Entertainment News

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Fitting tribute to a true patriot

Lifestyle - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 00:01

The audience was larger but some patrons are saying that last month’s Tribute to a Patriot concert, hosted last month by the South Central Zone of Tuco, at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (Sapa) for ailing calypsonian De Original De Fosto Himself, was a better production than the one staged by Tuco North Zone last Wednesday night. The Murchison Brown Auditorium of the Port of Spain City Hall was packed to capacity for the occasion, attended by Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds, and the show was a well run production, a fundraiser deserving of the veteran composer/musician/calypsonian.

Following the national anthem and an opening prayer by North Zone secretary Shirlaine Hendrickson, proceedings ran smoothly, Hendrickson partnered in hosting the programme by Tuco East Zone resident emcee Godfrey Pierre. While Hendrickson was endearing, easily communicating with patrons, Pierre was at his hilarious best.

The show started promptly at its advertised 8 pm start, the first performer being Anthony Johnson, rendering the thoughtprovoking Choices, a ditty which prompted Pierre to call him back for an extra stanza of the well crafted calypso. East Zone Kaiso Karavan stalwart Dirty Curty was up next and he surprised most by not performing his very popular Diggy Dig, opting instead to cover Trinidad Rio’s Scrunting Kaisonian.

Well known “pan calypso” female calypsonian Eunice Peters, now the mother of an eight-yearold daughter, sang Failure is no an option and she too was encored.

Up next, veteran Cardinal, always a crowd-pleaser, was just as entertaining as he was when he sang at Calypso Spektakula 40 years ago, singing the late Spoiler’s Talking Backwards.

One of the night’s outstanding performances came from Laventille bard Dee Diamond singing his poignant Eyes on the Hill. Citing Laventille Hill as the nation’s prime real estate, Diamond opined that land developers and real estate tycoons of high valued western suburbs have designs to eventually obtain the Hill, the piece of real estate “with the best view of the nation’s capital.”

LA-based calypsonian Xposer had his audience in his pocket when he sang Ah too old fuh dat. He was followed by Bunny B whose performance many said was the best for the night.

A member of the Kaiso House cast, Bunny B received three encores for his extremely funny My Crystal Ball, a song which “predicts” the lack of energy of today’s popular soca singers when they turn age 80 and are asked to perform their current soca hits.

Explainer, Brian London, Shirlaine Hendrickson, and her father All Rounder rounded off the programme’s first half.

Each was spot on in their delivery and interaction with the audience, but London, encored for his reprise of Black Stalin’s We can make it if we try, returned to treat all to a medley of popular spirituals, a set which had patrons singing at the top of their voices. De Fosto, visibly smaller in stature, appropriately attired in the national colours, addressed the audience, his voice raspy at times. He profusely thanked patrons and distributed copies of some of his numerous CDs, aided by Hendrickson.

An icon of the arts if ever there was one, De Fosto, though never winning a major calypso title, has been a preferred performer for political parties at election time, has guided many a young, aspiring calypsonian and his songs have been among the most popular performed by steelbands at the annual Panorama competition.

Karen Eccles resumed the programme after intermission, rendering a gospel item. The second half of the show also included a lively extempore session between North Zone chairman Contender, Black Sage, Lingo and Dion Diaz.

Of course, Minister Hinds came in for a bit of picong on his recent post-flood experience with Beetham Estate residents.

The show’s second half also saw performances by former national calypso monarch Duane O’Connor, Twiggy, Bally and Johnny King. 

Musical accompaniment was tight by Cummings & D Wailers, led by Len Cummings, a musician who is said to have “walked out of the police service to devote his life to music.” Equally good at their night’s work were seasoned chorus singers Ramona and Cathy.
This production was a fitting tribute to De Fosto, one of calypso’s most prolific composers and, while a lot more of his calypso brothers and sisters have been noticably absent from both benefits held for him, even more noticable has been the absence of politicians and sporting personalities, citizens he has composed about and immortalised in song.

Categories: Entertainment News

12 Caribbean Film Mart finalists announced

Lifestyle - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:32

The 12 successful applicants for the third Caribbean Film Mart, sponsored by BP Trinidad and Tobago have been announced.

The Caribbean Film Mart, which will be held on September 22 and 23 during the trinidad+tobago film festival, seeks to foster relationships between T+T filmmakers and the international film industry, by stimulating and facilitating dialogue and sharing of expertise.

The selected filmmakers will meet one-on-one with international film professionals specialising in production and distribution.

The Mart will include presentations on international appeal and viability of local films and funding including co-productions.

Robert Maylor, producer of Sprinter, together with director Storm Saulter who work-shopped his project at CFM 2015, will present a case study.

Filmmakers will also get an opportunity to ‘pitch’ their project to an international panel of judges.

The winner will be awarded a cash prize of $75,000 sponsored by BP Trinidad and Tobago.

A second prize of a year’s mentorship by international industry expert Joanne Butcher will also be awarded.

These winners will be announced at the ttff’s awards ceremony on September 25.

The successful participants and their projects are:

Dance the Cocoa – Juliette McCawley
Mas Slaughter – Christopher Din Chong
The Jaguar – Ryan Khan
Virus – Michael Rochford
Steel – Glenford Adams
Igual Paradise – Shea Best
Wishing for Wings – Kim Johnson
Silk Road – Janine – Mendes-Franco
Trinidad’s Missing – Reynald Seydass
Hey Handsome – Roderick Weever
Fairway – Kafi Kareem Farrell
Right and Left – Sonja Dumas

Categories: Entertainment News

Minister gets Rakhi for love and peace

Lifestyle - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:30

Trade and Industry Minister Senator Paula Gopee-Scoon met with Sis Amar Joyti Brahmin, Director of the Raja Yoga Centres across UAE and representatives of the T&T Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga body, Trinidad, at her office, on Tuesday, August, 28.

Sis Amar Joyti Brahmin. who is also a motivator, administrator and inspirational speaker, is currently in Trinidad to commemorate the international festival of Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi). She presented the Trade and Industry Minister with a Rakhi which bestows good wishes, love and peace to the recipient.

The T&T’s Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga group is a Non-Governmental Organisation serving T&T for over 40 years.

Raksha Bandan was observed in T&T last Sunday.

Categories: Entertainment News

Pet Care basics: What you need to know

Lifestyle - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:27

Dogs are the most popular pets in T&T and the lives they lead vary from a pampered member of the family to a neglected burglar-alarm that happens to need a bit of food now and then. Most cruelty to dogs is not deliberate but stems from a lack of recognition of their needs.

