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Updated: 2 hours 23 min ago

Lend a hand to Sherrez

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 06:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Grant and to contribute towards her goal, go to


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

Categories: Entertainment News

Outstanding mental health advocacy at ‘Inside Out’

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:40

Theatre has been used for and as advocacy for decades.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothing prepared me for this.

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

“12,000…” said one dancer.

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m not in your bedroom.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

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

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:34

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Canada Alumni Trinidad and Tobago launched

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 01:12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Easter fun treat for children

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 01:09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Walking on a leash

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 07:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

‘Prevention is better than cure’

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 07:15

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

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

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

Weight-losing methods are numerous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After that I got insane to train.

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

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

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

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

Put yourself first.

My favourite exercises are the battle ropes and stepper.

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

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


Categories: Entertainment News

Epic upgrade for Constantine Grounds

Sat, 04/14/2018 - 00:45

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Children’s fest comes to Bocas

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Entertainment News

National Panorama champs reviews itself

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:32

At its panyard, located at 138 Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain, last Sunday, National Panorama winner bptt Renegades Steel Orchestra, reflected on its 2018 Carnival season.

It was a text message from the board and management team to band members, during the week-ending March 24, that invited ‘all’ members to the yard for 1 pm to hold related discussions.

With board members present, shy of two, and a trickle of mixed membership, at 1.50 pm, chairman Michael Marcano pulled the sparse volume of attendants together, and commenced proceedings.

Welcoming all and signalling the “floor open,” a melting pot of concerns began to bubble over as outlined by parents of pan players of the junior band, nailing the board to supply explanations or clarification.

Among the many were: the true purpose of the junior band; the music institute; recognition of junior players; expectations from the sponsor; powers of respective committees; the junior band’s position within the confines of the over-arching Renegades architecture; boundaries and scope; finance; players on the road for Carnival; the transition age to enter the senior band; fund-raisers; orientation within the senior band; establishing a parents’ committee; scholarships; the role and responsibility of the bands’ security detail; the personal and professional image of junior members.

Classed as a bumper Panorama season for Renegades, the gathering learned that all major aspects of preparatory works for the season, were accomplished courtesy Renegades as they waited-out and are still waiting-out the outcome of adjustments within their sponsor’s fold.

With the 21-year-old junior band on a high— capturing its historic beaver-trick at the National Panorama this year—confirmation came that the resignation of their musical director of these five latter years was accepted, seeing new and apt arrangers being currently sought to ensure the band continues on an upward musical trend.

Continuing to take jabs, the Board saw a wider cross-section of attendants agreeing that transparency, professionalism, accountability, respect, fairness, and proper organisational, marketing, and communication skills, should be integral to all operations of the bands.

Drawing to an end, plugged-in was word of a School Enhancement Project on April 14-15, as undertaken by the junior band at the Boissiere Primary School, Maraval. This, apprised of by senior tenor player Marvis Mohammed, while, in-keeping with the organisation’s 70th anniversary (this year), announcement of an Anniversary Service at the Rosary RC Church, Port-of-Spain on May 27 was made, with details to be provided.

In response to a parent’s question of a follow-up of this meeting, chairman Marcano assured that one will be supplied in the nearest possible time.

At 4:10 pm, Marcano raised to his feet and thanked those who attended; the players of the two bands for their achievements during this Panorama competition; parents in particular; and others who made the season a positively memorable one.

To contact bpTT Renegades call

Categories: Entertainment News

A Fr3sh talent emerges at Government Plaza tomorrow

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:28

San Fernando based vocalist and thespian, Kevin Humphrey will be hosting his first full-length solo concert, titled Fr3sh, tomorrow at the Government Campus Plaza Auditorium, Port-of-Spain. The show will be produced by theatre production company Chandelier Productions, run by Tiana Chandler.

Humphrey said he wasn’t originally confident he would be able to fill an auditorium because he doesn’t perform the typical types of music which is attractive to large audiences, but he was challenged by Chandler to put on the production. “I enjoy the stage,” said Humphrey. “The stage gives an energy, a joy, a feeling that one cannot get anywhere else. I can get lost in my music and the only thing I will be judged on is my performance. I can sing almost any genre and I gravitate towards feel good music that touches something inside of you, that makes you want to sing, to dance, to cry and to laugh.”

Humphrey has been singing for years and is active in local musical theatre. He has participated in both southern and national Junior Calypso Monarch competitions and graduated as the most outstanding student from the Chris Vocal Academy class of 2000. Humphrey has had major roles in several local theatre productions such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent, Cinderella, A T&T Musical, and most recently, Khona the Musical.

He said some of the high points of his career so far have been becoming the voice tutor at the Patrons of Queen’s Hall Theatre Camp, working at Wilubbeats Studios, working with Glenda Collens and being remembered by name by the international casting director for Disney’s The Lion King.

In the future, Humphrey will be furthering his studies in voice. He also wants to be able to host a recurring show where he can introduce new and upcoming artists and one day do a duet with Beyoncé.

Chandler said she is the producer and lighting designer for the concert through Chandelier Productions. “Chandelier Productions was started with a mission to provide opportunities for young and up-and-coming performers to showcase their talents and provide quality entertainment for the community,” said Chandler.

“In keeping with that mission, I approached Kevin, after seeing him perform several times, to give him the opportunity to do his first solo concert.”

The concert will also feature spoken word, dance and other vocalists. These include Jillia “Jillia” Cato, Kadija “Ms Dija” Jeremiah, and Gregory Burris, with Ifayomi “Ifa” Aluko performing spoken word. The dance performances will be presented by Jélae Stroude-Mitchell and Zhané George.

