Entertainment News

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A sign of community service

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 22:10

Nestled west of the nation’s capital, Diego Martin and environs are among the nation’s fastest growing communities. Keeping things on the boil have been the members of the PNM Diego Martin North/East Constituency and the members of the Lions Club of Diego Martin West.

After many setbacks and much frustration but never giving up; the hard work, commitment and dedication of the members of the Lions Club of Diego Martin West brought to a successful conclusion a major project of the club—the unveiling of a welcome sign to the Diego Martin area, which is the Charter Service Area of the Club.

The signage, which was designed by Club members and constructed and installed by Oliver Signs, celebrates two key milestones, the 45th anniversary of the Club and also forms part of the Lions Clubs International Centennial Legacy Project.

In attendance for the unveiling ceremony were Susan Hong, Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation; Mr Salick, representing the Diego Martin West Constituency; and, Mr Moe of Cepep which will maintain the area around the sign.

In the wake of the erection of the sign, the Club’s executive extended its sincere thanks to Oliver Signs, the Ministry of Works and Transport, Highways Division and to Lion Ronald Adams and the members of the Club’s Community Welfare Committee who did not rest until the project was completed.

The Diego Martin West Lions Club is focused on assisting the most vulnerable residents of the Diego Martin Community. Annually the club engages in such projects as its Christmas food hamper distribution, youth symposia for secondary schools in the area, Easter camps for primary schoolers, health fairs, vision screening, Alzheimer’s Awareness Seminars, providing comfort to senior citizens and partnering with other non-governmental organisations to improve the overall quality of life to many of the disadvantaged citizens of the community.

With the on-going support of family, friends and the corporate sector, the club looks forward to continuing its charitable work in the Diego Martin community.

Last weekend, the women of the PNM Diego Martin North/East Constituency held their third annual Emancipation Tea Party & Fashion Show. Two specially invited guests were MP Colm Imbert and centenarian 102-year-old Sylvia Moon.

Categories: Entertainment News

Dinner Theatre is back for big people

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 22:02

Tomorrow, the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) will present a delicious dinner along with a naughty show at 7 pm.

Three elderly ladies discuss the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinski scandal and well...questions arise. The discussion that follows is hilarious.

Written by Jack Neary for the Boston Playwrights Theatre, this short play is always a hit. Patrons can be assured the topic is artfully managed and should not offend. However due to the subject matter this show is adults only.

Directed by TTW’s Assistant Artistic Director Tyker Phillip, the show features, Cindy F Daniel, Reena Christian and Lauri Byer. “I am excited about directing Oral Report as its a rare opportunity to direct comedy,” says Phillip. “I work with a lot of children and it’s nice to work on a ‘grown up’ show.”

Tyker leads the School for the Arts which includes Children’s Theatre Workshop, Teens Theatre Workshop and he New Actors Workshop for adults. These classes start in September 2018.

TTW is also embarking on another “Big people” initiative with its Friday Night Lime and the next Friday Night Lime is on August 17.

Theatre folk who have been to TTW’s new location at 6 Newbold Street, St Clair, know it’s a truly lovey space inside and outside. All proceeds from Dinner Theatre are put towards building renovation and the construction of a new Playwrights’ Theatre on site.

Tickets for tomorrow’s Dinner Theatre are $300 and dinner is served at 7 pm.

Categories: Entertainment News

Rain fails to stop Desperadoes

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 22:00

A lingering Tropical Wave and an intrusive ITCZ failed to keep die hard pan enthusiasts away from the Tragarete Road rehearsal site of Desperadoes Steel Orchestra on Tuesday night.

The ground was sodden by hours of incessant showers, but the public stood firm to be entertained by ten steelbands performing mixed repertoires.

Braving the elements for the musical treat were National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, former Port-of-Spain Mayor Kerron Valentine, past Bishop Anstey High School principal Valerie Taylor, Lydians choir mistress Lorraine Granderson and Massy Trinidad All Stars crackshot pannist Dane Gulston.

Apart from a few minor hiccups, primarily because of a less than adequate sewage and drainage system, the night proceeded flawlessly.

The band’s management, with deputy manager Martin Cain busy as the proverbial bee, did a commendable job in organising this, its first major event at the temporary rehearsal venue.

As if anticipating the deluge, all bands were placed under tents, with boarding underfoot and well lit. Gift shop staffers were also kept busy, taking orders for Desperadoes memorabilia. Finger food was also available.

The first band, introduced by Wayne Johnson, who did a good job hosting proceedings, was Tokyo. This iconic John John steelband was followed by Suave, originally out of the University of T&T but now based at SWWTU Hall, Port-of-Spain.

Suave, whose members were attractively attired in white outfits emblazoned with African motifs, included in their repertoire selections like Forward Home, Blue Butter, Merchant’s Caribbean Connection and Melanie Hudson’s I’ll Always Be There For You.

Caribbean Steelpan Connextion (CXC) played next, and this ensemble had people dancing in a slight drizzle, especially when the band played current St Vincent soca hit Mind Yuh Funky Business.

CXC was followed by Roadblock, literally a chip off the block, as this ensemble, featuring a vocalist and conventional instrumentalisation, emerged out of Desperadoes. It is managed by Cain and features his pan-playing twin children, Deja and DeJean.

A very heavy downpour didn’t prevent Desperadoes Youths from also performing an infectious set. From here, the night went high octane with performances by First Citizens Supernovas, MHTL Starlift, Nutrien Silver Stars, bpTT Renegades and Desperadoes.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end and, even when Desperadoes played Rebecca as its final selection just after 3 am on Emancipation Day morning, there was still a sizeable attendance.

