It would require an entire newspaper to write about arts and entertainment activity since last week as the main ingredients of Carnival—mas, pan, calypso—ruled the period. First off, I felt fortunate to see three remarkable films on three outstanding Caribbean stalwarts—Bob Marley, Black Stalin and Peter Minshall. Directed by Scottish filmmaker Kevin MacDonald, the movie Marley premiered this year’s Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival at Queen’s Hall. The movie succeeds in portraying a moving and poignant look into the life of the legendary reggae icon.
The following Thursday, young, gifted producer Tamara Tam-Cruickshank revealed the life of Black Stalin (Leroy Calliste) to a captive audience, at the AV Room at the National Library in Port-of-Spain. Many expressed amazement at how succinctly this young UWI graduate has captured the very essence of this giant of a calypsonian, who was in attendance at the premiere. The screening was also attended by Community Development Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters.
Her film, definitely a must-see for the entire national community, especially young people, Tam-Cruickshank disclosed that she was unable to beat the deadline for the submission of films for this year’s festival, but assured it would be on next year’s programme. She said the film especially caters to young nationals who don’t have a clue on who our cultural elders are, their contributions, or the enormous body of work they have produced. On Wednesday, I had the pleasure of being amongst a few who saw the final cut of Mas Man, Dalton Nartine’s insightful and epic 88-minute docu-movie on Peter Minshall. Prior to the screening the US-based director/producer said that the film has already won seven awards, and has been screened on every continent. As I sat in the darkened Nalis AV Room, I secretly hoped that the authorities would acquire this piece of work and make it available to every school in T&T. Narine’s work is meticulous as it is comprehensive and polished. He succeeds in revealing the multi-dimensional and bountiful talents of Peter Minshall, the movie gradually showcasing almost every one of the mas man’s numerous achievements, including his designing three Olympic Games openings, in Barcelona, Atlanta and Salt Lake. On Saturday, despite the stout attempts to spoil the moment by a tremendously poor sound system, Spektakula Promotions’ Thank You Sparrow concert, staged at the Lord Kitchener Auditorium of the National Academy for the performing Arts (NAPA), in Port-of-Spain, was truly spectacular.
This production was reminiscent of the excellent shows staged years ago by Spektakula at its now defunct forum on Henry Street. The performances, though some of the Sparrow songs performed by the artistes were not his most popular, like Alien Woman, were outstanding; stage management was spot-on; and, accompanying band, Wayne Bruno & Rapid Response, was flawless. I was especially floored by the performances of South Junior Calypso Monarch, Moruga resident Jeremy Rodriguez, 50th Anniversary of Independence Calypso Monarch Chucky, David Rudder, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, and young poet Muhammad Muwakil. The latter’s treatment of Mae Mae and Melda, in poetic fashion, was a joy to behold. Also on the cast, and also turning in sterling performances were Calypso Rose, Nadia Batson, Baron, Malick Folk Performers and Jeunes Agape. I would like to include the other fun I had at on Sunday at the Paparazzi boat cruise, Steelfest’s steelband float parade, and the performance of 15 steel orchestras performing Sniper’s Portrait of Trinidad at the Queen’s Park Savannah, but I have run out of allotted space.