“They will all be backed by some very talented background vocalists and an amazing live band consisting of Aaron Lowchewtong (guitar) Adan Hagley and Atiba Williams (keyboards); Makesi Joseph (drums); and, Miguel Charles on bass,” Chandler said.

Tickets for Fr3sh are priced at $150. For more info find Fr3sh | k3v!n on Facebook, call 710-9436 and email [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

A voice blessed by God

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 00:26

To get my pores and the hair on my arms raised when you sing, and evoking an impulsive urge to stand and applaud whenever you sing, means you can really sing and I compare your voice with some of the best I have ever heard. This is the involuntary emotion LeAndra Head stirs in me every time I hear her sing.

It was no different last Saturday night when Head premiered the 2018 series of Women in Jazz, at Fiesta Plaza, MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain.

To avoid any obvious reaction, I obscurely sat at the back of the venue and was again blown away by the purity and richness of this young woman’s vocal ability.

It was the largest turnout at the Plaza to witness one of these annual, free concerts and not an available seat could be found, not even 45 minutes before the show’s scheduled 8.30 pm beginning.

One of the things that amazes me about Head is that she reminds me of a sculptor, the manner in which she shapes notes, smoothly transitions into descending or ascending octaves and how she creates a mood by simply massaging or sustaining a note.

Head opened her set with Sade’s Sweetest Taboo followed by the time-worn Etta James standard At Last, the selection she sang 14 years ago, at the age of ten, when beat several adult rivals at the WeBeat St James Song Contest.

As her set seemed to hasten by, Head sang Simply Red’s Holding Back the Years, Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, Chris Brown’s Don’t Wake Me Up, Burt Bacharach’s Say a Little Prayer and Patsy Cline’s immortal Crazy.

Head is one of the vocalists with J9, an aggregation led by composer/ keyboardist Jeanine Ruiz and the one backing the very talented vocalist on Saturday night. For a finale, Head rendered Chronnix’s I Can and tried to exit the stage at 9.22 pm. But the audience, now on its feet with a standing ovation, enticed Head to return for a lagnaippe with Voice’s Far From Finished, beautifully arranged by Ruiz.

I totally agree with late television Twelve and Under host Hazel Ward-Redman when she said, on hearing Head sing on her programme many years ago, “Her voice is a gift from God.”


Uncovered Live is happening at Kaiso Blues Cafe, Newtown, courtesy A Millien Concepts, from tomorrow evening. For 2018, the Uncovered series has a live component added to its movement. The event series features up and coming singing talent who specialise in genres like R&B, Pop, Indie, Reggae and Gospel.

Producer A Millien Concepts is a company that designs, produces and supports events and projects in the creative sphere is the entity responsible for hosting the series of six live performance shows to be held at Kaiso Blues Cafe on the followingdates:

Show 1: Saturday, April 14
Show 2: Friday, April 27
Show 3: Friday, May 25
Show 4: Saturday, June 2
Show 5: Sunday, June 24
Show 6: Sunday, July 1

Each of these events will showcase two artistes performing a range of musical selections to compliment their incredible voices.

Tickets are available at $100 per artiste showcase. For more information, contact 462 7931 / 620 1331.

For updates on The Uncovered Series, follow them on Facebook and Instagram at Uncovered TT.


Show 1: Saturday, April 14: Takeisha “The VoiceQueen” Huddlin / Aisha Noel

Show 2: Friday, April 27: Daniel Griffith / Janika “Jay Renee” Perez

Show 3: Friday, May 25: Stacey “Kalika B” Baldeen / Keron “KHRSTVN” Ramsey

Show 4: Saturday, June 2: Gregory “Greg B” Burris / Sherville Clarke-Lewis

Show 5: Sunday, June 24: Heather Dickson / Safia Mitchell

Show 6: Sunday, July 1: Sherma “Aisha” Bass / Yasha “Yasha H”


If you want to laugh till yuh belly buss, or yuh false teeth fallout, then visit the cartoon exhibition put on by Keith “Keithos” Anderson and Nalis before it ends this evening.

Billed as Keithos Returns to Town, the exhibition features comical interpretations of events in Trinbago from 1956-2018.

The exhibition was launched last week Tuesday, and was well attended. Calypsonians Contender (Mark John) and Will B (William Ballantyne), editorial cartoonists in song, brought their A-game with songs Ah Love Meh Country and Love Party respectively.

John Antoine as MC kept a tight programme with addresses by Nalis Executive Director the affable Catherine Romain, and Tony Fraser, journalist and political commentator.

At the launch were many personalities including First Citizens Bank chairman Anthony Smart, guitarist Theron “Terrific” Shaw, oldest female pan pioneer Daisy James Mc Clean, Harold Thompson of Radio 97.1FM, calypso poet Brother Valentino (Emrold Phillip), his lovely wife, former national netballer Peggy Castanada, boxer Michael Paul, rapso artiste Brother Book and Pan Trinbago’s Angela Fox. A great time was had by all in attendance.


It’s that time of year again when Siparia explodes with the sweet sounds of the National instrument. Diatonic Pan Institute will be staging its Eighth Annual Steel in Motion on Saturday, April 21, beginning at 6 pm.

Steel in Motion is held in collaboration with Siparia Regional Corporation and this year will feature 12 bands. The event is held on the occasion of Siparia fete which is a religious festival held in honour of the patron saint La Divina. In addition, a calypsonian who has contributed significantly to the art form is honoured every year at the festival and veteran Johnny King will be the 2018 honoree. As such, bands are required to perform a religious song and a Johnny King piece.

The route will begin at Diatonic Pan Institute on Mary Street and proceed onto Coora Road and High Street, Siparia. The bands will be judged on their repertoire presentation along the route. The route culminates at Harry’s Furniture Store, where adjudication will take place for the Religious, Johnny King and Dianne Dupre Flag Waving Competition. The Siparia Rhythm Section will close the day’s proceedings after the parade.