1. Your dog needs at least one good meal per day. The amount given should be suitable for the size of the dog and take into account its age and activity level. The meal can consist of dog-chow, cooked or tinned food or a mixture.

2. There must be a water bowl /bucket available to the dog at all times. Put clean water in the container every day and secure the container in a square of bricks, if necessary, to ensure that it cannot be tipped over. When the weather is particularly hot, increase the size of the container so that it is never without water.

3. If the dog lives mainly or totally outside your house, then ensure there is shelter for it. This can be a large, airy dog-kennel or just space in the garage/carport where there is room for the dog to lie down and a mat for it to lie on.

If you use a kennel, the dog should not be locked inside except for brief periods, such as when you have workmen or visitors, or when there is thunder or fireworks are being let off. The same applies to chaining the dog.

It should not be chained for long periods of time and never chained where it will be in the sun at any time. If your property is properly fenced and gated, it is not necessary to chain or tie your dog constantly. It will be a better watchdog if it can run around and protect all your property.

4. Try not to leave your dog alone for hours on end. It is a pack animal and needs companionship. If you need to be away from home for much of each day, consider getting two dogs as companions for each other. Spend some time with your dog/dogs at the end of the day . Take a walk together as often as possible—it will be good for you all.

5. Other pets. If you prefer cats, there are some things you need to know about looking after them. Cats need to have a water bowl on hand all the times and food of the right kind and in the right amount, every day.

Cats are nibblers, so it is useful to leave some chow out for them at all times.

You may buy a special bed for them but it is not necessary. They will be quite satisfied with your bed, the sofa, the top of the wardrobe, wherever.

6. Both cats and dogs need to be vaccinated against specific diseases when young and to receive booster shots annually , or on the advice of a veterinarian.

7. The pets should be spayed or neutered at a young age, both to prevent unwanted litters and to reduce the incidence of certain cancers.

8. If you prefer parrots, budgerigars, hamsters, guinea pigs etc. do some research before you buy your pet. Get to know what living conditions suit it best and learn what food it needs and when.

Remember, your pet is a living being that can be happy, sad, in pain, afraid or lonely. It all depends on you.

(Courtesy The Animal Welfare Network)

Categories: Entertainment News

Parang season begins tonight

Lifestyle - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:23

The National Parang Association of T&T (NPATT) is set to strum in the 2018 Parang Festival with a pre-launch jingle competition at their Hollis Avenue, Arima headquarters, tonight.

NPATT president Alicia Jaggasar said this year’s festival, which officially launches on September 29 and runs until January 5, 2019, was themed From Nazareth to Bethlehem and will feature community events across the country in the build up to Christmas 2018.

“Parang Festival is the premier Parang event for all audiences, investors and stakeholders. Our goal is to rejuvenate a holistic demand and interest in Parang music.

The festival will serve as a preservation and sustainable development initiative of the Parang art form,” Jaggasar said of the Festival.

The newly-appointed Parang Association head said a lucrative and self-sustaining parang festival product has a viable contribution to make to the local economy. Jaggasar said her newly appointed team, which includes Vice President Valarie Marcano, Secretary Roxanne Marcano, Assistant Secretary Arlene La Vaughn and PRO Cassell George, is working hard to make this a reality.

“The parang festival product can contribute to the development of Trinidad and Tobago’s economic landscape within the creative and cultural industries. The Festival will feature several main attractions as we pursue to rejuvenate the Parang brand by remembering our roots, emphasising our purpose and generating perspectives,” she said.

Parang History Month

Jaggasar said the 2018 edition of the festival will also feature the inaugural staging of Parang History Month.

“Parang History Month begins this month with a pre-launch fund-raiser on Saturday (today) at our headquarters. We want to invite everyone to come out, be entertained and most importantly support the art form,” she said.

The Los Alumnos de San Juan lead singer said the NPATT will also be partnering with MovieTowne’s Fiesta Plaza to stage a series of concerts featuring different Parang bands in Port of Spain every Wednesday in September. On Sundays the road show will move to C3 Centre in San Fernando, she said.

The NPATT will also stage the National Junior Parang Festival Competition at the Preysal Secondary on November 17 and 18. Community shows are also carded at churches, community centres and recreation grounds around the country. (See attached calendar)

“Last year, 60 schools—35 primary and 25 secondary, approximately 1,000 children participated in this developmental heritage conserving affair. There has been significant incremental growth in the number of schools and students participating in the Junior Festival each year.

“The Junior Festival gives our nation’s youth an early introduction to a foreign language via a powerful healthy patriotic music conduit. With funding aid, NPATT seeks to host year-round workshops and offer technical assistance to the Parang programmes at schools nationwide,” Jaggasar said.

PARANG SEASON 2018

September 1: Launch of Parang History Month; Jingle Competition — Npatt Headquarters, Arima - 8 pm.
September 5, 12, 19 and 26: Parang Concert Series — Fiesta Plaza, MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain
September 29: Nazareth Parang Launch and High Mass — Velodrome, Arima
October 13: Sumaria Parang — San Rafael Parish Hall
October 27: Arimathea Parang — Maracas St Joseph Community Centre
November 10: Bethel Parang — Roundabout, Santa Cruz
November 17: Junior Parang competition — Preysal Secondary School
November 18: Junior Parang competition — Preysal Secondary School
November 24: Jerusalem Parang — CAL Skiffle Pan Theatre, Coffee Street, San Fernando
December 8: Bethany Parang — Surrey Village Recreation Ground, Lopinot
December 15: Bethelem Parang — Velodrome, Arima
January 5: Parang Season Finale (Le Rois) — Holly B Promenade, Arima

Categories: Entertainment News

Changing the conversation with Acres of Joy

Lifestyle - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 02:18

It was impossible for social activist/gospel artiste, Sharon Fraser, and her crew to have packed the programme any more when the Acres of Joy Foundation hosted its first Health Cultural Fair and Flea Market at the Evergreen Savannah in Carapo last Saturday.

Staged near a well-known crime “hotspot” in east Trinidad, the event focused on desired lifestyle changes, particularly among the youth, on which the foundation has focused during its 13 years of existence.

Under a blazing sun and witnessed by an audience comprising members of the community and participating organisations, entertainment and inspirational messages came from calypsonians Winston “Ah O Kay” Brown and Lasana, the Carapo and St James Police Youth Clubs, Elite Drummers, Moko Jumbies, Ignited Dancers, Fraser herself and others.

Sgt Charlina James, who heads the Carapo Police Youth Club spoke passionately about a rallying of social forces around young people and their future. She told T&T Guardian the group has been making strides since its establishment ten years ago, but “a home” for the Club was badly needed as a fixed rallying point for the growing number of young people under its umbrella.

