The new arrangement of The Little Drummer Boy by 5 Miles to Midnight (5M2M) released last week begins gently and reassuringly enough.
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Music students shine at UWI concert
Music of the diaspora marked the contribution of the UWI Intermediate Steel and Indian Classical Ensembles to the current series of musical recitals produced by the Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA).
Music directors Satnarine Baboolal, Mikhel Carter and Deryck Nurse combined to produce an interesting musical potpourri often combining oriental and western instruments and sounds while showcasing the steelpan in a variety of musical genres.
The opening Tabla Recital in Teental did little to engender great confidence in what was to come, but by the time Yadav Chaitram on the bansuri (flute), Shea Alexander and Jhovan Samuel on the concert flute, Arun Seepersad and others on the tabla and Anand Maharaj on the harmonium came on, the story changed dramatically.
The group played Baboolal’s Raaga Bhupali and generated the first honest applause for the evening.
There were few low points from that point onward. Students of the Introduction to World Music class delighted with a jazzy rendition of the traditional Japanese folksong Cherry Blossom.
Vocalist Anya Carty excited with Pe Na Strada by Portuguese composer/singer Sara Tavares and the Indian Classical Music class came back on stage to perform Pehli Nazar Mein and Bollywood favourite, Kal Ho Na Ho, sung by Jael Griffith.
Carter’s Afro-Caribbean Drumming Ensemble is a competent bunch, delivering two lively pieces— Bonnie Lasson and a “fusion” piece—which took drummer, the talented Jeanine Ruiz, back to her more familiar keyboard for an upbeat version of Bill Withers’ Just the Two of Us.
Nobody, though, is going to forget pan player Adrian Jaikaran. His contribution to the evening’s entertainment came at the end when the Steel Ensemble took the stage.
Playing Andre Tanker’s Forward Home, but remembering that the late music pioneer had originally spoken of “coming back” home, Jaikaran brought out the best voices in the audience out when he invited everyone to sing along.
This is an exciting young talent who is already recognised within the pan fraternity as bearing the flag for coming generations of pan composers, players and arrangers. He has performed internationally on the pan but is more than merely a competent singer.
The evening ended with a Rudy Wells arrangement of Shades of Port of Spain and a selection of Yohan Popwell arrangements for pan including Somewhere Out There, Mi Gualupta and a moving interpretation of Portrait of Trinidad by the Mighty Sniper.
Jaikaran contributed with a spicy arrangement of Congo Man by the Mighty Sparrow. Flautists Shea Alexander and Jhovan Samuel brought the crowd into the act with Pie in the Face Polka originally composed by Henry Mancini.
Music of the Diaspora done, audiences can now look forward to the upcoming visual arts exhibition at the Exhibition Hall of the Creative Arts Centre in St Augustine on May 18.