Over the years, Steel in Motion has paid tribute to Baron, Crazy, Iwer George, Lord Nelson, Calypso Rose (before her recent national and international recognition), Ronnie Mc Intosh and Black Stalin.

This event continues to attract national and international interest.


1. Arima All Stars Steel Orchestra — Wet Mih Down
2. Blanca 47 — Darling
3. Curepe Pholphonics Steel Orchestra — Wet Mih Down
4. Gonzales Sheikers — Wet Mih Down
5. Harlem Syncopators — Nature;s Plan
6. New Pioneers — Doh Rub Meh
7. San Juan All Stars — Appreciation
8. Scrunters Pan Groove — Ah want it all the time
9. T&T Fire Services — Ah want it all the time
10. Trinidad East Side — Nature;s Plan
11. Uni Stars — Darling

Categories: Entertainment News

Alta helps young students

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 04:52

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.

Today, Alta ends its three-part series of individuals who shareed their pieces through this column. This week, three students from the Chaguanas South Secondary School venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student name: Jackey

“When I was younger I didn’t finish school, I grew up in Grenada. At the age of 15 I was sent to Trinidad. It had an impact on my life [as] I was having a very hard time reading and spelling my name and address. I always wanted to learn to look for solutions and ways to improve my reading and spelling skills.

“One day my husband came home with a newspaper and told me to read an article. It was the story of Mr John Bascombe and how Alta changed his life. I started attending Alta, at first I was afraid and felt that I couldn’t learn. But as time goes by, my reading and spelling skills was improving.

“The teachers were very patient and friendly and took their time with us. I know how to read and call out words when I see them and now I can better myself for the future. I would like to do sewing and hairdressing and become a designer.”

Student name: Hubert

“I always wanted to come to the Alta programme but I was embarrassed. My sister carried me to the Chaguanas Library to sign up for the Alta class. When I came they send me to the beginners class. There I spent a year. After that I went to Level 1 class. Now I could read, spell, write, so to me, the Alta class has helped me a lot and I have come a very long way from where I was then to now. I can now read and help myself a little more every day.

“Alta has changed my life around so much and the teachers are so kind and they give you hope and courage to keep coming back. I can truly say 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.

Today, Alta ends its three-part series of individuals who shareed their pieces through this column. This week, three students from the Chaguanas South Secondary School venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student name: Jackey

“When I was younger I didn’t finish school, I grew up in Grenada. At the age of 15 I was sent to Trinidad. It had an impact on my life [as] I was having a very hard time reading and spelling my name and address. I always wanted to learn to look for solutions and ways to improve my reading and spelling skills.

“One day my husband came home with a newspaper and told me to read an article. It was the story of Mr John Bascombe and how Alta changed his life. I started attending Alta, at first I was afraid and felt that I couldn’t learn. But as time goes by, my reading and spelling skills was improving.

“The teachers were very patient and friendly and took their time with us. I know how to read and call out words when I see them and now I can better myself for the future. I would like to do sewing and hairdressing and become a designer.”

Student name: Hubert

“I always wanted to come to the Alta programme but I was embarrassed. My sister carried me to the Chaguanas Library to sign up for the Alta class. When I came they send me to the beginners class. There I spent a year. After that I went to Level 1 class. Now I could read, spell, write, so to me, the Alta class has helped me a lot and I have come a very long way from where I was then to now. I can now read and help myself a little more every day.

“Alta has changed my life around so much and the teachers are so kind and they give you hope and courage to keep coming back. I can truly

Categories: Entertainment News

Are police trained to deal with the mentally ill?

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 01:10

Today marks the six-year anniversary of Mental Health Matters. To mark this day, I wish to remember a few people who died because instead of getting to a doctor, hospital or their medicine, they were treated to the TT Police Service’s intervention that left them dead.

How does it work? A parent or relative calls the police because their loved may be exhibiting violent behaviour for one of many reasons. He or she may have a knife, a broken bottle, a “two by four,” never a gun, but in their forcefulness, propelled by the power of whatever portends, they lunge at or make threatening gestures to a police officer and ends up dead. Shot. Multiple times. Not in the foot. Not by a rubber bullet.

Shot dead. Killed by the State.

Of course, the reason we request police intervention is because we believe that officers can somehow subdue a mentally ill person who is having an acute episode. For me, I say do not call the police, but I understand what it is to be at the mercy of someone acting violently and there are occasions where police officers have helped without death as the outcome.

Last Thursday, Police Service Social and Welfare general secretary acting ASP Anand Ramesar said “police training is inadequate for its members to deal with the mentally ill and that the police should not be the first responders to assist mentally ill people who have become violent.”

Ramesar’s comments were made after the latest police killing of a mentally ill man, Colin Roopchand, 26, at his home in La Romaine. The man who lived with bipolar disorder was acting violently and abusive towards his mother, and according to police, he attacked them.

In July 2017, the headline read ‘Cops kill man in knife attack.’

Damien Downey was killed by police after he attacked his 90-year-old grandmother with a knife at their Don Miguel Road, San Juan home. The newspaper reported that killing to be the 22nd man killed by police for that year.

Police reported that “Downey was brandishing a knife and terrorising his grandmother Mary Ettienne.”

Two officers responded and upon arrival they said they “were attacked by Downey” who was then shot. One of the officers was slashed on one of his hands.

The injured man and the officers were taken to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex where Downey was pronounced dead on arrival.

Speaking with the T&T Guardian then, Downey’s uncle, Garth Ettienne, said he called the police after his nephew began acting erratic. He said Downey was never diagnosed as being mentally ill but had spent a week at the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital and that the medical “report was inconclusive.”

