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Updated: 2 hours 21 min ago

A night of Nobility

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 02:02

It was acclaimed as “the best stage production staged locally for 2018” and that is just of a countless accolades bestowed on the producers of A Noble Cause Gala Concert, staged at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, last riday evening. Staged by the Noble Douglas/Lilliput Foundation to raise much needed assistance to founder and grand dame of T&T dance Noble Douglas, not a seat was empty at the prominent St Ann’s howplace.

“I cried, I laughed, I cheered,” said one young ecstatic former member of the Noble Douglas Dance Company Inc (NDDCI), on exiting the venue. She excitedly related how thrilled she was to actually witness, for the first time, a live performance by calypsonian Relator singing his immortal classic Gavaskar.

Gushing, she added a Lord Kitchener classic performed by the trio of David Happy Williams, Etienne Charles and Relator was another memorable high point on the programme.

Also ensuring that A Noble Cause Gala Concert was a memorable night to cherish were 3Canal, bpTT Marionettes Chorale, NDDCI, the Lilliput Children’s Theatre and Ron Reid.

Said another patron and well wisher, “what touched me most is that so many people came out in support of one of our living icons; to celebrate her work and compliment her while she is alive and with us. We have a tendency of praising our cultural icons only after they have left us when we should be respecting and acknowledging them while they live.”

So successful was A Noble Cause Gala Concert that many a patron was also overheard suggesting that Wendell Manwarren and the organising committee should stage a repeat in the not-too-distant future.

Categories: Entertainment News

Arrival of art at Hilton

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 01:12

Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre continued their celebration of local art and culture with the hosting of the exhibition, Arrival, on May 17. The event was held in hotel’s lobby.

The exhibition, launched during Indian Heritage Month, featured the work of artists Shalini Seereeram; Shastri Maharaj; Tessa Alexander; Shinhuey Ho; Glenn Roopchand; Vishni Gopwani; Danielle Boodoo-Fortune; and Hummingbird Medal recipients Parmanand and Prabhu Singh.

Among the evening’s specially invited guests were Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez and India High Commissioner Bishwadip Dey, both of whom met with the artists as they viewed the many exquisite pieces.

Hilton Trinidad and Horizon’s Art Gallery have partnered to showcase the many gifted local artists, both established and aspiring through the series Art at Hilton. The Arrival exhibition ended on Monday.

Categories: Entertainment News

Steelbands to have fun on Arrival Day

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 01:05

So far, seven champions have been crowned in pre-activities for the 2018 comPANions Steelband Festival & Family Day, which will climax on the Arrival Day holiday (May 30), at Constantine Park, Macoya, from 11 am.

Now traditional, the fun day does not have a traditional march past however the theme for this year’s Fun Past parade is D’80’s. Participants are required to portray an event or calypso from the 80s.

On Sunday last, a fun time was had by all at Shell Invaders panyard where pannists displayed their vocal talents by participating in a karaoke burnout. Pan players and supporters of Massy Trinidad All Stars, including composer/musician Clive Telemaque, turned out in their numbers to cheer on their singers.

On Friday night, three elimination competitions will be held at Trinidad All Stars panyard on Duke Street, Port-of-Spain, at 8 pm. They are the finals of the Dominoes and All Fours Big 8 Knockouts, and Best of D’Rest All Fours.

Republic Bank Exodus pan amphitheatre is the venue for Saturday’s events, inclusive of the 6-A-Side Cricket: Big 8 Knockout (finals) and the All Fours Pairs Competition. The entry fee for the latter is a bottle of White Oak Rum. Competition begins at 5 pm.

The annual walkathon around the Queen’s Park Savannah will be on Sunday at 6.30 am. Participants will do a one lap around the Savannah, then down Charlotte Street, around Piccadilly Street, west on Duke Street to Trinidad All Stars panyard. There, a Cool Down and Creole Breakfast will be held. Steelbands are requested to wear their respective band t-shirts.
comPANions 2018 champions crowned thus far are:

1. Scrabble : Republic Bank Exodus - Malcolm Campbell (Defending Champion)

2. Draughts: Desperadoes - Michael “Boogie” Duncan

3. Table Tennis: Gonzales Sheikers - Mark Pierre (Defending Champion)

5. 7-A-Side Netball: Republic Bank Exodus

6. Over-40 Football: Hadco Phase II Pan Groove

7. 5-A-Side Football: Belmont 5th Dimension

Categories: Entertainment News

Shaw Park to enjoy sweet Socalypso from Signal Hill

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 01:03

Following sold-out shows in Trinidad, internationally acclaimed cultural chorale Signal Hill Alumni Choir (SHAC) goes to Tobago for a presentation of Socalypso Chronicles at Shaw Park Complex in Scarborough on Sunday May 27, from 6 pm.

Socalypso Chronicles is a choir presentation of some of the calypsoes and soca music that we have enjoyed, danced to, promoted, partied with, and continue to sing on a daily basis. In addition to the chorale, the evening will feature special performances by Lord Nelson (Robert Nelson), Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra and Oscar B (Oscar Benjamin).

“You would love the 2018 medley of soca,” said John Arnold, show producer and artistic director of the choir. “The need to curate our indigenous music in choral form is a key objective of preparing these shows for patrons. Significantly, creating export goods for streaming and other digital platforms is critical at this junction of our choir’s journey. This choir loves to perform and that energy is felt every time it hits a stage.

