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Following a weekend of scintillating pan music in Siparia, a new and improved 8 of Hearts steelband explosion will be staged this evening, at 7 o’clock, and tomorrow at 6.30 pm, at Lord Kitchener Auditorium, National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.
Staged by Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation (LSFF) this year’s edition of 8 of Hearts has been moved from its original home base in Laventille to Napa “for logistical reasons,” according to organisers.
8 of Hearts, which is staged biennially, showcases the repertoires of the top-placed steel orchestras of the National Panorama competition.
This year’s show features National Panorama champion Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, bpTT Renegades, Witco Desperadoes, Republic Bank Exodus, PCS Nitrogen Silver Stars, Skiffle, CAL Invaders and NLCB Fonclaire. The only bands which performed two years ago and are not in this year’s line-up are RBC Redemption Sound Setters and Solo Harmonites.
Each orchestra on the bill is renowned for its extensive and varied repertoire. Bands are expected to be augmented with conventional instruments and vocalists. For the 2012 edition Phase II featured The Lydian Singers and gave a commanding performance. A repeat of that performance is expected with the band’s repertoire to include Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s Jump High, its winning selection.
In 2012, Baron fronted for Fonclaire; Silver Stars used former National Calypso Monarch Denyse Plummer; and, Renegades offered policeman/former Scouting for Talent star Dexter Theophile. The Exodus ensemble was augmented by Pelham Goddard and Roots, while Harmonites brought along saxophonist Anthony Woodruffe Jr. All Stars brought the curtain down on the six-hour production just after 1 am and featured vocalist Sheldon Reid and saxophonist Curtis Lewis.
This week, LSFF official Julian “Vice” Cudjoe said: “Given the nature of this show all of the bands are keeping close to their chests what they’d be doing in their repertoires. All I can say is that there is going to be a lot surprises as all the bands are recruiting other musicians and singers.”
Renegades wins cricket title
As the comPANions steelband tournament continued last Saturday, bpTT Renegades clinched the F/5 cricket title in a “super over” against Republic Bank Exodus. With the final tied, Renegades won the super over by virtue of losing less wickets than Exodus. Bands competing in the earlier rounds included Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille, Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, Witco Desperadoes, Curepe Scherzando, Solo Harmonites, Trinidad East Side, Fascinators Pan Symphony, Exodus and Renegades. The competition continues on weekends at various panyards with its grand finale scheduled for May 30, at Constantine Park, Tunapuna, at 10 am.
Controversy at Napa
On May 23-24 get ready for two explosive nights of side-splitting comedy at 8 pm each night at Napa, Port-of-Spain. On Friday 23, for the first time, see the three Josephs in a concert performance, staring Learie Joseph, Tommy Joseph and Peter Joseph. The trio will be together with Sprangalang and two comedy queens.
On Saturday 24, it’s controversy night with controversy and more controversy. See the investigation with the two ex-ministers. One, the alleged grabbing on a Tobago flight with the investigator calypsonian Pink Panther; and two, the investigation of the alleged hitting in the car park, with investigator ASP Tommy Joseph.
The production of “controversy night” was written and directed by Bernard Brereton. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent and, due to the controversial content of this show, there will be several lawyers on standby, according to the producers. This show is filled with surprises and guest performers that you have to see to believe, along with a laugh-out-loud performance by the Caribbean Maccometre comedy group. It is filled with things that we must say and some things that we should not say, but we will say anyway, the producers said.
On sale are limited tickets, now at a special of two people on one ticket, at Cleve’s, Frederick Street; Crosby’s, St James; Food Masters, Tunapuna; Cache, Trincity and Port-of-Spain; and at NAPA’s Port-of-Spain box office. Single tickets will be available at NAPA box office only.
De Fosto releases new tribute calypso
When it comes to composing and producing “tribute” calypsoes few are as prolific as The Original De Fosto Himself (Winston Scarborough). Calypso enthusiasts locally and abroad have come to know and appreciate De Fosto for his scintillating musical offerings, particularly favoured by steelpan arrangers for the annual Panorama competition. Staying true to form, the energetic and entertaining performer recently released a composition in honour of labour movement stalwart, Tubal Uriah “Buzz” Butler, titled I am alive, as well as a political commentary single, We Didn’t Vote for dat. Over the years, De Fosto has championed the cause of myriad heroes and citizens, including police offers and public servants.
In these compositions he honours nationals who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of culture, the arts, sport and even politics. Many would have heard De Fosto’s calypso dedicated to former president ANR Robinson, in respectful tribute upon the latter’s passing last month.
I am alive was arranged and produced by ace musician Leston Paul, with Natalie Yorke providing background vocal chorus. Mastering was done at RITZ Room, in Couva.
The song has already started gaining the attention and interest of the public, given the fair amount of airplay it has been receiving on various radio stations.
Since making his professional singing debut a little less than 40 years ago, De Fosto has consistently released material throughout the year and not just only in time for Carnival. Having learned the fundamentals of music theory early in life while resident at the St Mary’s Children’s Home, Tacarigua, he later made this knowledge, along with his trombone skills work remarkably in his favour.
As a calypsonian, steelpan enthusiast and gifted music arranger some of his memorable hits include: Pandora, War 2004, Four Lara Four, Pan in a Rage, Firestorm, Kitchener Say, Soca Warriors, Dr Jit, and this year’s “run away” Panorama tune, In De Minor.
The calypsonian’s current tribute to Uriah Butler not only reinforces his belief that composing is a year-round endeavour, but highlights the accomplishments, hard work and personal sacrifice of a man whom he feels is merely a faint memory in the minds of Trinbagonians.
“For all that Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler has achieved for workers in this country and possibly the region, he is remembered only around Labour Day,” said De Fosto. “A few days in June aren’t enough, in my opinion, and so I am alive is my attempt to immortalise the former labour leader in song.”
Asked why he, more than possibly any other local song-writer, has opted to focus on paying homage in his compositions, De Fosto said: “I refer to myself as a true patriot because I am passionate about T&T no matter what. I love my country and by extension, I love and admire the people who selflessly put country first.”
Deeply passionate about calypso, steelpan and the arts in general, De Fosto has emerged as a consistent and fearless contributor to the artistic and cultural fabric of T&T.