More pan action returns to the Desperadoes rehearsal site on August 31 when the band stages Independence Fireworks — Kaiso & Steel. Tentatively expected to perform are calypsonians Crazy, Chucky and Mr King, Naomi Sinnette, Zanda & Friends, Desperadoes and other steelbands.

Like last Tuesday’s event, there will be no admission fee, but Desperadoes is asking its fans and pan lovers to let their conscience be their guide, and make a donation.

Categories: Entertainment News

King David conquers the southland

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 21:58

San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello must have been a very pleased man last Saturday night when the San Fernando City Corporation staged Rudder 6.5 at Naparima Bowl.

Headlined by iconic calypsonian/composer David Rudder, the once-in-a-lifetime event attracted a sold out audience to the Bowl, the end result of southerners, and even Rudderites nationwide, flocking to the box office.

The event was staged at the bowl’s indoor auditorium and outdoors as well, but the higherpriced indoor tickets were the first to be gobbled up by patrons starving for a quality production in the southland.

Backed by Wayne Bruno and the Rapid Response Band, Rudder performed over 40 selections, some dating back to well over 30 years. Rudder had patrons eating out of his hands with popular compositions like Rally Round the West Indies, Bahia Girl, The Hammer, Madness and Bacchanal Lady.

Sharing the spotlight with Rudder on Saturday night were 2018 National Panorama (large) first runner-up CAL Skiffle Steel Orchestra, youth band Triplets, Selvon “Mistah Shak” Noel and comedian Tommy Joseph, the latter reliving days of yore when he introduced Rudder on the Calypso Spektakula tent stage back in the late 80s.

Categories: Entertainment News

Humming Bird Day Camp turns 40

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 02:14

For 40 consistent and sound years, Diamond Vale Humming Bird Day Camp has provided a first class service to the residents of Diego Martin and its environs. With its spirited renditions of camp lyrics, the songs of the Humming Bird campers have captivated the hearts and minds of the communities at large.

Spearheaded by two selfless and compassionate educators, Janice Quamina and Enid Alleyne (deceased), the organisation took on a principal role of its own. At the prime stage of their careers, both women, set out to accomplish a safe, fun-filled, nurturing and organic environment for campers, ages five-12. Though this task was epic, their passion for creating a greater nation together with their lifelong dedication towards fostering adolescents guided them to this end.

As champions of youth, the founders also created a haven where teenagers can discover and develop their extraordinary talents. During their period of training, the young teens have become well learned in multifaceted skills to work productively with campers as well as fulfil the administrative functions of the camp.

Beyond the day to day execution of their counselling duties, the young leaders from all corners of T&T have also benefited tremendously from the unique Camp Flamingo experience at several youth camps throughout the country. Furthermore, the teenagers have attained high levels of work competence and interpersonal skills from their exposure to the annual Personality Development course.

Equipped with a wide range of knowledge and hands-on training, the Humming Bird Day Camp alumni have expanded their lives in limitless ways. On a global scale, they have demonstrated their sterling qualities by boldly taking ownership of their place on the world stage and proudly serving the nations of their allegiances.

In commemoration of the birth of this legendary and stellar organisation, a grand two-day commemoration has been planned. On August 11, an Awards & Dinner Dance Gala event, commencing at 7 pm, kicks off the celebration and sets the stage for the fun filled Family Day that follows on the 12, beginning at 10 am. To mark this significant 40-year milestone, all Humming Bird Day Camp family: counsellors and young leaders are invited to partake in the homecoming at the All Angels St Michael’s Church Hall, situated on Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin.

More info 

For further information please contact Janice Quamina (769-7401) or email [email protected]
Also, visit the camp site: Monday-Friday (7.30 am – 5 pm) to purchase your ticket.

Categories: Entertainment News

Free Form in the Living Room

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 02:13

Sapphire Production’s Patio Sessions in Santa Cruz became a Living Room Session after last Friday’s rainy weather, and the cosy new setting proved ideal for the small audience assembled for an evening of Free Form music, poetry and spoken word under the direction of Gabrielle Scott.

Poet/actor/director, Kyle Hernandez, and Free Form regular and the inimitable, Tafar Chia Lewis, kept the brief programme flowing in good humour. Songstress/dramatist Chanel Glasgow, who has her own August 5 production of Spotlight: A Celebration of Arts and Culture, opened the proceedings with a spicy rendition of Sparrow’s artful Man like to Feel.

The largely young audience got the message, as Glasgow delivered the great calypso bard’s ironic tribute to the self-deluded macho man: “I am outlining a simple plan/How every woman could tie up deh man/A man like to feel big although he small/A midget does want to feel ten feet tall/So you could keep him under your heel/Just let him feel how he want to feel.”

Then everyone agreed that with the presence of a neighbouring police officer, the word “Frangipani” would substitute for any impolite words. No such luck when Hernandez at first appeared to forget the pledge and started with his poem on last year’s tragic Caribbean hurricanes.

These two high-quality introductions to the proceedings signalled young, artful intention by a group of performers aware of the technical requirements of their respective genres.

Then came Scott, better known for her dramatic performances on stage and work as a director—last year, for example, she staged Much Ado About Nothing—in her equally accomplished role as a singer.

