Last update: 11-Dec-2013 8:26 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Traffik Jam back with a bang
Caribbean Traffik Jam is back with a blast. One of the popular party bands back in the 90s, Traffik had a relaunch and rebrand at De Nu Pub, French Street, Woodbrook, on September 19.
With the event well attended, guests including acclaimed artist Makemba Kunle and Tuco president Lutalo “Bro Resistance” Masimba, by its third number, the band had patrons on their feet dancing to its music.
The band has had much success with its recordings, its first—Serious Jammer—written by Anthony “Lexo” Alexis being a resounding hit. In 1996, Steve Sealy vocalised Break Away, another smash hit single and, the following year, the band’s release of its Caribbean Hits CD went big internationally and is still a staple at any retro party. In 1998, Traffik continued on its high by releasing Musical Healing, with vocals by Eddie Charles.
Traffik produced some of this country’s best loved soca performers, including three-time International Groovy Soca and one-time Power Soca Monarch Shurwayne Winchester, Sean Caruth, Steve Sealy, KV Charles, Eddie Charles and Candy Hoyte.
This newest incarnation of the band, led by original member Andy Joseph on keyboards, includes vocalists Stephen Marcelle, Kepha Yahset and Maxinne Prince, and musicians Johnny Agostini (guitar); Derron Pidd (bass); Curtis Scoope (drums); and Dale Stephen (programmer).
Included in the band’s repertoire were 2013 hits like Differentology (Bunji Garlin); No Get Away/Leh Go (Blaxx); Doing this or what (Fay-Ann Lyons); Bam Bam (Olatunji); Monster Winer (Kerwin Du Bois); Fog (Machel Montano); Prescription (Ravi B) and Fantastic Friday (SuperBlue).
One endearing facet the band has going for it is the vocal competence of its singers. Marcelle, Yahset and Prince can really sing and to hear the latter render GB’s Calypso Rising was a treat in itself.
The band and its vocalists also demonstrated their prowess and versatility, their set also including popular retro, reggae and pop items like Give it to me (Rick James); Treasure (Bruno Mars); Rolling in the deep (Adele); One Drop (Taurus Riley); Missing You/Straight from my heart (Busy Signal/ Jah Cure); Moves like Jagger (Maroon 5); Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke); Get Lucky (Daft Punk); and, Celebrate (Kool and the Gang).
Caribbean Traffik Jam ended its coming out party on a high with 2010 Road March Palance, by JW and Blaze. This band, formed at the end of 1991, literally hasn’t missed a note during its layoff, sounding just as awesome and powerful as it did two decades ago, though I missed its live horns at last week’s relaunch.
Illness prevented me from attending the mas band launchings of Trini Revellers and W.I.LD., formerly Genesis, but I did discover a gem last Saturday night in the person of songstress Netifa Phillips, from Diamond Vale, Diego Martin. A music teacher of many years, despite looking no older than a Cape student, Phillips got a standing ovation at the end of her set. She was one of the featured guest performers at Dining With the Stars, a fundraiser staged by Lions Club of Port-of-Spain, led by president John Simmonds.
Dining with the Stars at Lions Cultural Centre was a huge success. Aside from Phillips, there was also live entertainment by Oscar B & Vibes. Almost 400 people attended the event with over two dozen chefs in attendance. Among the chefs proudly standing behind their culinary creations were Sigler Jack, Terry Inniss, Roderick Ward, Keith Simpson, Anthony Alleng, Cynthia Reddock Downes, Anwar Hollingsworth, Camille Mc Millan, Robert Hunte, Virgil Mc Lean and Vance Gabriel.
One highlight of this gastronomic feast was the names given to dishes, all bearing the names of calypsoes by Sparrow, in honour of this great man who has been ailing for some time in the US. The names of some dishes were Sparrow Come Back Home, Saltfish, Willie Dead, Man Will Survive, Russian Satellite, Both Ah Dem, Monica Doo Doo, Cokey Eye Rooster, 69, Wahbeen and Grog and Madame Dracula.
Saturday’s event was a tremendous success, one which required meticulous co-ordination and planning, successfully achieved by Simmonds’ committee and planners, including Dennis McSween, Kofi Chapman, Denyssa David, Patricia Bhola, Keith McLean, Thomas George, Selwyn Berment and others.
The steelband music festival is back and Pan is Beautiful XII is scheduled to begin on October 5 at 6 pm. Staged by Pan Trinbago, this edition of the festival will premiere with preliminary competition for soloists and pan ensembles, at the Queen’s Park Savannah. Preliminary competition in these categories continue on October 6, at 5 pm, at the same venue. Preliminary competition for conventional steel orchestras is on October 19-20, at 6 pm and 5 pm, respectively at the Savannah.
Pan is Beautiful XII moves to the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, on November 8 at 7 pm, for the finals for soloists and ensembles. Single pan bands final is on November 10 at NAPA at 6 pm. The grand finale for Pan is Beautiful XII is on November 16 at Jean Pierre Complex, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, at 7 pm.
On Sunday, another major Pan Trinbago event takes place with the staging of the SteelFest Float Parade through Port-of-Spain. The motorised parade starts at 3 pm, in front of Pan Trinbago’s Head Office, opposite Victoria Square (on Park Street), where each of the bands will play a three-minute selection, before proceeding north along Park Street, then left on Charlotte Street, north of Memorial Park and into the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. At the culmination of the parade the bands are expected to perform Barry Mannette’s arrangement of God Bless Our Nation in front of the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah.
Steelbands billed to participate are Musical Gems, Humming Birds Pan Groove, Laventille Serenaders, City Sun Valley Pan Groove, Tokyo Steel Orchestra, Curepe Scherzando, Sforzata, Melodians, Curepe Polyphonics, Claytones, Tornadoes, San City Steel Symphony and Southern Marines Steelband Foundation.
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