“The rich pulsating, sound and movement brought from the land of Africa through our ancestors, infused in the rhythmic work of Lord Kitchener, Mighty Shadow, Kerwin Du Bois, Shurwayne Winchester, Bunji Garlin and Voice is expressed through the choir’s uniquely captivating point of view.”

Founded in 1984, SHAC is now deemed a cultural institution and icon of T&T. It evolved from the Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive School Folk Choir, which dominated the Folk Category of the T&T Music Festival in 1982 and emerged as undisputed National Junior Folk Champions. In 1984 SHAC continued the styles and standards set by the school’s Folk Choir and captured the National Folk Championship Award at the T&T Music Festival. It dominated the Festival during the eighties, and retired from that competition in 1990 after winning the Calypso Chorale, a new class that was introduced.

Over the years SHAC has become a buzz word, not only in T&T, but also in the Caribbean, North America, Europe and Latin America. It has performed before many world dignitaries, including Queen Elizabeth II and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, as well as at many international festivals in the Caribbean, Latin America, North America and Europe.

(David Cuffy
[email protected])

Categories: Entertainment News

Same stress, different response

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 00:59

I have learned the reason people respond differently to any situation. “Psychologists will categorise our range of reactions, including emotions, by several theories,” says Psychology Today.

These theories suggest that human responses are governed by emotions which can cloud our logic, stimulus, learning, upbringing and the environment, and much more.

All of these impact my response, but accepting who I am has caused me to carve a different response to matters that previously got the wrong rise out of me. That learning of the past 20 years about mental ill health and the fact that it should not be regarded with the suspicions and spiteful responses, which the world chooses, have changed everything I have ever learned.

As I appreciate me, especially my shortcomings, the grace and compassion I need, the understanding I covet from others, and the unending “blighs” I require because I constantly make mistakes, my response keeps changing. My thinking has taken greater shape in the more recent years, chalked up to maturity and to empathy.

I remember the days when my first response was to blame the police and call them names—I still do from time to time from pure force of habit. Now, the other part of me desires better for those who give themselves in service. I’m not speaking of the rotting ones we always see in the news feeds, but those whose accepted nobility of the profession is masked by the blurring of the lines by some.

I am not unaware of the misgivings of our society in the judgment of whether the police can police. I have little confidence for example that they would ever discover which of my relatives/neighbours in my community broke into my home.

Would they ever find my water pump? Can they return my new expensive circular saw?

My all-time favourite interaction with the police was when my nine-year-old cousin allegedly stole an important item from me and the police asked me, “Did you see her steal it?” To which I responded, “No officer, but she has stolen from my bathroom and living room before and she was the only one in my home for the past three days.”

Then, “What kind of question is that? If I saw her I would take it from her. I won’t be here. And officer, you really think that people steal while the owners are looking? But I am hoping you can police the situation and speak sense into her giving it back to me.” After which the officer never looked at me again for the next 20 minute duration of the “conversation.”

All of my reservations though, are much like that of the populace, based on the annual statistics of major crimes that remain unsolved.

Still, what I have learned is that the job police do—whether we think they do it bad or good—is a stressful one. I have also learned that not much is on offer, as should be, to treat with the continuous “policing” of the mental well-being of officers. Yet, somehow, we expect there would be a better response to any crime or policing here.

The global research statistic for people reporting to work ill is approximately 18 per cent. This means that one-sixth or more of the police workforce is bringing us suboptimal output.

In my volunteer work this week, I asked a group of about 100 fourth-formers , “Who in this room has mental health?” and, way below my expectation, there was a showing of two hands and one tentative finger.

This is a usual circumstance.

Everywhere I go teaching, training, mentoring, or talking, I always ask this question because I genuinely want to know what people know about mental health. Often, people respond to what I am not asking, which is, “Who has mental ill health?”

I used the time to explain that everyone has mental health suggesting that if mental health is the health of the mind and each of us has a mind then we each have mental health. Some people may have good mental health and enjoy good well-being. Others may have mental health issues, conditions, disorders or illnesses and are therefore at times, not enjoying good well-being.

Still, there are those who have no diagnosable illnesses and suffer poor well-being; and finally those who have mental ill health and experience good wellbeing.

We embrace the issues and challenges of physical health visiting the doctor, taking our medication or following all the instructions for our physical well-being. The same should apply to our mental health and well-being. But unfortunately we are trying to erase centuries of prejudice, stigma and bigotry that make the entire subject taboo.

Got a brain? Then you got mental health! Deal with mental health as if your brain matters.

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 (UWI). Write to: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Beetham Gardens takes ownership of Lilda Brown park

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:32

Residents of Beetham Gardens are now enjoying the benefits of a one-of-a-kind play park featuring exercise equipment, tables for board and card games, recreation benches, picnic areas, attractive lighting fixtures and a spectacular 300-foot mural painted by the youths of the community.

“This is really a new beginning for the community. We are seeing the Beetham develop from nothing into something wonderful right before our eyes. It doesn’t feel like Beetham anymore,” said a beaming Elijah Charles, who functions as the community photographer. Construction of the park, he admitted, was a heartwarming development with the residents taking great pride in the project.

Officially commissioned on Monday, May 14, the Beetham Gardens Lilda Brown Recreation Park, named after one of the community’s most venerable residents, forms a major plank in the Beyond Borders social intervention initiative spearheaded by energy company bpTT and facilitated by The Rose Foundation. The park is located at Phase IV, Beetham Gardens.

