Calypsonians were honoured last week Wednesday night when the South Central Region of Tuco hosted Freedom Road 3, at the City Hall Auditorium, Harris Promenade, San Fernando. The show was up to the high standards set by this arm of Tuco for its every production and the annual success of its Kaiso Showkase calypso show.
Dancing to save a nation
Not too far back, around 40 years ago, one of the activities that kept youths occupied was dance. Aside from your ballet, modern contemporary, folk and jazz companies nationwide, many a youth of the day immersed themselves in disco dancing, the craze of the 80s.
With discotheques sprouting up across the land, some of the popular ones, being Palavar Place, Rolls Royce International, Impact, Fortress, Heritage ‘67 and Leo Toro, young dancers would spend hours emulating the moves of US dancers seen on popular television show Soul Train, and in videos from New York’s Studio 54.
At Impact, located opposite Port-of-Spain City Hall, on Frederick Street, we held a unique competition billed as Discomania. After some gruelling eliminations, beginning around the Christmas of 1980, the grand final was held on January 10, 1980. Dancers from every nook and cranny of the country, but in the end the overall champion was the team of Orchid Taylor and Anthony St Vincent.
Taylor and Vincent danced for 13 hours non-stop, without a break, going through a series of dance styles, including Cha Cha Cha, Bolero, Rockers, Hustle, East Indian, Chinese and of course calypso. Dancers were allowed two-minute bathroom breaks every two hours.
Excitement was ripe and intense that final night at Impact. Some of the entrants fainted through exhaustion, a couple suffered sprained ankles and others who had taken off their shoes to dance couldn’t get them back on when they left the dance floor. But, all in all, it was a night of clean, wholesome fun.
The competition began at 4.27 pm on a Saturday and ended at 5.27 am the next morning.
Taylor is now the mother of three grown children and still loves dancing, while Vincent, who had a dance school in Woodbrook, migrated to the US and resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
Maybe, there’s a promoter out there, perhaps Randy Glasgow or Gerald Yorke, who will reprise Discomania, offering a new challenge for the youths of today.
Pan, Jazz and Soca!
World renowned saxophonist Arturo Tappin will be returning to Trinidad this Saturday 10th August and Sunday 11th August at St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre and Naparima College Auditorium respectively for Arturo Tappin & Friends at Together in Music.
The first melodiously and charismatic concert will be held at the luxurious St Dominic’s Pastoral Centre, Morne Coco Road, Diego Martin with dynamic vocalist and songwriter Tricia Lee Kelshall, world class pannist Johann Chuckaree and sultry voice Kevon Carter, Saturday 10th August at 7.30 PM.
Tricia Lee began her singing career at 19 when she auditioned for the then new Soca band, Second Imij. She became an icon in the Soca arena with her voice, talent and lively performances and was dubbed ‘The Soca Diva. As a solo artiste she has done several command performances for His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the President of India and Heads of CARICOM States, to name a few. Tricia was a mainstay at the Prime Minister’s residence, performing for many of its state functions at home and abroad.
As a recipient of the 2014 National Youth Award for Arts and Culture, Johann Chuckaree has enjoyed touring the globe as part of cultural contingents representing Trinidad and Tobago. In 2013, he travelled to Berlin, Germany to take part in the ITB Tourism Conference; he has entertained at the T&T Olympic Cultural Village and the World Travel Market in London (2012); and for the FIFA World Cup in 2006, he accompanied Phase II Pan Groove to Germany. Johann lists one of his most memorable performances as sharing the stage with Trini-born Grammy award-winning recording artiste Heather Headley during her first local concert at the National Academy for Performing Arts in 2011.
Kevon Carter’s sound can most accurately be described as that of ‘World Music’, a distinction based almost entirely on the blending of his cultural influences. The smooth melodic texture of his voice has the markings of his music mentors such as El Debarge, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley and Michael Jackson. Kevon is certainly excited to share his musical venture with the world one tune at a time.
The second show on Sunday 11th will held at Naparima Boys’ College Auditorium along with the entertaining and sublime Vaughnette Bigford, ace pannist Darren Shepherd and the ever popular Kenny J.
With her unusual name, her signature look, and a voice like the rustle of a velvet skirt, Vaughnette Bigford is hard to forget; and she is on a mission to remind us that local music does not begin and end with Calypso and Soca. According to Vaughnette, she wants to delve into the music of Trinidad and Tobago, and bring to life the kind of music people are not hearing now, like music from Carol Addison and Mavis John. “That’s our music, too!”
Multi-talented pannist and percussionist Darren Sheppard, has been recognised as the only student to perform in school steelband competition as an arranger, captain, soloist and drummer. He has also performed at the duMaurier Toronto Jazz Festival, Beaches Jazz Festival and the annual Jazz on Steel concert series.
Although he is famously known for Parang Soca and considered to be the King of Parang Soca, Kenny J (Kenneth Joseph), is an all round Trinidadian entertainer with releases in Calypso and Soca love songs too and is excited to render his melodious repertoire to the audience.
Tickets for Arturo Tappin & Friends at Together in Music are priced at $300 (General Admission) and $350 (Special Reserved) and can be purchased at Crosby’s – St James, Richard’s –West Mall, The Dominican Book Store – St Finbar’s, Living Waters – Frederick Street, Massy Stores – Petit Valley, Four Road & West Mall, Seon’s Bar – Royal Road, both Atherley’s locations, Naparima College, all NLCB Lotto outlets; and online at suntixx.com.
Part proceeds will go to The Living Water Community and Naparima Boys’ College.
For more information, call 708 8794.