When asked about the police’s use of force, Ettienne was reported as saying: “It is what they know, it is what they have. I don’t think that it will change any time soon,” adding “there was need for better training of police officers to deal with personal attacks.”

Mental patient shot dead

That is how the police shooting of Daniel Paul was heralded in the newspapers on June 7, 2017.

Paul’s mother Rosalie Paul claimed that the man who lived with a mental illness was awaken from his bed by the police before he was fatally shot (outside, a while later) by officers of the Ste Madeline Police Station. Rosalie said she had explained to the officers that Paul had mental health issues but they disregarded her.

Rosalie was reported as saying, “Paul began exhibiting violent and strange behaviours after leaving school some five years ago and he was put on medication and being treated at the Psychiatric Clinic at the San Fernando General Hospital.”

Rosalie said Paul had taken the wrong medication and started to act up, hitting a neighbour’s car with a bottle but “by the time police came, he had come home, taken his correct tablet and went in his bed to sleep.

“They (police) didn’t want to hear nothing, they went on the bed and shaking him to get up and one of them hit him on his head with a flash-light … When I checked his bed after I realise he was so frighten, he pee the bed.”

Paul left his bed eventually and was reported to have “pelt the police and that is why they shot him.

“They could have shoot the child in his foot; they didn’t have to kill him,” Rosalie said.
To be continued

Categories: Entertainment News

VCTT invites you to Plant for Peace on Good Deeds Day

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 03:36

What if the world paused for a moment, for one day with one mission in mind—to give with kindness. This is the passion that drives Good Deeds Day. Since its launch in 2007, Good Deeds Day has become an annual tradition of doing good that unites over 2.5 million volunteers from over 93 countries to do good for the benefit of the people and the planet. That is millions of people and thousands of organisations joining forces to volunteer for Good.

Recognised on April 15, the world will join its hands and lend its strength to causes that encourage your involvement through kindness. With a vision to inspire persons to ‘think good, speak good and do good’, the founder of this international NGO, philanthropist Shari Arison, hopes that these circles of goodness will grow as more citizens participate in Good Deeds Day.

This year, the Volunteer Center of T&T (VCTT), through its Caribbean Volunteer eXchange network, has partnered with the organisers of Good Deeds Day and have mobilised Volunteer Involving Organisations from across the region to implement the Caribbean edition under the theme of Plant for Peace.

2018 regional partners for Good include United Nations Volunteers (UNV), Action Towards Initiatives and Volunteering for Education in Haiti (ACTIVEH), World Merit Haiti, Suricorps for Development (Suriname), Volunteer Saint Lucia- Choiseul Chapter, Youths Inspiring Positive Change—Positive Organisation and The Christelle Harris Charity Fund (Jamaica), Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network (CYPAN), Caricom Youth Ambassadors T&T (CYA) and Commonwealth Youth Sport for Development & Peace Network (CYSDP).

Plant for Peace will take life in T&T through the establishment of Community Gardens in Port-of -Spain and a Beach Beautification and Fun Day at Mount Irvine Beach, Tobago. These Community Gardens will be launched in 12 districts in collaboration with the Port-of-Spain City Corporation, WhyFarm and AhGrow TT.

On Good Deeds Day volunteers will work with members of the community to transform an underutilised space next to the Robert Greenidge playground in Gonzales from a lot of land to a lot of food through the planting of short and long harvest crops. Organisers envision that these gardens can provide an alternative and viable source of new income for participating members of the community and pioneer the start of an Agri-Preneurship movement in our capital. Food has and will always be a mechanism to bring people and communities together, thus fostering these gardens will foresee a greater community spirit and appreciation for agriculture.

Caricom Youth Ambassadors are spearheading Tobago activities and volunteers also mobilised by CYPAN for an orphanage meal and gardening tour which began last Sunday.

The first Community Garden will be launched next Sunday at Robert Greenidge Playground, Gonzales or Mount Irvine’s Beach Beautification and Fun Day in Tobago. Organisers invite everyone to sow a seed, do a good deed and plant a piece of land for peace. Support this initiative by gifting seeds or tools, donating financial resources or volunteering your time and skills. All contributions will be felt and even the smallest can bloom an abundance of good in this world.

Categories: Entertainment News

CineLit, a unique celebration in film

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 03:33

CineLit is an innovative hybrid of film and literature and one of the highlights of the eight annual T&T literary festival, the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Thirty-one films from over 22 countries, including 17 films in Spanish and Portuguese, all subtitled, and range from award-winning feature films based on the work of some of Latin America’s greatest writers, to children’s animations and stirring documentaries about contemporary life. All free, with a choice of seeing them at UWI, St Augustine or at Nalis, Port-of-Spain, between April 16-29.

Comedy, tragedy, romance are all part of the CineLit mix, plus another chance to see two memorable films in English: the prize-winning Green Days by the River, directed by Trinidadian Michael Mooledhar and adapted for the big screen from the popular Michael Anthony 1950s coming-of-age novel; and in collaboration with Green Screen the Environmental Film Festival, Death by a Thousand Cuts, a striking documentary that tells the story of the unending struggle between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, this time over the illicit exploitation of the remaining forest for charcoal that Haitians depend on but which has lead to severe deforestation.

Migration of Caribbean people and its effect is one of the themes of the 2018 festival, and the movement of music with its practitioners as they travelled to escape or find work around the Caribbean basin is a remarkable story. Ferguson is a documentary about Walter Ferguson, the King of Calypso from Limon in Costa Rica where English-speaking “caribeños” settled and their music took root.

