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Tuesday 26 March 2019
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Curtain call on 2017

Grace Jones at Tobago Jazz Experience
Grace Jones at Tobago Jazz Experience

DECEMBER

Desperadoes Steel Orchestra was on the move again when it took up occupation of the former grounds of the Government Printery at the corner of Victoria Avenue and Tragarete Road, PoS.

In recent years the band was at Queen’s Park East, where the new NIB building stands, and at the site of the demolished Greyfriars Church on Frederick Street. The band got Cabinet approval for the occupation of the current site.

A film featuring the Mighty Shadow (Winston Bailey) titled the King from Hell highlights some of the bard’s calypso journey. Produced by Banyan’s Christopher Laird, the film comprises a random selection of unedited works, including concert performances and an interview. The hour-long film speaks about Shadow’s coming into calypso, both the hardships and the good times, and performances of some of his songs.

A magistrate’s failure to provide her reasons for convicting Multiple road March winner Machel Montano and songwriter Kernal Roberts in 2012 for assaulting patrons during a fracas at the Zen nightclub in 2007 has led to their being freed of the charges. But almost a decade after the event, the two will now have to face another trial, as one has been ordered by the two appellate court judges who upheld their appeals and quashed their convictions.

QED, Lydians and Marionettes all once again had successful Christmas concerts for the season

JAZZ

As usual, the jazz calendar in 2017 was a beehive of activity, beginning with Jazz Artists on the Greens, featuring Haitian guitarist James Jessey Joseph and his A+ Band, Elan Parle, led by prolific composer Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung, vocalist Vaughnette Bigford, and Cuban jazz violinist William Roblejo.

And while the Tobago Jazz Experience saw fewer patrons this year, the Jazz at Turtle Beach was a fantastic treat for jazz lovers. The audience was treated to performances by Errol Ince doing 50s and 60s big-band swing and jazz music, Barbadian saxophonist Arturo Tappin with pannist Dane Gulston, Carl “Beaver” Henderson himself, who returned to the stage after 25 years, directing a band of young musicians from UTT, and vocalists Kay Alleyne, Michelle Xavier, Bigford, Keith Ajala Sutherland, Jason “Fridge” Seecharan and Dereck Patience. But it was young guitarist Dax Carter who stole the show with his guitar solo on Hotel California (The Eagles).

Etienne Charles, David Rudder & Lima Calbio

Sunday’s cast of pan virtuoso Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, musician extraordinaire Clive “Zanda” Alexander and his band and DJs CPOP and Katz took patrons back through the years, much to their delight.

Mayaro Has Jazz IV at Queen’s Beach resort featured spoken-word artistes Zakiya Gill, Ivory Hayes, Charnell Lucien, singers Trevor Lynch Jr and Josiah Charleau, Nerukhi, DPe Management Models, Ann-Marie Jemmette, Bossa Nova the band, TV personality Keevan Lewis of Keevo tV and radio personality Luan John, who pleased patrons, as did Cousoumeh Jazz in Siparia, which featured Deltones Institute of Steel Drums and Music, Akinola Sennon, international musicians Shane Dahler (drummer), Chris McCarthy (pianist and composer) and Alonzo Demetrius (trumpet player and composer).

The inaugural North Coast Jazz at the scenic Blanchisseuse Recreation Grounds was a day of fun and entertainment. Patrons totally enjoyed performances by Bigford, Adan Hagley and his band, veteran jazz artiste Mavis John, Gyerlini Clarke, Tobago singer Adana Roberts and panman extraordinare Ray Holman.

Then in June, there was a wonderful return of JazzBeat at WeBeat, St James, as patrons were moved by performances from Elan Parle, Fridge, Pelham Goddard & Roots and the Police Band.

FILM

The TT Film Festival’s (ttff) first offering for 2017 was its Carnival Film Series, a showcase of Carnival-themed movies and other film-related events.

Film producer Christian James, left, author Michael Anthony and film producer Michael Mooleedhar.

After Carnival the ttff joined forces with the Canadian High Commission to offer a three-day intensive, basic screenwriting workshop for emerging film-makers who had already written at least one short screenplay.

Bazodee won two awards at the London/Asian Film Fest, and the Africa Film TT (AFTT) Festival, which celebrated African cinema, was another treat.

Later in the year five local feature-length films – Green Days by the River, Moko Jumbie, The Lies We Tell, Quick Pick and Back to Freeport – were screened during the 12th annual festival. Nearly 120 feature-length, short and experimental narrative and documentary films from the Caribbean, its diaspora and contemporary world cinema were screened, and over 34 short and experimental films also made in TT.

The festival began with Green Days by the River, a film adaptation of Michael Anthony’s classic 1967 novel of the same name, bringing to life childhood memories of the book, and a Trinidad of yesteryear. The film was also shown in cinemas and is scheduled to be screened in five Caribbean countries – Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana and St Lucia – from January 11.

OBITUARIES

Jan 14 - Joyce Wong Sang, 85 - cultural icon, better known as Mrs Best Village, as she was behind the Prime Minister’s Best Village Trophy Competition, which was intended to promote the nation’s culture through drama, song, music and dance, with the main aim being to develop the folk and traditional arts that characterised the nation.

Feb 20 - Claudette Blackman, 72 - widow of Ras Shorty I

Mar 17 - Nobel laureate Derek Walcott 87 - St Lucia-born renowned playwright and poet who lived in TT for 20 years and founded the TTW.

May 17 - Veteran calypsonian Samuel “Brigo” Abraham, 77, a great artiste, a powerful calypsonian blessed with theatrical ability which he brought to his performances.

May 17 - Anthony Voisin, 64 - guitarist extraordinaire, who was a member of Charlie’s Roots from 1975-2003, when the band became defunct. During that time, Voisin played in Pelham Goddard’s studio band for KH studios, in addition to numerous radio and television jingles, as well as on the recordings. He worked with the who’s who in the soca and calypso world.

May - Julia Edwards, 84 - dancer and founder of the Julia Edwards Dance Troupe.

July 16 - Devon Matthews, 36 - popular soca artiste and well-known for his radio programme Affairs of the Heart on Red 96.7fm

Devon Matthews

Aug 3 - Earl Cecil Crosby - owner of the Crosby Music Centre store

Aug 23 - Deborah John, 61 - Express Publications Editor - News and Features and well known for her love for and coverage of local culture.

Sept 22 - Neville Aming, 94 - a pioneer of Carnival, He assisted in developing regional, as well as international carnivals and was one of the founding members of the Carnival Band Leader’s Association.

Sept 29 - Legendary masman Edmond Hart, 94 - From 1955 to 1961 he helped Bobby Ammon produce six bands before becoming the bandleader of Harts Mas Band. He introduced bikini and beads mas.

Nov 7 - Dianne Marshall-Holdip, 61 - she was a calypso, traditional mas and pretty mas adjudicator for some 15 years, a “fanatic” of Massy All stars steel Orchestra and the ultimate “Rudderite.”

Dec 1 - Michael Mano Nicetus Marcellin, 86 - Legendary musical icon and brass-band leader

Dec 22 - McDonald Ward, 78 - Masman and founder of De Nu Pub, formerly Mas Camp

Dec 22 - Peter Joseph, 51 - comedian

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