Mr. Robert Montano First Chairman of Naparima Bowl

 News & Reviews
Our Wonderful Skiffle through the years
Yvonne Webb
March, 2013

people, the band played to a 
packed audience and demonstrated its versatility with a diverse repertoire, covering the 37 years they have been in existence. For 17 years, they were a single pan band, and for the last 20, they have been a competitive conventional band. 

The range of music played included Indian music, Spanish, Italian, religious, country, calypso and pop. Of course, they also played the tune that earned them fifth place in the this year’s National Panorama competition, Sapna (the Dream).

The professionalism of the players was borne out by their accompaniment of live performer Nadia Madoo, who performed her signature Suhani Raat and Ra He Na Ra He Ham, arranged by Amrit Samaroo and presented and conducted by Kareem Brown.

They also complemented the well-blended voices of soprano Turon Roberts-Nicholas and tenor Edward Cumberbatch for their duet of All I Ask Of You and later Cumberbatch’s solo selection, Nessun Dorma, for which he received a standing ovation.

The show’s second half opened with a blast from the past. Many in the audience felt nostalgic when they heard the voice of the late San Fernando soprano Cheryl Ryan-Baptiste, singing Summertime, recorded at a 2003 Skiffle Concert at Naparima Bowl, streaming through the auditorium.

Skiffle accompanied Ryan-Baptiste’s vocal track with great precision and received thunderous applause at the end. MC Jacqui Koon How said the band has never played Summertime with anyone else singing it.

The concert ended on a lively note with Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin, accompanied by Skiffle’s steel and brass sections. Stalin brought the house down with his ever-popular classics, Black Man Feeling To Party and We Can Make It If We Try.

Band manager, Junia Regrello commended the young players, many of whom are students from the Naparima Boys and Naparima Girls’ Secondary Schools, St Joseph Convent, the Asja schools and St Benedict’s College.

“These are serious students,” he said. “Panorama finished one month ago and here they are, putting on a three-hour concert, having to learn a lot of new material, attending rehearsals, while doing end of term exams. That is commitment and I am sure our sponsor Junior Sammy is equally proud of them.”

Regrello said Skiffle intends to take the show to Queen’s Hall in August and host a repeat in San Fernando later on this year.


Members of the Junior Sammy Group Skiffle brass section accompany calypsonian Black Stalin during his performance. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

For the Junior Sammy Skiffle to put on a two and a half hour concert, with a repertoire of 20 songs, less than one month after the National Panorama, is no mean feat. But that is what the San Fernando band did on March 16, at the NAPA South, at their concert, Skiffle Through the Years.

Consisting of mainly young 
Sounds of Korea fill NAPA
Evidence of this surfaced early on the programme with a showcase of the salpuri-chum, a Sharman Ceremonial Dance, said to have originated from the shamanic dance to exorcise evil spirits and bad luck, by Park. 

She is the only American who has been designated by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture as a yisuja for achieving the highest level of mastery of a traditional art, which she achieved for her performances of the ritual dance.

Also grabbing attention was the playing, by a female cast member, of the Korean wind instrument saenghwang that is constructed from 17 bamboo pipes, each with a metal free reed, mounted in a wind chest. 

The instrument’s uniquely reedy sound was fully captured in the selection Sue-Ryoung, rendered by one of only a few musicians who are able to play the rare instrument.

Then there was a vocal genre known as Gayageum Byungchang (Song to the Korean Zither), a duet comprising voice and a 12-stringed zither, as well as the fantastic Buchae-chum (Fan Dance) in which the traditional Korean fan and colourful costumes, combined with the grace of the music and shifting geometrical designs, led patrons to believe they were viewing a garden of flowers.

The pulsating sound of drums reverberated in the Buddhist Monk Dance (Ssang Seungmu) and Hourglass-shaped Drum Dance (Seol-janggu-nori) with performers energetically playing vibrant rhythms on the instruments, many of which reminded of familiar beats heard in Indian and African drumming.

