Entertainment News

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Black gold from La Brea to Little Carib Theatre

Lifestyle - 8 hours 46 min ago

Chanteuse Vaughnette Bigford’s inaugural performance in Port-of-Spain played to a packed house of fans from all over the island. The event took place at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook a fortnight ago and was breathtaking in its splendour.

Bigford had the audience in awe from the moment she began to sing, beguiling them with her smoky, husky voice and warm manner. The Little Carib Theatre lent itself to an air of intimacy, fostered by the way she addressed the audience as if each person was a personal friend of hers.

Welcoming her audience, the La Brea diva said the Little Carib Theatre was a wonderful space to be in. “I get to see everyone’s face and I’m grateful you chose to spend the evening with me.”

Her supporters had come from as far as La Brea and were in full voice following each of her performances. Bigford’s vivacious personality shone through as she bantered with her band, vocalists and the audience throughout the two and a half hour concert.

The song genres ranged from Broadway classics to classic pop to calypso to folk to African songs and rhythms. Bigford’s expansive repertoire included Old Devil Moon, Dindi, Tell Me About It, Carnavaleando, where she was accompanied by Rhona Rogers on maracas, Don’t Dream It’s Over, River Of Tears, Moon Valley, In Times by Black Stalin, Won’t Have to Say Goodbye, To Love Somebody, Let’s Go Dancing,

Evening Time, Esperança, Putting Up A Resistance, Just Another Melody, Home/Nah Leaving, Luv Up, Reason, Lady, Lady Marmalade, Born To Shine and Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata.

The simple stage set with five band members and four backup singers ensured that nothing distracted from the beauty of the music. The musicians themselves were of the highest quality and included Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung (keyboards); Rodney Alexander (bass); Theron Shaw (guitar); Anthony Woodroffe Jnr (flute and sax); and, Shaquille Noel (drums).

Each band member played several solos during the concert and had the audience applauding their artistry each time. Guest appearances included Rhona Rogers on maracas accompanying Bigford on Carnavaleando, Mikhail Salcedo’s powerful tenor pan accompaniment on Black Stalin’s In Times and John John Francis’ solo cover of Like It Like This by Kes & Patrice Roberts. Francis had the audience sweating, despite the in-house AC being at max, and wining in their seats with his smooth sultry vocals and dance moves.

Highlights included a powerful acappella arrangement of Carl Jacobs and Ancil ‘Perez’ Forde’s Luv Up by Low Chew Tung performed by Bigford and her backup vocalists (Genisa St Hillaire, Afiya Athill, Sade Sealey and Aneesa Paul); Fela Kuti’s Lady, which she dedicated to Hugh Masekela; Beres Hammond’s Putting Up a Resistance, which Bigford infused with conviction; Born to Shine, the title song of her debut albun, which many audience members said spoke to them; and, Khalen Drummerboi Alexander’s Reason, written especially for Bigford and which she dedicated to all her friends and fans. Her closing number, Miriam Makeba’s Pata Pata, had the entire balcony and most of the lower house on their feet, dancing and singing along.

Bigford thanked the patrons for accepting her, acknowledging that she could be complicated at times. Audience members were immediately heard asking when the next concert was going to be and those who were seeing Bigford for the first time, confessed to being awestruck. The production was an unqualified success and it is to be hoped that the songstress continues to grace all of T&T with her talent.

A memorable footnote of the event was the wonderful introduction of Bigford at the show’s start by popular radio personality Adrian Don Mora, using the singer’s intitials VB, to succinctly describe her.

Categories: Entertainment News

Operafest features the Elixir of Love

Lifestyle - 8 hours 48 min ago

The fourth annual T&T Operafest, staged by the Picoplat Classical Music Development Foundation, features the romantic opera Elixir of Love by Gaetano Donizetti. The festival runs from June 29 to July 8 at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook, and also features a mini-concert, East Meets West on June 24, and masterclasses between June 26 and 28.

East Meets West features Chinese soprano Mei Zhong and Trinidadian soprano Maegan Pollonais performing Chinese, Korean and Trinidadian songs, accompanied on piano by Hyery Hwang. Zhong and Hwang, faculty members at Ball State University, where Pollonais is one of two Trinidadian doctoral students.

The foundation’s creative director Natalia Dopwell said: “As a part of her doctoral thesis research, Meagan arranged for two faculty members, Hyery Hwang and Mei Zhong, to come to Trinidad and with her, perform Chinese, Korean and Trinidad songs in recital, and give masterclasses to advanced local singers.

“The masterclasses are free to participants and the public and run from June 26-28, from 5 to 8 pm at Napa. Advanced singers from UTT, USC, UWI and the Marionettes and the Lydians have been invited based in teacher recommendations. Anyone may attend to learn with them from the advice of the professors.”

Donizetti’s romantic comedy plays out in 1940’s Trinidad, as Nemorino (Edward Cumberbatch) spends his last 50 cents to buy a magic potion from the snake oil salesman Dulcamara (Krisson Joseph), to win the fickle heart of Adina (Natalia Dopwell) before she marries the dashing army sergeant Belcore (Paul Cort).

Dopwell said the Foundation wanted to produce Donizetti’s opera for some time but the voices needed to fill the roles were not available. “The plot is universally likeable, the characters are so engaging and the melodies are gorgeous,” said Dopwell. “Because it is romantic opera, voices that have matured are necessary, and you need two strong baritones and a wonderful tenor. This year we happened to have the singers we wanted for the principal roles all available to do it.

“We were lucky that tenor Edward Cumberbatch finished his PhD thesis this year, and that baritone Paul Cort, who is a vocal professor at USC said yes. Baritone Krisson Joseph has been singing with us for a few years. Once they said yes, this project was a go. In previous years we brought in foreign professional singers and pianists to bolster the local cast, but we’re very proud that everyone working on the opera this year is locally based, because it shows me that the strength of our organisation is growing.”

