ST JAMES will live up to its title as the town that never sleeps this weekend with a flurry of activities including pan jazz, calypso, J’Ouvert, a pan parade and “bright mas.” The events are all part of the annual WeBeat St James Live Festival, produced by the St James Community Improvement Committee (St James CIC).
Tonight is Pan Jazz and Honoree’s night at the St James Amphitheatre from 8 pm, with performances by the National Steel Symphony Orchestra, the Codrington Pan Family, Golden Hands Steel Orchestra and Moore’s Music, all promising to give patrons sweet jazz music.
St James’ long-standing steelband Power Stars Steel Orchestra, formerly Blue Stars will be specially honoured at this event as well.
Tomorrow it’s Komedy Kaiso, an event produced by master musician and arranger Carl “Beaver” Henderson. This show at the amphitheatre will feature eight of the best exponents of the genre. Among them, reigning Humorous Calypso Monarch Myron B (Myron Bruce), Trinidad Rio (Daniel Brown), Funny (Donric Williamson), Brown Boy (Knolly Brown), Kid Kalalloo (Julien Hunte), Spicy (Tammico Moore), Oscar B (Oscar Benjamin), who will be performing some of the late Brigo’s (Samuel Abraham) songs and David Bereaux, with some of Cypher’s (Dillary Scott) calypsoes.
“Humour in Trinidad is a way of life. It is no joke,” said CIC committee member Angela Fox. “We are offering people a chance to ease the tension. Come out and free up a bit, even for a short while, from the stresses of daily life.”
Musical accompaniment will be by Kelly Green and Harmony, while show host is Nikki Crosby. Showtime is 8 pm.
Like tonight’s show, patrons are asked to walk with their drinks, as only chasers, non-alcoholic beverages, and finger foods will be on sale at tomorrow night’s show.
On Saturday at 4 am, there will be a mini J’Ouvert starting at the St James Amphitheatre, then proceeding along the Western Main Road in an easterly direction.
Later at 7 pm, the annual Steelband and Traditional Mas Parade will take over the Western Main Road from Matura Street and head east. The parade will be led by traditional mas characters, followed by the steelbands that will include Phase II in collaboration with Hadco, Shell Invaders, PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, Harvard Harps, St James Tripolians, Angostura Newtown Playboyz, Woodbrook Playboyz, Old Tech, Woodbrook Modernaires, Brimblers and Arima Golden Symphony. In addition, there will be three stationary bands at the amphitheatre –MHTL Starlift, La Creole Pan Groove and the Chinese Bicentennial.
Fox said the St James CIC will be introducing night mas this year as after the last steelband plays, the Brite Nite Band will head from east to west on the St James Main Road, complete with music truck and glow sticks, as well as neon headpieces, glasses and T-shirts.
It is an all-inclusive band that is produced by the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA).
NCBA president David Lopez said having experienced Monday night mas in Grenada, he always wanted to create a similar event in Trinidad. He said after liaising with the St James CIC it was agreed and he immediately put things in place. He said, “This is for people to come and enjoy themselves and have a good time. We are sold-out now. We were looking for 50-100 persons but had to stop at 300.”
There will also be a performance by Edwin “Ejay” Granger of his song Mad Stampede with Jab A Mien, a group of jabs and fire eaters that will lead off the bright mas segment to close off the parade.