The familiar melody of the hymn Amazing Grace was sounded by the two-member Piri and Gayageum Ensemble (zither and drum), while sensual dance gestures and movements were characteristics of the improvisational folk dance Heung-chum (Joyful Dance) that were meant to express internal and metaphysical joy.

Bringing the 11-item playbill of tradition Korean culture to a close was the very popular Korean folk song Arirang, considered the unofficial national anthem of Korea, and which, last December, was designated as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco. 

Cast members ventured into the audience and selected patrons to join them on stage for the finale.

Delivering remarks on the occasion were Korean Ambassador Yong-Kyn Kwon and Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas, both expressing the view that culture was the foundation of every society, and “as we embrace others, we better understand ourselves.”
For almost two hours patrons seated in the Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) Auditorium in the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain were captivated by Korean traditional music and dance performances, last Tuesday evening.

Occasion was the staging of Sounds of Korea, hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea under sponsorship of the Korea Foundation, and in collaboration with the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, the Ministry of Tourism and the Tobago House of Assembly.

Featured was a famed Korean performing arts group from the Korean Traditional Performing Arts Association (KTPAA) based in New York, under its director, Sue-Yeon Park. 

Park has been named a National Heritage Fellow, a title presented to master folk and traditional artists by the US National Endowment for the Arts. Korean music is described as the art of combining vocal or instrumental sounds for beauty of form or emotional expression.
A member of the Korean music and dance troupe plays a medley of Korean folk songs on a gayageum in the show Sounds of Korea at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, on Tuesday night. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
Holman, Skiffle team-up for Panorama 2013
Yvonne Webb

Junior Sammy Skiffle has joined forces with renowned steelpan arranger Ray Holman for Panorama 2013. Skiffle CEO Junia Regrello announced the partnership during the bands recent Independence concert at the Naparima Bowl. Holman, who attended the show, was introduced to the audience and given a rousing, San Fernando welcome. At the concert, held in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning as an Independence gift to the nation, Skiffle also honoured visionary businessman Robert Montano for the critical role he has played in shaping their band. The audience learnt that had it not been for Montano, now 91, the visionary behind the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and the Naparima Bowl, Skiffle and its previous incarnations might have been stillborn.
Skiffle CEO Junia Regrello
Regrello, the major player behind the genesis of the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, said: “Mr Montano really discovered the band. “He provided guidance for the band in its infant stage. He set standards for us. He was really our guru.” Regrello recalled one night back in 1976, Montano, who lived at Vistabella at the time, left his home and followed the sound of the steelband coming from nearby Jarvis Street, where Regrello and a group of young men and women were making music under a mango tree. He said Montano sat and listened and when they were through playing, he invited Regrello, the leader of the band, to meet him the next day, at his Imperial Plaza office, to discuss their future. Coming out of that meeting was a two-year sponsorship for what was to become the Imperial Skiffle Bunch. Montano, then chairman of Trinidad Cement Ltd, was also able to influence TCL to sponsor the band. TCL sponsorship of Skiffle Bunch ended in January this year owing to financial problems.

Queenmaker Jacqui Koon How, who also doubled as MC at the concert, held in collaboration with the Ministry of Planning as an Independence gift to the nation, revealed how Montano helped to shape her career as well. She said Montano, her first employer, encouraged her to get involved in the fashion and modelling industry. In addition to Skiffle, the concert featured guest performers Nadia Madoo, Raymond Edwards, Turon Roberts and Black Stalin. Regrello also used the opportunity to introduce the band’s full brass section, which accompanied guest artiste Black Stalin in his full repertoire, not missing a beat. Stalin’s expression, body rocked back, eyes opened wide and smile even broader than normal, conveyed his obvious surprise and pleasure at the professionalism of the young musicians. This prompted Regrello to issue a warning to renowned musician Roy Cape, who normally accompanies the calypsonian, to watch out for this brass section. He boasted that all the musicians who make up the two-month-old brass band can read music.

