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Unplugged and in the Carnival

Thursday, February 16, 2017
A Pamberi bass player in action during Sunday's semifinals

Unable to attend Randy Glasgow’s Ladies All White Night Out on Friday night, I covered two other events that night—Carnival Medea at the Little Carib Theatre and David Rudder Unplugged at Kaiso Blues Cafe in Newtown. I found Carnival Medea, attended by a wide cross section of theatre folk, and directed by Rhoma Spencer, to be an intense production.

I loved its set and costuming. Rudder Unplugged was an unforgettable experience as its venue is one of the most intimate performance spaces in the land. At the Cafe, the artiste on stage is right “in yo face” during a performance.

I broke my promise to George Singh that I would attend the final of the Chutney Soca Monarch competition. Congrats to joint winner Ravi B and Omardath Maharaj and I must confess that the latter’s Ramsingh Sharma is one of my favourite songs this year.

I did attend Queen’s Royal College’s Fete Royal, held at the St Clair college. For me, the main ingredient at this fete was its music, particularly that of Kes the Band and Destra & Bakanal. Also headlining on Saturday night were KI & Band, Full Extreme and Roy Cape All Stars, along with guest artistes Farmer Nappy, Neval Chatelal, Naillah Blackman, Steve Villaruel and Swappi.

Kes the Band continued its good form, established since its first outing this year, while Destra was my pick on the night. Provocatively dressed as usual, the Queen of Bacchanal had the crowd eating out of her hand for her entire set as she delectably mixed past hits with her current songs.

I attended my 54th Panorama competition on Sunday morning at 8.30 am at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, having attended each year’s competition since I was 11-years-old. When I entered the Grand Stand I met about 20 patrons who had beaten me to the venue, and the same amount on the opposite side of the stage in the North Stand. The entire day’s programme was too long without a doubt but I must admit that I enjoyed the 30 small bands who occupied its first eight hours.

Left up to me, like the Single Pan bands, I would have given the 30 small band semi-finalists their own date, time, space and venue, with the medium and large orchestras having all of Sunday to themselves. Had this been done, Sunday’s semi-finals would have lasted nine hours and 20 minutes and, if started at noon, would have ended around 9.30 pm on the same day.

I contend that pan and its music continues to be in good hands if one looked at the thousands of young people performing in the competing bands, many of them having senior and older pan musicians looking after them throughout the day. The young daughter of a friend was on cloud nine when Machel Montano turned up on the drag with Couva Joylanders and Steel Xplosion, both sponsored by NGC, and mingled with the youths.

Unlike the many disgruntled patrons who flooded the social media with negative criticism about the length of Sunday’s show, my main concern though was with the young people, some of whom were in the Savannah from Sunday morning, who were still there after midnight awaiting their turn to perform. As 2 am approached it was good to see some of the male organisers and pan folk escorting the children from the track to the Grand Stand.

My weekend continued on Wednesday evening with Hadco and CAL hosting Sponsor’s Night in the panyards of their sponsored steelbands Phase II Pan Groove and Invaders, respectively. Both were attended by Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, her Tourism counterpart Shamfa Cudjoe and popular soca artiste Angela Hunte. bpTT and Republic Bank also hosted similar events for their steelbands, Renegades and Exodus, respectively, this week.

Mas at the Savannah took centre stage last night when the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) and NCC held the preliminaries for the 2017 King and Queen of Carnival competitions. It’s the turn of calypso tomorrow when the NCC, in collaboration with Tuco, stages the National Calypso Monarch semi-final at Skinner Park, San Fernando, at 11 am. Sunday’s Carnival agenda includes the final of the National Junior Panorama at the Savannah from 9 am, and Monday’s big show is Machel Monday at Hasely Crawford Stadium, followed by similar productions starring Kes and Destra, on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.


Exhale at Fatima

This year marks the 14th anniversary of the Fatima Old Boys’ (Foba) all-inclusive fete and it will be held at the college on Mucurapo Road, St James, from 5 pm tomorrow. Music will be supplied by Roy Cape All Stars, featuring Blaxx, Tizzy, and Ricardo Drue, Raymond Ramnarine & Dil-e-Nadan, Bunji, Fay Ann & The Asylum Vikings, Farmer Nappy, Red Boyz & The Flick, MX Prime & Ultimate Rejects, Lyrical, Sekon Star, Peter Ram and St James Tripolians Steel Orchestra (1972).

Patrons are assured of sumptuous, mouth-watering dishes as never before, from 34 food stations, plus premium alcoholic beverages.

For the ladies who wish to change from heels to flat footwear, Foba has made the necessary arrangements so that they can leave their heels in our care and collect them at the end of the fete.

All proceeds from this fete and other fund-raising ventures are channelled towards education, sport and developmental programmes in the college. In 2011 Foba constructed a mezzanine in the College Hall so that the school’s 900 population could be accommodated. In 2012, the college library was totally refurbished, and the pavilion on the college grounds was also refurbished. In 2013, Foba constructed a two storey block, to accommodate the school’s form VI students, costing over $4.3 million dollars.

Proceeds from this fund-raising venture would be utilised to continue support the college, led by principal Father Gregory Augustine, the first old boy to hold this prestigious post. Foba continues to be ably led by the hardworking and committed Dwight Andrews, who follows in a line up of many other old boys who previously held this prestigious post.


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