Parliamentary representatives Fitzgerald Hinds (Laventille West), Minister in the Office of the Attorney General; and Adrian Leonce (Laventille East/Morvant); as well as Councillor Adanna Griffith-Gordon (Success/Trou Macaque), thanked BPTT for its social responsibility in partnering with Beetham Gardens to uplift the quality of life of its residents. They appealed to the residents to make full use of the facility, while taking ownership of it.

Hinds said the park would deliver both physical and mental well-being to the residents of Beetham Gardens and thanked all stakeholders for providing the community with a first-class facility. “I disagree with anyone who contends that Beetham Gardens is at the bottom of the heap. We are blessed with the same resources as anyone else and equal to any place in our country,” he asserted.

Leonce called on the residents to “continue working for the further transformation of the community and the country.”

Joel Primus, bpTT community sustainability and stakeholder relations adviser, told the residents that the company’s corporate responsibility programmes, of which Beetham Gardens and the wider Beyond Borders is a major component, were closely aligned to its business strategy.

“We believe we have a role to play in community and national development. Spaces such as these play an important role in the development of a community and go hand-in-hand with other factors such as job creation and entrepreneurship. They also provide a space for exercise and for simple interaction and having fun. To the residents of Beetham Gardens, I would like to offer congratulations on your efforts to develop your community. Thank you for allowing bpTT to play a role in that development,” Primus said.

Built at a cost of $600,000, the Beetham Gardens Lilda Brown Recreation Park utilised the services of a contractor and labour from the community. It was conceptualised by the community itself and driven by Councillor Griffith-Gordon and the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) of the T&T Police Service also plays a major role in the Beetham Gardens community interventions through its Hearts & Minds programme.

The play park project is an extension of the Beetham Gardens Beautification initiative which was mounted to generate self-employment through planting of food crops and to beautify the area. Both initiatives are part of bpTT’s Beyond Borders programme which facilitates development of at-risk communities.

Categories: Entertainment News

Youth dominate at Best Village

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 00:16

“Intense competition with friendly rivalry” best describes the ongoing preliminaries of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition. This year, it is safe to say that the finals will be one for the record books. Regardless of the category, Dance, Tassa, Drumology, Folk Medley Songs, Poetry, Spoken Word or the Self-Expression and Talent of La Reine Rive competition, young people dominate this year’s competition and have performed their hearts out to the delight of the packed audiences at each event.

Over the last two weekends the competition went to St Madeleine Regional Complex, North Eastern College, Barataria South Secondary School and Egypt Village Government Primary School, Point Fortin.

Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, attended over the two weekends and marvelled at the talent, commenting, “how can people say Best Village is dying, look at the number of young people dominating the stage in every single category.

“Look at the audience and see how the communities come out to support each other in friendly rivalry; the Best Village competition is very much alive.”

For 2018, the Best Village preliminary competition forms part of Community Festivals celebrating All that is We—We Craft, We Food, We Drama, We Dance, We Music—and features all the elements of T&T’s culture inclusive of food, craft and farmers markets and other family friendly, fun-filled activities.

The competition moved to Preysal Secondary School last Saturday, with the last of the preliminaries of Folk Presentation going to the Mayaro Learning Resource Centre on May 26.

The finals of the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition will take place in July/August at both the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain and the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando.

All events are free and the full schedule of event dates, times and locations is available on the ministry’s Facebook page, the CultureTT app and at www.cdca.gov.tt

Categories: Entertainment News

QED takes journey Down Memory Lane

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 02:51

QEDTT invites you to journey with us Down Memory Lane. This year, the charismatic trio of Raymond Edwards, Nigel Floyd and Eddie Cumberbatch will be Remixing the Jam! with an exciting concert of familiar favourites, remixed with that unique QED touch.

Relax and revel with the seasoned performers of QEDTT as they treat you to another magical stroll along diverse musical pathways filled with joy and laughter.

On Sunday, June 3, from 6.30 pm, Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, will ring with the sounds of the Junction Q Jammers who have also been remixed into a new combination of musicians.

The cast will include Dean Williams (guitar); Natasha Joseph (steelpan); Richard Joseph (drums); Jill-Ann Walters (keyboard); Jeremy Macintosh (bass); and, Sheena Richardson (percussion).

The big brass sound of the JunctionQ Jammers returns with Martina Chow on Alto sax and flute; Kensa James (trombone); Barry Homer (trumpet); and, Tony Paul (sax and flute). Paul will also function as Musical Director for this year’s show.

While this year’s song list is a closely guarded secret, comments from last year’s concert provide an insight of what is to come.

Three of T&T’s finest tenors who have joined together to prove that good music can be Quite Exquisitely Done. The group’s individual members have made quite a name for themselves as solo artistes but have decided to come together to make an even more beautiful sound.

Raymond Edwards:

Raymond Edwards is one of our well-known voices in T&T and for the last 20 years has had an undying love affair with music. He began singing in 1993 under the tutelage of the late classical tenor/teacher Chesterton Ali. Under his guidance, Edwards blossomed to become a multiple music festival winner and has captured coveted awards such as the most outstanding vocalist, most outstanding tenor and male vocal champion.

Edwards has also had the opportunity to perform with the international cast of Porgy and Bess, Venezuelan flamenco performers Flamenco Solo Flamenco.