Members of the Junior Sammy Group Skiffle playing Black Stalin’s classic We Could Make It If We Try at Skiffle’s recent Independence concert at Naparima Bowl. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Peter Ray Blood

Put her in a secondary school uniform and you could easily mistake her for a fifth former. But, Tamara Tam-Cruickshank aged 31, is a wife and mother of two children. She is also a UWI graduate, a school teacher, and movie producer/director. Tamara won raves a fortnight ago when she premiered her second film—Come With It, Black Man...Biography of Black Stalin’s Consciousness—at Nalis in Port-of-Spain. The one-hour movie is a well researched and presented documentary on the music of five-time National Calypso Monarch Black Stalin Leroy Calliste. Tamara has thus far had quite a romantic and colourful life, from the moment of being delivered into this world, in South Trinidad, by her grandfather Dr Tam, to her parents Patrick and Jacqueline Tam. Growing up with two siblings, a brother and a sister, Tamara describes her childhood as “fantastic and happy.” “We were like The Brady Bunch. I was always into art, maybe because a lot of my family, on both sides, are into art. I have an aunt who is a writer. 

Tamara Tam-Cruickshank with Black Stalin at the premiere of her documentary—Come With It, Black Man...Biography of Black Stalin’s Consciousness.
Come With It, Black Man...Biography of Black Stalin’s Consciousness 
A one hour film by our own Trinidad born Tamara Tam-Cruickshank
“I can’t pick one favourite artist as I love the works of so many of them. I especially like the works of Picasso, who I think was a real genius. I also like Van Gogh, (Peter) Minshall, Leroi Clarke and Eddie Bowen.” Tamara says she cherishes moments alone, even from when she was a child. She explained:_“I think that people born under the sign of Cancer are very hard to deal with. We can be very anti-social at times, and like being left in our space. On the other hand, we are very nurturing people, with strong motherly instincts.” Tamara attributes her love and appreciation for the arts and local culture to closeness to family and her childhood. “I used to spend Carnivals as a child in San Fernando with my grandmother, watching Dimanche Gras. This is one of the things that inspired me to appreciate and love ‘authentic’ calypso music.” Describing her formative years, Tamara disclosed:_“At primary level, I attended St Xavier’s Private School in St Joseph, going on to St Francois Girls’ College, St Augustine Girls High School, and St Joseph’s Convent in Port-of-Spain.” Upon graduating secondary school, she migrated to New York, USA, and did some art courses. Marrying Kerwyn Cruickshank in New York and becoming a mother, Tamara returned to Trinidad and enrolled in UWI, St Augustine, majoring in visual arts.

She continues:_“Upon finishing UWI, I wanted to begin work on a film project, and opted to do a documentary on Black Stalin.” As faith would have it, when Tamara graduated UWI_in 2008, she was amazed to realise that Black Stalin was conferred with his Honorary Doctorate in Letters at her graduation exercise. “I had met Stalin before, did some interviews and we had already developed a great relationship before the film idea came about. “Stalin is my favourite calypsonian. As a child, about the age of five-six, I saw this rasta calypsonian on TV. At that age, I thought rastas only sang reggae. Anyway, I thought he was the greatest. I remember Wait Dorothy was one his songs I loved as a child. “The respect I have for Black Stalin, from childhood, caused me to want to do a film on him as my first project. He is the nicest person. “The more I got to know Stalin, the more I wanted to know about him. When I told him I wanted to do a documentary on him on the phone, I heard a slight pause and he just remained calm; asked no questions, didn’t sound excited; he was just cool and replied, ‘I’ll be willing to work with you on this’. I was happy, but very surprised, especially as he didn’t even know me.”

