from age seven to adult.

Ninety per cent of its members are under the age of 18. These dedicated young musicians rehearse nine hours each week.

However, during the summer period members rehearse 18 or more hours weekly.

Eighty-five per cent of the youths in Branches have gone on to graduate with degrees, some got Phd’s, Masters etc.

So, while Pan Trinbago Inc and some of its member bands continue to try to sort out their affairs, in the US there are steelbands flying the flag of T&T with pride, placing our national instrument on the global pedestal it deserves to be on.

(Reporting by Peter Ray Blood — [email protected])

Categories: Entertainment News

DEZii is awesome

Thu, 06/07/2018 - 02:37

Leah “DEZii” Forrest’s concert, Life, Love and Liberty, on May 29 was an ode to determination and perseverance. It was heartening to witness the power of artistes coming together to help one of their own.

The concert was divided into three segments—Life, Love and Liberty—with the songs within a particular segment related to the theme. Her repertoire consisted of a mixture of genres including rap, hip-hop, soul and calypso.

All about Life The Life segment featured the voices of Spoken Word poet Zakiya Gill, Amrika “Amrika” Mutroo, John John Francis, Chinaka “Chinaka” Pierre and DEZii. Amrika’s song, Woman, was an acknowledgment of the stages of life of a woman. The strong vibrant performance was dedicated to DEZii and the steps she’d taken in her journey through life thus far.

The dramatic voice of John John Francis reminded the audience that it’s often the Small Tings which fracture a relationship.

Chinaka’s breathtaking voice let the audience know she wouldn’t let her voice whisper about the state of her relationship.

DEZii had the audience enthralled from the minute she took the stage, beginning with You’ll Never Know and I Stayed, about women in abusive relationships. The performances were powerful and passionate, evoking the pain of the characters. A Song for Mummy, accompanied by a dance piece by Marielle Dos Santos, explored her feelings about the loss of her mother. DEZii also wowed the audience with her covers of I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing and Skyfall.

Making music for Love In the Love segment, Chinaka sang about her Ex’s Gift to her, followed by a duet with DEZii on Salt. Both songs spoke to the pain and the pleasure which can be experienced in relationships.

Yung Rudd’s song I Just Want to Ask a Question asked the woman he was interested in if it was OK to be with her. John John’s sultry sexy song, Let’s Make Music, elicited screams of excitement from the audience.

Liberty wins women empowerment The Liberty segment featured songs about women’s empowerment and liberation to do what they want, emotionally, physically and sexually. Keoné Osbourne’s Sza was about a woman willing to share a man with another woman and Come Thru encouraged men not to be shy about approaching a woman.

Marcus “Braveboy” Hardy sang Rude Boy Like Me, a modern day love story about warning a woman not to fall in love with an entertainer, and then collaborated with Yung Rudd on Sunday Lunch, complimenting the beauty of Trinidadian women. Rheon Elbourne sang his hit Pam Pam.

The final call DEZii’s final set included In Common, a duet with Elbourne asking him to Stay the night, the original song Set this Place on Fire, Uninvited and Power.

She had the audience singing and dancing along during her performance.

The performers were backed by the Wanderer’s band, an accomplished aggregation which at times threatened to steal the show from the artistes they were backing. They included Franklin Lambert (bass); Chris St Louis (drums and keyboards); Denzil Tidd (drums); Leigh Tang Wing (keyboards); Kwami Morrison (electric guitar); Darion Dennis (violin); Joshua Salcedo (drums and keyboards); and, Mikhail Salcedo (pan); with Louise Clarke and Jessica Arnold as background vocalists. The concert was part of DEZii’s

Wanderer fund-raiser series, in aid of travel expenses for her debut performance in Winnipeg, Canada as part of the Canadian- Caribbean Soul Exchange Forum and also to assist with the completion of her album, Wanderer.

DEZii continued wooing audiences when she performed last night at Fiesta Plaza’s Wednesday night concert at MovieTowne.

For further information on DEZii or bookings, call 799-7056, e-mail [email protected] and follow DEZii at dezii.world on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Categories: Entertainment News

Two new plays premiere tonight14

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 00:17

Playwrights Workshop Trinbago’s (PWT) Monthly Readers Theatre Series, featured the first Wednesday of every month, presents the reading of two new plays for the June 2018 instalment; The Pursuit of Happiness written by Stephan Dwarika and Cries of the Mind written by Treldon Layne. The reading takes place this evening, at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, Newbold Street, St Clair, starting at 7 pm.

The Pursuit of Happiness follows the love relationships of four friends —Vanessa, Shelly, Ria and Sasha. In these relationships, some of the couples fight for love on their journey of life, whilst others have the “perfect relationship”.

Stephan Dwarika is a literature teacher with a passion for writing and has tried his hand at writing books, short stories, poems, stage and screenplays, songs and musicals. Sandy Untold and Katrina are two musicals he has written, which are currently being produced by Chandelier Productions. Additionally, he is expanding his writing through collaborating with local singer, Zachary de Lima.