Scott, accompanied on the guitar by Mikhail Gibbings, delivered Leon Bridge’s River (aka Take Me to Your River) as tenderly as a mango leaf to the slow-moving tide of the Caura on its way to the Gulf.

But, the phenomenal singer/songwriter, Chinaka Pierre, was yet to come. Performing four original songs alongside guitarist Nahum Roland, Chinaka displayed her class as one of the emerging talents of T&T.

Life Goes On, Ex’s Gift, Whisper, Awhile Now and Troubled Waters are among Chinaka’s originals performed on the evening. Ex’s Gift is one her more popular songs—understandably so. Make Me Whole, was not on the list, but it was her debut single launched earlier this year and can be found on Apple Music, Soundcloud, Spotify and other online sources. Absolutely worth a listen.

The Free Form sessions were conceptualised by Scott as an effort to pool some of the country’s outstanding young stage talent, alongside visual artist friends and colleagues. The proceeds of the effort go toward financing her advanced studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York.

In keeping with the usual flow of the series, an extempo showdown drew from available talent in the audience. It was won by Sule Edwards whose finely-tuned voice had otherwise remained silent in the kitchen where beef pies, banana bread, fudge and toolooms were on sale.

An earlier improvised piece of music, song and spoken word themed for the anniversary of the July 27, 1990 coup attempt was delivered by Glasgow, Chia Lewis and Gibbings. This was another good evening of fine, young talent hosted by Sapphire Productions. The next edition of the Free Form sessions is due to take place at Idlewood on Tragarete Road in Port-of- Spain on Thursday, August 9.

For more information check @sapphireprods on Instagram or send an email to: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Freedom Road 2 Emancipation

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/02/2018 - 02:09

Oh what a night! That popular American pop song, could aptly describe Freedom Road 2, an Emancipation event hosted by Kaiso Showkase of Tuco’s South Central Zone, touted by proud southerners as “the world’s number one calypso tent.”

The event, held at the luxurious San Fernando City Hall Auditorium, saw patrons in an almost filled house, treated to African drumming, fashion, dance, rapso, reggae, other genres of Afro music and, of course, calypso.

Special attendees included San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello, former Culture Minister Joan Yuille Williams, NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters, Tuco president Lutalo “Bro Resistance” Masimba, South King of Carnival and most decorated winner Leroy Prieto, southern cultural icon Dawad Phillip as well as many other members of the calypso fraternity.

The cast included: Bro Resistance, Cro Cro, Mistah Shak, Ras Kommanda, Hamidullah, Kerice Pascal, Meguella Simon, Joseph Adams, Nerukhi, Kinte, Curlissa Charles and several other calypsonians and singers from the southland including Community Tent Monarch Lystra Nurse who performed an infectious interpretation of Miriam Makeba’s Patta Patta.

Also gracing the stage was the Bay Area Drummers who, with its compliment of talented youths, added some energy to the night with some pulsating African rhythms.

Memorable performances came from young Kerice Pascal with her rendition of The Black Equation, Mistah Shak doing his popular Freedom Music, Bro Resistance doing an intimate performance of Lancelot Lane’s song Blow way, followed by his classic Ring the bell.

An energetic, engaging and festive performance by Ras Kommanda had the crowd in full voice with his song Ah notice that and multiple national calypso monarch Cro Cro put the icing on the cake with a masterful performance to end an excellent evening.

For his outstanding contribution to the calypso artform and its practitioners, Stephen Valentine was presented with an Emancipation Award by Regrello.

Freedom Road 2 was a well balanced evening of musical entertainment, fashion, displays and invaluable information coming from feature speaker Shabaka Kambon, as well as from Steve Pascal and co-hosts Dike Rostant and Hyacinth Joseph.

Next up for Kaiso Showkase is Down Memory Lane in October, as part of Tuco’s Calypso History Month programme

Categories: Entertainment News

Theatre series in St Clair today

Lifestyle - Wed, 08/01/2018 - 06:23

Playwrights Workshop Trinbago’s (PWT) Monthly Readers Theatre Series (MRTS), featured the first Wednesday of every month, presents the reading of two new plays for the August 2018 instalment—A Tourist Attraction written by Glenn Wilkes, and Madiha Ata’s The Big Brother.

The reading takes place at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, 6 Newbold Street, St Clair, today, August 1, starting at 7 pm.

Glenn Wilkes, a land surveyor, began attending PWT’s Readings since July 2017 and participated in the PWT’s Writing Workshops featured in the Annual New Play Festival (NPF) 2017.

His second play, From Invaders to Worshippers, which was read in January 2018, will be workshopped and featured in PWT’s NPF 2018. Wilkes’ third script, A Tourist Attraction, takes place in 1966, at a time when telephone communication was only available via landlines.

In it, a series of telephone calls and a chain of events involve a number of Surveyors in a Government Department and a blonde tourist.

Madiha Ata, an Egyptian artist, expanded into playwriting last year with her first play Um Fonot, which was inspired by stories told to her by her mother. Her interest in playwriting prompted a keener observation of her environment, discovery of its stories and an alternative to painting as a means of storytelling.

Madiha has attempted writing her second play, The Big Brother, through observations of conversations around her.

According to Madiha, the play is an exploration into the illusions of the perfect family and brotherhood and how easily these relationships can be shattered.

The PWT, in partnership with the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and The T&T Performing Arts Network, is inviting actors, playwrights, directors, producers and the general public to partake in the reading and discussion of the play.

Admission is free for today’s staging but space is limited. RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pwt-monthly-readers-theatre-series-tickets-....