The Club has been able to take its talent overseas to join with groups in Barbados and Grenada and there are plans to expand its activities. “We are here to engage the youths and to make a difference in the community, and I believe we are,” she said.

“We try to encourage the children to think differently,” James said, “the challenge though is when they leave us, they go back to their parents and back to their communities and to some of the things we are working to change.”

National awardee police constable, Derrick Sharbodie, who has headed the St James Police Youth Club since its formation in 1992, was at hand with his band of young dramatists, drummers and dancers.

“The biggest challenge we face,” he told T&T Guardian, “are delinquent parents.” His argument is that parental involvement is “absolutely compulsory” for efforts such as the police youth clubs to become “agents of change.”

The Chaconia Silver Medal holder said in an effort to address parental delinquency, the club has established a Parents Council and visits the homes of its members to ensure that parents and guardians are engaged in the programmes being offered “and they are educated about their role.”

He lamented the fact that the complementary concept of community policing had suffered a setback when a former police commissioner declared that “all police officers are community police.”

“Since then we had to mark time and we couldn’t go in and the dynamics of community policing died,” Sharbodie said. “It was when (immediate past commissioner) Mr Stephen Williams came back, he did an excellent job in promoting community policing and police youth clubs.”

As the St James Club prepared for its performances, members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) took turns under a tent eager to share information with T&T Guardian on their activities in the region. “Kamal,” a 62-year-old farmer, said his wife and family left him when his drinking problem escalated.

“I tried everything, but it was the 12-step programme of Alcoholics Anonymous that did it,” Kamal said. He heads a public information unit which visits schools and other public institutions to spread the AA word.

For “Roland,” a retired 68-year-old heating/air condition technician from Tacarigua, who once faced an attempted murder charge before the alleged victim withdrew, alcohol is “the gateway drug” that led to abuse of narcotics and a programme with Narcotics Anonymous. He eventually followed the AA programme “because drugs weren’t my problem, my problem was the alcohol.”

“Stephen,” a retired 61-year-old printer, said he did not think he had a problem until AA visited his workplace. “From listening to them, I recognised I had a problem with alcohol,” he said.

“I didn’t have to be the person mopping a drink from the bar. As long as I had lost the ability to control my drinking meant that I had a problem with alcohol.”

“At the end of the day I was not aware that I had that problem,” he said. “I had to make amends with my family … I had to admit that I was suffering from a disease called alcoholism.”

In the booth next to the AA table was a cancer awareness demonstration by the Just Because Foundation on the effects of cigarette smoking and a food stall with corn soup and snacks opposite. Not far away was a tent under which school accessories, jewellery and natural body products were sold.

The Congress of the People (COP) Youth Arm occupied another tent promoting an agricultural initiative involving young people, in the presence of COP leader, Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan.

Fraser, who functions as Acres of Joy executive director, said the objective of the exercise was to “change the conversation” about young people and community life in the country into a representation of the positive developments in society.

It was a hot day with a packed agenda and the tall order of transforming troubled communities through important work with the young generation. Fraser and company know it will not be an easy task.

Categories: Entertainment News

Calypso History Month in October

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:04

The month of October will be a very hectic one for calypsonians as Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (Tuco), under the chairmanship of Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance), will be hosting Calypso History Month.

For the last 16 years, Tuco has been hosting a thanksgiving service as its membership gives thanks and praise for the contribution made by pioneers and icons who played an integral role in the socio-cultural development of a Caribbean literary and oral tradition and the propagation and growth of the calypso art form.

This year’s thanksgiving service will be presented at the VIP Lounge of the Queens Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, under the Calypso History Month’s theme—25th Silver Jubilee! 25 years have gone…how you feel?

The Thanksgiving will be held on Thursday, September 27, from 5 pm to 9 pm.

Tuco is extending invitations to all religious bodies as well as calypsonians who will perform spiritually uplifting calypsoes.

Tuco will officially launch Calypso History Month on September 13 at the VIP Lounge, also the venue for a fund-raising bingo on Republic Day (September 24), at 5.30 pm.

Lovers of calypso music can expect a slew of exciting events at Q’s Place on Ariapita Avenue and the newly reopened Kaiso Blues Cafe at 1D Wrightson Road. Those venues are regarded as two prestige calypso showplaces.

The month will also feature several other events, including Calypso on the Boardwalk in Carenage on October 3, and the much loved 1,2,3, Calypso in Yuh Pweffen, at Port-of-Spain City Hall, on October 10.

South Trinidad will not be left out and the Tuco South/Central Zone will spearhead Calypso Down Memory Lane on October 27 at City Hall, San Fernando.

Categories: Entertainment News

Creative talent flows at Zante theatre arts camp

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:02

The Indigenous Creative Arts Network’s (ICAN) Zante Carnival & Theatre Arts Camp 2018 ended with a theatrical presentation on August 25.

The play, titled Tyrell and Keisha Learn A Lesson, was written by Eintou Pearl Springer.

Camp Director Dara Healey said the children went through three weeks of learning and exploration while at the camp, which ran from August 6 to 24, at 63 Carlos Street, Woodbrook. She said the team got good feedback from the children themselves as well as their parents and families. Healey said the camp had been opened to children from vulnerable communities and they were gratified at the turnout.

Coordinator and Artistic Director Afi Ford-Hopson said this was her first time working with Zante and, “it was quite interesting to see a varied number of personalities and creativity and creative minds come together to create this production.

“It was a little bit challenging at first because some of the children displayed a lot of discipline issues, which we had to take a lot of time out of our usual schedule to treat with, but all in all it was quite enlightening and a learning experience for me.”

A Pierrot Grenade told the story of Tyrell and Keisha, a brother and sister who wanted to participate in Carnival, but were told to stay home until their parents could go with them, as their mother had gone to the hospital to visit their grandmother and their father had to work. Tyrell convinces Keisha to leave the house to participate in the parade, where they meet blue devils, a Midnight Robber and Dame Lorraines. Tyrell abandons Keisha to play in a steelband, even as she begs him to return home, and she is then kidnapped by the blue devils.

When Tyrell returns home, he is greeted by his worried parents and is aghast to find out that Keisha has not returned home. The family recruits the aid of the local stickfighters, who search the community until they find the house where the devils are located. The bois men fight the blue devils, liberate Keisha and return her to her anxious family.

The whole community celebrates at her safe return and Tyrell apologises for leaving her behind.

In addition to elements of traditional mas including blue devils, the Pierrot Grenade, Midnight Robber, Dames Lorraine and stickfighters, the story also mentioned the history of T&T, cultural festivals, and respect for elders. The play can be found in Springer’s recently released collection of plays, Survivor.