Cries of the Mind attempts to enlighten Trinbagonians to the importance of understanding mental health. Playwright Treldon Layne says of the play that the characters in it are not unlike us...facing internal struggles, mental illness and discovering ways to cope and prevail. Layne has written two books of poetry entitled They Stole It, I Must Replace It and Rise Up and Bolt Forward.

This poet, songwriter and motivational speaker, was featured in the Bocas Lit Fest 2015 as an emerging writer, and is also the founder of Treldon Layne Foundation and Treldon’s Greetings, a unique greeting line that was created with the intention to inspire and motivate individuals.

The PWT, in partnership with the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and The T&T Performing Arts Network, is inviting actors, playwrights, directors, producers and the general public to the reading to provide the playwrights with feedback, to further develop their scripts.

Admission is free for tonight’s event but space is limited.

Categories: Entertainment News

Sunday’s Mango Melee moment

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 00:10

Under a merciless Tacarigua sun, the ladies from Mary’s Creations were last Sunday conducting brisk business selling, among other things, mango khurma.

“Mary” is Mary Bristol of Barataria. And yes, she offered mango khurma. Crunchy and sweet and with what appears to be a faint touch of cinnamon, or was it ginger? Not quite “the real thing” but good enough to go in the heat, chased by a cold coconut water.

Foregoing the khurma left the customer with a choice, under Mary’s tent, that ranged from mango sponge cake, mango-banana bread, mango-pumpkin bread and mango cassava-pone.

Mary indeed came out with a bang at The Mango Melee hosted by the T&T Natural Artisans, in collaboration with the Tunapuna- Piarco Regional Corporation at the Eddie Hart Ground—a location now growing in popularity as a result of a now thriving open-air food court.

No, there was no melee, things were relatively quiet and what made up for a shortage of stalls, including the near absence of fresh fruit, was a variety of innovative, high-quality by-products including Just D’s jams, preserves and sauces.

Just D’s has been on the mango circuit for quite some time with a spicy, tangy kuchela and red mango also on offer. Dilean Smith-Richards is the mastermind behind the business and says that up to 90 per cent of the inputs for her products are sourced locally.

Rodco Home Essentials, known for its wide range of natural, fruitbased beauty products came armed with a line of rubs, soaps and creams including mango-avocado and mango-banana soaps and a mango watermelon lip balm that came in handy for the weather.

The Eddie Hart grounds are home-turf for Rodco, headed by managing director, Colleen Malwah- Aqui. She is also no newcomer to the mango circuit and says she has her eyes on export markets for her products.

Annette Francis from Maracas, St Joseph was also there with her red mangoes and deadly hot amchar.

She has been in business for just over ten years and says she prefers her small, manageable operation and market. Her products are not sold in shops and stores.

With just over a dozen stalls, this was not among the larger mango festivals. There was, up to midday, just one fresh fruit seller with about three varieties of mangoes that went fast.

The Melee organisers had issued advance warning. “In addition to the usual ‘peel and enjoy’ practice,” one promotional message said, “there are many added value products that emerge from different parts of the mango tree and fruit. This is what we wish to showcase to our citizens.”

In fact, the open-air market regulars just outside the perimeter of the Mango Melee displayed a wider selection of mangoes in greater quantity.

The usual fruit juice, roti, pholourie and bark and shark entrepreneurs were also out—the roti shed proudly declaring no shortage of curry mango over chicken, shrimp or veggie fare.

A worthwhile quick stop on a sunny Sunday at the start of the rainy, mango season.

Categories: Entertainment News

Words can hurt more than sticks and stones

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 00:02

I’m known to have a sharp tongue. A hot-mouth is what they called me and so over the years I’ve laboured on maturing in that area and, well, I’m still enrolled.

I own books like Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Carole Mayhall, Me and My Big Mouth by Joyce Meyer, When to Speak Up and When To Shut Up by Dr Michael Sedler, and many other titles in that genre of life-changing-through-tongue-taming literature for the filthy mouth.

Bible quotes such as James 3:8, “But the tongue can no man tame, it is an unruly evil full of deadly poison” have been my daily prompt. And in the Proverbs, I’ve found an instructive one that says, “When words are many sin is not absent.”

My bend to change has come from personal convictions about my sometimes ungraciousness, but the hurt placed on me by the mouths of others has provided impetus. Very early I learned that the idiom “Sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me)” is a lie, a ploy to get children to deflect hurtful criticism/slander. Words have hurt me more than lashes in this life. As an eight-year-old I was told by a classmate that I was “as poor as a ‘sursh’ (church) rat” (sic)” and, while I had not as yet recognised the abject poverty in which I lived, she ensured I appreciated her malevolence, telling me in the presence of laughing schoolmates, “You have no fwigze (sic), you eh hah no TV and yuh does iron on a coal pot.”

That really hurt and I think I would have preferred to fight and lose than to be smacked down with such an insult.

It seemed not our fault for being without those appliances—we had no electricity until 1978—but in an effort to understand my hurt, I went home and asked my mother if I was poor.

In her calmest voice she enquired why I wanted to know and I repeated the incident. Hmm. Lawd. If you only knew my mother’s pride level, eh! Her black face seemed a bluish purple as she leaned into me, and with a voice belying the cool demeanour of one minute before, she bellowed, “Yuh have somewhere to sleep? Yuh have clothes? You eat food today?”

