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UTT musicians to recreate early T&T music
Early Trinidad string band music will be performed live for the first time in almost a century in a free concert at the UTT campus auditorium at Napa on Saturday at 6 pm. The event, titled Echoes of Carnival—A revival of old-time Trinidad string band music 1910–30, is being organised by UTT’s assistant professor of music Simon Browne who has been busy the past few months scoring a selection of early recordings by Lovey’s String Band, Cyril Monrose, pianist Lionel Belasco and Gerald Clark. The event was inspired by reissue CDs of early calypsoes, as well as those of Lionel Belasco and Lovey’s band. Browne has undertaken the daunting task—since no sheet music survives—to score it, and get a band of accomplished musicians from UTT and the community to bring it to life again.
Browne can’t wait for people to hear the first public show of this project: “This wonderful music forms a forgotten link between popular 19th-century dance music like waltzes, paseos and mazurkas and the evolving calypso style for bands that accompanied the early calypsonians,” he says. Browne has been at UTT for five years. He was a leading chamber musician in England before coming to Trinidad performing with several orchestras and chamber groups across England and Europe, Mexico, Canada, Japan and New Zealand. He has never limited himself to classical music and played in jazz settings as well as groups such as the famous Cuban ensemble Ibrahim Ferrer & the Buena Vista Social Club.
The concert will feature Browne as arranger and on violin, as well as Jonathan Storer and Eleanor Ryan on violin, Caitlyn Kamminga on double bass, Yevgeny Dokshansky and Anthony Woodruff on clarinet, Katy Gainham on flute, Theron Shaw on guitar, Desmond Waithe and Glen Worrel on cuatro. The event will be a lecture/concert as Browne will also talk about the people and history behind the music. The next project of this type will be a full-length dance concert which Browne is hoping will come together in May.