The foundation uses several initiatives to expose more people to opera. This year they will again be hosting a free school show on July 3. Dopwell said she thinks it’s important to push the limits of what artistic expressions young people are exposed to. Added Dopwell: “Without ever hearing anything more than the Orange singing the Habanera on Sesame Street, many adults will loudly proclaim that they do not like opera.

“We want individual audience members to open their minds to new musical experiences, to theatre, different cultural expressions and the arts in general—not because I expect them to all go on to become musical professionals, but because I believe they will go onto the rest of their lives with less prejudice towards the unfamiliar.”

Another initiative which will be offered again this year is the Opera Lime option, where patrons who buy four tickets at the box office get a fifth one free. She said this encourages opera lovers to bring their friends to the who might not necessarily head to the theatre to see this type of show.

Dopwell said she hopes audiences will laugh a lot. She added: “They should also leave very impressed with the voices on display, and see just how much more is possible on a local stage.”

Performances of Elixir of Love take place on June 29, and July 1, 6 and 8, at the Little Carib Theatre. There are no Saturday performances as the singers do not use microphones so need to rest their voices.

Tickets cost $200 for both Elixir of Love and East Meets West. Tickets are available at the Little Carib Box Office. For show times and more information, go to www.ttoperafest.com and find T&T Opera Festival 2018 on Facebook.

Categories: Entertainment News

Annual food fest at St Mary’s College on Saturday

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 01:36

Come Saturday, lovers of fine food and drink will head to St Mary’s College, uptown Port-of-Spain (entrance on Pembroke Street) for the annual food fest that has been staged for the past 19 years by the St Mary’s College Past Students Union.

 

This event, labelled Dining With The Saints, is the most popular of its type in T&T and features approximately 100 chefs, most of them past students of the college who come out to help raise funds for development projects at their alma mater.

In recent years, the Past Student’s Union has financed some major projects at the school, including the refurbishment and air-conditioning of the 155 years old Centenary Hall, establishment of a Foreign Language lab and the installation of a transformer to augment the supply of electricity to the school.

Within the next few days, a project to refurbish the aging Chemistry lab at the College will commence, using funds raised by the Past Students’ Union from previous fund-raising events, in particular, the All-Inclusive Fete With The Saints held each year during the Carnival season.

Apart from the regular chefs, some of whom sit on either side of our Parliament Chamber, some new faces will be in the line-up this year. Central Bank Governor, Dr Alvin Hilaire is expected to show a number of experienced chefs from Republic Bank (Nigel Baptiste, Derwin Howell et al) that he is the boss in more ways than one, although he is new to the event. Other debutants are Robin Cumberbatch, Hayden and Brent Sankar and Sanjeev Lalla. A guest appearance is being made by Joe Brown, the head chef at Jaffa Restaurant who is keeping the name of his dish under cover until Saturday.

The fare served up by these chefs includes sea-food, beef, pork, lamb, goat, duck and chicken, all done in a variety of styles that are sure to appeal to the palates of all.

Main sponsors of the event, among them, Grace Foods, Unilever, Hadco, Massy Stores, TGU, Prestige Holdings, Brydens, Carib, Blue Waters, Angostura, Rent-a-Amp and AMCO, will make their presence felt, with some of their products being on display or even available for sampling.

As usual, Dining With The Saints provides a complimentary premium bar, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, for the duration of the event. There will also be a wide variety of exquisite desserts, something for which this event is famous.

Top drawer entertainment will be provided by Raymond Ramnarine, of Dil-e-Nadan, National Panorama powerhouse, Hadco Phase II Steel Orchestra and ‘Resonate’, a recently-formed entity comprising crackshot pan players Johann Chuckaree and Dane Gulston, and joint 2018 Chutney Soca Monarch Neval Chatelal.

Secured parking and a shuttle service are available free of charge, at COPOS carpark on Pembroke Street between Duke and Park Streets; Scotiabank, corner Park and Pembroke Streets; Atlantic LNG carpark on Upper Pembroke Street; TSTT carpark corner New and St Vincent Streets; and, JD Sellier carpark on Upper Abercromby Street.

Tickets cost $375 per person and are available from the Past Students office, telephone 624-8468, and all members of the Management Committee.

Categories: Entertainment News

Jahremiah’s Love with dancehall, soca

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 01:34

Dancehall/ soca artiste Jahremiah Love hopes to make an impact on the local and international music scene as the only Indo-Trinidadian dancehall artiste.

Born Jeremy Curtis Mahapat, the 27 year old said his stage name Jahremiah came about when he fused his spiritual beliefs and his love of “Jahovah” with the name Jerimiah.

Love said his musical style was heavily influenced by the ghetto community of Suzanna Trace, Montserrat, South Trinidad, where he grew up and still resides. He said: “I grew up listening to reggae music as it was played a lot by neighbours and relatives and I became very fond of it.”

Love said soca and dancehall allow him to be creative and do original work unlike other local genres as chutney soca that relies heavily on sampling Bollywood tracks for rhythms.

Love revealed that he began getting involved in music at the age of 14, a formative period in his life that allowed him to fine-tune his work, to bring it to what he hopes is “an international standard.”

Using social media to publicise his work, Love said he has received tremendous feedback from members of the public. He added that while his work is distributed freely online, he hopes this marketing strategy would allow him opportunities to perform at shows where he can earn income to further expand his work.

Love acknowledges that there are challenges to becoming successful in genres dominated by artistes of African ancestry. Saying that this only encourages him to work harder, Love said: “As an Indo-Trinidadian a lot of people would not accept me as a dancehall and soca artiste, but that doesn’t stop me; that gives me more motivation to make it. Thefollowing that I have been having around the world and in T&T is remarkable.”

Love has released four tracks, including soca items From the Dust and Get on Bad; and, My Life and Taking Wuk, two dancehall compositions.

They can all be viewed on YouTube.