I doubt if she heard my answers, but having responded to each question, she then declared, “Well then, you not poor. Go back and tell her that you have beauty and brains and that is all you need to carry you through life.”

My mother shielded me with her wisdom. Her uncomplicated philosophy has buoyed my entire life. But I learned children could be brutal and words cut deep.

Now, with a recovering mouth, and smarting from the punishing I’ve had from the mouths of others, I’m circumspect about the power of words. Words hurt more than sticks and stones and do irreparable damage. Whether it’s under the ruse of picong, gossip, salvo, or exposè, all words that are damaging cause long-term injury.

Those uttered publicly and particularly in politics and open forums, which are then repeated ad infinitum, I know, contribute to the instability in societies.

And, this place is steeped with abuses, which seem bent to character assassination and as we continue to underestimate the destructive power of words, in nursery-rhyme conjecture, London Bridge is falling down—and right on top of us.

It seems that slander, provoking accusations, and all manner of cruelty are the chosen paths of expression here, where, in the words of former US President Barack Obama, we “treat name-calling as reasoned debate” and infuse “suspicion and fear of those who appear different to us” either by class, ethnicity or partisanship.

The wilfulness of our intent in using words as weapon is to break each other’s back. This is a most unfortunate juncture in our affairs. But, now, who is going to help us heal? Who will lead my headless nation into the reintegration of community spirit where we can regain living in neighbourly repose, where kindness is worn as our garment of tolerance?

As I consider the health of our nation, as I look at the death and mayhem each morning on the news, I remember the words uttered here, on more than one occasion also, by high office holders and contenders, that “blood will flow.” As I consider my own experience recently where I overheard someone describe me as “ mental”; as I estimate the pain that such ignorance and bigotry can cause, I can only appeal to us to learn to suspend judgment especially the judgment that pronounces with hurtful words.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an edited version of a feature published as How do we recover from words that hurt? on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Categories: Entertainment News

Cozy evening at home for jazz

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 00:53

On an otherwise socially busy Friday evening last week, the cozy Ethnic Jazz Club (EJC) studio in Woodbrook, home of jazz ensemble Moyenne, hosted a free “open session” for musicians before a small audience that mostly concluded it was the best place to be that evening.

EJC leader, keyboardist Chantal Esdelle, hopes for a better response from musicians next time around on July 6. However, there was no holding back from Moyenne regulars, bassist Douglas Redon and pannist Natasha Joseph who, along with Esdelle, fed a musically knowledgeable audience an eclectic menu of jazz standards and jazzy interpretations of calypso, Latin and pop hits.

Opening with Duke Ellington’s Caravan, at the request of Redon who wanted to start with a “bang,” the trio could not help but show off with energetic solos in delivering this timeless classic.

Then, following a largely faithful rendition of the melodic Besame Mucho, the trio dug into the calypso wonder-bag to find Lord Kitchener’s Sugar Bum Bum which restored the opening tempo on the evening.

The evening would not have been complete without an offering from the Clive Zanda playbook.

This time it was his Chip Down. The challenging task was left to Esdelle to lead the way on the keys. Zanda is himself an EJC regular.

There was some skillful improvisation on Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va and closure came with an inspired rendition of Autumn Leaves, the early French jazz standard popularised in the US in the 1950s by Nat King Cole.

The plan for these “open sessions” is to feature musicians who won’t mind rubbing shoulders with other accomplished colleagues on the first Friday of every month.

This will run for the rest of the year to help mark 20 years since the establishment of Moyenne as one of the country’s leading jazz bands.

The actual anniversary is June 25 and this will be specially marked by four shows on June 22 and 23—two sets per evening.

The other activity planned by EJC is to present Jazz Cuts comprising video “snippets” of past performances by Moyenne and other leading jazz artists on the Club’s Facebook page.

Last Friday, Esdelle related the story behind the modest facility at 51 Cornelio Street, Woodbrook, saying the proceeds from previous shows, along with contributions from supporters, had helped improve accommodations at the studio.

The EJC studio has come a long way since the cramped space was launched as a venue for first-class jazz offerings. It has hosted numerous sessions with leading local, regional and international jazz musicians.

“Join us as the newest configuration of Moyenne explores our classic originals with new sound and presents new originals with our classic sound,” Esdelle says of the upcoming sessions later this month.

She is also encouraging jazz lovers to join the group’s mailing list by contacting EJC at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Celebrating East Indian Arts after Arrival Day

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 00:52

The Indian Arrival Day holiday may have come and gone, but every day is a great day to celebrate a country’s cultural diversity and upbringing. The contribution of people of East Indian descent has greatly added to T&T’s identity as a nation, and what better way to continue commemorations, to keep the pages of our story turning, than with song and dance?

After a very successful 70th anniversary dance production last weekend, on Sunday, June 10, the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook will stage an intimate performance starring some of the country’s most prolific classical Indian dancers and choreographers, Susan Mohip and Mondira Balkaransingh and company.

Their rich backgrounds in the equally emotive and illustrative Kathak and Odissa dance styles respectively will serve to tell a story on the Woodbrook stage, continuing to fly the flag for age-old Indian traditions which have been embedded into T&T’s cultural fabric since 1845.