Ford-Hopson said the children were at first quite reserved about learning the play as they were unfamiliar with the stories and the characters, but they wanted to learn more. She said: “It was a camp that was geared towards opening up their insights into our folklore and our Carnival characters and this really showed in the end in the production because they really took to it.

“We started seeing the children take the initiative of the characters that they want to play, the character that they want to project and the stories that they want to be told.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Lady speaks the blues

Entertainment - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 06:00

Spoken word poet and artiste Arielle John’s first solo concert, Bout Blue, was a breathtaking mixture of elements which came together to examine the poet’s relationship with the colour blue. The show was the first of the Atlantic Future Series, a collaboration between the Little Carib Theatre and the 2 Cents Movement.

With pre-show performances by Arianna Herbert, Majeed Karim, Javaughn Forde and Deneka Thomas, with MC Derron Sandy, the show was a prime expression of the growth the Spoken Word genre continues to experience in T&T.

John’s one-woman show incorporated drums, dance, movement, music and voiceovers. Her pieces included odes to the ancestors, an exploration of her name and her relationship with her parents, elements of culture and religion including stickfighting, Kambule, blue devils, Kali, Yemanja and the Virgin Mary.

The moods engendered in the audience ranged from sombre when she spoke about the loss of a child to laughter when she appealed to the Virgin Mary to speak to her son about lifting the curse of Eve. John said her experience of a 3Canal concert at age 15 introduced her to a consciousness of resistance, describing being dumbfounded at seeing the Prime Minister’s wife applauding a performance of Salt. The work was heartfelt and left the audience feeling touched.

In her artiste’s talk immediately following the show, John saluted her parents, as she said “they always get all kinds of questions because I’m the child who’s putting their business out in the road, but my father is also a really lovely preacher who also uses my name for exemplary things when he’s preaching.”

John said her father had been diagnosed with cancer while she was studying abroad and while she wasn’t around to help her family deal with it, “it has taught me how to value life and to take life a little more seriously and to make the best use of my time that I have, when I am able-bodied, when I am in full health, etc. In terms of my personality, it has given me a greater appreciation for life, time and physical ability and in terms of spirituality, it took me up a level to learn how to trust more and to have bigger faith.”

The talented artiste said it can be dangerous for a Spoken Word artiste to be vulnerable on stage if they have not worked through the necessary emotional hurdles or done a certain level of healing work. “If you throw that up on a stage, it doesn’t really help you. I think it pushes the trauma a little deeper and a little further, it just becomes a shared trauma.

“But for me, in terms of making choices around the stories that I choose to tell, these would have been things that I would have worked through. I would have processed, and then I ask who are the people that have had similar experiences in my space who can benefit from my story, whether it’s one of resilience or looks at healing or looks at how we can move out from a place of trauma?”

John said studying abroad was critical in developing her drive to do more spoken word theatre and also facilitating younger people to develop this type of work. She said independent shows such are these are important in the evolution of Spoken Word here in T&T, where currently the Slam form is predominant. She said: “That’s for me one of the motives behind the Atlantic Future Series idea.

“Slam poetry has its place in T&T culturally; we’ve found a real incubator space for it but there are also other different types of poetry that exist and there are other ways of storytelling within the same art form that I think we could make use of and develop further, just as the Slam scene has developed.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Dragon Boys remain Tassarama champs

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 05:58

FCB Dragon Boys has retained the National Tassarama crown for the second straight year.

The band, which hails from Thompson Trace, Brothers Road, New Grant, in South Trinidad, took home the title last Saturday night at the Gilbert Park, Couva, challenged by 19 rivals. Dragon Boys first won this coveted title in 2014 and again in 2017.

Nankissor Rampartap, who plays the cutter drum, said the band was formed in 1988 and started entering competitions in 1992.

The family band consists of nine members of the Rampartap clan. In addition to Nankissor, members are Ramlal, Rondel and Adesh (cutter); Rajiv, Dipchand and Rajnindra (bass); Ryan (Jhange); and, Doland (jhange).

All bands were required to play five tassa hands including a creative piece. Dragon Boys played in the 17th position and opened its ten-minute performance with the Tekoura hand.

This was followed by the Classical Ghazal, Dingolay, Calypso and the creative piece entitled Madhurtaal.

Placing second was Qualitech Sanjay Boys which also won the People’s Choice award.

Qualitech Sanjay Boys also placed second last year. First-time entrant to the competition, F5 Tassa Drummers of Princes Town, led by Bridgedeo Mandeo, secured third spot.

The junior competition was also won for the second straight year by the youthful players of Moving Stars Tassa Band, followed in second and third places by Demolition Youths Tassa Band and D’Evolution Tassa Band, respectively.

A total of $100,000 in cash and prizes will be given to the winners.

Saturday’s programme, fielding 20 senior bands and six junior bands, commenced at 5 pm with an opening dance from the Vikash School of Dance led by Mahindra Rampersad and Erica Caton. Proceedings came to an end around 2 am on Sunday morning with a vocal presentation from Couva chutney star Anthony Batson.

The free event attracted hundreds of patrons who had a good time dancing to the Tassa drumming and the music of the DJ during the eight-hour production. Patrons also got an eyeful from the dancers that accompanied the various Tassa bands as they gyrated the night away on the big stage, filled with verse and gusto.

Vijai Rai, the president of the Tassa Association of T&T (TATT), said Tassa still struggles to be recognised as the second national instrument of T&T.

He said TATT had done research in India that revealed that is no similar drumming taking place on the sub-continent that can be compared with local Tassa. Rai said Tassa was unique to T&T and was developed in this country and should be given its rightful due.

TATT vice president Wendell Eversley was not apologetic in his address. He bashed the Government, the Opposition and the Tobago House of Assembly for neglecting Tassa.

Eversley said pleas to get airline tickets for the Bao Simba Tassa Band from Tobago to Trinidad for the competition fell on the deaf ears of Caribbean Airlines, the THA and the Ministry of Culture. He said as a result, an excellent band was left out of the competition.

Eversley bashed the Opposition UNC for not highlighting the woes of the TATT at the level of the Lower House. He said government was giving a mere pittance to the competition and failing to recognise the significant role and importance of Tassa in T&T’s cultural development.

Categories: Entertainment News

Diatonic Pan Institute—paving the way for the national instrument

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 06:53

Emerging from an era of notorious steelband violence and existing in epoch of youth criminality and violence, there is a beacon of hope for the youth of Siparia and south Trinidad. Steelband visionary and former Pan Trinbago vice president Keith Byer has formed the Diatonic Pan Institute (DPI), an entity with roots in Siparia Deltones Steel Orchestra and one which is quickly placing T&T youth on the global cultural landscape.