The year 2006 saw Edwards releasing his debut solo album “Ray of Hope” which is in heavy rotation on local airwaves especially at Christmas time. Most recently, Edwards prides himself as a member of the classical singing group QED and is a founding member, lead singer and bassist in his own band E-Major.

Edwards is also one of the gentlemen for the Sweet Sunday love programme on Sweet 100.1FM. Sweet Sunday Love was voted the most popular Sunday music show in the last MFO survey.

Not being limited to the entertainment and media industries, academically Edwards holds a Bachelor’s degree in government with a minor in international relations and a certificate in public administration. His media reach has extended to overseas with him performing freelance work for the British Broadcasting Corporation, and special features for CBC and the Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom.

Edward Cumberbatch:

Edward Cumberbatch, fondly known as “Eddie” to his close friends and family, is just one of the talented tenors of QED. His preferred musical genres range from performing opera, art songs, oratorio, negro spirituals and gospel music. His introduction to music and singing began with piano and theory lessons from his mother, Theodosia Cumberbatch. Other beloved music teachers included Majorie Padmore (recorder), Tim Shelton (trumpet), Geraldine Connor with Laura Franklyn, Gillian Nathaniel-Balintulo and Michael Steele (voice, choir and recorder) at Queen’s Royal College.

It was under the wing of Barbara Douglas at Anderson University, Indiana, USA that Cumberbatch fell in more in love with music and made voice his primary instrument.

This love led him to become a long-standing member and soloist of the well-known group the Lydian Singers.

Cumberbatch benefitted greatly under the directorship of the late Dr Pat Bishop, TC. His experience with the Lydian Singers has been invaluable to him as he further progressed to perform as a tenor soloist in many choral works and tenor roles in several operas.

Cumberbatch’s talent has also been showcased beyond our shores with him performing in the Caribbean islands, United States, Canada, Germany and even South Africa.

He has degrees in physics with mathematics and solar energy and is currently an instructor of Mathematics at the University of T&T.

Reflecting on his talent, Cumberbatch refers to it as a divine gift from God and is thankful for the grace to share it with the world.

Nigel Floyd:

The third link in the QED chain Nigel Floyd provides stable, solid, sound advice to his singing brothers along with his great voice. He started his singing career under the guidance and tutelage of the late Holitzia Seecharan-Lawrence and has been a long-standing member of the Marionettes Chorale.

Under the direction of Gretta Taylor, he has toured extensively with the choir during their visits to the United States in 1997 and to Costa Rica in 2004 and has featured as a soloist in genres ranging from Broadway, Classics to Gospel, Spirituals and Calypso.

He is at present a voice student of June Nathaniel, director of the Key Academy of Music. Floyd is an attorney with a master’s in law from the University of Staffordshire. He serves in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as a criminal prosecutor.

Categories: Entertainment News

Viva, viva! New national parang executive installed

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 02:48

The National Parang Association of T&T held its 47th Annual General Meeting last monthend at its headquarters in Arima and Alicia Jaggasar was elected president. Leader of Los Alumnos de San Juan, and National Parang Queen, Jaggasar is the fourth female president of the group.

The newly-installed management committee for the 2018-2020 period consists of members belonging to various parang bands, giving the association a wide representation of its membership.

The full executive comprises: president (Alicia Jaggasar); vice president (Neal Marcano); secretary (Valarie Marcano); assistant secretary (Roxanne Marcano); treasurer (Arlene LaVaughn Joseph); public relations officer (Cassell George); youth officer (Kyesha Jones); trustees (William Calliste and Joel Carmona); and committee members (Marcia Didier, Nigel Williams, Henrietta Carter, and Michael Lezama).

Categories: Entertainment News

A Perfect Place is the Dinner Theatre Show on May 26

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 02:46

Albert Laveau is directing this month’s edition of Dinner Theatre at Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW). A Perfect Place, written by Elspeth Duncan, explores an encounter between a waitress and customer.

Their relationship unexpectedly develops and their core secrets are laid bare. Each woman must face the lies under which they have been living.

The play was originally staged to excellent reviews in 2013 with the roles played by actors Patti Ann Ali and up and comer, Eugenia Lemo. Laveau made the decision to restage A Perfect Place because of the play’s core mystery which fuels the drama. He also sees it as an actor’s play with strong parts for the actresses.

The waitress, Annabelle, is played by actor Tyker Phillip.

Phillip is the current Assistant Artistic Director at TTW and has worked as a stage manager and production assistant for numerous theatrical and video productions, including Damian Marcano’s God Loves the Fighter.

“I really like the character of Annabelle. She brings a lot of humour to the play and I love a bit of comedy in a dramatic piece like this one.” Phillip shared.

Louris Martin Lee-Sing plays Margo, the customer. An actor for the past 22 years, Lee-Sing has spent the last two years administering her company, Brown Cotton Outreach. “It’s a thrill to be onstage again at TTW and being directed by Albert is a real joy.” she stated.

“The play is short, intense and is reminiscent of one of my favourite playwrights, Henrik Ipsen’s work.” said the director. Ibsen’s work examined the realities that lay behind many façades, revealing much that was disquieting to many contemporaries. It utilised a critical eye and free inquiry into the conditions of life and issues of morality.

So...for those of you who have been craving “elevated” theatre call now and book your tickets for TTW’s production of A Perfect Place, for Dinner Theatre, on May 26. Don’t miss it as there are only 40 tickets per show. Trinidad Theatre Workshop is located at 6 Newbold Street, St Clair.