Dancing since the age of three, competing by age seven, “Baby Susan” Mohip has blossomed into her role as one of Trinidad’s leading creative and film dancers, as co-founder of the Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, director of the Susan Mohip Dance Company, and Classical Indian Dance instructor at the academy for the performing arts, University of T&T.

She has taken her passion for the poetic and rhythmically-rich movements of Kathak on extensive tours through the Caribbean, South America, Canada and India, even having performed for many foreign dignitaries including the Prime Minister of India, Prince of Wales and the President of Botswana.

The concert also honours the work of Nrityanjali Theatre’s Mondira Balkaransingh, who found her love for Odissa under the dedicated training of nationally awarded masters at India’s Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Odissi.

Odissa is a beautiful classical style steeped in Hindu mythology originating from the temples of the Eastern coastal state of Odisha in India, but finds its fit effortlessly on the stage in Trinidad under her masterful direction.

Given the title of a cultural icon by the T&T government in 1994, it’s no surprise that dance has taken her all over the world representing both the governments of T&T and India, and that her body of artistic work spans more than 40 productions and counting. Nrityanjali Theatre has a Humming Bird Medal (Gold) in part thanks to her, and Balkaransingh can even be credited for having written the Dance Curriculum for local secondary schools.

The concert is one of four productions the Little Carib will stage specially to celebrate 70 years as an institution in the city for Performing Arts, and completing the bill will be none other than internationally-renowned classical sitarist, Sharda Patasar, daughter to award-winning musician Mungal Patasar.

Showtime is 6 pm and tickets, costing $150 each, can be purchased at the venue. For bookings and further information, call 622 4644.

Categories: Entertainment News

Pandemonium apace at Pan Trinbago

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:21

Can there be pan without the demonium? Are there ‘demons’ ruling pan – roaming among the pan world hence the bacchanal and confusion from its embryo stage to adulthood, today?

This culture of destructive drama cannot continue to be marketed as integral to this angelic instrument called pan – “allyuh ent see anything with pan is confusion and bacchanal?” many assert.

The word pandemonium originated in the 17th century and comes from the Greek words “pan” meaning all, and “daemōn,” demons.

Prior to my introduction to playing the pan in 1974, the era when my uncle – the late George “Sonny” Goddard – was president of the then-called National Association of T&T Steelbandsmen Association (Natts) and prior to his tenure, every meeting (on pan) was embroiled in cuss-outs and ended with chair-flinging and walk-outs.

Cigarette-puffing, drink-in-hand, hot-tempered, boisterous individuals, had pan in the palm of their hands – their role: to ‘develop’ the fraternity, the art form, sweeten culture and promote the instrument.
Sad though, while the instrument was developed and is being further… meeting acceptance, awakening pleasure and gaining appreciation, globally, personal and key aspects of professional development – respect; confidentiality; professionalism; proper planning, organisational, communication and customer service skills; integrity, trustworthiness; and healthy team spirit – are still in the wings waiting to make its debut centre stage.

While one could boast of having gained relevant knowledge or training, the harsh reality is, the measurement that determines if these talents are effectual is not by simply stating they are our core values, we attended a course or got certified, but solely by the calibre to which self, others, tasks and the business itself are managed or lead – how many people in and out of the fold are satisfied; have we created/do we create ill-will or alienation…how many have fallen away; have we placed the establishment into disrepute; am I honest; what is the world saying; where are we on the success grid – the lyrical question: am I an asset or a liability?

In 2009, a man named Keith Diaz was appointed as President of the governing body for pan, Pan Trinbago Inc. He is admirably noted for having introduced and implemented a series of initiatives that would see movements shift laterally and vertically with a view, that the vertical lever would constantly spiral upward.

Almost 20 years in office nonetheless, the lever seems to have become rusted and falling apart, prompting vociferous calls internationally, for him and his Pan Trinbago band to demit office.

The raging, incessant confusion transpiring with financial accountability, the battle with the Ministry of Culture, the fall-outs with the overarching carnival body, NCC; the lack of receptiveness, objectivity and open-mindedness to advice for betterment, frustrated pan players, internal wrangling – mass turmoil – position the world to sit-up and take note that the “governing body for pan” in the ‘mecca of pan’ hasn’t gotten it right.

It’s not only, that “Everyone Listens” When Steel Talks according to the website, but everyone reacts.

‘Everyone’ isn’t only those currently-involved in pan, but too, those who are for the first time, seeking an investment in the art form.

Is this truly the modus operandi to continue?

For the mecca to make a bold and impressive statement, not only has it become necessary, but mandatory, to engage in a recovery, restructure and rescue program, ensuring those operating its business are self-aware, effectively knowledgeable, adept and able to execute, exemplarily.

Salvaging what good remains and rescuing the fraternity from whatever demons are plaguing, are now incumbent upon six Government Ministries – Culture, Tourism, Community Development, Trade and Industry, and Education – to offer guidelines and standards towards impressive brand and reputation.

There’s Pandemonium apace at Pan Trinbago.

In the May 29 Guardian column, “Three Pan chairmen want Diaz out,” in part it states “The trio are also ‘demanding’ that fresh elections be held….”

