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Keens-Douglas and De Band Passing in style at Napa
He has been writing and performing his own work for the past 50 years and continues to charm and fascinate audiences with story-telling and humour.
Last Saturday night at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain, was another occasion on which a large turnout of patrons was on hand to enjoy the bubbling well of humour that is Paul Keens-Douglas, as he reached into the innermost crevices of ourselves and our cultures, and brought joy and feeling to the real sweetness of our Caribbean societies.
De Band Passin was the title of the 2012 edition of the annual Keensdee Productions staging of Tim Tim, a title lifted from the first poem he ever wrote. It was an evening of clean comedy and plain old stories that gave an incredible insight into the country's history.
A stage backdrop consisting of enlarged copies of past newspaper articles of Keens-Douglas' work, and a set made to resemble a bookcase with the books' spines showing several of his publications, inclusive of Tanti At The Oval, Bobots, Is Town Say, Twice Upon A Time, and others, created the mood for the oral showcase by one of the best-known raconteurs and social commentators in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The topics he covered included cricket, superstitions found in Caribbean islands, foolish people, charity shows, judgment day, sponsors, and even the Christian story of creation, retold in his inimitable style. He commented on how people in this country engage in a lot of talk, suggesting instead that we take time to listen. “Why you think the words 'silent' and 'listen' are made with the same letters,” he asked rhetorically.
Keens-Douglas has always expressed concern over the lack of respect that storytelling receives in terms of State allocations, and the consequent need for those who love the artform to persevere in order to keep it alive. The remarkable thing about his work is its wide appeal, an appeal that covers all classes and age-groups.
Also featured on the production were guest artistes popular violinists Janelle and Janine Xavier of Xavier Strings, and jazz performer, Vaughnette Bigford who, accompanied by guitarist Theron Shaw, put their unique spin to popular calypsos Progress and No Money No Love.
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