The DPI is a registered non-profit organisation, a registered community-based organisation with the Ministry of Community Development, and registered with the National Registry of Artist and Cultural workers with the Ministry of Culture. DPI actually hails from Mary Street, Siparia.

“Diatonic was formed eight years ago and in this short time has performed at functions throughout T&T and made multiple tours,” said PRO Janelle Parris.

“In 2011, the band visited five cities in Indiana, USA, and was instrumental in the formation of both an Indiana Community Band and an Indiana Wesleyan University Steelband Ensemble. Their efforts was so appreciated that the Governor of Indiana proclaimed the week of their visit Pan Appreciation Week and the Mayor of Indianapolis gave them the Mayoral Certification of Appreciation.”

“In 2014, Diatonic made two tours, one being the National Independence Committee of the St Vincent & the Grenadines inviting Diatonic to its 35th anniversary of Independence celebrations. Diatonic also represented T&T at the Folkmoot USA International Festival held in Waynesville, North Carolina.

“Their performances were so appreciated that the Mayor of Waynesville, after previously denying the Festival funding, changed his mind after he saw Diatonic’s performance. This action was published as headline news on the Waynesville Daily Newspaper. In addition, Diatonic was proclaimed Honorary Citizens of Waynesville North Carolina by the Mayor.”

The North Carolina Festival was attended by seven countries (Russia, Romania, Turkey, Colombia, Hawaii, Taiwan and of course Diatonic from T&T) three of those countries invited DPI to visit, one of them being Taiwan.Coming out of those invitations, DPI represented T&T in Taiwan for the period June 30–July 21 in the Yilan International Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival. This festival is a celebration of the world’s cultural heritage through folk music and dance.

“In addition to performing at the International Festival in Taiwan,” said Parris, “Diatonic entered into an agreement with the Taiwan Ministry of Culture to do workshops and establish a steelband in Taiwan.

“The festival was held in the outdoor stage of the Dong-shang River Chin-shui Park and the Circle stage of the Dong-shang River Chin-shui Park.

“Performing at the 2017 Festival with Diatonic were groups from Kyrgyz Republic, Indonesia, Hungary, Phillippines, Japan, USA, Mexico, Croatia, South Africa, Poland, El Salvador, Australia, Russia, Thailand, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Korea.”

Other achievements

• In 2011, DPI partnered with the European Union to stage two Conferences (Port-of-Spain and Siparia) entitled Culture and Sports, a tool for Social Transformation. Representatives from secondary and primary schools; the business community; mas, calypso and steelpan fraternity, the protective services and members of the community participated in this event.

• DPI launched its first double Christmas CD entitled a Diatonic Pantastic Christmas in 2012

• The Pan Institute focuses on youth development and runs the following:

1. A music literacy programme for the players and members of the community. At present most players are qualified Grade 4 musicians with the junior players spanning from grades 1–3.

2. An annual pan camp for children five–12 years during the July–August vacation.

3. A pre-secondary school pan education programme approved by the Ministry of Education. After SEA students are afforded an opportunity to learn the steelpan and perform at their school graduation. Five schools have benefited in the area. One school is given an opportunity annual.

• In 2014, Diatonic Pan Institute ran a TV series entitled Pankalang. It was aired every Sunday for 14 weeks on the Caribbean Communications Network CCN TV6. The TV series focused on community steelbands throughout T&T.

• The members of the steel orchestra manage the popular Diatonic Steel in Motion, Single Pan Competition, which is held annually in Siparia on the occasion of the Festival of La Divina Pastora (Siparia Fete).

Also on this occasion, DPI produces its annual community magazine, which highlights persons who have contributed to the community. This magazine is distributed free of charge to the community, the Caribbean and parts of the USA.

• While the orchestra does not participate in Panorama, it participated and won the Nestle Kit Kat I Can Play Music competition in 2012 and took part in its first competition as an orchestra in 2013 in Pan Trinbago’s Pan is Beautiful XII, and was a finalist in that competition.

Categories: Entertainment News

How do we talk to someone about Alta?

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 06:50

Alta student registration is only five days away. Student registration will take place all over the country on September 4-5. The Adult Literacy Tutors Association (Alta) holds registration for its free adult literacy classes at public libraries and other venues across T&T on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of September. It is held during that week in honour of World Literacy Day which would be celebrated on September 8.

During the month of August, Alta has embarked on a campaign to spread the word about its work to persons 16 years and over across the country. This has included various forms for advertising including radio, television and social media which seek to educate the general public on the Alta programme and how it is beneficial to its students. These ads have included recorded testimonials by previous Alta students on various radio stations, interviews of Alta students and tutors as well as the sharing of our latest video on our social media platforms.

While many may be aware of what Alta does, and may even know someone who can benefit from the classes, it may be difficult to broach the topic.

Many people who struggle with literacy are ashamed of their issues and are afraid to seek help for fear that they will be ridiculed. Alta provides a safe space for nonreaders and struggling readers to seek help to reach their literacy goals and improve their lives. Many Alta students speak highly of what the program has done for them. Here is how one student describes her Alta experience.

“I always wanted to learn how to read for myself and not depend on my children to help me.Since I started Alta classes I am now able to full out my own forms and also order online for myself without asking any one to help me. I feel so good about myself I am more confident. I am coming to Alta a year and five months now. The tutors are so kind and helpful they make learning so easy and fun for me. I am so happy now that I am an ALTA student.”

Spread the word about Alta!

Call us at 621-5708 for more information and check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA.

More info

If you know an adult that is struggling and can benefit from our classes, nencourage them to overcome their fears and give Alta a chance.

REGISTRATION DETAILS: WHEN:

September 4-5, from 9 am to 6 pm WHERE: Alta uses 12 public librariesm and four other venues to host registration including
LIBRARIES: Port-of-Spain, San Juan, Tunapuna, Arima, Sangre Grande, haguanas, Couva, San Fernando, Princes Town, Point Fortin, Siparia, Mayaro.

OTHER VENUES: Brighton AC School, La Brea, Shiva Boys’ Hindu College (Penal), Warrenville Regional Complex, Alta San Fernando Office, and, at our newest venue, 18 Cedar Hill Road, Claxton Bay.

WHAT TO BRING: Walk with a form of ID.