Love said he plans on reentering the International Soca Monarch competition in 2019, having competed in 2017 with the single From the Dust. Love said he did not make it into the quarter-finals but was happy to participate.

Love ended by saying that he plans on doing collaborations with “big artistes” in the near future.

Categories: Entertainment News

Alta tutor stories

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 01:30

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta tutors 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. Every year Alta trains almost 100 new tutors who provide literacy instructions to students at venues around Trinidad. In order to become a certified adult literacy tutor, trainees must teach at Alta venues for one academic year. While some leave after the mandatory year, most stay on with Alta, teaching different levels at various venues and even going on to co-ordinate and volunteer in other capacities.

This week, Alta tutor Christine Parris-Debique, who has been teaching for the past two years at the Harvard Club venue, shares how Alta has changed her life.

“Being a tutor at Alta is something I had been interested in for several years. However, because of the constraints of work commitments, I was unable to attend the necessary tutor training. At last I reached retirement age and being still of sound mind and body I attended the tutor training in Arima, although I had originally signed to train in Belmont. Alta administration asked if I would kindly consent to do training during the week instead of Saturdays since they preferred to use those for the working applicants.

“Even going to Arima was an experience as I have been a ‘North and West girl’ for all of my life. The old saying that town people do not know any place east of the lighthouse is slightly true.”

Parris-Debique continues: “Training was intense and I must say that it reminded me of a ballroom dancing class I once enrolled in—you think you can dance (until) you reach the dance class. Similarly, you only appreciate your knowledge of English after attending training. Having been weaned in ‘A for apple, B for bay’ and Nelson West Indian Readers, learning about phonics took a bit of getting used to and was certainly an eye-opener.

“The tutors were very experienced and having the founder of Alta and her immediate assistants also being part of the training exercises showed the level of commitment to the association. I elected to teach at the Harvard Club and I’ve been fortunate to work under the guidance of one of the longest serving tutors, Janet Joseph and her second in command Claire Mitchell. The students are an interesting mix and I have been impressed with the significant number of men who attend classes.”

Said Parris-Debique: “Being a tutor at Alta has also opened my eyes to the fact that there are so many people around you every day who need assistance with their reading and writing skills. The course content is also very impressive as the founder ensured that the lessons are topical and relative to the students’ lives.

“Teaching this course has given me patience, increased my ability to be encouraging and to become a better listener. At Harvard, all the tutors are part of a team and work well together all the time ensuring that the exercises are completed within the two hour time frame. I enjoy being part of the Harvard Alta team.”

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Archbishop launches ministry for migrants, refugees today

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:16

Today the world will observe World Refugee Day, a day when “we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees” (UN).

Archbishop Jason Gordon has launched an Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR). AMMR calls on the nation to use this opportunity today to commit to stand in solidarity with migrants and refugees and to promote their human rights. Let’s pray and act to ensure that there is a place at the table of life for all.

In Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees in January 2018 titled, Migrants and Refugees: men and women in search of peace, he asks us to develop a strategy combining four actions to support migrants and refugees—welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating.

“The Earth,” says Pope Francis, “is our common home and we are a universal family. Together, we are called to build the common good, that is, to create conditions in which each person can realise his or her potential.” He says that providing aid to migrants and refugees is a “great responsibility, which the church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities…I would like to ask you all to see a ray of hope as well in the eyes and hearts of refugees and for those who have been forcibly displaced.”

We cannot turn our eyes away from the 65.3 million persons in our world who have been displaced from their homes and the 22.5m refugees who, as Pope Francis says, seek peace. He reminds us that migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity, and urges us to have respect for their lives and dignity.

In T&T there are migrants and refugees from over 20 countries, including Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, Bangladesh, Jamaica, Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Mali, Sudan and Uganda. There are many children among the men and women seeking refuge here from these and other countries.

If we are to build the common good in our country, we must take action to enact legislation that will enable the recommendations in the Cabinet adopted 2014 policy relating to the Status of Refugees to be implemented.

We therefore call on our Government to take decisive action and pass/enact national legislation on refugee issues. This is essential if T&T is to meet its international obligations, having acceded in November 2000 to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. These are the foundations of international refugee law. We call on the Government also to develop an efficient and secure asylum system.

While we must do what is right to meet the needs of our own citizens; we must also show compassion and hospitality and ensure that refugees in need of protection and support are treated according to international standards.

On World Refugee Day, “let us all try to stand in the shoes of refugees, and stand up for their rights and our shared future,” Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General said.

For further information, contact Leela Ramdeen, chair, CCSJ, and chair, AMMR on 299 8945 (courtesy Catholic Media Services Ltd).

Categories: Entertainment News

We need to embrace love and respect for others

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 23:13

Being able to exercise judgment is a desired quality in order to become a good decision maker. It is a great asset in assessing people and selecting personalities for relationships. Every parent, manager and leader in every sphere will do well to have competence in the reasoning demanded for exercising good judgment.

Being judgmental, however, is the problematic because it is the attitude of being overly critical, negative, deriding, and being destructive. But when it comes to people, especially those in distress or on whom misfortune has fallen it amazes me the level of incivility people rush to in brutal judgment of others.

And, in terms of issues of mental health and mental illnesses, the pervasive ignorance by the majority makes judgment and judging take on a special cruelty as we “pass our ignorant mouths” on people we somehow think are less then us. We really behave as though those who live with or experience mental illnesses deserve nothing but “St Ann’s” or some place away from “normal” people.

We very quickly forget (or maybe we have not as yet learned) that all humans are created equal. And that regardless of the circumstances in which people find themselves, we should all have and show respect for their humanity.

Those of us who benefitted from upbringing that instilled humility are better off in appreciating the worth of another person. But, even among us are those who either thumb their noses at others deemed to be in a lesser position or just use every opportunity to be judgmental of others.

That behaviour, to me, constitutes poor mental well-being worse than someone who may have a mental health diagnosis. To my mind, gossip is a deeper sickness than most other conditions of ill health. And “cutting people down” is akin to an incurable, seeping sore - it is a special brand of evil and ugly.