It should be strongly noted, to move forward and upward, the spirit of ‘rogue’ must be eliminated from the world of pan. Our national instrument is not (emphasise not) ‘gunta culture’.

The nation is already buckling under the effects of rogue and bullying elements, it need not continue to allow this type of conduct.

The Bible states: “Jesus was crucified. He died for our sins.”

In one of his statements, Diaz says, “he feels as though the nation is trying to crucify him.”

While it is unclear whose sins this crucifixion is going to represent, putting the contentious areas aside, there is still a moral compass of sorts that guides the nation, and it will be remiss of the people to not thank Pan Trinbago’s potential predecessors for the contributions they have made as they make their transition, and wish them well.

Categories: Entertainment News

The Right Kind of Wrong to have gala premiere

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:20

It’s definitely an event not to be missed. Truly a red carpet spectacle with spectacular glitz, glamour and of course couture.

A-Listers like former Miss Universe Wendy Fitzwilliam, ace cricketer Dwayne Bravo, famed hairdresser Bally and international model and photographer Calvin French among several other prominent people will all be in attendance at the biggest event of the season—the premier of the The Right Kind of Wrong.

An estimated 400 guests are expected to turn up at the premier gala at Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain on June 14 which begins at 7.15 pm, with the actual theatrical show beginning at 8.30 pm.

It’s an amazing play directed and reproduced by veteran actor and prominent playwright Fareid Carvalho.

And in true Carvalho style, he promises everything over the top, from the hors d’oeuvres and premium drinks to the production itself.

Carvalho, who has dominated children’s theatre for the past 17 years, is returning to adult theatre with a bang with the recent establishment of Carvalho Theatre.

In speaking about play he describes it as a farce comprising six cast members.

“It’s more than comedy. All patrons will not only get a fantastic comical show with superb acting but with many tasty hors d’oeuvres, exquisite drinks and of course free giveaways,” Carvalho promises.

It’s based on a Rico Suave character who is dating three flight attendants from three different airlines all at the same time but each having no knowledge of the other.

There’s also an obnoxious housekeeper who knows of his charades.

Then there is also Robert from Biche, played by Carvalho.

Robert, who is clumsy and nerdy, comes to Trincity for the first time, and gets enthralled in this comical but precarious situation.

“I was motivated to do the play because of the specific timing of a farce. It’s really about doors opening and closing very quickly.....so as one girl goes in one girl comes out. It actually has the audience aghast for breath,” Carvalho explained.

But moreso, the play signifies a triumphant achievement in Carvalho’s career as it’s the first time he will be in the director’s chair.

“After 17 years of hiring directors I wanted to challenge myself even more. I believe my personality is a rolling stone that gathers no moss.

“I’m always trying to push my creative envelop and to me acting, modelling, King of Carnival competitor, producer, creative director....to add this directing element will be the closure of doing all aspects of theatre.

I’m also a creative director so creatively the costumes and the set of the play are amazing,” Carvalho explained.

The main stars of the show are all men, a feature which Carvalho describes as significant.

His character, Carvalho added, also gives sound business advice.

This aspect triggered many treasured memories for the famed actor whose grandfather Manuel Carvalho, an Portuguese immigrant, came to T&T decades ago.

Manuel, who passed last year at 83, started off as a humble tradesman who quickly turned into a shrewd businessman, establishing Carvalho’s ice cream, Carvalho’s chicken and chips and owning the everpopular and iconic Green Corner in Port-of-Spain.

Manuel’s traits of hard work and determination as well as sound family values have been passed on to his grandson

“My grandfather taught me that family is the most important thing and that you could only trust family as they will go the distance for you.

“He also told me to ‘be alive when you’re alive’,” Carvalho said

The production runs from June 14 to June 17 at the Central Bank Auditorium and will include a blockbuster cast with the likes of Cecilia Salazar and Dese Simon.

And with June 17 being Father’s Day, “two for one specials” are being offered.

Carvalho Theatre is also geared towards igniting public conversations inspired by comical and fabulous characters and also help citizens explore where T&T is heading as a nation.

“There are also serious messages like who we are and where we came from,” Carvalho noted.

But he’s also using adult theatre to develop young upcoming actors by offering job opportunities and create platforms for rising starts to network and engage seasoned members of the theatre fraternity.

Categories: Entertainment News

Reward for outstanding policing in Matelot

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:17

Ag Police Commissioner Stephen Williams said the interest of people for each other in communities ensures their community is safe.

Matelot police station recorded the largest percentage of deduction in crime among all local police stations, with less than 20 serious crimes being recorded in Matelot Village in 2017. Because villagers look out for each other and work with the police, Matelot has declared itself as the safest community in Trinidad.

“Definitely Matelot is the safest community in the land,” said Ag CoP Williams in his address at Sangre Grande Regional Corporation function honouring Eastern Division Police held at the Chamber’s Hall.

The top CoP said there is a big lesson on how people live with each other and how well they relate to protect their community.

He added that he cannot package Matelot and sell it to other communities and commanders of TTPS, but they must learn and share to make T&T a better place.