Playwrights Workshop Trinbago (PWT) is an organisation coordinated by playwrights for the making of plays. The organisation is dedicated to the memory and work of renowned Trinidadian scholar, academic, theatre historian, playwright and director Errol Hill (1921-2003) and Tobagonian poet, playwright, essayist and journalist Eric Roach(1915-1974).

This year, the workshop, initiated in 2003 by Tony Hall, with support from Trinity in Trinidad Global Learning Site of Trinity College, Hartford, CT, Lordstreet Theatre’s Jouvay Institute and the National Drama Association of T&T, celebrates its 15th anniversary.

It continues to have its Monthly Readers Theatre Series on the first Wednesday of every month, at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. Playwrights and aspiring playwrights are reminded that plays read at the Monthly Readers Theatre Series will qualify for further development at the Annual New Play Festival in the following year.

PWT reads new stage, screen, and radio plays on the first Wednesday of every month. For further information email [email protected]; or call 351-6293; or find them on Instagram @playwrightsworkshoptt

Categories: Entertainment News

Tobago folk performers put on a show

Lifestyle - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 00:45

Tobago folk performers gave an excellent show last Wednesday at the Folk Fiesta hosted as part of the Tobago Heritage Festival at Shaw Park.

The event opened with greetings from George Leacock, executive chairman of the Tobago Festival Commission, who alluded to the importance, value and the future of the culture of the peoples of T&T.

Speaking with Guardian Media after the event Leacock said the festival has been dormant for a number of years and it was rejuvenated to encourage more young people to participate.

He said because of the positive response by participating groups, the Tobago Festivals Commission is considering having preliminary rounds of competition next year.

Leacock said he was overly pleased to see quite a large number of youths participating The show was divided into seven categories.

The performances opened with the Folk Song Medley category that saw five groups entered.

Mason Hall Village Council Folk Performers emerged as winner in this category, followed by Charlotteville Heritage Performers and Rhythmic Vibrations, respectively.

The Heritage Folk Dance segment showcased seven groups with the Zante Performers emerging as the winner with their version of the belle dance.

Charlotteville Heritage Performers andDelecia’s Dance Agency placed second and third, respectively.

The Speech Band round of competition attracted only four groups, the performers using the medium to highlight social problems not only in Tobago but issues affecting the wider society.

This round was won by Charlotteville Heritage Performers, followed by Sisters in Culture and the Tobago Drama Guild.

While most speech band costumes traditionally feature a boat design as the normal headpiece, the Charlotteville Heritage Performers had one player sporting a golden airplane, which enhanced its visual appeal and made it stand out from the rest of the competitors, breaking tradition in a subtle but effective way.

The Drumology category featured powerful African drumming from both mature seasoned drummers and young people.

Topping this round was the experienced Mason Hall Village Council Performers, followed by the drummers from Bishop’s High School and Hope Anglican Primary School.

Rhythmic Vibration and Roxborough Folk Performers placed first and second, respectively in the Harvest Song competition, while the Pan Solo class was won by Rhythmic Vibrations.

The show ended with the contemporary dance competition that was won by Rhythmic Vibrations.

Categories: Entertainment News

Young music, hope at birdsong camp

Lifestyle - Tue, 07/31/2018 - 00:40

It’s a steamy afternoon both inside and outside the Old Works Building on the UWI Campus in St Augustine.

Musical director of birdsong and music camp elder/ mentor, Richard Quarless, is strutting around non-stop from player to player. “Nice, nice …” The trumpet and trombone back line fidgets. Hassan Jhaboo, on the trumpet, glances over at Moriah Joseph’s score while Tyrell Babb and Che Lue Chee Kong on trombone snigger over something private.

In the front row are the saxophones and clarinets with two of the bigger guys on tuba and euphonium.

Across the way, on the pans, there are tenors, double guitars and one guy on the tenor bass who makes magic on Earth, Wind and Fire’s Let’s Groove when it’s time to rehearse the piece for the camp’s August 18 Closing Concert at Queen’s Hall. Quarless has been doing this since 2004 after years in the trumpet section of the Police Band. He is proud of his young charges at the camp and believes with music comes hope for the younger generation.

Drummers, guitarists and a fourpiece wind section are meanwhile challenging their animated instructor as they try Ring De Bell, originally performed by the Network Rapso Riddum Band under Brother Resistance.

With the Priority Bus Route roaring overhead, a drama class is in session on the lawn outside.

The younger children pay close attention, a bigger girl poses dramatically for the camera. “Pay attention, please.” Then eight-year-old Jediah Joseph hustles over from the bleachers to play his trumpet part on Let’s Groove. Former Roy Cape and Charlies Roots trumpeter, Clyde Mitchell, offers some last minute instruction: “D, D, play D right there…good, good, you have it!”

Joseph wants to be like Mitchell—a professional musician playing gigs for a living. It’s not his first camp and he is one of the Energizer Bunnies who draws a broad smile from Quarless when he is introduced to this writer.

His repertoire for the concert does not include anything from the genre, but Mitchell’s preference is gospel music.

When school reopens he will be in Standard 2 at Arouca Government.

TT Music Festival 16-19 brass solo winner Rijen Ottley is hustled away from an intense session to talk about a musical path that flowed from guitar to drums and now to the trumpet.

“Music is a way for me to express myself…to show other people how I feel through my instruments,” Ottley tells T&T Guardian.

He says his formal exposure to music and experiences such as the camp make it easier for him to use his instrument to express himself.

