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Thursday 23 May 2019
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Free Napa concert to feature calypso from Windrush era

National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) Port of Spain.
National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa) Port of Spain.

JUST over 70 years ago, the Empire Windrush docked at the port of Tilbury near London. Originally planned to ship returning servicemen from the Caribbean, it also transported the first immigrants to take advantage of the promise of British citizenship offered as part of the soon-to-be passed British Nationality Act of 1948.

The Windrush brought hundreds of immigrants from the Caribbean to England. Amongst them were Aldwyn Roberts and Egbert Moore, better known as Lord Kitchener and Lord Beginner – two of the finest calypsonians from TT.

From the time Kitchener stepped off the ship and appeared in front of a Pathe News camera, calypso music from Trinidad became an integral part of the musical culture of England. Both Lord Kitchener and Lord Beginner began to perform all over England and were joined by Terror, Lion, Invader and others in the fifties.

Tomorrow, at the University of Trinidad and Tobago's (UTT) Napa campus on Frederick Street, the UTT Ibis Ensemble – together with singer Krisson Joseph and narrator Fulbright US scholar Ray Funk – will take listeners back to those heady times. Formed in 2010, the Ibis Ensemble, made up of music faculty at UTT, has performed hundreds of concerts all over TT presenting a wide repertoire from classical to contemporary.

UTT assistant professor Simon Browne has added to their repertoire with his unique arrangements of TT music from Lovey’s Band to many classic calypsoes, said a media release. For this performance, he has created new arrangements of eight of the first British recordings of Kitchener and Beginner including such classics as London is the Place for Me, Nora, and Victory Test Match (Cricket, Lovely Cricket).

The featured singer is Joseph, who is the programme co-ordinator at the Academy of Arts, Letters, Culture and Public Affairs at UTT and the son of calypso legend Penguin. He has an amazing vocal range and has been performing for many years in concerts that range from opera to pop, classical to calypso.

This is the third time theIbis Ensemble and Joseph have worked together. The first time was at a special TT Film Festival tribute to Edric Connor in 2016. Then in 2017, they presented a programme with former calypso monarch Chuck Gordon joining Joseph on the 1934 trip to New York City by Roaring Lion and Atilla the Hun to record some of the earliest calypsoes.

This free show starts at 6 pm.

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