Seemed like Christmas in September last Saturday evening as you entered Lion’s Cultural Centre in Woodbrook. Upon entry, patrons were greeted with a shot of Pumpkin Spice, a blended alcoholic Christmas beverage by Ruby’s Cocktails, to put you in the right mood for reigning national parang champion Voces Jovenes hosting Start De Parang.
An annual event in it’s seventh year, Start De Parang features different notable parang groups from across T&T. This year featured bands Los Alumnos De San Juan, La Familia De Parranda, La Familia de Carmona y Amigos, Los Sonidos, Los Ruiseñores and host and champion Voces Jovenes, to name a few.
Patrons were “bailando con bella musica”, dancing to the beautiful music that filled the cultural centre all evening long. The show started promptly at 7 pm with youth band La Familia De Parranda.
As youths do, they remixed the traditional parang band instruments adding the saxophone, played by Nicholas Gooding and Matthew Newallo, into the mix creating a different, yet welcoming tone to their repertoire of traditional Christmas-parang selections.
Voces Jovenes had the crowd flocking stage side to get a closer view as the TV monitors around the venue could only replicate a live show so much. Musical director and lead vocalist Candice Corbie captured the audience’s imagination with her performance of Celebremos Esta Noche, and was also honoured with a plaque for her 18 years of service and contribution to the band, as arranger, composer, lead vocalist, as well as its musical director.
But, it was when the last band, Los Alumnos De San Juan, came to the stage the dance floor stage side became overwhelmed with enamoured dancing patrons. Those who weren’t on the dance floor stage side danced in their seats as Alicia Jaggasar and her iconic band turned up “el calor” (the heat).
A wonderful evening in true traditional Trini Christmas style culminated with the classic melodies from specially invited guest band Joey Lewis Orchestra.