Last update: 11-Dec-2013 5:04 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Versatile concert by Invaders
A packed Lord Kitchener Auditorium was on hand Thursday to witness Versatility, the concert staged by CAL Invaders Steel Orchestra at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain. Now accustomed to hosting successful ventures, its annual Pan, Parang & Pork being the perfect example, the legendary Woodbrook steelband starred alongside a diverse assortment of guest performers and conductors.
Against the backdrop of a beautifully decorated stage, done by Alison Lee Loy and Antonio Young, Invaders performed every item, at times with supporting guest artistes.
Proceedings opened with Invaders performing Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 in C Minor, under the baton of the band’s musical director Arddin Herbert, followed by its interpretation of Chick Corea’s Spain, featuring tenor soloists Jason Ho and Jamal Gibbs. The first item featured a solo by 13-year-old tenor pan player Luke Walker, who has been playing pan since the age of four.
Briefly putting aside the mic, MC Richard Pierre sang the operatic piece La Donna W Mobile by Verdi, which was followed by Rembunction singing Tarrus Riley’s She’s Royal. Tenor solists Atiya O’Neil, Anthony Phillip and Walker were outstanding in embellishing Invaders’ treatment of Tico Tico, preceding two members of H2O Phlo (Keston Rosales and Jason “Fridge” Seecheran) singing the soulful When Somebody Loves You Back.
Invaders member and former National Calypso Queen Karen Eccles emerged front and centre stage with Denyse Plummer’s Woman is Boss. Quite appropriately, all male musicians of Invaders, with the exception of two percussionists, left the stage, allowing only female players, with a solo by O’Neil, to accompany Eccles.
The late Andre Tanker’s grandson Jacob Tanker, a young guitarist, starred next for his grandfather’s Forward Home, with exchanges between himself and tenor pan players Richard Bentham and Jamal Gibbs.
Herbert was mesmerising as he vacated his conductor’s podium and played his double tenors to execute the evergreen standard Summertime. Rejoined by his musicians, Herbert conducted the orchestra in a full-bodied and robust interpretation of Herold’s Zampa Overture, signalling an intermission; the previously chilly auditorium now fully warmed.
The Invaders Youth Steel Orchestra resumed the programme after a 20-minute break, playing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 5 in F Minor, conducted by a multi-talented musician, the young Joanna Shortt. Staying with the youth aspect of the production, the youth orchestra also accompanied multiple-crowned National Junior Calypso Monarch Aaron Duncan, now aged nine, as he performed Machel Montano’s I Love My Country.
One of the evening’s best received performances came next, from Invaders’ member Enock “Tiny” Lewis doing an alto sax interpretation of George Michael’s Careless Whisper. For a second time Herbert morphed from conductor to player, this time on single tenor for Invaders’ interpretation of Monti’s Czardas, conducted by champion conductor Ben Jackson, formerly of Success Stars and Skiffle.
Under the baton of musical director Lorraine Granderson, Bishop Anstey High School Choir, fused I Believe with Ave Maria to deliver an amazing performance. Another high point was the return of Eccles to do a gospel medley, accompanied by bell-ringing Diane Smith, singer Adana Alexander, African drummer Dereck Charles and Invaders. This item evoked rapturous applause, with a special and well deserved ovation for Charles.
Surprisingly, seemingly under the weather, reigning Road March champion SuperBlue gave a low-key performance, much in contrast to when he won the 2013 International Power Soca Monarch title six months ago. Sounding hoarse, he gave a jaded rendition of past Road March winners Ethel and Soca Baptist. For the finale to an excellent production and exhilarating night of music, Invaders performed Baron’s Say Say, composed by Winsford “Joker” Devine.
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