Categories: Entertainment News

Cutting style and supporting barber/beauty businesses

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/30/2018 - 06:46

The eagerly anticipated battle of barbers and hair stylists took place last Sunday, at the Centre of Excellence. Event producer Barataria Barbershop KJ’s Quality Styles, which has made its mark on the local beauty industry with its annual Barber Battle and Seminar—Cut Yuh Style (CYS) event, has become more inclusive, adding beauty (hair styling) to the lineup of competition and educational seminars.

The 2018 theme, Together As One, aimed to bring together the island’s best in one place to battle for barbering and beauty supremacy. The Cut Yuh Style team hosted a total of 15 participants for this year’s competition.

The main goal of the battle was to create and develop new entrepreneurs in the barber and beauty industry. Outside of the competition, where the best of the best show off their skills and tricks, the event is a space of comradery and space to learn. This year, the barbers were hosted by past competitors including two-time champion, Nicholas May (Ultimate Barbershop).

Participants were taught ways to market and brand themselves and their business, customer service, business skills and tips and tricks of fades, beards and designs. It was noted that barbering can be considered “recession proof” and barbers should take pride in their skills, charge accordingly, communicate with their customers and keep learning.

The beauty stylists were treated with seminars such as using enhancements, making and repairing of dreadlocks, tips and tricks to achieve flawless installations facilitated by Khadija Peters of Locs Creator and Crystal Mc Pherson of Crystal’s Touch.

The CYS team prides itself in youth development and entrepreneurship. Nicholas May of Ultimate Barber Shop was able to acquire his own barber salon in Curepe within the past year, an accomplishment he credits greatly to his winnings; a long awaited dream fully materialised.

Another way to encourage entrepreneurship was through exhibitor booths where businesses were encouraged to display and sell their products and services to both the competitors and attendees. Some exhibitors on board were Basic Hair Care, Body Delights by Renee, Guardian Life and Elegant Yaak.

On Sunday, the full house in attendance was entertained with precision, style and designs to wow. From clean fades to moons and flowers on heads to locs turned into baskets, fans, waterfalls and showdowns stunned both participants and audience to the last second.

The crowd and participants with this year’s installation and winners were awarded marketing and promotion packages from Guardian Media Ltd along with products and items that will enhance their services and shops, such as hair sprays, Brut, Gillette products and clippers from international brand Andis.

Barbers and hair stylists competed in categories such as Most Creative Braids Style; Most Creative Locs Style; Best Freestyle Design; and Fastest Skin Fade.

For more information www.cutyuhstyle.com or please contact Ain Earle, The Fashion Arch [email protected], 771-1583

SEMINAR PANELLISTS
Barber
• Nicholas May - Ultimate Barber
• Ata Francois - Five Star Barber Salon
• Willon Peters - Crispy Clean Cuts
Beauty
• Khadija Peters - Locs Creator
• Crystal McPherson - Crystal’s Touch
COMPETITORS
Categories
Barber - Ten contestants
• Fastest Skin Fade with beard - Winner - Kaleem Mohammed
• Most creative mohawk - Winner - Neron Ramdath
• Best freestyle design - Winner - Neron Ramdath
Overall winner - Neron Ramdath,
2nd place Kaleem Mohammed
Beauty - Five contestants
• Most creative locs style - Winner - Denise Munroe
• Most creative braid style - Winner - Sherry Ann Charles
Overall winner - Denise Munroe, 2nd place Sherry Ann Charles
Judges
Atahliah Samuel, Adrian Leonce, Nicholas May, Crystal Mc Pherson, Ata Francois
Exhibitors
Guardian Life, Basic Hair Care, Angel Boutique, Elegant Yaak, Body delights, SKED, King’s Lounge, Nails by Candy, Hair Braid it, Classy Gents, FCB, Casa de Capelli, Wealthy Minds, Fit Habit Caribbean, DollFace Spa, Solange Hair Designs/Allure Azuri
Sponsors
First Citizens, Gillette, Andis, Brut, KJ’s Quality Style, Keya Marketing, Slam 100.5FM, Vision Music Entertainment, The Fashion Arch, Presny Management, Pure Playerz Entertainment, Chocolate without Milkk, Sked
Owner - KJ’s Quality Styles - Keyv Young
Event coordinator - Sian Cuffy-Young

Categories: Entertainment News

McDonald’s thrills with free family day

Lifestyle - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:53

McDonald’s, Cipriani Boulevard, was transformed into a family fun zone last Friday for its grand Family Day event hosted by popular entertainer Tim Tim.

As the school holidays near a close, children and their families at the event enjoyed the special experience and participated in creative activities such as a mini fishing pond, Minute to Win It, sketch art, face painting, balloon art and games.

The Family Day was free to the public, and patrons revelled in the festive atmosphere with music and tasty meals. McDonald’s regularly hosts activities at its various locations just for children and families, with events in the past year featuring some of the best of T&T’s talent, including Nailah Blackman, Preedy, Rikki Jai, Jonni Majik, and more.

“Our Family Day was a great event that really delighted our wonderful young customers this vacation period,” said Kalifa Duncan, Market Supervisor for McDonald’s T&T.

She added: “At McDonald’s we take pride in creating experiences that everyone in Trinidad and Tobago can enjoy. We have more exciting activities in store, so be on the look-out for the next exciting event.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Speaking out in the face of stigma

Lifestyle - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:51

Whenever I speak about my health challenges, people become discomfited and I have to reassure them that I’ve set aside pride and prejudice and faced myself comfortably with the idea that I could become the voice of those who are fearful/incapable of speaking. My fortitude too, may be well founded, because I know the freedom of spirit from not having to conceal your disability especially since it could “show up” at inopportune times. But understandably, my stance and openness create mixed reactions.

I’m in this journey of advocacy for about two decades having already lived for four decades thriving with mental health diagnoses. This column has already enjoyed six years of educating, sharing testimonials and research.

When I began writing, a veteran editor met me at an event in Laventille and he hugged and kissed me with enthusiasm, as he’s wont to do, complimented my hairdo and my growing good looks and kissed me again. The second kiss was different. I felt it brimming with sympathy. Or it may just be that his hand had done the comforting thing on my back, whichever; it marked the turn in our brief encounter. “You good?” he asked with a cool disquiet. I reassured him that I was “flawsome” —flawed and awesome —and then it came. “You brave, girl. You real brave, oui. I’ve been learning about you in your column. I admire you. To be so frank and open in this place, though?”

I said for me it wasn’t so much bravery as being at peace with my life; that I’d reasoned there’s nothing to fear or lose at this stage, and reassured him if my openness could help someone it’d prove valuable. He took my hand, shaking his head in what seemed a potage of emotions, and bade farewell, smiling sweetly, almost ruefully.