Categories: Entertainment News

Golden Heart Productions return to the spotlight

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 02:43

Golden Heart Productions return to the spotlight with a brand new production, Ah Double. It features two one act plays—Happy Anniversary and Unfinished Business—and will run May 25-26 at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook.

Harkening back to the days when patrons could go to the cinema to see two movies for one price, playwright Theresa Awai says this production is literally “‘ah double’ feature,” with two heart-warming one act plays about love and romance.

In Happy Anniversary, old roots come to surface as a couple, played by Paula Hamilton-Smith and Keino Swamber, celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

Will their marriage survive?

In the second play, two old friends, Glenn Davis and Brenda Hughes, reunite in a hotel room to finally tend to some Unfinished Business.

Both plays were written by Cacique Award-winning playwright Theresa Awai and will be directed by Cacique Awardwinning director Raymond Choo Kong, both of whom have been long-standing members of the Ndatt (National Drama Association of T&T), and served terms on its executive.

For more information Ah Double, featuring Happy Anniversary and Unfinished Business, call 350-0202 or 678-2843 or find the event on Facebook Golden Heart Productions’ Ah Double is sponsored in part by Gittens and Gittens Real Estate and The T&T Performing Arts Network.

Categories: Entertainment News

The Calypso Girls—Fresh as daisies

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 00:43

Christine Johnston’s, The Calypso Girls, encored over the Mother’s Day weekend billed as a Bagasse Company comedic farce with a “mature” touch. Instead, audiences met an experienced cast, fresh as daisies, with a script that enlivened a pretty predictable storyline.

On show was not only young Brendon O’Brien’s youthful direction, but Johnston’s wit and skill as producer-turned-writer, with accompanying skills on stage to match.

A granny, three ageing, horny women and a smartman/womaniser offering love. What can possibly go wrong?

Though Penelope Spencer’s comedic timing faltered at times, her portrayal of the stoic, matriarchal Clementina (no doubt a friend of Sparrow’s Jean, Dinah and Rosita) kept dizzying pace with Johnston’s demanding narrative.

Fellow veteran, Susan Hannays-Abraham, had played the part during the first run in April.

The prolific Cecilia Salazar, playing Ethel (as in Superblue’s 1981 Road March), was her usual comfortable onstage self and who does not want to hear Patti-Anne Ali (Explainer’s Lorraine) sing “Fire, fire, in she wire, wire” all night long in her uppity accent before eventually dying of laughter?

Marie Chan-Durity, last notably seen in Holmes and Spence’s Carnival Medea and the film Bazodee, was gullible, faith-filled (Calypso?) Rose in the story. She was amazing.

Errol Fabien wonders in his notes as a member of the cast how Johnston could have sought him out as “an old man in the play.” But he also has little difficulty portraying smartman (King?) Austin who preys on the vulnerabilities of three lonely “mature” women.

The storyline has few unexpected twists and turns, save for the very end, but clever storytelling always has a way of wringing new life from the mundane. Here is where the writer’s craft, together with enterprising directing can make important differences.

There was thus little need for much physical humour, and the resort to open slapstick was few and far between—though Fabien’s emergence from the kitchen with a silver rice bowl over his head and a priest’s gown around his waist is hard to match and melongenes/eggplants will never be the same again.

Staged at the Central Bank Auditorium, the facility’s two-level setup provided stage manager, Regina Seabrun, with options the main set (yet another living-room) could not offer.

Award-winning Johnston explains in her producer-writer’s note that the play began “as an idea germinated by a conversation with Cecilia (Salazar) who lamented the fact that as actors get older, parts get harder to come by.”

“This seems so unfair, since as actors age, their skill is honed and their experience is invaluable.”

The credentials of the cast combined with a bright script and skilful directing to make The Calypso Girls an enjoyable and memorable theatre experience. At no time did age appear to be an obstacle to all of this.

Indeed, not much can go wrong with Salazar, Spencer, Ali, Durity and Fabien on stage. Add the Johnston pen and O’Brien direction and the recipe for a grand time is set. Bravo, Bagasse!

Categories: Entertainment News

Show for the women in steelpan...

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 00:41

On Sunday evening, the Caribbean Steelpan Connextion Ensemble (CSC) hosted its Mother’s Day concert entitled For The Women In Steel at PanDemonium Panyard, Norfolk Street, Belmont.

The show commenced with an energetic invocation performance by Positive, backed by CSC, singing some of his hits such as Never Let Go, Two Man Army and Mama You’re Beautiful where he took a moment to reflect and remember his passed mother on this special day.

Other artists performing were VP Recording artist Kendell “K Prince” Prince with Leggo De Gun, Shaquille Vincent singing his composition Beautifull, accompanied by his band Suave Steel.

Trevor “Trevor B” Barrow did beautiful smooth renditions of Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On among other hits in the genre and the seductive Sophia Alleyne kept the temperature high with her performance of Anita Baker’s Make Me A Woman and Betty Wright’s Sweet Love, aptly setting the mood for what turned out to be a wonderful Sunday evening concert.

Honoured at the concert was Vanessa Headley of Golden Hands Steel Orchestra. She was awarded a token by Codrington Pan Family founder Cary Codrington for her accomplishment of achieving gold in the 2018 National Panorama (Small) competition, as well as for her continued positive influence in youth development and spirit of entrepreneurship in steelpan.