In a panel discussion that follows the screening on April 27, Rudolph Ottley, author of Ambataila Women: The Untold Story in Calypso from Chanterelle to Calypsonian 1838-2014, discusses the annual Caribbean calypso festival in Limon with Maria Nunes, the photographer who is archiving T&T’s cultural heritage.

Having its world premiere is a series of films specially produced in collaboration with international partners in an NGC Bocas Lit Fest initiative. Pacific Voices brings together six poets from around the world together with six film makers who interpret their work in short films.

From T&T award-winning director Maya Cozier teams up with Kayo Chingonyi from the UK, and multi-prizewinning poet Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné has her work interpreted by Puleng Langa Sturart from South Africa.

Wayne Brown was a journalist and writer whose name still resonates with many younger Caribbean writers, having mentored several of them in his native T&T, and in Jamaica where he later lived. His filmmaker daughter Mariel Brown’s new film Unfinished Sentences brings the private life of this touchstone literary father into focus and sheds new light on his relationship with the own daughters.

Unlike the other CineLit films being screened free of charge at Nalis, the T&T premiere of Unfinished Sentences will be screened at the Central Bank Auditorium, price $180 to include a welcome cocktail reception on April 26, at 6.30 pm.

Like Green Days by the River, there will be only one screening. All other films receive repeat screenings.

A full CineLit film progamme is at:

CineLit is a collaboration between the Latin American embassies, Spain, UWI and the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. It is part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. Title sponsor is the National Gas Company; lead sponsor is First Citizens; main sponsors are the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and One Caribbean Media.
Massy Foundation and UWI are also sponsors.


All films screened on
UWI St Augustine Campus
11 am: Mañana no te olvides
(Don’t forget tomorrow)
Comedy/Drama ∙ 2017 ∙ 110 mins ∙ Dominican Republic ∙ PG
Director: José Enrique Pintor
Widowed Roberto, suffering from Alzheimer’s, goes to live with his daughter’s family and unexpectedly he and his grandson, 22-year-old Jan who has Downs Syndrome, find a new closeness and solace in each other.
Venue: CLL Auditorium, UWI
5 pm: Guamá: Entre el mar y la montaña (Guamá: Between the sea and the mountain)
Drama ∙ 2015 ∙ 21 mins ∙ Cuba ∙ All Ages
A film about a multi-layered community project designed to protect the special Guamá coastal region in southern Cuba, vulnerable to the extreme effects of climate change.
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI
5.30 pm: Ferguson, El Trovador de Cahuita (Ferguson, the Troubadour of Cahuita)
Documentary ∙ 2010 ∙ 25 mins ∙ Costa Rica ∙ All Ages
A documentary on the life and career of the greatest exponent of calypso from Limón, Walter Ferguson, “Calypso King” of Costa Rica’s Caribbean region.
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI
All films screened on
UWI St Augustine Campus
11 am: La Matamoros (Matamoros)
Documentary ∙ 2016 ∙ 60 mins ∙ Panamá ∙ PG
Director: Delfina Vidal
1940s factory worker Marta Matamoros became a pioneering unionist fighting for the rights of Panamanians. Incorruptible and unbending despite imprisonment, she achieved the minimum wage and maternity leave for workers. Her former sister-in-arms recounts her inspiring life story with love and admiration.
Venue: CLL Auditorium, UWI
1pm: La Fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat)
Drama ∙ 2005 ∙ 132 mins ∙ Peru ∙ 17+
Director: Luis Llosa
Film version of Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa’s best-selling novel, telling the story of Urania Cabral an independent-minded Manhattan lawyer who, after 30 years, returns to the Dominican Republic to face the ghosts of her earlier life there under the ruthless dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, aka El Chivo (The Goat).
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI 5 pm: La Novia (The Bride)
Drama ∙ 2015 ∙ 94 mins ∙ Spain ∙ 13+
Director: Paula Ortiz
Two men, one woman, one wedding and one desire. The story of a passion that destroys the lives of those who suffer the tragedy of a forbidden love. A film full of poetry and cinematic beauty based on Federico García Lorca’s famous drama, Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding). Awards: Goya Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography.
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI
All films screened on
UWI St Augustine Campus
11 am: La Fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat)
Drama ∙ 2005 ∙ 132 mins ∙ Peru ∙ 17+
Director: Luis LLosa
Film version of Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa’s best-selling novel, telling the story of Urania Cabral an independent-minded Manhattan lawyer who, after 30 years, returns to the Dominican Republic to face the ghosts of her earlier life there under the ruthless dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, aka El Chivo (The Goat).
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI
1.30 pm: La tierra y la sombra (Land and Shade)
Drama ∙ 2015 ∙ 94 mins ∙ Colombia ∙ 13+
Director: César Augusto Acevedo
Battling illness, poverty and family breakdown, Alfonso and his family reunite to face one of their worst struggles to survive the drudgery and hardship of the sugarcane workers’ daily life. Awards: Cannes Camera d’Or, Best First Feature.
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI
5 pm La Fórmula del Doctor Funes (Dr Funes’ Formula)
Children’s comedy ∙ 2014 ∙ 82 mins ∙ México ∙ All Ages
Director: José Buil
Film version of Francisco Hinojosa’s novel about Dr. Funes, who discovers a formula to achieve eternal youth, and when he tests it on himself he becomes a 12-year-old who embarks on new adventures with his friend Martín Poyo.
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI
All films screened on
UWI St Augustine Campus
1 pm: Los Libros y la Noche (Books and the night)
Documentary feature ∙ 2000 ∙ 78 mins ∙ Argentina ∙ PG
Director: Tristán Bauer
A film on the life of one of Argentina’s greatest writers, Jorge Luis Borges, based on his thoughts, ideology and literary works.
Venue: The UWI Film Unit, 8 Carmody Street, St. Augustine
5 pm: El Benny (The Life and Times of Benny Moré)
Musical drama∙ 2006 ∙ 132 mins ∙ Cuba ∙ 16+
Director: Jorge Luis Sánchez
The dramatic life of Cuba’s great musician Benny Moré during the 1950s is captured in this fictional account that includes new versions of his songs performed by Chucho Valdes, Juan Formell, Haila and Orishas. Awards: Best male actor, Locarno International Film Festival, Santo Domingo International Film Festival and Madrid International Festival; Best First Film, New Latin American Film Festival, Havana.
Venue: The UWI Film Unit, 8 Carmody Street, St Augustine
All films screened on
UWI St Augustine Campus
1 pm: Mutum
Drama ∙ 2007 ∙ 90 mins ∙ Brazil ∙ 13+
Director: Sanda Kogut
This adaptation of the novella General Field by celebrated writer João Guimarāes Rosa is a moving story of loss and innocence told through Thiago, a sensitive and hopeful boy growing up in Brazil’s rugged and arid sertão region of Minas Gerais in the 1930s.
Venue: CLL Auditorium, UWI
5pm: Cenizas eternas (Eternal Ashes)
Drama ∙ 2011 ∙ 113 mins ∙ Venezuela ∙ 17+
Director: Margarita Cadenas
An accident in the 1950s on the mythical Orinoco River in Venezuela destines Ana to live with the Yanomami tribe. Her daughter Elena cannot accept her disappearance and ventures into the jungle in search of her. A touching story of loss, love and survival, inspired by real events.
Venue: AV Room, The Alma Jordan Library, UWI