“It challenges me more and it makes me get better at what I do.”

He has strong views on the stereotyping of young people nowadays. “I would like to encourage more people my age to not let people stigmatise you based on how you look or how you walk around, but show them by different things you do…by playing music or being in sport…then they will see the difference between what they think about you and what you are capable of.”

Tyler Charles, a 2016 TT Music Festival winner in the Under-16 division, also sees a career for herself in the music business— specifically as a teacher of music.

She started her musical training at the age of five with a violin in hand and once was a St Augustine Chamber Orchestra (SACO) regular.

She is also proficient on the piano and these days, when not playing the trumpet at birdsong, she picks up the violin at the Learning Living Institute Music Academy in Arouca.

In September, Charles makes the big move from Arima North Secondary to the University of T&T (UTT) where she will pursue a BFA in Music.

“If I never came here,” she says, “I would have never learned to play the trumpet. It is fun here because we play different kinds of music and you get to meet a lot of new people.”

Then back she races to the practice session.

It’s the home stretch to the August 18 concert and the band needs to get an extensive repertoire right.

Earlier, Virginia-based American musicologist Dr Anthony Hailey, who has arranged for Sangre Grande Cordettes and worked with bands such as Skiffle, Starlift and Renegades, had taken the pannists through their paces.

Back home, he leads Mosaic Steel Orchestra and is a music professor.

Here, he is clearly having a great time with the young players during his energetic directing of the band, bottled water in hand.

Later in the session, birdsong Academy tutor, Kenroy Richardson, takes over. He does not smile much and the young pannists wait for his arms to come down before a single note is struck.

In the wings, camp assistant Derrianne Dyett, herself a highly-trained and accomplished musician, organises the youngsters.

It is a hectic time for Dyett who is herself a product of the academy and beneficiary of a scholarship from the institution that eventually brought her a BA in Music from the Prins Claus Conservatorium, in the Netherlands and an MA in Jazz from Codarts in Rotterdam.

Once under the wings of the late T&T music icon, Raf Robertson, and having performed throughout Europe, a youthful Dyett is very much aware of the long-term influence of music in the lives of the birdsong vacation campers.

The birdsong Academy vacation programme and camp buzzes in borrowed space at the university and a generation arises to the sound of music and brings hope.

The Closing Concert takes place at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, starting at 6.30 pm, on Saturday August 18.

It is going to be the product of an extraordinary vacation experience.

Categories: Entertainment News

Breakfast in Les Coteaux

Lifestyle - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 01:43

Warm smiles greeted visitors who came in from the rain and ventured into the Les Coteaux Community Centre in Tobago for breakfast last Thursday.

The 25-member Les Coteaux Close Connection Heritage Group held a village-style breakfast and lunch fare for the visitors who visited the community for the Tobago Heritage Festival’s Folk Tales and Superstition Fair and stage show that was carded for later that evening at the Tablepiece Recreation Ground.

Shaniqua Pierre, spokesperson for the group, said Les Coteux had a rich, cultural legacy filled with superstition and mixed beliefs which had made the community popular across T&T. The road from the cemetery to the Arnos Vale Waterwheel was marked with 15 moko jumbies that were strategically placed along the roadway to create a haunting yet intriguing effect.

Jocelyn Chance, who handmade the jumbies, said each was crafted with care and attention to make anyone driving along the roadway stop and inquire what was taking place.

Hundreds of Trinidadians visited the sister isle last week for the annual Tobago Heritage Festival.

Categories: Entertainment News

Toronto honours a T&T civil rights icon

Lifestyle - Mon, 07/30/2018 - 01:42

There is now a Charley Roach Lane in the Canadian city of Toronto, named for the late Belmont-born civil rights activist/attorney/writer/painter and co-founder of the Caribana Festival who died of cancer close to six years ago at the age of 79.

Charles Conliff Mende Roach was involved in numerous campaigns on behalf of Canadian blacks and minorities over the years, and is widely known for his longstanding effort to have a pledge of allegiance to the British monarch removed from the country’s oath of citizenship.

Though he fought hard for the right of others to stay in Canada, he himself never became a citizen of his adopted homeland.

He insisted in a speech to supporters outside the Ontario Supreme Court, where he was having his oath case argued in 2012, that the question of the oath was “part of the struggle against racism and part of the struggle for equality for all groups.”

Roach first entered the country in 1955 as an aspiring priest enrolled to study theology at the University of Saskatchewan. He died in 2012 following a battle with brain cancer and an unfinished case against the Canadian oath.

A July 18 ceremony was hosted by the City of Toronto to give his name to a narrow roadway not far from where once housed Roach, Schwartz & Associates—the law firm out of which sprung the practice he opened in 1968.

From that location, Roach and his associates provided pro bono legal services in support of social justice cases including advocacy on behalf of asylum seekers. Among his notable work in this area was assistance to members of the Black Panther movement in the United States who were fleeing prosecution during the civil rights disturbances there in the 1960s.

Roach’s work in having police abuses, particularly against Canadian minorities, investigated is credited with helping establish the city’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

Less than a week after Roach’s death, SIU director Ian Scott wrote to his widow, June Williams-Thorne, saying: “the SIU owes its genesis in no small measure to Mr Roach’s untiring efforts for a system of independent investigation of police use of force.”

Following his death, the Canadian Bar Association also provided Williams-Thorne with a certificate acknowledging her late husband’s role as a founding member of its Immigration Law Section.