Notable guests in attendence were Hasley Crawford, former Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas, living legendary steelband icon Anthony “Tony” Williams and composer/Desperadoes arranger Carlton “Zanda” Alexander.

(Dion Roach)

Categories: Entertainment News

Readings Under the Trees — The Alta Tree

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 00:37

PART I
In celebration of our 25th anniversary, Alta hosted an afternoon of Readings Under the Trees at the Royal Botanical Gardens, in late March. Alta tutor Rosemarie Olliverre was the master of ceremony for the Alta Tree—the tree under which most Alta students read stories, poems and reflections of their time at Alta. Rosemarie has written a reflection on the event which Alta will share over the next two weeks.

It was a glorious afternoon in the Royal Botanic Gardens. The sun was brilliant, with a cool, gentle, tropical breeze. We gathered under the shade of some magnificent royal palm trees to celebrate Alta’s 25th anniversary. There was a spirit of love, friendship and camaraderie present. This, combined with the large number of students and tutors who volunteered to participate, made this event a success even before it began and reflected the great work of Alta.

The event kicked off promptly at 2:30 pm, the first item being a welcome poem composed and performed eloquently by Jilean Beharry. There were some words which resonated with us all, “For those who volunteer and come to learn alike…..Alta makes a dim world bright.”

This was followed by resounding applause which warmly welcomed Alta’s founder and CEO Paula Lucie Smith who gave some of her own insights on Alta—what it is and what is not. I think she was divinely inspired to begin this social movement which is a beacon of hope to so many people who were deprived of the opportunity to master the skills of reading and writing. Lucie Smith referred to the myriad of fruitful relationships spawned by participation in Alta.

Bonds between tutors, bonds between students and, most significantly, that between student and tutor. She also spoke of the importance of the volunteers without whom the organisation would cease to exist.

Many students who benefit from Alta classes were very happy for the opportunity to meet Lucie Smith in person and to thank her for her unstinting commitment and dedication.

Alta student Shurwayne Scantlebury was brilliant! Shurwyane belongs to the Alta Reading Circle and the Writers Union. He read his own essay entitled International Men’s Day. It was a very insightful piece and brought to light the plight of males. While the challenges of females seem well highlighted, Shurwayne was very convincing about the difficulties men face. They are always expected to appear strong even when they felt vulnerable. Men need to cry too, and it is not a sign of weakness, he reminded us.

Students from the International School of Port-of-Spain/St Anthony’s College group did a joint reading of Portrait of Trinidad with some witty additional verses. The cohesiveness of the group was evident as students and tutors stood side by side supporting each other. Although it took a lot of courage the group was very excited to render the piece and very proud of their performance.

The presentation, Angels Without Wings by Alta tutor Raphael Sookram, struck us all deeply as the author reminisced on all the ordinary folks in society who do good deeds everyday to improve the lives of others. Alta volunteers were included of course!

n Be sure to catch Part Two of Rosemarie’s piece next week.
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

Etienne Charles is coming to town Saturday!

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 00:35

A very busy Etienne Charles is headed to Trinidad for a concert this coming Saturday at one of his favourite haunts, Phase II Pan Groove pan amphitheatre. The school year is over at Michigan State and he is excited as always to return home and will be working on various projects with the start of a busy summer of travel (“That’s what I do!”) and an ever-growing number of projects.

He will be appearing at Phase II Panyard on Saturday, May 19 (7 pm to 1 am) for the Pan Brass Soca Jam Down with Etienne and Friends the hot band of locals that he burned up the streets with his Monday afternoon Carnival band. He is already committed to next year’s Carnival band, making it bigger and better and has other projects in the works but doesn’t want to talk about them yet until he has things locked down.

Looking back on the school year, he is amazed that he just completed his ninth year teaching in the Jazz programme at Michigan State University where he is an associate professor. He has trumpet students, leads the jazz orchestra, teaches jazz arranging, and regularly performs with a faculty group just called the Professors of Jazz. He wrote several pieces for their double CD, Better Than Alright. One of the strengths of the Jazz programme at MSU is their Jazz Artists in residence and Etienne has been honoured to work with great artists this school year like bassist Ron Carter, saxophonist Steve Wilson. “It was a great year. I was very busy. Three trumpet students graduating, working with lots of guest artistes.”

Besides teaching, Charles is busy performing regularly doing the school year writing and working on numerous projects. Earlier this spring he shared in an NAACP Image award for the outstanding jazz album of the year for Somi’s Petite Afrique album. After working on a horn arrangement on her first album, this time he co-produced, co-composed, arranged and performed on both trumpet and percussion on several songs. For this Guggenheim recipient, the honours just keep coming.

After his stay in Trinidad, he will be off to London in a few weeks for a concert at the Tabernacle on June 3. This will include the premiere of a new suite of music for a multi-media work on the Windrush celebrating the 70th anniversary of the MV Empire Windrush that came over from Jamaica to UK with Lord Beginner and Lord Kitchener on the boat and considering the effort of colonials from their defence of Britain in World War Two to the shocking treatment that have recently come to light of Caribbean immigrants who came decades ago and are now facing deportation.

Later in the summer, besides his concert schedule as well as teaching with the Carnegie Hall program for the National Youth Orchestra’s summer jazz programme for secondary school children. At the end of the summer, he will be featured in a residence at one of New York City’s premiere jazz club, Jazz Standard on August 23 to 26, with two nights of a small group and two nights of a big band. Then he is taking his Carnival suite for its North American premiere in Toronto on November 16.