Helping those in need

I recently witnessed a maxi taxi driver chase a man of his vehicle.

“Get out mih bus. Yuh smelling stink. Go and bathe. Get off! Get off! Take the next maxi.”

Before I could recover from that brutality, I saw a social media campaign that has kept me feeling deep hurt, with a disconnectedness with this part of T&T culture. There was the most hideous comments with thousands of hits and shares and everyone with a judgment of an individual who, clearly, to me was exhibiting behaviour that needed intervention and compassion.

In the midst of that, a friend asked me about an appropriate response to someone presenting with what looks like a mental health crisis. I was happy to find him among the friends that wanted to help and not harm the young physician who was the subject of major ridicule.

As a registered first-response trainer here was my advice from the tip of my finger in the social media exchange-: “When it comes to mental/ psychiatric ill health or bad well-being, the “first responder” is the first person with the opportunity to respond first to someone in crisis. That should be everyone of us. We know how to fix a cut, we should know how to respond to grief or trauma, as examples.

“And while there may not be a single response that would work for every situation there are some key things we can do to treat with those in distress.

“We begin by accepting that mental ill health is the most common illness globally at this time ergo, It can happen to me! Therefore:-

1. We can educate ourselves with the issues to become more comfortable to reach out but also to know what the signs are so we know when to reach out. WebMD and PsychologyToday are recommended sites for self education/learning.

Learn what to ask. Learn what not to say. Learn, learn, learn.

2. Education can help reduce the stigma that cripples our response. If we understand the myths and misinformation we are more likely to look past the prejudices and taboo and reach out.

3. We need to know/believe/understand that mental ill health whether an issue, a disorder, a problem or an illness/ disease does not discriminate. Anyone can present with symptoms. This may be a short-term illness or a long-term one.

But key to recovery is early attention and intervention to the illness, not hiding until we are critical or acute.

4. We each need to practice suspending judgment. That is a major deterrent to giving help and for others asking for help. When we judge before we have the information to understand circumstances or after we have the information, we are less likely to help the other person.

5. Return to some value: either civics and be neighbourly, biblical and be loving, or humanitarian. Love would not only “cover a multitude of sins” but a host of illnesses and required privacies.”

No one goes through this life without trauma. While everyone responds differently, we need to get to a place of respect and return to a love that makes us supportive of each other rather than negative and critical.

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Positive rhythms at Yoruba Drum Fest

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:39

The Emancipation Support Committee of T&T staged the 10th annual Yoruba Village Drum Festival on Saturday, at Yoruba Village Square, Piccadilly Street, Port-of-Spain. The event was a huge success, attended by Laventille West parliamentary representative Fitzgerald Hinds, South African Ambassador Thami Xoliswa Nomatamsanqa Ngwevela, Port-of-Spain Deputy Mayor Hilan Morean and ESC chairman Khafra Kambon.

Aside from drummers from across the nation and Africa participating, and performances by chanters and other artistes, acclaimed rapso artist/cultural activist Sister Ava (Ruth Ava Sam Shallow) was presented with the ESC’s Keeper of the Tradition Award by Minister Hind

Categories: Entertainment News

Dancing feet lead to Senegal

Lifestyle - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 01:38

Dancer and choreographer Kieron Sargeant has been travelling around the world representing T&T, most recently in Nigeria and Mexico. He’s now seeking funding to go to the Ecole des Sables Centre in Senegal, where he has been chosen to represent T&T in studying the Black Dances: About Technique Acogny.

Sargeant, who has been the Theatre Arts teacher (Dance) at Pleasantville Secondary School for the past nine years, possesses a Certificate in Dance and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from UWI St Augustine. He also holds a Masters of Science Degree in Management and Educational Leadership, a Post Graduate Diploma in Adult Literacy and Design, as well as a Diploma in Health and Family Life Education and Instruction. He is trained in dance styles like Caribbean Folk Dance, West African Dance and Modern Dance Techniques.

Sargeant has taken T&T folk dance to Mexico where he was invited to be an Artist in Residence for Danza Extrema XIII Festival Internacional supported by Secretaria de Cultura of the Federal Government through the Instituo Nacional de Bellas Artes of Mexico to conduct Masters Classes in T&T folk dances and also to research their folk dance Danza de Los Malinches which is similar to the Maypole dance in T&T.

Said Sargeant: “The response to our folk dances in Mexico was astounding.

They loved every minute of it because they are very much rooted in this style of dance so dancing it from a Trinidad and Tobago perspective was really enjoyable for them to learn and appreciate at the same time.”

Sargeant has facilitated dance workshops in Abuja and Nigeria, where he showcased T&T’s folk dance culture and heritage for Nigeria’s International Dance Day Celebrations.

Sargeant said: “It was also a great opportunity for me to see the culture of Nigeria and to also learn some of their African dances which is closely linked to African influenced dances we have in Trinidad and Tobago like Ibo and dances of the Orishas, particularly Ogun and Shango.

But my main activity in Nigeria was to produce a choreographic work for which I was awarded a choreographic fellowship award with 15 talented men, who were a combination of dancers, drummers and percussionists organised by the Festival of African and Caribbean and Culture (FESTACC) with partnership with Ijovudu Dance International led by Sani-Abu Mohammed Allen for their international dance day function.”

Sargeant is currently pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Choreography at the Florida State University, where he has been awarded the Dean’s Scholarship, the Dance Alumni Scholarship and the Congress of Graduate Students External Funding Award. He has created a choreographic work called The Crossing for the school’s Dance Concert and in the 2018/2019 semester, he will be teaching a Caribbean Folk Dance Course, which is the first in the University’s history. It was within the first three weeks at FSU that Sargeant was approached by worldrenowned choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, who was interested in his folk dance techniques. She subsequently introduced Sargeant to worldrenowned choreographer Souleymane Badolo who encouraged him to apply for the course, where his application was chosen from hundreds of others as the sole T&T representative.

