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Updated: 2 hours 23 min ago

Animation, the dark horse emerges

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:57

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT ANIMATION COMPANIES:

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

Categories: Entertainment News

ALTA Students Write

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:56

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

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

Student Name: Marissa Collins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Pan Rocks LA

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 05:51

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Nalis partners with MOE, embassies to celebrate Spanish Language Day

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 05:47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Are police trained to deal with the mentally ill?

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 05:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lack of competence

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was shot three times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Rath Yatra Festival held in Port-of-Spain

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 02:08

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Close to my skin

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 02:07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Calypso in London

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 02:02

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Students argue human rights case in moot court

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Iere stages Temple in the Sea

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Concert for St Theresa’s church bell tower

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Trini wins Americas Regional Award

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 01:14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Pundit Sat returns home to serve

Sun, 04/22/2018 - 05:58

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Celebrating creative entrepreneurs

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 01:06

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Kathak Kala Sangam celebrates

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 00:42

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Lydians showcase on the Mount

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 00:39

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

NCIC Youth host night of fashion

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 02:08

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Thanks to Alta, I can read and write

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 02:06

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta students around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives.

Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing.

Alta students enrol in the programme at many different levels of literacy and leave when they have accomplished their literacy goals. While it is difficult to manage work and family life alongside Alta classes, students continue to persevere and in all cases see changes in their lives after attending Alta classes.

In the coming weeks, Alta will share their pieces through thiscolumn. This week, two students from the Laventille Open Bible venue share how Alta has impacted their lives. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Taromi Lourdes Joseph

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 02:03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

The Spectacular Zico at Queen’s Hall for the family

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:20

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

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