If that wasn’t enough, just a few weeks ago, Etienne Charles got the call to join one of the most prestigious groups in the jazz world, the SFJazz Collective a legendary super group of eight jazz musicians who tour and record with each year having a focus on the music of a particular jazz composer and adding commissioned works by the members. The focus composer for this season is the great Brazilian composer Tom Jobim. They then tour the world—in this case, they have a European tour in October and November 2018 and will participate in the famous Jazz Cruise from January 19 to 26, 2019 through the Caribbean.

It is all very new so Etienne is still just trying to wrap his head around this new project and what it will entail but it is very excited and honoured. “It was pretty crazy to get called up to be in that group. It was mind blowing because two of the biggest influences on my composing when I was growing up were David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon who are both members of that group.” He noted the strong Caribbean presence for the group with its current lineup with “David and Miguel from Puerto Rico, Edward Simon from Venezuela, Obed Calvaire from Haiti and me from Trinidad.”

For Trinidadians, this Saturday is best chance to celebrate the ongoing success of Trinidad’s great as part of a hot evening with Boogsie Sharpe, Phase II and 3Canal as Etienne Charles keeps becoming an ever better known international jazz star.

Categories: Entertainment News

Barataria homework centre opened

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 00:28

On Thursday, May 3, the Barataria Community Council held the official opening ceremony of its Barataria Community Council Homework Centre, located at the Barataria Community Centre, Lower 6th Avenue, Barataria. The event featured Sharon Rowley, wife of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as its keynote speaker, and Barataria / San Juan MP Dr Fuad Khan was also in attendance.

The theme for the opening was aptly named Yes You Can to demonstrate the community’s desire to empower its youth. This was embraced by the youngsters as they gustily belted out those words in song to cheers of appreciation from their parents and other guests at the grand opening.

According to June Rogers, Coordinator of the Homework Centre, “the Barataria Community Council, working with the schools in the district, decided to offer this After School Programme / Homework Centre to accommodate the needs of mainly at-risk/financially challenged students from single-parent homes.”

The Homework Centre (the first of its kind in Barataria) opened its doors on January 23, and is one of the only available safe places for most of the children—outside of their homes in the district. There they are welcomed on Tuesdays-Thursdays for assistance in the areas of homework supervision, literacy support and recreation, conducted by a group of qualified volunteers who have been in the education system at the highest levels.

The Centre also boasts a Computer Literacy Programme which is delivered by faculty and student volunteers from UTT, as the Community Council understands the need for Information Technology support for students as well as the senior members of the community

Categories: Entertainment News

And, what of the wellbeing of police officers?

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 00:25

I live here and for my own wellbeing I would rather that T&T has a well-educated and highly-trained, professional police service. It would be to my personal benefit and could mean better security for the entire nation.

It is imperative though, that such a force also has the continuous benefit of interventions in their personal lives and everyday difficulties in order to ensure a desirable level of good well-being.

This, to me, is mandatory given what must be the high stress levels of those who are required to do our policing.

As a people, we depend on the police to provide a sense of security and therefore, law enforcement is important to our overall well-being. We are no different from any other jurisdiction in that expectation, after all, the motto promises “To Protect and Serve.”

It follows then, that our police service is expected to be populated with officers who risk their lives on a daily basis for citizens.

But to be committed to risking their lives, I also believe as a State we should be committing our best resources—wages, salaries, equipment, training, mentoring, psychosocial support and other benefits—to ensure we provide the best circumstances to the service in order to get the best results.

We should also have rigid systems of evaluation, including assessment of psychological fitness, for entry into such service.

But as yet, after granting 12 acting extensions to Commissioner of Police (Ag CoP) Stephen Williams, we cannot even decide on the appointment of someone we deem suitable to lead the service.

In fact, we seem unable to even resolve how we should interview and hire a CoP.

I’m in my corner wondering if anyone else thinks such actions work against the stability of the force and the security of the country.

And before I could think of someone to ask, the service is again brought into disrepute by another senior officer. This one blatantly breaks the rules choosing to ignore protocols in his effort to groom the T&T Police Service Next Top Model in his own uniform.

This followed so many other questionable incidences including the recent Gunsmoke action by two officers who took their private disputes publicly, with one officer now dead having succumbed to his injuries in a 28-rounds shootout in a public space.

These are some of my contemplations while examining what I consider the less-thanfavourable response by police to the plight of the mentally ill who require intervention.

And it helped that simultaneously with my assessment of the force in this matter there arose a number of other issues which showed the police “in a bad light,” according to one of its seniors.

First, in trying to determine whether the police service had a response for the issue of mental health and whether they had training to treat with the interventions they are called upon to perform for the mentally ill, I am left to conclude that the service is devoid of appropriate training.

There appears no consensus or even an answer to the question among the top brass, including those with ministerial portfolios.

Secondly, I began considering then that if we lack appropriate training for de-escalation of those presenting with acute mental illnesses, what is to be our fate for the foreseeable future when police respond to families asking for help with relatives who are acting violently? Are those who are ill and acting out mostly going to end up dead? Shot by police officers?