Trailblazer for T&T culture in Canada

In the early years, Roach was popular among the Caribbean cultural community when, fresh from law school in the early 1960s, he opened the Little Trinidad Club. Through the doors of the club flowed visiting entertainers such as the Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener, together with steelbands, dance and folk arts troupes and entertainment-hungry West Indians resident in Toronto.

Newspaper ads and clippings from the era record the buzz created by activities hosted at the Little Trinidad Club together with shows and dances at the then popular Calypso and Caribbean Clubs.

Through his involvement in entertainment and the arts, Roach eventually went on to become a member of the board of Toronto’s Caribbean Cultural Committee (CCC)—organisers of the first Caribana festival in 1967.

What many people who easily recognise the public persona of an activist, cultural promoter and public affairs busy bee do not realise, however, is that Roach was himself quite an accomplished painter, poet and musical composer.

Speaking at the street-naming ceremony, Roach’s daughter, Sunset, said music and art and poetry were always nearby. This included her father’s numerous paintings, poems and original music.

Sunset is one of four children born of Roach’s first wife, Hetty, who died in 1999. She was also an attorney who fought alongside him and had travelled with him to Canada 44 years before her passing.

While seriously ill at home, and shortly before his death, Roach posted on his Facebook page: “Well friends, I am still at home resting up after my operation. Thank goodness for June. Part of my recuperation is her music on the grand piano at home. Way things are going, I would never want to get well!”

He never did recover from the cancer and now June, his second wife, herself an accomplished musician, has started work on a book of his art, music and poetry to expose “a different side of the man.”

“He was an absolutely remarkable man,” she told T&T Guardian, “and I am very grateful for my ten and a half years with him.” The two were married in 2001.

Williams-Thorne revealed that while Roach held out to the very end regarding his oath of citizenship, he studiously prepared the documentation in support of her application to become a Canadian citizen and never objected to the fact that she eventually took the oath.

On June’s insistence, the couple travelled back to T&T every year for at least three months where Roach touched bases with the land that delivered to Canada a relentless campaigner for social justice who, in his private moments, had the heart of an artist, musician and poet. The Charley Roach Lane might be easy to walk, but his footsteps are not easily followed.

Categories: Entertainment News

A bird watcher’s paradise

Lifestyle - Sun, 07/29/2018 - 01:46

The Asa Wright Nature Centre in Arima is synonymous with bird watching. But there is also an undiscovered bird watching paradise in Sanderson Heritage Park, Fyzabad, where “birders” or enthusiasts can view various species of birds not even found at Asa Wright.

And unlike Asa Wright, which is almost a “pure” bird-watching site, Sanderson Heritage Park is so much more.

It is a self-help community project that offers a range of recreational activities, including outdoor cooking, picnics, fishing, bird watching, camping, horseback riding, kayaking and jet skiing on a lake.

The park provides facilities for weddings, family days, hosting of events from company sports days, Carnival fetes and parang limes to birthdays. Even Carifesta 2018 was also launched there.

Fyzabad’s unique history with oil production is inextricably linked with the park, the community and the British oil company Apex, which operated on the land in the 1920s where the park is situated now.

The park is a treasure waiting to be discovered.

It is an unspoilt piece of nature quietly resting in a community that is rich in history, not only of Fyzabad but also as a town centre that contributed to the development of T&T leading to Independence.

On the site, Butler Hall houses memorabilia from the union leader Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler dating from his service in the First World War, including his jacket, hat and wooden suitcase.

The Union Jack is still flown alongside T&T’s flag at the entrance to the Deck Lounge Bar at Rum Street in the park, in remembrance of the retired British Army men who ran the Apex oil company and for its use as a British military base during World War 2.

Speaking to the Sunday Guardian, former Fyzabad MP in the 1990 NAR government and developer of the park, Arthur Sanderson, said: “When I got the opportunity I said the first thing I would do is create a place that would be pristine, where our families can come, that we will fight against the situational discriminatory bias that existed in Fyzabad in the past.

“There was nothing in this country, even the Caribbean, where someone can come with their family, not pay an entrance fee and sit and enjoy the tranquillity.

“We also try to create small infrastructures where if a family wants to come and have a good time, there are gazebos, they can cook, lime, talk with their family, very quietly, peaceful, fish; all free.” He added: “Other people see the facility for other economic ventures.

“We don’t have a problem with that because it was made for the community.”

When asked how his name became associated with the park, he said it started and was still an evolving community project called the Fyzabad Improvement Committee, which he was chairman of.

Sanderson said for kayaking, water skiing and horseback riding there was a nominal fee but this was in order to maintain the equipment and feed the animals.

He said there was a countrystyle retreat guest/house at the rear that was very quiet for people to rent for small conferences such as church functions and the park can also cater for large events such as parties.

He said Naparima College scouts and community church members camped on the grounds and used the dormitory all the time.

He said when Carifesta was launched on June 9 at the park, people who came from Port-of- Spain were shocked to see such a venue existed in the South.

Ronnie Lesaldo, a member of the Fyzabad Improvement Committee, said Butler Hall was a favourite venue for couples to get married, have the reception at the Deck and Lounge and spend their honeymoon in one of the guesthouses.

He said besides birds, there were domesticated geese, armadillo, deer and caiman to be seen at the park. Sanderson said that worldfamous US architect Lee Harris Pomeroy had plans for the development for the park before his passing.

Birdwatcher and nature photographer Tarran Maharaj said of the 488 bird species in T&T, up to 100 species are unique to the park.