Categories: Entertainment News

Communities begin skills training programme

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 00:46

Last month, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts began its skills training programme for 265 communities nationwide. The Community Education Programme (CEP) provides skills training in a variety of marketable skills; targeting the unemployed and under-employed.

The programme provides participants with equal opportunities to prepare themselves to compete for jobs or to develop the skills to create sustainable self-employment and entrepreneurship.

Skills and competencies developed can then aid in the creation of home-based production of goods and services, diversification of income streams and employment generation.

Several of the CEP tutors are past students of the programme.

Helen Maikoo, a past student now a tutor, who teaches the Bread, Cakes and Pastries class said: “The CEP programme benefitted me in a great way giving me the confidence to show and express myself in cooking. I always had a love of baking, cooking and anything involved with being around the kitchen.”

Maikoo’s first class was in International Cuisine, Preservatives, Drinks and Desserts and initially it was just something fun to do but it turned out to be a stepping stone into the catering industry.

Now, with a registered catering business, Maikoo believes others can also begin their own businesses or enhance their skills. “It is never too late to start something or learn something,” she said, “and I’m glad that I made that decision to take part in this programme because I don’t believe I would have gotten the courage to be where I am today.”

Classes are being offered throughout T&T with almost 8,000 people participating.

Some courses offered are: Computer Literacy, Hairdressing, Bread, Cakes and Pastries, Jewellery Making, Fabric Design, Soap Making Mixology, Landscaping, Events Management, Child Care, Welding and Fabrication, Small Engine Repairs, Small Scale Agriculture (Grow Box) and more.

The programme is expected to conclude in June 2018 and students will receive a certificates upon completion.

Categories: Entertainment News

South Fashion Week to promote positive T&T

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 02:07

Deron Attzs is a trusted name in the local fashion industry. So it’s not strange that his annual San Fernando Fashion Week has grown over the last 14 years since the designer put the vision to work.

This year he brings together once again the creative minds of fashion, music and art at the Kaiso Blues Café, Wooford Street, and Port-of-Spain.

The event themed ‘The Power of Black Evolve is carded for tomorrow, April 8, and will welcome designers like Mek Designs, The Cloth and of course Deron Attzs Design Label (DADL).

But Attzs tells the T&T Guardian, San Fernando Fashion Week is not just about fashion, but the message sent through the fashion. He says this year the runway hopes to appeal to patrons, the need for social consciousness in T&T.

The designer and founder of the San Fernando Fashion Week shared with the T&T Guardian his plans for and about fashion on the local circuit and more on San Fernando Fashion Week.

Share with us the genesis of San Fernando Fashion Week. How and why it was started?

On a trip to New York many years ago, I had the opportunity to be a part of the New York Fashion Week. The memory of what it felt like to witness a festivity for fashion completely blew me away. It was amazing, the importance they placed on this fashion event. Seeing firsthand the business community gelling with the creative community and the wave of support by the patrons coming into New York was a different kind of experience and really inspired me. When I returned home, I was simply driven to begin something in the city of San Fernando and by extension Trinidad and Tobago.

What’s the story of this year’s theme?

I chose this theme coming out of my observations of the denigration of our society and the need for our young people to be positively influenced and guided. The job of the songwriters is to write positive songs about change and empowerment. Our medium is fashion and we are using it to empower and signal to a positive direction.

This year we chose to help change the way society looks at black and tends to associate it with darkness and death and destruction. There is a power to black and our theme is in celebration of that. We want to see black evolved so we are speaking to its historical aspects and the powerful aspects of our culture. The evolution is in recognising the collection of ethnicities and races and finding the positive messages that that conversation has to offer a forward thinking people seeking positive change.

Can you say if the creative sector and the wider public are fully understanding of the intention of San Fernando Fashion Week?

After 14 years and through our consistency, we have been able to develop an anticipation, an expectation and an understanding of the equitable brand that is San Fernando Fashion Week. We have continued to expose, to inspire and to present designers and other creatives into a creative consumer market so that they can further develop. San Fernando Fashion Week is an alternative platform for showcasing products to the consumers. We provide a sensory opportunity for our audience to see themselves represented in the selection of our models and to engage with the products in a manner that makes them ready to buy.

