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Raw guitar talent
For the avid art and culture lover, lamentably the film festival is over. Take heart though, the Fiesta Plaza at MovieTowne is currently hosting an excellent event that will feed your needs.
The Fiesta Plaza at MovieTowne will again come alive to the music of the men on strings as it celebrates another year of The Power of The Guitar. The month of October each year is set aside to highlight the most talented of T&T’s guitar artistes and showcase the versatility and talents of some of the country’s new and upcoming, as well as seasoned guitar performers.
One guitarist is featured every Saturday. This Saturday, Joey Ng Wai will take the stage. Ng Wai has had a long and accomplished career, all based on a serious love affair with the guitar.
“Growing up in a house full of music there was little or no escape from being drawn into it, my brother got me my first guitar when I was 12-years-old and I really never put it down since,” Ng Wai reminisces. “By age 13, I was the lead guitarist in a band called Zoom and also in a band lead by Micheal Salloum aka Soca Elvis. On the eve of my 16th birthday both Michael and myself auditioned for Frantic, a pop band lead by Johnny Gonsalves. I assumed the role of lead guitarist and we partied hard for three years playing at various functions throughout and we enjoyed being at the top of our game.
“In 1989 Johnny and I formed the band Second Imij, under the management of my Dad George Ng Wai and Johnny G. We took on the soca world and made a name for ourselves as one of T&T’s best exports, winning 17 road marches around the world with our hit Jump (On D’ Count of 4) and Go. In 1997, Imij’s membership decided that we would all pursue our solo careers, thus bringing a close to the band.
“Currently I am working on my solo album, having released three singles and enjoying great airplay. Also, I am part of a production team with ZZ Kellar and Daryl Bartholomew working on an album for T&T’s female rap artist Rochelle Chedz.
“My love for the guitar is simply this. It gets me, it has seen me through some fantastic times in my life and it has seen me through the bad times as well. It is me. I am a guitarist.”
Aaron Low Chew Tung opened the series last Saturday, October 4. Low Chew Tung began his musical journey with the guitar at the age of 14, remaining self taught until applying for the BFA in Performing Arts at UTT in 2011. After participating in the second Jazz lab programme under the late Dave Marcellin, he studied under the tutelage of Theron Shaw. Currently a freelance guitarist, he has performed with many artistes of different genres and presently working on his first solo album.
“Excluding my Final Year Recital earlier this year at UTT, the event Power of the Guitar was my first public performance under my own name,” he said.
“As such, it was very important to me as a means of showcasing my ability and also being able to play some music that I may not have had another outlet for. On a whole, these events at Fiesta Plaza are great ways of providing solid entertainment for the public and also allowing performers another means of showcasing their work.”
The show on the 18th will feature Dax Cartar, one of the most talented, young and visually exciting musicians on the scene. Cartar came out of the reggae band Krash and often can be seen performing with his brother Philip and sister Marie-Angelique Cartar in the band The Cartars.This self taught artiste loves to perform the music of virtuoso guitarist like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani and can be seen on October 18.
“The event is very demanding and it is my top priority,” Cartar said.
In terms of what the audience can expect, Cartar will be featuring an original song, Ode to Japan, a guitar instrumental which he wrote in dedication to Japan, and in memory of the victims of the tsunami.
“I will also be covering the work of Guthrie Govan and Steve Vai, among others and I will also be having guest artistes,” he said.
The season would come to a close on October 25 with Michael Chang Wai who after last year’s performance left the Fiesta Plaza patrons spell bound. Chang Wai was a foundation member of the now defunct band The Devine Echoes and has studied in Cuba courtesy a government-to-government arrangement. He is currently pursuing an associate Degree in the performing Arts with a major in Guitar at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts (Costaatt).
Like Low Chew Tung, Chang Wai also commented on the merit of the festival.
“The event is very important,” Chang Wai affirmed. “An entire month for the guitar is a good thing because guitars don’t get enough recognition. It’s about time they start highlighting guitar players and all the other instruments as well.”
The audience can expect an assortment of styles from Chang Wai.
“The show is about the power of the guitar so I will be doing a variety of music on the guitar,” he said.
Heathcliff West, the Events and Entertainment Manager at Fiesta Plaza MovieTowne expressed his pride in the event.
“This the fifth year that The Fiesta Plaza at MovieTowne has been promoting The Power of The Guitar and we are always trilled by the level of talent, creativity and showmanship of these musicians who more often than not are in the background,” he said. “This showcase brings them up close and personal to our audience.”
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