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Carnival events bloom under the Normandie trees
Hotelier Fred Chin Lee has struck upon a novel idea of celebrating Carnival 2013 at his well appointed Normandie Hotel in St Ann’s. Under the theme The Best of the Old, the Best of the New, Chin Lee is staging seven premier events at the hotel’s outdoor Under The Trees venue. The events span various aspects of Carnival, inclusive of the calypso tent, vintage kaiso, the fete, as well as the indigenous cuisine.
To premiere the series, Chin Lee is bringing a new twist to the calypso tent, an integral part of T&T Carnival since the early 1900s when Railway Douglas opened the country’s first tent. Kaiso Karavan, based in La Joya, St Joseph, is the prototype for this initiative which is being staged Under The Trees on January 30, at 8.30 pm. Instead of the traditional lengthy duration of a calypso tent, the show is timed to two hours and will feature just ten members of its cast, joined by Baron and one other guest artiste. Calypsonians will sing two numbers, including one from yesteryear.
Asked why tents, and why Kaiso Karavan in particular, Chin Lee responded: “I want to highlight the significance of the calypso tent and its relevance to the DNA of T&T Carnival.
“What really is a calypso tent? Are they the reflections of societal behaviour now as in the beginning? Do they create the space to free up of the burdens, challenges and toils of the year just gone by? Do they represent the helix of Trinidad and Tobago’s cultural DNA?”
Chin Lee added that “the calypso tent is a place identified by the music of calypso and, in a larger sense, a place that corrals creative energies; a place that accommodates constant street conversation; a place that enables relaxation.” Chin Lee said it has been his observation in recent years “a resetting” of calypso, with the artistes of today’s new music returning to more “lyrical calypso.” He said Under The Trees has the perfect ambience for calypso to be enjoyed and appreciated.
Shows Under The Trees
• Among the Kaiso Karavan singers billed to perform on January 30 are Scrunter, De Fosto, Johnny King, Kurt Allen, Singing Francine, Eunice Peters and Karega Mandela.
• Touted as one of the best Carnival all-inclusive fetes, Hearts of Fire returns to The Normandie on the evening of Sunday, February 5, at 4.30 pm. Renowned as a party which offers a delectable mix in music, as well as cuisine, HoF 2K13 will be served this year by Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez and The Asylum Band, David Rudder and his band, Black Stalin, Denyse Plummer, CAL Invaders and DJ Remix.
• There will be a night of superb vintage kaiso on February 5, with the production of The David Bereaux Show. Chin Lee is particularly enthused by this production as he revealed that it is being embellished with theatre. Joining acclaimed vintage chantuelle Bereaux will be Black Stalin, Bro Valentino and Extempore Monarch Black Sage.
• Lovers of good calypso will have three bites at the cherry this year as David Rudder will headline three major events Under The Trees. The first, Rudder’s Ministry of Rhythm, scheduled for February 6, will allow patrons the opportunity to experience the pulsating rhythms of Rudder and his hand-picked guests.
• Rudder returns on February 8 for The Monarchs, a production which showcases six of the most acclaimed calypso monarchs since 1979. The half dozen of calypso’s royalty to be featured are Black Stalin, Shadow, Denyse Plummer, Luta, Kurt Allen and Rudder.
• As a lagnaippe to C2K13, especially for overseas visitors who might still be with us, Rudder produces his own post-Carnival show on the Friday after Carnival Tuesday (February 15).
• One of the most eagerly anticipated C2K13 events at The Normandie is the Carnival Saturday (February 9), Just Penny all-inclusive party, hosted by former Miss Universe Janelle “Penny” Commissiong-Chow. Having held her annual party at her home in Carenage, Maracas and other venues, Just Penny has found a new home at The Normandie, the hotel where her father once worked. Just Penny will have all the popular soca artistes in attendance to entertain guests.
To add to the enjoyment and ambience generated by these events, dinner is available from 6 pm, at all the events. Citing jazz, chutney, classical and rapso music, as well as theatre and dance, a relaxed Chin Lee said last week that he intends using his Under The Trees venue throughout the year to promote and expose all aspects of the performing arts.
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