People regard my exposé as courage, but what counts are those who’ve prompted to write sharing intimate details about their experience and expressing gratitude for my candidness in taking on an ill-informed populace on an awkward issue.

Too many times we just look away without trying to help because it does not fit into our lives. Before I became the advocate to first write publicly about living with mental ill health, I used to think that, “Hopefully one day there will be a voice for the mentally ill and their families to get the love and respect as human beings need in order to live a happy and comfortable life, not just be labelled and placed in institutions.”

When I was asked about writing on mental-health issues, bravery was not among my deliberations. It was not a moneymaking enterprise either. But those stigmatised and embarrassed were important to my undertaking. I also knew that there would always be people who would disagree with this outspokenness.

At least one person thought me “stupid” to expose myself, saying I may never again get a job for “which you’re so well qualified.” (He was right). Yet he never labelled me stupid or retarded by reason of my illness or its effect on people—just injudicious for talking out. I too wondered if I was being stupid to take on this, knowing I could pronounce intelligently on other issues, and that this could expose my son, Jovan, and me to narrow-mindedness.

Jovan concurred with my effort. And when I asked if I was being naive or obtuse about this disclosure, he shushed me with a kiss on the forehead, saying, “Fix yuh mix, Caro.” Among other supportive gestures, he’s responsible for helping me to be genial in the employment of humour.

At the height of the terror for us, in his early teens, I recall when I was in regular therapy and got a prescription that significantly helped my mood swings and edginess he took responsibility to remind me to take the medication. If I seemed agitated he’d ask: “You take your happy pills?” and would jokingly say: “My mother on drugs,” while fetching the meds. He called them “mad-people pills” and even then I knew that he was finding his way with an illness that came before him and with which he must interact.

Of my journey, he’d probably say I’m bold in the face of stigma and my nerves flare when prejudice is espoused where better judgment should be demonstrated — I’m neither brave nor stupid. Jovan would probably agree that while I’m not overly sensitive to ignorance, bigotry remains the most painful experience.

There is still so much work to do.

(This is an edited version of a 2012 feature titled Neither brave nor stupid).

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

Categories: Entertainment News

Clive Zanda is here... Live!

Lifestyle - Wed, 08/29/2018 - 00:21

Production One Ltd kicks off its build-up to Jazz Artists on the Greens™ 2019 with a series of concerts, produced in collaboration with the UTT Academy for the Performing Arts (UTT-APA). The first concert—Clive Zanda is here... Live!—starring pioneering Caribbean Kaiso Jazz composer and recording artiste Clive Zanda, will be held on Sunday, September 30, from 6 pm, at the Theatre 1 of UTT-APA at Keate Street, Port-of-Spain.

This concert will also celebrate the re-release of his seminal album Clive Zanda is here! with “dat kinda ting”: Calypsojazz Innovations” (Cree Records - CLP1220) to a new music lovers around the world.

Zanda will perform all nine songs on the album—including favourites like Fancy Sailor, Ogun and Chip Down—along with other originals from his career.

A new generation of musicians will join Zanda, in the jazz trio aggregation, to make this concert a statement that Zanda is stillhere with “dat kinda ting.”

As the elder statesman in the local jazz fraternity in the Caribbean, and as he approaches his 80th birthday, Zanda’s commitment to performing this music has not waned, and this concert will expose a new audience to continuing exercises in improvisation first captured on this album.

It is also an opportunity to see him live in this setting as he rarely performs with a grand piano, UTT-APA having a prized Bösendorfer Grand.

Albums and CDs will be on sale at the event.

That album, recorded at KH Studios in Port-of-Spain with drummer Michael ‘Toby’ Tobas and bassist Michael Georges as a trio, and originally released in 1975, stands as an important landmark in the evolution of jazz in T&T.

Only 350 copies of the record were pressed in 1975 which makes it one of the most soughtafter records from the Caribbean from that period today.

It’s re-release by German reissue speciality label, Cree Records, celebrates the music and the musician whose international career as performer, composer and recording artist spans more than 50 years.

It also marks a return to the idea that our music has a place in the international music industry.

With new distribution and manufacture being handled by the label, the album—remastered and released as a vinyl LP, and including a new liner note essay by local music writer Nigel A.

Campbell—has the possibility of reaching a new global audience.

Zanda’s innovations towards a fusion of jazz with native calypso and extempo resulted in the album being the “proof of concept” of the work he and others like the late Scofield Pilgrim, Barbados-born Queen’s Royal College teacher and indigenous jazz music advocate, were doing in the 1960s to create new sounds in the recently independent nation, and to codify the new music that was beginning to shape a generation of young jazz musicians.

Kaisojazz—calypso jazz for the modern nativist musician—was a new expression of pan-African Caribbean heritage. (Calypso and jazz, as musics from the Americas, were influencing each other for decades before, but kaisojazz was a determinedly modern Trinidad expression.) This concert is not a nod to nostalgia, but a continuing salute to the constant musical innovation of local musicians.

Production One Ltd has placed this concert at the University of T&T as it sees the mutual benefit to this institute of higher learning with its important Academy for the Performing Arts, but regards this collaboration as pointing the way forward to celebrating the best of our own.

More info

UTT’s primary focus is on developing T&T across a full spectrum of educational opportunities.

The APA trains and mentors the entertainment industry professionals of tomorrow by making high-quality performance their business today.

With this in mind, the concert featuring a pioneer musician is apropos to the university’s mandate, and importantly cements the reputations of the two organisations have in saluting excellence and creating new experiences that uplift.

Tickets for Clive Zanda is here... Live! are available online at https://zanda.eventbrite.com or call to order at 366-6104, 620-6920, 393-0263, 478-2726, 468-4241, and 689-4299.

Categories: Entertainment News

Wellness for the seasoned professional

Lifestyle - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 01:16

It’s never too late to want to make a change. Life is definitely a balancing act, and for those who have been around for those few extra years have all the knowledge on what’s best to make it work. After dedicating the day-to-day to work and family to achieve the best life possible, there comes a time where the older professional needs to start taking care of themselves. The children are now out of the house and running a household isn’t as stressful as it was with a few children or even one child running around.

There’s now no excuse, very soon your children may be starting families of their own and you need to be in tip-top shape to run after those active little grandchildren. There’s no better time than the present to get your self back up and running, yes there are the aches and pains that may come with getting older but the best way to combat the minor set backs is to become stronger. A stronger and healthier you contributes to an overall better quality of life and the best way to enjoy those day of being young again. When the children leave the house, it can take you back to the first days of marriage when it was just two, your life may be more stable now because of the hard work you’ve put in to take care of your family. It’s time to take care of YOU!