Our audience is always full of anticipation for the main reason that we have been very particular over the years to exhibit fashion that is accessible, in colours and designs that are as appealing as they are functional and at a price they can afford.

How is the event funded?
For the past four years or so we have made the effort to steer away from external, especially government funding and gradually shift toward having our designers take financial stake in the event since they are the direct benefactors of products sales and marketing thrusts. We want to move away from the culture of dependence on government assistance and strengthen the bonds of our value chain. We have gotten better at managing our expenditure and practicing a more minimalist approach as opposed to the typical fluff usually found in fashion exhibitions. We have reconceptualised the show into a clean and clear cut presentation of content. The parallel benefit to our audience is a more focused and engaging brand experience.

What’s in store for the event’s programme this time around?

We have restructured our San Fernando Fashion Week programme and it is now split into two highlight events, the first of which is our show on Sunday, April 8, at the Kaiso Blues Cafe in Woodbrook and the second will take place later in the year. The launch will feature pieces suited for Easter, jazz, graduation and summer events; whereas our later showcase will feature designs for the Christmas into carnival seasons.

What have been the achievements over the years?

Over the years we have been consistently sustainable. We have always been able to create a production that would generate business for our designers and opportunities for local, regional and foreign designers to engage each other in collaborations and product exchanges.

We now have the San Fernando Fashion Week store which provides access to designs off the runway within two weeks, once pre-ordered.

Our store facilitates designers with good products, a space for their completed work to be displayed and purchased. We are aiming to expand to other locations. We are gradually developing into a hub for creatively constructed, locally produced garments not only for individuals but retail boutiques and wholesalers who are more frequently coming to us for supplies.

Our brand is now visible internationally on the tourism catalogues and on itineraries. We have had local fashion icons such as Meiling, Peter Elias, Heather Jones as well as regional designers from Guadeloupe, Antigua and international designers from as far as Paris grace our stages.

Our cultural exchanges even extends to our models who get to travel and gain work.

Has the event been affected at all by the current economy?

In the past, we would have had the event spanning a few days. The state of the economy being what it is forced us to focus on the main attraction to San Fernando Fashion Week and we had to make the decision to cut away everything that was an accessory to that core focus. Our duty is presenting on our platform products the audience would be inspired by, appreciate, want to wear and be ready and able to purchase.

Long plan?

After 16 years, 14 of those as a production, the vision remains the same.

We plan to remain a platform for emerging and established designers to showcase their products and grow into a source for entrepreneurs and business investors to find a consistent supply of quality local design. We intend to keep expanding the store within the region and even franchising our model to the other islands where there may be young producers with the same desires and interests to network around our Caribbean culture and creativity to attract international markets.

What are your thoughts on the local fashion industry?

I believe what we have is a fashion sector and not a fashion industry. I have observed that we have a degree of division that keeps us from understanding that we are all together in the business of inspiring a consumer to purchase. The fashion sector is a fluid exchange market and consumers should not and do not belong to any particular group of us exclusively. We need to realise that now more than ever and find more mediums to come together and put out good products, quality products. We need to create spaces that people see the mixing of the brands outside of when they do it themselves. Why not have spaces where you can find a Heather Jones pants paired with a Meiling top as opposed to having to visit two stores?

Why Kaiso Blues Café for the showcase?

At first there was a toss-up between two venues. The deciding factor came down to the historical significance of Kaiso Blues Cafe as a home of calypso and storytelling and how it continues to situate our Trinidad and Tobago culture with emerging talent.

The feeling of the space, the atmosphere and rustic environment lends to the vision we have for the event evening. What better venue for The Power of Black Evolve collection than one already established as a space known for the coming together of creatives to express, expose, share, connect, integrate! Kaiso Blues Cafe celebrates creativity and talent in an intimate setting. With their collective understanding and passion, Carl and Carol Jacobs evoke our culture even through this space.

Categories: Entertainment News

Carmina Burana at UWI in memory of Dr Anne Osborne

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 01:53

Composer Carl Orff’s masterwork, Carmina Burana is one of the world’s most popular choral and orchestral works. The Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DFCA), UWI, St Augustine, will perform the work tomorrow, April 8, at the Lord Kitchener Auditorium, National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

DCFA Head and Senior Lecturer Jessel Murray, who will conduct the work, said the performance is dedicated to the memory of Dr Anne Osborne, the seminal lecturer and coordinator of the Music Unit of the DCFA.

“She was one of the earliest lecturers in Creative and Festival Arts,” said Murray, “when it was just started and the founding lecturer and long time Head of the music unit. I would hazard a guess that 80 to 90 per cent of the music teachers within Trinidad and Tobago have passed through her hands, she’s been tremendously influential.”

Four entities will come together to perform this masterwork—WI Arts Chorale, UWI Arts Percussion, UWI Arts Steel and UWI Arts Dance Ensemble — along with vocal soloists Krisson Joseph, Kyle Richardson, Marlon de Bique and Natalia Dopwell. The UWI Arts Percussion will also perform separate percussion pieces, conducted by Dr Jeannine Remy, while the UWI Arts Steel will be led by Khion De Las.

Murray said the production was chosen because of its widespread appeal to audiences, as well as due to the level of challenge it would present to the students who are participating. He said: “I believe our Chorale and Steel should be doing the best of literature that is available for tertiary level ensembles and you don’t get much better than the Carmina Burana. The older audiences will get the sophistication of the work in terms of its text, orchestration, quality and the type and array of singing. Young audiences will like it because the music is instantly accessible with a rhythmic drive to it, and the opening chords are one of the world’s most popular sets of music, you hear it in all sorts of things.”

