Bringing parang to you…

VozMusic -
VozMusic -

IT is that time of year and many around the world are gearing up to celebrate Christmas.

It will undoubtedly be a different kind of Christmas as the covid19 pandemic has changed how many things are celebrated and done the world over. In TT it is little surprise that the 2020 parang season is going to be a largely virtual one this year.

But even as this is so, the National Parang Association of TT (NPATT) hopes to bring “hope, love and joy” for the season. The association’s parang festival season begins on October 3 but this September it is also celebrating Parang History Month.

NPATT celebrated its 49th anniversary on April 19 and come 2021 will be celebrating its 50th.

BB Serenaders -

In e-mailed responses to Newsday NPATT said even as the world grapples with the pandemic it aims to continue leading the fight in preserving, promoting and steering the evolution of parang.

It added that its first priority remains the safety of citizens moving into the Christmas season. “We are aware that due to the national restrictions and the continuing rise in the number covid19 cases all outdoor activities at this time are tentative pending clearance from relevant authorities,” it said.

The association said it was committed to creating online content to maintain a national presence and to gain revenue for its bands and projects via donations and sponsorship.

A number of its events are online and if restrictions permit the festival will activate plans and add a live component to some of its events, NPATT said.

In the build-up to the 2020 festival, the association has hosted a number of events among them its weekly, half-hour online series called Let’s Talk Parang, past, present and future which began on July 5. The series was broadcast every Sunday from its Facebook page and was “designed to gather and share information of historic value about the development of the art and its impact on nation-building.”

It said the purpose of the series is to focus on building its archives and is also centred around interviews with parang and cultural icons and individuals whose work affected the development of the artform.

Los Ruiseñores -

It also hosted a virtual parang workshop called Inside the Parang Band aimed at providing juniors and seniors with training in the playing and care of parang instruments.

Parang History Month which runs from September 2-30 aims to educate and entertain the TT public about the artform. Since its start, there has been a series of online events aimed at doing that. Through WACK 90.1 FM and NPATT’s Facebook page, events such as Granny’s Parang Stories: storytelling and facts about parang and the work of the association; Parang Nada Mas which features recorded parang music and videos of member bands, and Parang With the Stars which showcases veteran lead singers and musicians in parang.

While the pandemic has whittled numbers allowed to gather down to five, the association has taken an innovative spin on this using a largely familiar method.

It plans to bring parang to the homes of many across TT while adhering to the public health regulations on the pandemic.

The association said it intends to concentrate on reviving the dying tradition of house parang by taking parang to the people.

“The national restrictions initiated because of covid19 gives us a chance to showcase the artform’s truest purpose and that is: to bring communities and families together in music and through music and to promote what Christmas is all about ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all men.’”

Family band Amantes De Parranda. -

The House Parang Festival will see 11 communities receiving the gift of music from the first set or parranderos, it said. The parranderos will go from house to house in groups of five playing songs to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and songs celebrating life. The association said the groups will not be entering homes but would instead be on the streets and are required to wear masks as well as practise physical distancing.

It said three bands will be featured nightly with only one group per street in the given area and it will also be live streamed on WACK 90.1 FM and NPATT’s Facebook page.

The House Parang Festival will also feature the foundation instruments of parang such as the cuatro, maracas, mandolin and voice.

“Each festival night will end with an ‘Instrumental Showdown’ among the best mandolin, cuatro, maracas and box bass players competing for bragging rights and prizes,” the association said.

It added that many households have been affected by the pandemic and many hearts broken but that it was bringing music that makes hearts dance at this season.

“To those who are sick, who are high-risk, culture lovers and our avid supporters ‘We Bring Parang To You.’”

The association invited corporate TT to partner with it for the 2020 season.

Schedule for Parang History month

September 16

6 pm: Granny’s Parang Stories

8-9 pm: Parang Nada Mas

WACK 90.1 Live, NPATT Facebook page

September 17

6 pm: Parang with The Stars

WACK 90.1 Live, NPATT Facebook page

September 23

6 pm: Granny’s Parang Stories

8-9 pm: Parang Nada Mas

WACK 90.1 Live, NPATT Facebook page,

September 24

2 pm-6 pm: Parang telethon

WACK 90.1 Live, NPATT Facebook page

September 30

6 pm: Granny’s Parang Stories

8-9 pm: Parang Nada Mas

WACK 90.1 Live, NPATT Facebook page

House Parang Festival schedule

October 3 – Trincity

October 10 – Maracas St Joseph

October 17– San Fernando

October 24 – Diego Martin

October 31 – Chaguanas

November 7 – ­­Siparia

November 14 – San Rafael

November 21– Junior Parang online, Lopinot, NPATT Facebook page

November 22 – Junior Parang online -
NPATT Facebook page

November 28 – Tabaquite

December 5 – Santa Cruz

December 12 – Arima

EVENTS 2021 (Tentative)

January 2, 2021 – Les Rois Rose Park, Arima

January 24, 2021 – CarniParang Spots Entertainment Centre

April 4 2021 – Easter Parang, St Michael's RC, Maracas, St Joseph


"Bringing parang to you…"

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