Get a hold of this fresh start and become the best version of you, it’s not time for retirement as yet and you’re still young, embrace the youth and keep pushing, enjoy life and live healthy while still maintaining the career and life that you’ve built. Having a healthy body brings a healthy mind, giving you a fresh outlook on everything within the work place and the ability to keep up with all of the fast pace changes that are taking place in the working world today.

Here are some useful tips to keep you in tip-top shape, as you get older to maintain the best quality of life:

Nutrition

You likely need fewer calories now than you did when you were in your 30s. Ensure that you’re choosing nutrient rich food from all the food groups in every meal.

Stock your pantry so you always have basic foods on hand for a healthy snack or meal.

Ensure that you prepare your food at home as opposed to buying out, many fast food outlets cook with oil and excess amounts of butter. You’re not 100 per cent sure what’s going into your food, and heart health is something that you need to pay extra attention to as you get older. Nothing beats a good home cooked meal to ensure you’re eating three balanced meals a day.

Ensure that you’re drinking water daily. In a country like Trinidad where the climate is always hot or extremely hot, it’s important to stay hydrated. Your ability to recognise thirst deteriorates as you get older, so it’s important to be conscious of what you’re putting into your body. Always choose water, fresh fruit juices, milk or herbal teas as opposed to sodas or juiced with extremely high sugar content.

Eat foods high in fibre to ensure digestive regularity.

Physical Wellness

As you get older, physical wellness is important to maintain your independence. You’re still a part of the working world and need independence to get yourself to and from work every single day. Taking some time out of your day to go for a simple walk, swim, or even go to the gym and do a moderate workout to get your blood flowing.

Do at least 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week with activities that raise your heart rate. This is an excellent practice to keep your heart healthy.

Do some muscle strengthening exercises at least twice a week. This does not mean that you need to go to the gym to life heavy weights, what I mean is that you use moderate weight or even resistance bands with light muscular exercises. This keeps your muscles and bones healthy to ensure that you can meet the demands of the environment around you.

DANIELLE DA SILVA
[email protected]
 

Categories: Entertainment News

Mayaro sees Green Days by the River

Lifestyle - Tue, 08/28/2018 - 01:13

Hundreds of residents from across Mayar and environs converged at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre last Saturday to view a free screening of the acclaimed local film production of Green Days by the River; an event sponsored by energy company bpTT.

It was a homecoming in many ways as the book Green Days by the River, on which the film is based, is set in Mayaro during the 1950s and was written by eminent Mayaro-born author and historian, Michael Anthony.

It focuses on the “coming of age” story of a 15-year-old boy (Shellie) from the coastal village of Mayaro, who is forced to face the consequences of his actions in a much less liberal epoch of Trinidad’s history.

For Anthony, who was a focal point at the screening, the experience was transcendent: “It is such an honour and a privilege to be back home to share this film. I’m proud of and excited by the work that film director, Michael Mooleedhar, did and by the reaction of the audience. It is a feeling that was shared by everyone here today. This film has served to revitalise both the interest in local literature as well as expose our population to the creativity and capability that is so abundant across Trinidad and Tobago.

“I would like to thank bpTT for bringing this film home and allowing so many to share in the experience.”

In addition to the free screening of the film, bpTT created the perfect cinema ambience by providing the delighted audience with snacks including hotdogs, popcorn, cupcakes and even donuts. Ronda Francis, corporate responsibility manager, bpTT, contextualised the experience: “In addition to our significant investments in areas such as education, sports, enterprise development and capacity building, we also place significant focus on the arts and culture.

“We are proud of our national support of bpTT Renegades Steel Orchestra, the BP Marionettes Chorale as well as parang and tassa competitions. We also support a number of Mayarobased efforts including local theatre productions, training with audio-visual equipment and community-based film screenings like this.

“bpTT is committed to preserving and passing on our rich heritage and provide avenues of self-expression that highlight the talent, skills and potential of the nation’s youth.”

Present at the screening was the film’s director, Michael Mooleedhar, as well as members of the cast including Sudai Tafari (Shellie), Nadia Kandhai (Rosalie), Anand Lawkaran (Mr Gidharee) and Kernell Alexander ( Joe), who answered questions and recounted their personal experiences during filming.

According to Mooleedhar: “This is the first feature film that I’ve done so far and coming to Mayaro feels awesome because it feels like I’m bringing my film home. This movie is important because it conveys an understanding of our society and culture in the ‘50s.

Community screenings like these also make people aware of local art and talent, and it also brings stories alive through a different medium. This film has encouraged many people to look for and read Michael Anthony’s book and that appreciation of literature is always a positive thing.”

Mooleedhar added: “What many people may not know is that when we finished filming, we approached bpTT and they helped us with the cost of postproduction. So, in a major way, they have been with us from the early stages of this film. This free screening is just another step in the great work that they are doing across the country and especially in their home community of Mayaro.”

The film has been shown regionally in Barbados, Grenada, Guyana and St Lucia as well as much further afield, including screenings in London, Switzerland, Malta and across the USA.

“It has garnered a number of awards since its release in September 2017, including Best Feature Film and People’s Choice in the 2017 trinidad + tobago film festival as well as receiving official selection at film festivals in Belize, Bahamas, Nassau, Seattle and Washington DC.

Somewhat overwhelmed but ecstatic by the Mayaro audience’s reaction was lead actor, Sudai Tafari, who played the part of Shellie.

“I saw an invitation to audition on Facebook and to my amazement I got the part. The entire experience was wonderful and liberating and today is like an amazing crescendo in my very own coming of age story.

Even the drive to Mayaro via Manzanilla gave me chills today and I feel privileged to be here and share this experience with this beautiful and passionate audience.”

Following the film’s screening, the cast and crew, as well as Michael Anthony, interacted with the audience, answered their questions and the author even signed copies of his book, both those brought along by members of the audience as well as those bought at the screening.

It was an extra special occasion for the Singh Family of Rio Claro as Narrad, his wife Radha and son Tavesh, brought their family copy of the book to be signed.

“I studied this book in school,” said a delighted Narrad.

“Many years ago and while my son was in secondary school, he also read it for literature and shared it with his mom who loved it also. The story and characters are real and relatable and the film is a terrific adaptation of the original material. Anand Lawkaran, who played Mr Gidharee, also grew up next door in Rio Claro so that made it even more unforgettable for us. bpTT really made this an immersive experience and we are really thankful for the opportunity to interact with Michael Anthony as well as the director and members of the cast.”

Categories: Entertainment News

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