The text of the work, a mixture of Latin, German and a tiny bit of French, is a series of 24 poems which celebrates life and love and provides a satirical and sometimes bawdy look at the follies of humankind.

The original setting of the work is for chorus, soloists and traditional orchestra but the composer himself authorised a reduced setting for two pianos plus percussion. This version features the entire work with the addition of steel ensemble adapted by Dr Remy.

Murray added that Orff designed Carmina Burana as a scenic cantata, and it is sometimes performed as a ballet. He said: “We decided we’re going to choreograph at least six or seven of the movements, which will be done by Dr Sally Crawford-Shepherd, Lecturer in Dance at the DCFA.

Because the work is so rich in imagery, we thought it would be lovely to enhance what we were doing with the choreography. Of course we have a quite well emerging dance unit at the department and I thought this was a splendid opportunity to marry the music and the dance.”

More info 

Tickets are $150 and are available at the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) at Cheesman Avenue, members of participating ensembles and at the NAPA box office.
For more information, call 272-DCFA (3232), email [email protected] or [email protected] and find the Carmina Burana event page on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

UWI artists bring new life to National Museum

Sat, 04/07/2018 - 01:49

The Visual Arts Unit of UWI’s Department of Creative and Festival Arts took the work of its degree students to the National Museum last Wednesday and new life found accommodating space amidst the fossils and ancient artefacts.

Up the steep, unfriendly staircase and through the doorway Sade O’Brien’s black, leaky plastic bags had at first missed their respective marks—coloured Kool-Aid in three glass cases. ‘Daddy’, is what she calls it. The dripping water, his strength and vibrancy leaving. The Kool-Aid and Tang, the fluids of his body fusing and overflowing and losing their character as the water drips.

This provocative piece relates the artist’s lingering remorse upon the death of her father as a result of “multiple health complications” on December 17, 2016.

Turn left on entering and there is also Sharon Vidale’s ‘Centibus Parasitica Inacessabilis Delecti’ plastic and ink on a standing mirror. Looks like dried mucous mounted with Scotch Tape on a bedroom mirror. The piece achieves the impact of discomfort and revulsion.

“This project,” says Vidale, “began with thoughts on what conditions cause human beings to exhibit characteristics of parasites—parasitica inacessabilis delicti.”

Then there’s Aimee Forbes’s ‘Resurrection’—not apparently themed for seasonal consumption, but as a reflection on conflicted faith and unmet expectation. The work comprises four wooden frames, fabric, twine and canvas that evolve from a splash of red on canvas to a virtually empty frame.

Forbes says her relationship with God “is the driving force behind my art.” Yet, there are more questions than resolved tensions. The frames disintegrate, rather than grow into something new. “I dismantled, tore and folded, but found it difficult to shape or re-gather into a presentable form.”

Alicia Greene wrestles with some of the same thoughts. ‘Release’ is created from twisted palm leaves, twine and canvas thread. “This sculpture,” she says, is my attempt to liberate myself from the trauma I experienced as a child.”

In the end, she concedes that interpretation of the piece ought to be left to the viewer. There are several layers though, and you would have to read her explanation to begin the process. Very interesting.

Then comes Anthony Jaboolal’s black and white photography which, he explains, grew out of an interest in quite different media—graphite, acrylic paints and ink. Then came an interest in henna and the use of the human body as a canvass, eventually captured through the lens of a camera.

Cass’Mosha Amoroso-Centeno’s Untitled piece done with red sand, wood glue, acrylic paint and wood is not easy to get straight away, such is the intentional inconsonance of shapes and symmetry. This, the artist suggests, carries a somewhat revolutionary social message that contests the rigidity and order of authority.

“There is a different response when the viewer confronts straight lines or geometric shapes as opposed to freeform shapes,” he says. “We tend to give more esteem to these structural forms and dis-credit the intent of organic forms.” Message received, young artist.

Cheryl Wight’s ‘Redemption’ (12x63 feet) fills a disproportionate space in the room in red fabric and thread. “It creates a search for an avenue to escape, yet to look up with outstretched arms,” she says.

Curtis Thomas’s ‘Undone’ also induces space as a medium on its own to unite seemingly disparate elements. Done in dark resin and lace, Thomas hopes the work is capable of creating “optical tension” while depicting a “reclining female figure, made entirely of lace and resin.”

“In creating the work, my goal is to shine a light on the issue of depression,” he explains.

Back downstairs, Xala Ramesar’s ‘Parallaxis’ seeks to “create spaces that use materials or technologies as lenses through which alternate, subjective realities can be viewed.” Her chosen media—nylon fabric, a projector and a virtual reality headset.

The colourful projected image seems like a solitary house on a hill. Splashes of bright colours against soft, moving light. Don the headset at your peril.

“The distortion of certain elements of space is used to disorient the viewer in a way that is parallel to the unsettling feeling or derealisation,” she explains.

It is art not meant for explanation. It is art meant to be experienced.

Other outstanding works came from Fine Art students Ariel Francis, Curtis Thomas, Kimoi Hamid, Onella Augustine, Robert Gooindo, Sade O’Brien and Sarah Josanne Katwaroo. There were also striking exhibits from Design students Brent Bristol, Colleen Kewley, Ishtika Bharat, Jessica Francis, Kadine Antoine, Rafeeyah Shah, Ruqayyah Mohammed, Safiyyah Shah and Tevin Charles.

The DCFA Visual Arts Unit has assembled some of the best emerging young artists of our time and space for this year’s exhibition which runs until April 13. Theirs is a quite revolutionary voice. A worthwhile experience for those with an interest in witnessing some inconvenient truths.

Categories: Entertainment News


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