“This was four years ago. I began attending his shows, visited his home and did two interviews...two very long interviews. 
“What I came to realise that this was not just a very intelligent and talented man, but a very private man who agreed to open up his home and his life to me. I also checked him at Kenny Phillips studio in Palmiste where he was recording.” “The documentary was completed in August, but we are still doing post production work. The four years of producing this work, being married, with children, was very hard and challenging. Many times my husband and I had to tote the children with us, sometimes late at night, to do interviews. At the end of it all, it was a most rewarding experience; as well as a learning one.
“And, yes!_I will certainly do it all over again. In fact, I already have two or three other artistes in mind I would love doing documentaries on. Actually, my three favourite artistes are Stalin, Shadow and SuperBlue.” About her Black Stalin project, Tamara said: “What drives me with a project like this is that I want to inform and enlighten young people on who they are, as sons and daughters of Trinidad & Tobago; and, about their indigenous culture and heritage. “Young people are very ignorant as to who they are, subjecting and influenced by American non culture, and Jamaican culture. It is very important for our young people to know themselves. I listened to one of my lecturers—Dr Gordon Rohlehr—and he inspired me through the medium of calypso.

“Our young people need to realise that the young soca stars they now emulate and love, all—including Kes, Machel, Chucky, Bunji, Destra and Nadia—all have an appreciation of the roots of calypso and the elders in calypso, like Stalin, who planted those roots. They know the history of the art form, in the same way all young US basketball players know the history of their sport, and the NBA. Traditional calypso is the seed of every indigenous music now popular in this country. “I want young people to think critically, instead of being just like mindless sheep, simply following.” Asked her other ambitions, Tamara responded: “I would like to eventually do a feature movie. I love horrors and drama movies...in fact I like them all, all genres, once they are good. “I want to develop myself as a photographer, and I am definitely going to get my Masters degree. Right now, I am simply enjoying my two sons, Jeremiah, ten, and Julian, 22 months.”
​sports are the cure for youth delinquency,” Muradali said.
He commended the foundation for uplifting youths and encouraging them to take part in positive ventures.

Muradali also said he recently had some floodlights repaired at the Hazel Rogers-Dick Play Park and was pleased to see many young people using the facility.

“Before the lights were installed young people would sit in the dark smoking and you never knew what they were up to. “Since we got the lights, families are spending time in the park. You can see young people playing basketball and football. “The are engaging in healthy competitions and after that they are tired so they do not have time for crime and delinquency,” Muradali said.

The mayor also offered a $6,000 bursary to the foundation to encourage youth involvement in sports. With regard to the arts, Muradali said incentives would be given to students from surrounding schools to create a mural at Harris Promenade. He said San Fernandians had lost pride in the promenade.

“We have to restore pride in that space and we want the youths to assist us in doing so,” Muradali said. He added that the proceeds of the mayor’s charity dinner on Saturday would be used to support the rehabilitation of street-dwellers. “We will upgrade the Court Shamrock facility. I will not be reckless to have police remove the street dwellers, like what happened in another city. I will ensure they are rehabilitated,” Muradali said.

President of the foundation, Joel Edwards, said the double-header will be on Saturday at Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, from 2 pm. He said the foundation had distributed $197,000 to 35 students since its inception in 2002.
Students of Point Fortin East Secondary School, Presentation College, San Fernando, and Naparima College with Mayor Navi Muradali and president of the Val Turton/Carl Osborne Foundation yesterday at City Hall, San Fernando. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
Sando mayor: Arts and sports can curb crime
Radhica Sookraj
San Fernando mayor Dr Navi Muradali believes involvement in the arts and sports will curb juvenile delinquency and crime. His comments came a day after a student from the Pleasantville Secondary School was stabbed for allegedly refusing to join a robbery ring at the school.

He was speaking at a press conference to launch the Val Turton/Carl Osbourne Foundation’s double-header intercol classic at City Hall yesterday, Muradali lamented the prevalence of youth delinquency in schools. “It is happening all around us in secondary schools but education and 

Trinidad, land of…the voice

In musical circles Trinidad has been recognised (at least from the days of Roaring Lion’s kaiso) as the land of calypso, steelpan and more recently, soca. 