Thirdly, if prejudice runs as high in the population as I suspect it does here, then, who is ensuring that the police have a more empathetic view of the mentally ill? Sometimes I hear people speaking of others who are different to them—the mentally ill, the criminals incarcerated and those running wild—and you get a sense that people think some people’s lives are worth less than others.

What if this is the same prejudice that pervades the police service? Still, my contemplation ran deeper. I began to question whether our current concept of policing recognises “the importance of balancing the need to protect people with the need to protect and preserve individual rights?”

And finally, in all fairness to those in the service who work hard to fulfil their duty to us, what are the systems and processes in place to treat with the well-being of those charged to protect us?

Where have we addressed continuous physical and psychological compulsory care for those whom we ask to bend to every circumstance, from domestic disputes to drugs and gun warfare?

Could it be that we are expecting people possibly in worse emotional circumstances than ours to provide us with security and protection?

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] gmail.com

Categories: Entertainment News

Tribute to legendary gospel artiste Richard Smallwood

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:45

Euangelion, accompanied by live band and members of the T&T Youth Philharmonic (TTYP), is staging Persuaded on Saturday May 26, at the Central Bank Auditorium, Port-of-Spain, at 7.30 pm.

Persuaded will celebrate the timeless psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of modern-day psalmist, gospel singer, producer, pianist, composer, music director, and arranger Richard Smallwood.

Giving the Body of Christ songs like Total Praise, Centre of My Joy, Healing, Anthem of Praise, to name a few, Christians have been singing these songs in their homes, churches, vehicles, and work places, for over three decades.

Euangelion is encouraging all “believers” to come and worship Jesus Christ.

Said Listhrop: “Jesus Christ is our King’ so come and give Him honour, for He alone is worthy.”

Euangelion is available for praise and worship ministry wherever Jesus Christ is central.

Euangelion, (Glad Tidings, Good News of the Gospel) is a small group of Christian believers, singers, and musicians, committed to the finest and excellence in Gospel music ministry, and dedicated to the charge of Jesus “If (When) I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.”

Founded in 2000 by Bible teacher/music director Kenneth Listhrop, Euangelion believes that gospel music is more than just a genre or style; rather it is the message “that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.”

More info

Admission to Persuaded is $150 and for tickets contact Quality Stationery Supplies (Behind Massy Stores), St Augustine (645-9882); Port of Spain (334-5694/732-2007); East (395-7769/794-6243); or, Kenneth Listhrop (751-6297).

Categories: Entertainment News

The magic of the guitar at Little Carib

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 00:43

On Mother’s Day weekend, guitarist Stefan Roach hosted The Art of Guitar at the Little Carib Theatre, White Street, Woodbrook, before an appreciative audience. Joining Roach and performing under the name Los Gitanos were Rhys Thompson, Aaron Low Chew Tung and Marc Mahase.

Mikhail Moore also paid homage to the beauty of the classical guitar as a solo instrument.

The group also accompanied performances on other instruments which included the violin, pan and sitar. Cascade Festival Ballet Team dancer Georgia Lanser performed a solo to one of Roach’s original pieces—Milagrito (Little Miracle)—which was dedicated to his nephew, a cancer survivor.

Lanser also danced to another original composition by Roach—Rumba Exotica—a piece which fused the influences of Spain and the Middle East.

Versatile Soprano Raquel Winchester sang Habanera, a popular classical piece by Georges Bizet, which was done in a Spanish-style to the rhythm of rumba.

Popular young Shell Invaders/St Mary’s College pannist Luke Walker collaborated with Los Gitanos to perform another original composition by Roach—Island Beauty.

This piece blended Spanish guitar and a Caribbean vibe, embellished with a hint of soca rhythms. Sitarist Sharda Patasar performed with Roach in what turned out to be an amazing collaboration. Both artistes, dressed in traditional Indian wear, played their instruments on the stage floor.

The sitar inserted beautiful and intricate sounds into the duo’s performance of a classical guitar standard called Capricho Arabe, composed by “the Godfather of the classical guitar,” Francisco Tarrega.

The evening’s performance was hailed by patrons as “a progressive step in the evolution of the artiste, Stefan Roach,” whose ambition is to bring a new dimension to what is considered T&T music. (Darren Rampersad)

Categories: Entertainment News

Giving praise where it’s due

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 01:30

Arima Borough Corporation (ABC) hosted its Thanksgiving Service, Celebration of Administrative Professional Day, honouring 2018 SEA students (children of ABC Administrative staff) and Mothers Day, at Extra Plaza, located at the corner O’Connor Drive and O’Meara Road, Arima.

ABC CEO Cheryl Sirju-Chong said these activities were long overdue and was not held before because of limited space at the old ABC Administrative Building, which was also not conducive for such programmes.

“Today we are celebrating all that was not celebrated,” said Sirju-Chong, “in a new, spacious and comfortable building,” which she believes will motivate employees to give more than their best to the corporation and the better services to the burgesses of Arima.

Former Corporation Deputy CEO Cheryl Ramdial was also honoured for her responsible dedication, and commitment for her years of yeoman service to Arima Borough Corporation, which was long overdue.

Receiving vouchers, hampers and stationery worth over $500 were children of ABC administrative staff members.

Sirju-Chong also made presentations to her administrative staff, who she commended for their hard work and going the extra mile to provide better service for the burgesses of Arima.

Last but not least, the mothers of ABC administrative staff all received roses and gifts and were also treated to a sumptuous lunch.

RALPH BANWARIE
 

Categories: Entertainment News

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