People interested in donating towards Sargeant’s journey to Senegal can donate to his account at RBC Account number 100098171582404, or visit To Study Black Dance: Acogny Technique Senegal on Facebook

Categories: Entertainment News

Emotional climax to theatre festival

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:59

On Sunday, June 10, the curtain closed on the Act It Out Theatre Festival 3 hosted by Steven Edwards Productions (SEP). It was an emotional conclusion to a festival whose patrons included dignitaries, celebrities, preteens and parents.

The festival started on June 8 and was the theatrical debut for many local entertainers and celebrities. These included social media sensation Jamel “Certified” Sampson, soca artiste Rodney “Benjai” LeBlanc, and radio personalities Natalie Morales and Daya Ottley. Steven Edwards, Director, Producer and writer, worked with the assistant director, stunt and dance choreographer Akil Samuel to round out the all-star cast.

On June 8, the Government Plaza Auditorium opened its doors to several schools across the country for two SEP original plays written by Edwards. Trinbago –We are Wakanda, and Carnivale: The return of the King Sailor. These plays were headlined by Sampson and Benjai, respectively.

Later that evening, SEP featured another original play, For Better or Worse, at a gala event by invitation only. Audience members included Fitz Gerald Hinds, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and

Legal Affairs; independent senators Melissa Ramkisoon and Taurel Shrikissoon, along with media and entertainment personalities David Muhammad, Jessie May Ventour, Esuyemi Ogunbanke and Paul Keens Douglas. All of whom admitted to having been extremely entertained and secretly confessing to shed a tear during very moving parts of the play. For Better or Worse lived up to its tagline — audiences laughed, cried, and left with their hearts ready to love again.

June 9 was all about the children. Children of the Theatre for Tots to Teens programme came and performed in their concert Reach for the Stars. They performed in dance, poetry, vocals, theatre and lip sync as they did tributes to the classic calypsos and 80’s Sesame Street skits.

Currently, the children’s programme is in Ivy League schools such as Montessori Academy of T&T, Maple Leaf International, Brynmar Private School and Arbor. The goal is to have a children’s programme available in public schools also.

At 4:30 pm on June 10, the packed auditorium hosted children of several homes, youth institutions, and vulnerable communities across the country. Members of the business community, such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Angostura, Holiday Snacks, Kiss and Solo beverages, all ensured that the children were treated to the time of their lives.

Two and a half hours later, For Better or For Worse was performed for the general public. Laughter erupted all throughout the performance with tears pouring down the cheeks of many at the end. A fitting end for what was an unforgettable weekend of theatre. 

Minister Hinds was quoted as saying, “I never knew this type of theatre existed in Trinidad. I am extremely glad that I came.”

Melissa Ramkissoon stated, “The level of professionalism was like no other and thank you for keeping such high standards. I had a wonderful time.”

The one question every patron left with was, “When is the next show?”

Categories: Entertainment News

Los Angeles de San Miguel wins over Cuba

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:53

Los Angeles de San Miguel Parang Band recently concluded a short but successful cultural tour to Cuba and band spokesperson Ingrid dos Santos was only too willing to share the good news with T&T Guardian.

The band’s first official activity was a courtesy call at the T&T Embassy, which was followed by a historical educational tour of Havana City, made possible and organised by the Ministerio de Cultura, Cuba
The main event was a concert on May 31, at the Centro Hispanoamericano de Cultura, under the auspices of T&T Ambassador to Cuba Dr Lancelot Cowie, supported by Jude Carasquero, representative of T&T’s Trade Mission to Cuba.

Dos Santos said that Cowie expressed his pride and satisfaction at the presentation of this band, which introduced to the diplomatic community of Cuba, its original compositions in the area of traditional parang music, as well as a sample of Parang Soca and traditional calypso music. In attendance were a number of diplomats and officials from Caricom countries accredited to Cuba, ambassadors from Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Czeck Republic, and Ecuador. Also present was Professor Dr Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnov, grandson of the late Dr. Fidel Castro, as well as the son of the current Cuban Ambassador to T&T, Guillermo Vasquez Jr.

Dos Santos added that staff from the T&T Embassy and Trade Mission were in attendance. Other significant persons in attendance were officials from the Cuban Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Higher Education and Health. The tour climaxed with the band performing on stage with Cuban band Decisión Sonora, at the Casa de Cultura, Plaza, in nearby Vedado. The occasion was a celebration organised by the Ministerio de Cultura, in which the audience was composed of primary school children.

Said dos Santos: “The enthusiastic response of this group of Cuban children to our music will remain as the high point of the tour for many of our band members.

“Unforgettable moments in Havana, will include time spent in Habana Vieja, with spontaneous participation in roadside band performances.”

Los Angeles de San Miguel left Cuba, yearning for more of the warmth and passion of the Cuban people and the excellence of their art and culture.

Said dos Santos: “We would like to thank our sponsors here in Trinidad and Tobago, without whom we would not have been able to embark on this adventure.

“Our heartfelt thanks goes to the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts, Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited, National Flour Mills, Insurance Industry Credit Union Co-operative Society Limited, Export, Import Bank of T&T Ltd, and Stephen Encinas.

Categories: Entertainment News

Grande Hindu School students graduate

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:27

The 2018 graduating class of the Sangre Grande Hindu School has been advised by the principal Sharmain Maharaj to remain focused as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.

Maharaj, delivering an address at the school on June 8, told them they are going to be confronted by numerous and varied challenges, but reminded them to apply the positives that they have learnt.

She said today we live in an era of technology which is impacting significantly on their lives and which can be used to support their studies.

However, she said in today’s society especially among teenagers it is being abused.

Maharaj cautioned students to be wary about what they post on social media, it cannot be erased.

“Every word, every photo, every video can be assessed across the world.” She told them obscenities and negative postings can scar them.