In the light of the recent Classical Music Development Foundation of T&T (CMDFTT) first annual competition, we may now have to revise this list and include the very first organic instrument discovered by humans: the voice. 

All seven finalists (eventual winner John Thomas, second-placed Christian Noel, third spot Stephanie Nahous, along with their equally gifted and honourably mentioned fellow competitors Llettesha Sylvester, Ayrice Wilson, Stephan Hernandez and Kevin Yung) were singers (although mention must be made of the three instrumentalists who did not progress beyond the semi-final: classical guitarist Seth Escalante, cellist Tracell Frederick and violinist Chelsea Goolcharan). 

​Every one of the magnificent seven finalists is currently enrolled in voice studies, mostly abroad, and if their individual performances are any measure of success, they are all capable of following in the footsteps of such local 
 singers who have made international careers, as Anne Fridal, June Nathaniel, Ronald Samm and Jeanine De Bique.

The choices of songs and arias made easy listening for a disappointingly small audience. The range of voice, mood and context ensured audience entertainment while allowing competitors to showcase their individual strengths, nuances and depths. Besides the obvious emotive offerings like Gluck’s Unis de la plus tendre enfance and O Del Mio Dolce Ardor, or Stephano Donaudy’s O bei nidi d’amore, we were exhorted to open our hearts by Bizet’s Ouvre ton Coeur, raised to transcendence by Haydn’s Mit Wurd und Hoheit angetan and vicariously invited to reflection by Lensky’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin. 

Opening competitor Kevin Yung surprised the house with his rarely heard (in Trinidad) counter tenor, manfully delivering the aria Sposa son disprezzata (from Vivaldi’s opera Bajazet) and But Who May Abide from Handel’s Messiah, while Llettsesha Sylvester introduced a lighter comic note, with her rendition of Poor Wandering One from the Pirates of Penzance. 

Honourably-mentioned 22-year-old Stephan Hernadez, one of the younger competitors combined classical with popular in his selections: first ambitiously attempting Xerxes’ opening aria to Handel’s opera Serse, before revisiting the old South of Confederacy days with the Negro Spiritual Witness.

To the untrained ear it was extremely difficult to place the magnificent seven competitively and thankfully this uneviable task fell to the judges: choral and orchestral conductor Carlos Aransay, mezzo-soprano Hilda Harris and local flautist Anthony Woodroffe Jnr (himself a previous T&T Music Festival winner). 

It was probably no surprise that Stephanie Nahous won the Audience prize (voted for during the semi final) or that she secured third place in the final, despite at 22, being one of the younger competitors. 

She appeared far more comfortable onstage than many of her fellow competitors, adopting a side profile posture exuding a confidence which registered in her dramatic soprano rendering of Ouvre ton Coeur (part of a dramatic piece Bizet composed as a student in Rome, known as the ode‐symphony Vasco da Gama). 

Her second piece Musetta’s Waltz from Puccini’s opera la Boheme again allowed her to assume a dramatic persona, which may well have won her important extra points for interpretation. 

Nahous has learnt early that having “the voice” is only one aspect of performance; her vocal delivery as well as her stage presence combined for a performance mature beyond her years.

Second place 24-year-old Christian Joel proved that control and moderation can be more effective than mere volume. With his finely modulated tenor he first brought polish, colour and the requisite sensibility to Gluck’s tender Unis de la plus tendre enfance and then evoked the awe demanded by the Mit Wurd und Hoheit angetan aria from Handel’s Creation.

While all comparisons are odious and competitions in any discipline of the performing arts may favour the brave rather than the talented, few would quarrel with the judges’ decision to award first prize to 27-year-old tenor John Thomas His opening choice— Lensky’s aria from the Tchaikovsky opera Eugene Onegin— gave him the scope to showcase his interpretive skills. 