Williams said when Eastern Division got nine awards as well Best Leader commendation there were grumblings, but reminded that Snr Supt Garth Nelson took up the challenge which led to success.

Williams added that the Eastern Division is monitored on a weekly basis on its progress and getting awards and being the best leader does not happen by accident but with good leadership and that’s why the Eastern Division won its awards last year.

Councillor for Matelot and Chairman of Sangre Grande Regional Corporation Terry Rondon expressed elation over the announcement and pledged the support of the corporation and Municipal police in assisting TTPS in crime fighting.

Rondon related his experience growing up in Matelot where his mother would send him to distribute food to the police officers stationed at Matelot, which developed a relationship with the police, villagers, especially parents and children.

Rondon called upon parents to develop a harmonious relationship with the police in their communities for a better and safer T&T.

He also congratulated Nelson, the 2017 top leader of TTPS and his officers with a plaque for outstanding dedication and commitment to duties in making Eastern Division Region, a safe place.

Also attending the event and making positive comments were Dianne Lakhan, Chief Executive Officer SGRC; ACP Mc Donald Jacob, ACP Municipal Police; Brian Headley; Insp Erica Prito; and, Councillor Anil Juteram who gave the vote of thanks.

RALPH BANWARIE
 

Categories: Entertainment News

Beyond beauty

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:14

“It is our responsibility (collectively) to support what is ours and we must continue to be proud as a nation regardless of colour, creed and race.

We must stand together strong.” These were the words of Brian Gopaul in an interview with the Trinidad Guardian.

Gopaul is the new franchise holder of Miss World T&T (MWTT). He added that the pageant is a great opportunity and it is the country’s responsibility to ensure great representation on the international stage.

Who exactly is Brian Gopaul and why did he decide to bid for the franchise?

Gopaul, who studied Agriculture at ECIAF (Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry) was always a very creative child. He was extremely good at taking control of things and transforming it. As he grew older the boy became interested in pageantry and the age of 16, he held his first pageant ‘Miss Gasparillo Composite’ at the Gasparillo Composite School.

As he grew, so too did his passion for all things related to beauty and transformation. Thus, he ventured into Events Planning and Decorating eventually becoming one of the best in his field. Together with his business partner Reiaz Mohammed, he set up his business—Elite Planners Limited.

Almost 20 years later, Gopaul finally got the opportunity he always seemed to miss. “Past delegates of the MWTT pageant notified me that the franchise was available since they thought I would be ideal for the role. They were pushing me to bid. I did some research and spoke to well known people in the field and I decided to send in my application.”

Being awarded the franchise was no easy task for Gopaul. “The members of the MWTT Organisation was very particular since they wanted to ensure the franchise is well represented,” he explained. After the organisation checked the credibility of both Gopaul and Mohammed (who is now the codirector of MWTT), they were awarded the franchise.

So what does Gopaul hope to do with the franchise and what is his role and vision? To this question he answered:

“I want to ensure that our country is well represented on a national level and to ensure that the selection process is fair and that we are proud as country.”

Gopaul added that he hopes to restore the faith in the population in pageantry. “Somewhere along the line, we have lost faith. I think there is a breakdown in society and we need to attend to it. Sometimes all it takes is just one hand.”

The theme of the MWTT pageant is Beauty with a Purpose and Gopaul intends to use this platform to fulfil that purpose.

“We want to use this platform to raise awareness. It is not just for young women but we can use these women to share positive influence on children.

We are going to educate, improve and uplift the spirit of young people across the board. Additionally, we will use this platform for national building and as a national drive. We need national pride and we need to engage the public so everyone can realise their role in taking T&T out there.”

The franchise holder insisted that MWTT is the platform to promote tourism stating that it has the largest viewership across the board.

Gopaul has a lot of hope that these things will be accomplished since he has complete faith in his dynamic team which consists of well known professionals.

This pageant is more than beauty,” he said. “The training the girls will receive is second to none. It is more than just make-up. We want to ensure that these girls are well-equipped in things like International Affairs, Art, History and Culture, Protocol, Health and well-being, Social Media Education, Etiquette and Networking and so much more.”

The new franchise holder has high hopes for this competition and he admits that the support has been overwhelming. “People are looking forward to change” he said.

To the young women of Trinidad and Tobago Gopaul sent out this message: “Follow your dream. Every dream beings with a dreamer and always be the best you can possibly be. We always have personal work to do on ourselves.

It does not end with a pageant.”

Gopaul also requested the help of everyone including the Government and ministries.

He said, “MWTT has an ambassadorial role in representing T&T and at the end of the day it is all about representing the country and putting country first.”

The casting call for MWTT took place last weekend at the Cascadia Hotel and Conference Centre. The ten successful candidates selected will be presented to the media soon.

Categories: Entertainment News

Raising funds through tea, music

Mon, 06/04/2018 - 02:04

The JC Mac Donald Home for the Aged held its tea fund-raiser two Sundays ago at Naparima College, San Fernando.

Patrons enjoyed entertainment from Rikki Jai, Timothy Bally and Christopher, Ruby Pooransingh, the Sanctified Alliance gospel group, Bobby Ramdeen, and models from the House of Jacqui.