Categories: Entertainment News

Arima Rotary Club marks 40

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:23

Michael Bradshaw, past president of Arima Rotary Club says people in T&T should give back to their communities according to their wishes and abilities.

“We should go back because the need in our communities is real and it is growing,” he said.

He urged citizens to give back because “this widening gap—the gap between what is needed and what can be provided—threatens the most vulnerable among us.

And we should give back, because this gap threatens one of the most cherished values as Trinbagonians, the equality of opportunity.”

Bradshaw was speaking at Arima Rotary Club 40th Anniversary held at Tennis Court, Arima, last weekend.

He said apart from the Rotary Club of Arima’s dedication to service, Rotary has also been an important venue for sharing new ideas and initiatives, and a forum for building the necessary momentum for social and economic change.

Past presidents of the Arima Rotary Club were honoured for their service at the event, while members of Arima business community received certificate for their support over the years.

Categories: Entertainment News

Coping with fear in cars

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:21

In our last article we started to discuss travel phobia in dogs and looked at the reasons why dogs may develop this fear.

Today we will talk abouthumanely introducing your  pet to the car to prevent and overcome this problem behaviour.

Dogs who are not accustomed to car travel will understandably be nervous the first time they are popped into a car in adulthood.

It is important that puppies are introduced to car travel from the time they are acquired by new owners.

The first trip is usually additionally traumatic because they may have just been taken from their mum and siblings and find themselves alone for the first time in something that moves and tosses them around.

Once your new puppy has settled into your home and started to bond with you, show your dog that being in the car is a good thing. Start with the car off and the doors closed and walk him around it. Open the doors and feed him treats in the car, play games in and around the car, leave his toys lying around inside of the car but never force him into the car. Sit in the car and allow him the freedom to make the choice of being in the car with you.

After a few days of doing this, once the dog is able to relax in the car, switch on the car but do not drive anywhere. This stage is to allow him to get comfortable with the running engine, the air condition and the radio.

Repeat the playing of games, feeding of treats and sitting with him—all inside of the turned-on, stationary car.

Once your dog is comfortable, start taking short drives, gradually increasing the distance you go.

Make sure that the drives all end in positive experiences such as to the park for a walk, to a friend’s house for a play session with another puppy, or back home for some treats.

Many dogs dislike the car because they are only taken to the veterinarian for a painful or unpleasant procedure, so they form a negative association with the car.

Arrange sessions with your veterinarian where you take the dog in for the staff to play with him and feed him tasty titbits but for nothing negative to be done to the dog.

Not only will this make car travel easier for you and your dog, it will help your dog to bond with his vet and make any handling more comfortable.

This can save you thousands on your vet bill because if your dog is accustomed to being touched and held by his vet then he will be more compliant during a physical examination and will not need to be anaesthetised for every vet visit because you cannot control your dog.

If your dog suffers from motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about prescription or overthe- counter medication.

Remember, never give your dog any drugs without first consulting your veterinarian.

As always, safety comes first. Never leave your dog alone in the car, and you should invest in a safety harness and seatbelt for your dog.

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

Feel the love, taste the ‘Swagg’

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:18

The “Redd Swagg” brand is something you might want to get familiar with. Not only does it carry an assortment of condiments and dried foods, but it’s all 100 per cent locally made by the hands of Candace Boissiere.

The 39-year-old estate constable was first introduced to the home-made craft by her grandmother who would turn her kitchen upside down each Christmas, making condiments for friends, neighbours, and family.

Boissiere’s first try at it came when she was 13 years old, but she only became inclined to continue the tradition after her grandmother passed in 2013.

“I started making sauces on my own in 2014 for family and friends until I sold them for Christmas in 2015. I have been selling ever since,” she says.

The Redd Swagg line includes pepper sauces, green seasonings, pureed garlic, ginger, pimiento, and chandon beni. If you’re a fan of some good “Trini” ‘mudd n law,” Redd Swagg makes that too, along with pepper nuts, fruit and nut, and minced saffron. All products come in litre and gallon-size, the latter specifically made for restaurants.

But we had to ask, “What’s up with the name “Redd Swagg?” Sort of odd for a food product line, don’t you think?

The story behind it is quite simple actually, as Boissiere says, “The name Redd Swagg is a combination of my favourite colour and the extra love and spices I add to create that special flavour you will experience in every product.”

Speaking of red, this “red-skinned” woman, originally from Maraval, now residing in Chaguanas, obtains all produce to make her products from her uncles who are farmers in her native residence.

In her very own kitchen it takes Boissiere, her eldest son, and fiance, a full 24 hours to prepare a batch of anyone of the products.

The work includes washing, peeling, prepping, mincing, heating, bottling, and labelling.

“Many times we are up all night peeling garlic,” she says through a chuckle.

The condiment business is no “side hustle” for Boissiere as she takes it very seriously and plans to expand the brand in the future.

But she explained to the Sunday Guardian that there are some challenges as a “newcomer” on the market that can make someone who does not have a strong sense of self and the courage of conviction, to give up.

After throwing sou-sous and subsequently receiving $6,000 in financial assistance from Nedco, Boissiere said there was little or next to no support from supermarkets when she took her products to their establishments.

“Most supermarkets told us they are not accepting new items because they’re overstocked.

“Some took the samples and the price list and never called,” she recalls.

With a vision on the horizon and the will to keep going, amidst the disappointment, for many days Boissiere would pound the pavements, walking all over Port-of-Spain and Ariapita Avenue, going from food place to food place giving out samples and contact information in the hope someone would call with an order.

One day she walked into Scotiabank in San Juan and asked the manager if she could be permitted to sell her products in front the car park area of the bank on Saturdays.

The manager gave her blessing and Boissiere began to operate her business each Saturday for five months and could have gone longer if she was not stopped by the bank security one Saturday morning as she was about to routinely set up.

“The security guard came out and told me I could not sell there. I told him I got permission from the manager but he said that manager resigned last week and the new manager said I could not sell there.”