Lensky’s pre-dawn reflections before fighting a duel (provoked by Onegin’s unwanted advances on his fiancée Olga) encompass a shifting range of emotions: from fatalism and fears of mortality to nostalgia, the poignancy of an early death, yearning for lost love, to hopelessness, fatalism, resignation and acceptance. 

Thomas was more than equal to the challenge of this emotional kaleidoscope, without straying into the temptation of over indulging any one emotional colour, at the expense of diversity. 

In his second piece (Paris’ araia from the Gluck opera Paride ed Elena) Thomas gave this declaration of love the emotional depth and sincerity that can win the hardest of hearts, without slipping into sentimentality.

Carlos Aransay’s post-competition remark that the best tenors in the world are now to be found in Trinidad and Latin America, should not be taken lightly. Judging as a layman, it seems that we also have an emerging cadre of sopranos ready to stand by their tenor counterparts. 

All the competitors in this inaugural CMDFTT competition will do T&T proud in the opera houses and concert halls of the world. CMDFTT can be justifiably proud, not only for organizing the competition (which as CMDFTT director Annette Dopwell noted gives much needed funding to the young artistes) but also for creating a supportive nurturing network for young classical musicians, thereby extending T&T’s international musical reputation — as the land of the voice.

Simon Lee
John Thomas, Tenor, after receiving the Platinum Sponsor, National Gas Company's Award for 1st Place from NGC's official, Malcolm Edwards. PHOTO: DANIEL GOMEZ, COURTESY CMDFTT
International music industry executives and specialists who were in T&T for the 2013 Artistes Managers Music Business Conference (AMMBCON) have left with glowing words of praise for the talent they discovered here. ASK Promotions CEO, Stephen Howard, is predicting that as a result of 2013 AMMBCON, several local artistes might embark on world tours within the next year or so, given the enthusiasm of the international executives.

The business side of the creative industries development conference ended August 16, following three intensive days of workshops, networking sessions and training, with a series of local and international facilitators. However, the real conference wrap-up was on August 17 when top local artistes took to the stage at Zen Nightclub for a concert titled Fanmania. The very best artistes and exponents of the T&T music industry were on show, including Mungal Patasar, Michael Boothman, Los Alumnos de San Juan, H2O Phlo, Shurwayne Winchester, Freetown Collective, Orange Sky, Jamelody, Llettesha Sylvester, Ruth Osman, and many others.

Mungal Patesar and his son Prashant take centre-stage alongside band-mates in Pantar
Howard said the international music executives expressed interest in several of the local acts showcased at Fanmania and intend to work closely with the artistes and ASK Promotions to get them international exposure. AMMBCON 2013 was organised by ASK Promotions, with the full support and partnership of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment. The Ministry was the primary sponsor, and the conference is in partial fulfilment of its mandate to develop and help maximise the commercial potential of this country’s creative industries.
Music execs eye local artistes
  Produced by Kurt Allen and Company

  by Anita Smith-Henze
  on behalf of the Board of Directors 
  Naparima Bowl

On Friday evening, June 20, 2014, an almost full-house at Naparima Bowl enjoyed “The Last Badjohn of Calypso,” a delightful, fun-filled, and riveting production presented by Mr. Kurt Allen and Company.
Upon entering Naparima Bowl, it was clear that much time, effort and creativity had been expended to give rise to an atmosphere of “a long-time or countryside village” in Trinbago. Patrons were greeted at the main entrance to a galvanized-enclosed “latrine,” or “WC,” as part of the set. So, from the beginning, it was obvious that this show was going to be very innovative.  

The stage was converted in an amazing, true-to-form manner, bringing to reality what actually could have been happening in the backyard of someone’s home in a village – rusting galvanize partitions, old wooden houses, half doors with flaming red curtains, standpipe outside; not without the corner bar or rum shop. It was all so familiar.

With no hesitation, this was one of the better productions that I have had the privilege to enjoy at the Bowl. 