The chairman of the home, Dr Allan McKenzie, said funds acquired will go towards repairs to the home. Attending the event was Justice Anthony Lucky, judge of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Categories: Entertainment News

Keithos’ ink bottle runneth over

Sun, 06/03/2018 - 02:28

Well-known local cartoonist Keith “Keithos” Anderson AKA “Culture Man” has been drawing cartoons professionally for almost half a century.

Since his retirement from the Guardian in 2011 as a cartoonist, illustrator and columnist, the prolific caricaturist has been busy with several projects, one of which was the launch of his third exhibition Keithos Returns to Town at the National Library, Port-of-Spain, on April 3.

Anderson, 67, is still fast on the draw from his lips with his quips and humour, and also his pen and markers. When the Sunday Guardian sat down with the man of many talents at Nalis, Port-of-Spain, he drew one of his favourite comic book characters, Sad Sack and also this reporter.

Anderson said: “Since I retired it’s like I got a second burst of life. Right now, I’m drawing like a madman. Every day I’m drawing, writing poetry, and songs. I’m very busy. Right now

I’m working on ‘something’ on pan, but I want to keep it under wraps for now.

“I’m also working on an anthology of poems and assisting other people with their projects and want to start doing caricatures ‘live and direct’ of people on Frederick Street.

“Then there’s a book I have coming out called ‘The Journalist’s Survival Journey’ which traces my career with the Bomb to the Guardian.”

When asked about the perception that there were few young cartoonists entering the field, he said on the contrary there was a great future for young artists in illustration—he spoke about graphic artist and cartoonist Jason Hendrickson, the son of calypsonian All Rounder Anthony Hendrickson, who took part in his exhibitions at Nalis.

Anderson said youths did not have to pick up a gun, there was so much opportunities opening up for them and they just had to embrace them just like Tobagoborn animator Sekani Solomon who worked on the main end titles for the blockbuster Black Panther movie.

He said T&T’s stories, it’s rich local folklore, and steelpan can be told in different formats such as movies and animation.

Anderson cited Trinidadian author Michael Anthony’s novel Green Days By The River which was made into a movie, Crick Crack, Monkey by Merle Hodge, Sam Selvon’s The lonely Londoners, The Games Were Coming by Michael Anthony.

He said he hoped to rally and motivate youths as they had a great future not only in editorial cartoons but in animation, hence the reason for him holding workshops and motivational talks in schools such as Belmont Boys and South East Secondary School.

Anderson said he also did charity work and also wanted to go to the prisons and YTC and conduct workshops to motivate inmates.

The Camsel/Matt Lumen Media Awards 2009 winner for editorial cartooning said that God blessed him and he had to pass on the knowledge to other people such as Hendrickson, UWI students, and students doing their School Based Assessment (SBA).

Anderson also thanked the local artists who inspired him, Alfred Codallo, the forerunner to the legendary Dunstan Eugene Williams (DEW).

He said he had so many wonderful memories and experiences. One of them was visiting the Baltimore Comicon in 2011 where the legendary Stan Lee, American comic-book writer, editor, film executive producer, and publisher met with fans.

He was also proud to meet Korean-American comic strip and comic book writer and illustrator Frank Cho and other artists.

The avid Sad Sack comic book collector said anyone with copies under their bed or old cupboard, can contact him to either donate them or to sell.

Anderson said he was available for seminars and talks and can be contacted at 775-6068 or email: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Raising funds for dance

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 00:23

Tonight and tomorrow, the Carib Dance Theatre Company will be having a fund-raising concert, entitled Carib Dance: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of The Little Carib Theatre. The event aims to offset the costs of the company attending the 51st World Congress of Dance Research in Greece in July.

The Company’s Artistic Director and choreographer Andre Largen said the Carib Dance Company began in 2013 and was formerly known as the Little Carib Dance Theatre Company.

He said the Company previously put on a concert in 2016 celebrating the birthday of Beryl McBurnie, the founder of the Little Carib Theatre.

The company has also toured in London where they performed two shows at the Tabernacle, and taught workshops in folk dance and modern dance. They also taught classes in four types of folk dances.

In Greece, the Company will be presenting a paper at the World Congress of Dance Research, as well as performing two dance pieces which will be featured in this weekend’s show and teaching a series of workshops on folk dancing.

Largen said: “We are showing two different styles because we are using the music of Andre Tanker and Pamberi Steel Orchestra, so we’ll be using their music and we’ll be performing Sancoche, a mixture of folk dances. We leave on July 3.”

Prior to going to Greece, the Company, along with dancers from Tobago, will be part of a contingent who will represent T&T at the Bele Festival in Martinique from June 7 to 12.

Travel for this trip is being paid for by the French Government. While there, they will perform the Bele Reel and Jig, the Congo Bele and the Trinidad Bele, as well as participate in workshops.

The show comprises a variety of solos, duets and group pieces, with a total of nine dancers. Most of the dancers are alumni of the Caribbean School of Dance, with two dancers from UWI St Augustine, where Largen is an adjunct lecturer at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts.

Largen said while they had received some help from various institutions to pave their way to Greece, they are hoping to have full houses and be sold out on both nights of the show in order to make their quota.