With goods on her hand and not knowing where to turn, Boissiere had to think fast. She took out her phone and posted to her Facebook page, “free delivery today for all the customers who have pick-up orders,” and immediately customers kept messaging her.

As fate would have had it, she sold out all her products that day.

Needless to say, delivery is now a part of her service and she delivers to her customers anywhere in Trinidad.

Boissiere said being an entrepreneur was most times a labour of love as there is more input than output and it really takes drive and confidence in your product or business, whatever it is, to keep trying until a breakthrough occurs.

She called on those who have the power to help entrepreneurs to be a bit more encouraging and helpful so that a constructive society can be rebuilt in T&T.

She leaves a few words of advice for young entrepreneurs who might be feeling the pinch of “sweet humility” before their success.

“Follow your dreams, advertise and market your product wisely, promote great customer service, and be ready to take good advice.

“Keep in mind customers are who make you and your business becomes, so regardless of what they spend, show them appreciation and love.

“Be very proud of your product and remember to add some love and ‘swagg’ in everything.”

More info

For more information on the Redd Swagg brand visit Facebook @ Boissiere redd swagg pepper sauce and seasonings. You can also email: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Sango Festival celebrates an important Iyalorisha

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 23:03

Egbe Onisin Eledumare held its annual Sango Festival at Salybia the end of last month featuring a celebration of the late Iyalorisha Dr Geraldine Molly Ayhe.

Egbe Onisin Eledumare is a traditional African spiritual organisation functional in T&T (Ile-Iere) since 1971. The organisation has consistently been one of the most progressive voices for Orisha and African traditions in T&T facilitating the adherence of major rituals and traditions that are relevant to the peoples of the local African diaspora.

The organisation has campaigned for the passage of the Orisha Marriage Act; held two major Orisha and African Traditions Conferences in T&T; staged the first Orisha carnival band and Queen of Carnival contestant. Its credentials also include many other events and interventions that have helped mainstream the information about and the practice of Orisha and traditional African ancestral sacred science in T&T.

Sango is regarded to be the deity in custodianship of lightning and storms but actually is the very deity of ‘Life Force’ itself and the Sango Festival is one of the major festivals on the Egbe’s annual Festival calendar.

Sango is the lord of the dance with Oranfe being a primordial deity related to volcanic properties as well as storm and elemental forces.

Each year the Festival celebrates life, environmental balance, social and spiritual equality and justice via the ethos of the Festival.

Categories: Entertainment News

Challenging local cocoa market

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 23:01

After 26 years in the cocoa business, Harryman “Clutch” Chattergoon has put his best foot forward and decided to tackle the local market with four products that add value to the locally grown beans.

Chattergoon made the bold move in late 2017 to offer to consumers two cocoa-based beverage mixtures, a ground and roasted organic coffee, and a 70 per cent dark chocolate bar.

He said these products are doing well at supermarkets in south and central Trinidad and he is hoping to enter into arrangements with supermarkets in the north and east of T&T.

His products are being sold under the Tabaquite Cocoa Fermentary label, a brand that he started building over two decades ago when he entered the industry. Chattergoon said the facility was opened 26 years ago to provide a service as a cocoa and coffee agent under the then Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board of T&T.

Beans for the fermentary are collected from catchment areas encompassing Tabaquite, Flanagin Town, Mamoral, Gran Couva, Brasso, Rio Claro in Central and from the southern peninsula at a cocoa depot in Cedros.

In 2002, Chattergoon was one of five individuals who was granted a fermentary license to purchase and process wet cocoa.

Chattergoon showed Guardian Media his fermenting operation where wet beans are fermented in cedar boxes that are covered with banana leaves and jute bags to develop the flavour.

The fermentary is also equipped with artificial dryers that can run all day to ensure that the beans are dried evenly and properly.

In doing so Chattergoon does not have to worry about having the proverbial cocoa in the sun since all drying takes place indoors. The beans for export are packed in jute bags and filled into shipping containers.

In 2015, Chattergoon started to export fine flavour cocoa to Germany, Switzerland and Holland. In that year his operations brought home two international cocoa awards for beans from the Tabaquite and Cedros areas.

Chattergoon has started to export beans to China and the United States. His total exports have crossed an annual figure of 120 tonnes.

Chattergoon said the chocolate bar is named after his son, 15-yearold son Jeevan, who did a chocolate making course eight months ago. Chatergoon said the family has since invested in new equipment to keep up with the demands of the market.

This includes a machine to produce 300 chocolate bars a day.

Chattergoon said Jeevan is very much involved in the business. He said: “Jeevan may be the youngest chocolatier in T&T. He has an interest, having grown up in the industry. We decided to invest in equipment to produce high quality 70 per cent dark chocolate bars.

These bars retail for around $20 which is quite affordable when compared to other similar brands. We want to give people value for their money and an excellent product.”

Chattergoon said the industry has a lot of scope for young people. He said “young people should seriously consider agriculture as a career choice and look at it from a wider economic perspective.”

Chattergoon said his next product would be cocoa nibs for use in cake making.

Categories: Entertainment News

Take dad down the islands on Labour Day

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:57

Chacachacare Island will be the Labour Day destination of a family hike organised by Island Hikers on the Tuesday holiday. Rated an easy two in terms of difficulty, hikers are requested to assemble at 7 am at KFC Carpark, Westmall for the boarding of the vessel at La Soufriere (next to Heliport), on Western Main Road, Chaguaramas.

Chacachacare Island, located eight miles east from the Venezuelan mainland, is a place of historical significance.

The Island first discovered by Christopher Columbus on August 12, 1498 and called El Caracol (the Snail) because of its angular shape, is the largest and most westerly of the five Boca Islands. The five are Centipede, Gaspar Grande, Monos, Huevos, and Chacachacare.

In earlier times, cotton cultivated on the island and today the road to the Lighthouse there is some surviving plants which still blossom. It is an island to escape to from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a peaceful day at the beach.