Appearing initially as interruption, it soon became apparent that the provocatively dressed females interacting with the audience were part of the production. They characterized women who were either under the influence or angry -- certainly out of control – loud, restless, incoherent, disruptive, fighting sporadically throughout the production. Why? It may well have been a reaction to the character, “Badjohn,” who was eye-catching, with a seemingly 

 untouchable, bigger-than-life demeanor. His body language exuded a quirky confidence, and his conspicuous silence was thunderous – a ‘nobody-is-to-mess-with-me’ attitude. Quite effective! (Hope this characterization is accurate.)

The singers, musicians, chorus girls and music kept the audience moving to the rhythm of the Caribbean beats. As part of audience participation, yours truly as a “Board Member” was invited on stage, for a brief moment, to join the villagers as they enjoyed the performers, small talk, soft drink, dessert. The audience seemed to enjoy the T&T picong brilliantly presented, with much pageantry, by our gifted calypsonians in the personalities of – Kurt Allen, Myron B and Allan Welch.

To bring another level of enjoyment, Black Stalin and Rikki Jai rendered signature performances, much to the audience’s delight, as we sang along to the familiar tunes. Then, there was a young fella, Adrain Jaikaran, on the steelpan, who skillfully played with two sticks in each hand. He was Remarkable!

“Rosie,” with her unforgettable red wig, the mistress of ceremonies extraordinaire, was very entertaining, mixing in with the characters, while keeping the sequences moving. She is quite a performer -- gyrating and all!
The “house” was brought “down” as the production culminated with the portrayal of tourists visiting the village, dancing to the sounds of Trinbago and the Caribbean. One tourist, bedecked in his Bermuda shorts, colourful shirt, straw hat, sunglasses too, was most charismatic -- moving ever so merrily, but exhibiting that all familiar ‘tourist’ offbeat jig. Our boy was having such a good time – completely unaware of being robbed of his cell-phone. That was not all, in the midst of true Caribbean revelry, this tourist’s wife had a near brawl with one of the disorderly thieving village women, who was getting too close -- hugging and kissing her husband. Bacchanal in the village!

The principle: – party time or no party time, tourist or no tourist, in Trinibago ‘yuh better mind yuh business.’  

What an enjoyable production. We were all there -- present, no time to think about anything else! The performance ended in the courtyard as the cast joined the audience for a final jig, jump, laugh or selfie, if you desired.
  This is a must-see production!
  Take it on the road!

Mr. Allen, congratulations to you and your company for a well-thought- out, fantastically executed production. We look forward to many more.

P.S. How can I join you?
27 June 2014

Stay tuned for more...
Thursday, February 25, 2016

                                                          Simon Wiltshire, left, and Victor Prescod, chairman, 
                                                          T&T Music Festival Association.

Participants in this year’s 31st Biennial T&T Music Festival are the beneficiaries of Scotiabank’s commitment to assisting communities and young people in becoming better citizens.

The bank, through its Scotia Foundation, has signed as the diamond sponsor of this year’s production being held under the patronage of Dr Nyan Gadsby Dolly, Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.

Anya Schnoor, senior vice-president and managing director of the bank, gave the commitment at Sunday’s launch of the festival, conceptualised and produced by the T&T Music Festival Association.

The venue was Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain, for the gala opening which featured performances by past festival winners, as well as the National Philharmonic Orchestra.

“We will continue to do our part in the development of our country, investing in the areas of education, sports, culture, health and the environment. At Scotiabank, we are deeply committed to supporting initiatives that focus on the development of our country’s youth. 

“The Music Festival is one such initiative. In the past, we were the gold sponsor of the biennial National Music Festival and I must say we were very pleased when the association approached us with the idea to host the festival this year,” said Schnoor.

She added, “This event celebrates the talent of our young people and provides the right stimulus for them to maintain their involvement in the local arts and culture. 

“The event helps provide young people with opportunities that allow them to realise their potential and work towards success in everything they set out to accomplish, ensuring that they become better off as well-rounded individuals who contribute meaningfully to their communities and society.”