You are here

Festival of Drums at the Big Black Box

Published: 
Friday, March 18, 2016
The men behind Drummerville are Gerion Williams, left, and Sonolal “Killer” Samaroo. PHOTO: ELLIOT FRANCOIS

Elliott Francois is a musician, a drummer actually with rapso band 3Canal for the past 11 years. He is one the people behind Saturday’s Drummerville Rhythm Festival being held at The Big Black Box, Murray Street, Woodbrook, at 6 pm. The CEO of Worldwide Stage Events and event director of Drummerville, Francois said that it has always been a dream of his to participate in a drumming and percussion festival on a local stage. 

“Being a drummer for several years, and playing with 3Canal at different festivals locally and abroad,” said Francois. “I saw the need for this type of outlet to be available to local drummers and percussionists.  

“I cannot take all the credit for this festival as the title Drummerville was in fact created by Gerion Williams, a drummer who has been playing for a number of years with the likes of Maxi Priest, Shurwayne Winchester and CAL Invaders. Gerion created a network of local drummers and they have previously staged small informal events, like ‘shedding.’” 

On Saturday, the drummers in the spotlight will include Williams, Francois, Sonolal “Killer” Samaroo, Everard “Redman” Watson and Tamba Gwindi. Renowned pan player Mikhail Salcedo and his band will also perform. Samaroo is the brother of late, great steelband arranger/composer Jit Samaroo and has been a drummer of 48 years experience with The Samaroo Jets of Lopinot. 

Watson is a “master drummer” on African drums. His students of Holistic School Drumming Ensemble and Malabar Trail Blazers recently won in their respective categories at this year’s T&T Music Festival. Gwindi has performed for almost every major local calypso and jazz artiste, and band and is remembered for playing with Andre Tanker’s Contraband. 

Francois said: “I am looking for a number of positive results from this venture, including a formal network of drummers. We would also like to have this festival added to the mainstream calendar of cultural events nationwide, like the Tobago Heritage Jazz Festival and Jazz Artists on the Greens. I

“In the future we intend inviting international drummers as well because we need that linkage between T&T and the rest of the music world.” 

Backline Instruments Ltd is providing the drum and percussion kits on Saturday, and the sound system will be provided by Audioworks. Lighting will be by Stephen Rovedas and the festival sound engineer will be Marlon Jackson.