In 1813, Simon Bolivar and Santiago Marino used the island as a battle station in the liberation of Venezuela from Spanish Rule. In earlier times whales populated the Gulf of Paria and the Caribbean Sea. In 1820, there was a Whaling Station at Chacachacare. The Boca Light House built in 1870 on the highest part on the island at Morne Cabresse (825feet), remains in operation today.

In 1924, a Leprosarium was constructed to house 500 patients with its hospital wards placed at Cocos and Saunders Bay. The Dominican Nuns, who took care of the patients, built a convent and church at La Chappelle’s Bay. Many of the nuns, while taking care of the patients, contracted the disease and died. In the cemetery grounds of the Nunnery, their tombstones still exist. It is a reminder of their dedication to serving others.

It was like a death sentence, for a patient to be sent to the island. They were taken away from their families some never to return to the outside world. At Rust Bay, there was the Doctor’s House and at Blummer’s Bay the Nurse’s Quarters. During this period, the island was busy with activity and there was electricity. The patients had a cinema for recreation, and each religion had a house to worship. In 1984, with a cure for Hansen disease, the place became abandoned, and all left today are the ruins.

The boat ride to the Island will take 40 minutes, and the walk from the jetty to the Light House is approximately 35 minutes. Visible at the summit there are panoramic views of the Venezuelan mainland. On the return from the lighthouse, there is the option to visit the Nunnery and located on the eastern end of the Island there is a Salt Pond at Bandu Su Bay. For those wishing to relax there is the option to spend the time at La Tinta and Perruquier Bay.

For more details contact Marcia (490 2421); Mario (749 2956); or, Jamal (761 1889), or visit www.islandhikers.com

Categories: Entertainment News

Juncture ends with talk shop

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:55

Artists Donna Tull and Tremayne Frauenfelder hosted the opening of their exhibition, Juncture, on May 11 at the Art Society of T&T, located at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and St Vincent Boulevard, Federation Park.

Tull’s work consisted of surface designs using paint on pottery, acrylics on canvas and stippling with pen which is the technique of using dots to create images.

She also used elements of typography, patterns and indigenous writing scripts in her work.

Frauenfelder displayed a variety of miniatures and dioramas on the evening. He used clay, cardboard, joint compound and gypsum mud to create the colonial style houses. Attending the exhibition were Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, German ambassador Michael Holger and his wife Hilary, Lonsdale Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Ken Attale, Tull’s mother Leonora Tull and relatives of Freuenfelder.

The exhibition ended yesterday with an artist talk shop and reception at the Art Society of T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

T&T dancers stun Martinique

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:50

Founded by the late Beryl Mc Burnie in 1947, the Board and management of The Little Carib Theatre is ensuring that its 70th anniversary is a bumper one. A fortnight ago, the iconic performing space showcased its Carib Dance (CD) company in a spectacular performance, choreographed by Andre Largen.

Last weekend, CD performed at Bele Djouba in Martinique, an event which happens every two years. T&T and St Lucia were guest performers.

The nucleus of CD that travelled to Martinique was supplemented by performers from Tobago to enable T&T to be fully represented as a joint representation. As this was a joint venture, there were three female dancers from Tobago as well as the three drummers joining the five dancers from CD.

Guest performers each gave 25-minute performances on two nights, Friday and Sunday. During our contingent’s performance they did what is called ‘the Trinidad and Tobago Bele, done by our eight dance ambassadors. Its choreography included the Bele reel, jig and Congo Bele by the Tobago dancers; Bele by CD’s male dancers; and, the grand Bele danced by all. On Sunday, the combined troupe did the Bele yard honouring the ancestors.

Last Friday, the contingent did a workshop for school children where over 100 children attended.

On Saturday, the T&T gave a workshop for adults which was packed to capacity and attended one on Sunday given by Martiniquan dancers. Demonstrating our unique dance were choreographers Deon Baptiste and Karen Berkeley-Charles.

A CD spokesperson told T&T Guardian on the contingent’s tour: “All in all it was a resounding success and left attendees wanting more. We have been invited back again so we might return in two years. The Martiniquans also extended an invitation for us to return sooner, on holiday.”

CD’s next big outing is the 51st World Congress on dance research, to be held in Greece on July 4– 9. There they will perform Sancoche (the steelband piece, to the music of Pamberi Steel Orchestra) and Hosanna, both of which performed to raves at the recent Carib Dance: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of The Little Carib Theatre fund-raising production.

In Greece, the Company will also be presenting a paper at the World Congress of Dance Research, as well as teaching a series of workshops on folk dancing.

CD choreographer Andre Largen, who is ably assisted by rehearsal director Hazel Franco, said in a recent interview about the performances in Grece: “We are showing two different styles because we are using the music of Andre Tanker and Pamberi Steel Orchestra, so we’ll be using their music.”

As The Little Carib Theatre continued its milestone anniversary and, in commemoration of Indian Heritage Month, the Theatre staged its Arrival Day Concert last Monday.

That evening of Classical Indian Culture featured Nrityanjali Dance Theatre dame Mondira Balkaransingh and dancers, Susan Mohip and her dancers and sitarist Sharda Patasar

More info

The Little Carib Theatre was formally opened in November 1948. The foundation stone was laid by Paul Robeson, who at the time was visiting Trinidad, and whom the founder Beryl McBurnie had met in New York.

By the 1960s, the work of the Little Carib Dance Company had been recognised and celebrated overseas, having performed at such events as the Caribbean Festival of Arts in Puerto Rico in 1952, the Jamaica Tercentenary Celebrations in 1955 and the opening of the Federal Parliament of Toronto in April 1958. In the 1960s the Little Carib building had to be closed down and was re-built in three years.

Many of the plays of Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott were first staged at the Little Carib Theatre, where he held weekly theatre workshops as founding director, from 1959 to 1971, of what became the Trinidad Theatre Workshop.

Categories: Entertainment News

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