Some of them are the jabiru stalk, grey-breasted martin, southern rough-winged swallow, anhinga, white-winged swallow, striated heron, wattled jacana, purple gallinule, large-billed tern and southern lapwing among others.

The spotted Tody and six species of hummingbirds also make their home at the park.

Another birdwatcher, Derick Bhupsingh, said in terms of bird watching the park was relatively new and undiscovered compared to other locations but the potential was enormous.

n For more information on the park call: 325-9844

Categories: Entertainment News

Look to the arts in fight against crime

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 00:08

In the fight against crime, T&T has reached a juncture within its delinquency-control trajectory that saw the launch of a National Crime Prevention Programme (NCPP) on July 18.

Primarily aimed at “engaging, educating and empowering,” says national security head, Minister Edmund Dillion, during an early-morning television interview on July 23, the NCPP affords communities free rein to partner with particular stakeholders, meaningfully.

“To effectively eradicate, deter, transform, restore and prevent miscreants in all corners and at all levels, technical, tactical, scientific, upgraded and collaborative approaches are a must. Crime is a business, and anything to counteract has to be a much bigger business, despite how simple it might appear.

“Firstly, we must totally metamorphosise the manner in which we think, view and do things, personally and professionally.

“Secondly, promptly weed-out the psychologically-damaging category of “a nobody.”

“Such a description causes many people to not see their true potential and, it hampers relationships.

“Many individuals are told they are ‘a nobody’. I want you to be somebody. “I want you to get a good job…make plenty money.”

And we wonder why there is the mushrooming and prevalence of delinquency?

Quoting calypsonian, Brother Valentino (Emrold Anthony Phillip) as saying: “Life is a stage, and we are the actors, and everybody has a part to play,” Dillon also mentioned school as an integral component to the success of the NCPP.

“Notwithstanding loving to learn, many children are not spiritually connected to traditional school, but have a natural proclivity for the arts, so the question begs, do they have a part to play on this NCPP stage?

“A robust arts industry of international standard, can be an illuminant for the NCPP. There is need to recognise and strengthen positive talent from very young, and allow it to blossom.

“From infant level, an overwhelming volume is hardened to school, feel tortured and become disconnected, which lead to frustration, disruption and destruction.

“For many, they fall off the grid down the road, and their undetected talent is eventually recognised behind prison walls.

“Indiscipline and a false sense of self-worth are the pivotal causes for social disquiet.

“To be introduced at schools for the first two weeks, First-Year Infants should not be engaged in traditional academic work but instead, be caringly weaned-in—properly inducted and oriented; emboldened in social and moral skills and team building.

“Behaviour, interpersonal skills, and talents should be observed and recorded. If any special-need issues are cited, timely referral for appropriate treatment should be employed.

“There must be a discipline matrix throughout the entire school system to help with the effective management of indiscipline.

“This approach augurs well for the start and continuation of a healthy existence in and out of school—an essential preventative angle of the NCPP.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Kalabanté Circus to perform July 31

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 00:04

Kalabante Circus, a group of young acrobats and performers of Guinea, West Africa lineage, will be coming to Trinidad as guests of the Emancipation Support Committee of T&T (ESCTT). The group will perform at the ESCTT’s Pan African Concert on Tuesday, July 31 at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, at 7.30 pm.

Kalabante Circus is an 11-member troupe featuring drumming, music, dance, and jaw-dropping acrobatics.

The word Kalabante means “child go-getter, ambitious, with exceptional courage” in Susu language. The group’s mission focuses on the belief that anyone can do anything “If you can talk, you can sing, if you can walk, you can dance.” But at a broader perspective, the group promotes the artistic cultures of African and humanitarian projects, while promoting cultural exchanges, between Canada and Guinea.

ESCTT’s Executive Director Zakiya Uzoma Wadada shared the reason for the selection of this dynamic group at the Pan African Festival.

“This group is phenomenal, the kind of moves, tricks and heights that they are able to get the human body to reach are magnificent. Our theme for 2018 is Empowerment to Face Today’s Challenges and we believe that a troupe like Kalabante embodies that theme. They are a true vision of what talent and commitment can bring—world class performances,” she said.

Leader of the group, Yamoussa Bangoura was born and raised in Conakry, Guinea. As a child, he loved watching European circuses on television with his family.

At nine years old, he began reproducing those feats he saw on TV. Acrobatics and circuses then became his life. At age 12, Bangoura was discovered by a French filmmaker, who included him in a movie about Guinean acrobats.

When he was older, Bangoura was hired by Guinea’s first circus company Circus Baobab. He later toured Africa and Europe with a show called The Legend of the Tambourine Monkey. He next joined a Spanish circus and was later spotted by Montreal’s Cirque Eloize. Eventually, he immigrated to Montreal, a city he dubs the “capital of circuses.” In 2007, Bangoura created Kalabanté Productions.

“I pass on and share my values and passion by teaching various artistic disciplines in the circus arts, African dance and traditional music of West Africa areas,” he said.

The Pan African concert has always been designed as an international showcase, a cultural amalgamation in which international groups unite with our local performers. This year, the ESCTT will welcome to the Pan African Concert stage, Freetown Collective and The Ultimate Rejects.

Both bands have been close to the Emancipation Festival over the years and having them on the stage will round off a powerful performance.

