So says Michael Dinchong, managing director of the band.
He believes activating rich steelpan music performances as the exclusive source of live entertainment was the best way the legendary Woodbrook steel orchestra could recognise this country’s Republic Day observance.
Viking in theme of this year’s presentation.
Speaking at the launch of the Invaders Traditional J’ouvert Jump Up held at the President’s Box at the Queen’s Park Oval, Tragarete Road, Port-of-Spain, he said, “What was really an event conceived to merely climax out 75 anniversary celebrations in 2015 has become a staple event on the cultural calendar. Little did we know then that this J’ouvert Jump Up would have become so popular, and that by public demand, would become an annual event.”
To explain the genesis of the event, he said, one had to answer three questions: Why September 24th? Why J’ouvert” and Why Traditional?
On the first point, Dinchong said, “We found that for the commemoration of a national milestone as significant as Republic Day, there were no notable celebrations at the time. Maybe that was, and is, because of our ignorance as to what it means for our country to be a Republic. Maybe we are ignorant of the fact that to be a Republic means having the powers of sovereignty vested in us, the people, and exercised by us directly or through our representatives…a privilege some countries do not have in this day and age. We thought that celebrating this national day with the national (musical) instrument would be an apt way to remember our ingenuity, out liberties and our achievements as a society.”
He underscored the need for the preservation of traditions to allow customs and beliefs to be transmitted from generation to generation.
And while it was true, he said, that Invaders was continuing the traditional J’ouvert every Carnival Monday morning, one could question the extent to which the inherent cultural meaning of the tradition itself is being transmitted across the generations.
“On the 24th of September, it is our goal to relive the true tradition of J’ouvert with the ‘pushin pan’ and masquerade in the streets thereby triggering that nostalgic feeling of the old and the same time providing a new educational experience for the young. Invaders Traditional J’ouvert Jump-Up on Republic Day is a celebration of our freedom as a people, through the medium of cultural expression. It is an event that celebrates nationalism where people can feel safe, have clean fun and display respect for each other.”
Woodbrook Steelbands will generate quality entertainment when revellers take to the streets from 4am dressed in ole mas and traditional characters, and covered in paint, powder, mud and oil.
The bands are HADCO Phase 2, MHTL Starlight, Nutrien Silver Stars, Newtown Playboys, Brimblers, Woodbrook Playboyz and the host Invaders.
Ten-time National Panorama champion Massy Trinidad All Stars has been confirmed as one of three guest artistes for the after party.
Single Pan Bands St James Tripolians and Sappophonics complete the list of guest performers.
Dinchong said, “From day one we recognised that an undertaking of this magnitude would have required the collaboration of other steelbands. We also recognised that we needed a partner who had the necessary experience to make this happen successfully.”