T-shirts will also be on sale with the Carib Dance logo in green, black and red. Tickets are on sale during the holidays and from noon up to show time on both days.

Tickets cost $150 and showtime tonight is 7 pm and 6 pm tomorrow. For more information, call 625-0978 and 721-3809.

Categories: Entertainment News

Indo Comedy Festival tonight

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 00:21

When East Indians arrived in T&T as indentured labourers they brought with them many of their customs, foods, fashion and cultural expressions, which have through the years become integral elements of Trinbago life.

Randy Glasgow Productions (RGP) joins the rest of T&T to celebrate the initial arrival of East Indians to our shores and the sterling contributions they have made to our nation. Many of us will not go through one week without having a doubles, or five, and there must be some form of curry on the menu as well.

Another element of Indo-Trinbagonian culture we all have come to enjoy and appreciate is their brand of comedy.

They blend irony and drama with sharp-tongued acidic wit that sends audiences wild. The Indo-Trinbagonians have also developed chutney music into which they inject humour, singing about everything from love gone sour to the escapades of politicians.

In continued celebration of Indian Arrival Day and Indian Heritage Month, RGP is presenting the second annual Indo Comedy Festival opening tonight (June 2) at the South Haven Shopping Centre, Debe from 8.30 pm.

This show will bring together the nation’s top Indo-Trinbagonian stand-up comedians and humourists who will all deliver brand new material based on the present political landscape, local current affairs, the misadventures of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and other international happenings.

One of the new elements of this run of the Indo Comedy Festival will be the most popular chutney music artistes taking the stage as actors in the several skits to be presented.

You will see the king of comedy-driven chutney music Kenneth Supersad being more crazy than ever, while chutney queen Sally Sagram will portray a young executive who is fed-up of her boss, Jairam Singh an Indian expo owner, ogling at her.

There will also be comedic and musical performances by former National Chutney Soca Monarch Omardath Maraj, Darrion “Prince of Theatre” Narine portraying Shahrukh Khan, the Ramsingh Family, the Bacchanal Sisters, Cecilia Salazar, Penelope Spencer, Paul Beharry and several other comedic favourites.

And, an Indo Comedy Festival must include East Indian cuisine, so patrons can expect a nice selection of tasty dishes on sale along with the most in demand beverages.

Following tonight’s opening the festival goes to Rienzi Complex, Couva on June 9. For more information contact the festival hotline—774 5555.

Tickets are very reasonable, priced at $100 for general admission and $150 for open reserved, available at all NLCB Lotto Booths Nationwide; Anand Low Price Supermarkets; and, JTA Supermarket, Couva.

Categories: Entertainment News

Ministry brings Masala vibe to Woodford Square

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 00:37

Our nation celebrated the 173rd anniversary of the arrival of our East Indian ancestors to T&T on Wednesday, and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA) paid tribute to the rich cultural legacy brought by these ancestors at its third installation of the [email protected] Concert series at Woodford Square.

Titled [email protected] Masala, the event’s headliners were 2018 joint Chutney Soca Monarch Neval Chatelal and Nishard M, with Rick and Vanessa of the Fusion Band and Andre Mangatal rounding off the cast.

The attendees enjoyed doing the now famed ‘masala’ dance as the artistes brought their performance from the bandstand to guests huddled around the trees of Woodford Square.

The MCDCA will dedicate the month of June to its Brown Bag Series featuring the National Performing Arts entities, and therefore, the next edition of [email protected] will be held in July.

Categories: Entertainment News

Pan Jazz at WeBeat St James Live 2018 comes off on Thursday

Fri, 06/01/2018 - 00:34

Jazz heads to St James on day two of WeBeat St James Live 2018, the cultural experience hosted by the St James Community Improvement Committee (CIC).

Pan Jazz Night, offering an impressive line-up of well-known entertainers, takes place at the St James Amphitheatre, Western Main Road, St James, on Thursday, June 7, starting at 8 pm.

Featured performers are the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO); Codrington Pan Family; Golden Hands Steel Orchestra and Moore’s Music. They will showcase from smooth jazz to classic jazz, to calypso and groovy jazz.

Also sharing the spotlight will be this year’s honoree Power Stars Steel Orchestra, formerly known as Blue Stars.

The band was established in 1957 as Blue Stars, but ten years later acquired sponsorship from the T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC) and subsequently became known as T&TEC Power Stars. The relationship existed for 41 years.

Over the years, Power Stars formed alliances with many junior steelbands, inclusive of St Francois Girls’ College of Belmont and Mucurapo Senior Comprehensive School. In 2008 the band lost its sponsorship, but continues to strive to keep itself firmly fixed in the steelband firmament by engaging in activities to ensure its continued existence, in addition to becoming a source of upliftment to the St James/Cocorite community.

For yet another year, the committee is inviting patrons to walk with their favourite beverages on the occasion, as chasers, non-alcohol drinks, and ice will be on sale.

Tickets for the event are priced at $150 each, and will be available at the door.

WeBeat St James Live is designed to promote the community of St James and plays a role in promoting an opportunity for artistes to showcase their talent, while seeking to build a sustainable tourism product with domestic allure. (DMC)

Categories: Entertainment News

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