More info

Tickets for the Kalabante Circus performance are $200 General Admission and $300 Special reserved seating. Tickets are available at NLCB outlets and at the ESCTT Office at the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, Queens Park Savannah; Suntixx; Crosby’s; and, Cleve’s.

Tickets can also be purchased online at: https://www.suntixx.com/ViewEvent/86

Categories: Entertainment News

Steelpan on a higher note at Napa this weekend

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 00:02

The National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) will host its premier show—Pan on a Higher Note—at the Aldwin Roberts “Lord Kitchener” Auditorium of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), today and tomorrow, from 7.30 pm. This, the seventh edition of its signature event is themed Rhythm—Echoes through Generations.

The orchestra, under the musical directorship of Akua Leith, uses this event to showcase the versatility of the national Instrument as the skilled musicians execute pieces from the classical to the contemporary.

The show also incorporates unique collaborations with vocals and dance, as well as introduces new musical compositions. This edition of Pan on a Higher Note “Rhythm—Echoes through Generations” promises to be yet another unforgettable experience, as the NSSO collaborates with Elle Infini TT, a dance troupe whose repertoire includes ballet, hip-hop and dancehall. The NSSO will also be joined on stage by Kerene Asche, Derron Sandy, Elle InfiniTT, Kay Allen, Chelsea Fensom and Shiva Manick.

According to NSSO’s Musical Director Akua Leith, “Rhythm-Echoes through Generations”, bridges the gap through generations of dance and music. He describes rhythm as the thread that links dance and music, “it is what moves our bodies and touches our souls from one generation to the next.”

The NSSO will also be introducing a new composition to their vast repertoire, a piece that was written specifically for them to premiere at the concert.

Categories: Entertainment News

Pan African Festival begins today

Lifestyle - Sat, 07/28/2018 - 00:01

The Emancipation Support Committee of T&T (ESCTT) opens the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, at 10.30 am today. ESCTT Chairman Khafra Kambon will deliver an address.

The 2018 Pan African Festival runs for the next five days at the Emancipation Village with a plethora of cultural events scheduled. The Youth Concert, featuring Jamelody, Orlando Octave, Ziggy Rankin, Kushite and others, will be held this evening. Also on today is the Rhythms & Voices of Africa, at 2 pm, featuring African drums to steelpan, and songs retained from Africa, folk songs, calypso and dance.

A significant event of the 2018 Pan African Festival is next Tuesday’s Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Symposium organised by the ESCTT, in conjunction with the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Billed for the Hyatt Regency, this forum takes a positive and proactive approach to dealing with the economic challenges arising mainly from declines in prices and production of oil and gas.

Three delegations from the continent of Africa will attend the Symposium. This year’s symposium, like those in the past, has been designed to bring together government, private sector and other civil society actors, at local and international levels, to have action-oriented dialogue among partners facing common economic challenges.

A notable difference this year will be the participation not only of individual speakers/business persons from particular countries but official delegations which will participate in the symposium as well as in other activities associated with the Pan-African Festival TT in Commemoration of Emancipation.

Official delegations will come from Osun State in Nigeria, led by the Governor of the State Rauf Aregbesola; Ghana, led by its Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Creative Arts Catherine Abelema Afeku); and, the African Union Commission, led by its Deputy Chairperson Kwesi Quartey).

Each delegation will have its business component. Deepening ties with the African continent at the level of economic cooperation and business are very important for this country as well as countries on the African continent. In addition to the delegations, individual local and international speakers will be highlighted. Some key areas to be highlighted will be:

The Symposium is targeted to the needs of the time as Trinidad and Tobago continues to face economic challenges, despite signs of a small turn around. Oil and other energy prices are outside of our control and unexpected tensions and shifts in alliances among the most powerful countries in the world are complicating the economic challenges. Therefore increasing, strategic cooperation between key sectors nationally and compatible international allies is mandatory for our economic health.

Tomorrow’s itinerary includes the Food Fair & Family Day, at 10 am, highlighting continental African dishes prepared by African nationals and local African dishes. From 2 pm, youth steel orchestras will perform at Youth Steel Explosion, and Jazz at Sunset & Pan Night, will commence at 6 pm, featuring a jazz ensemble and leading national steelbands.

Monday’s programme is Youth Day, organised by the youth for the youth. Hundreds of children participate in a range of creative and learning workshops. The day’s programme, scheduled to begin at 9 am, includes workshops for stilt walking, African dance, theatre and drama, storytelling, rapso, art and craft, drumming and instrument making.

The traditional Emancipation Day procession will be held on Wednesday, from Independence Square to the Emancipation Village, at 7 am. The festival climaxes with the Kambule Flambeaux procession at 6 pm, from the Village to Trinidad All Stars panyard, on Duke Street. (for more on Emanciaption, see page A24)

Emancipation in South

South Trinidad is not left out of the national Emancipation tapestry. Tomorrow, Kaiso Showkase will stage Freedom Road II at the City Hall Auditorium, San Fernando, at 7 pm. Its star-studded cast includes a multiple-crowned national calypso monarch in Cro Cro, as well as Rapso griot/chantwell Bro Resistance.

Also billed to perform are popular southern bards, including Mistah Shak, Ras Kommanda, Hamidullah, Kerrice Pascall, Meguela Simon, Kinte, Nerukhi, Joseph Adams, Curlissa Charles, Nikko, Di Masso, Lystra Nurse and Sweet Merle.

The programme also includes Spoken Word artiste Fidel Iwueke, Roxanne Singh, The Bay Area Drummers and fashion by Something Special.

Categories: Entertainment News


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