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Pan and calypso hold: A Musical Conversation

Pan and calypso hold: A Musical Conversation

A Musical Conversation, staged last Saturday night by Musical Gems Steel Orchestra at Issa’s on Henry Street, Port-of-Spain, was graced by the presence of Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz and what a beautiful discourse it turned out to be. 

Hosted by Judith Laird, the Cocorite steelband opened the programme at 8.10 pm with the Lord’s Prayer, with vocals by Cleo Bishop.

Under the baton of renowned south steelband arranger Renwick Lewis, the band played Stevie Wonder’s Overjoyed and Toto’s Africa next, the latter a cover made popular  pan years ago by Desperadoes. But, there was no similarity between the versions by the two steelbands as Lewis’ distinctive style was obvious throughout the piece. Back in the day, Lewis arranged for Gay Hoytonians and Skiffle Bunch. 

Up next was vocalist Michael Franco, rendering the late Mighty Duke’s What is Calypso, accompanied by acclaimed guitarist Anders Kappel.

Appropriately, Brother Mudada, first runner-up to Chalkdust in the 1981 National Calypso Monarch final, performed next and sang No Papers, accompanied by Musical Gems. As he ended the song, he quipped: “This is a family affair; pan and calypso together.” Mudada then sang his mega hit The Mecca. Mudada’s two selections can be described as “evergreen ditties” as they remain relevant even after the passage of time.

Now 62 years as a calypsonian, an achievement he expressed pride in, just one year ahead of the Mighty Sparrow, Brother Superior revealed, “I am the longest surviving calypsonian in the land.” Also accompanied by Musical Gems he began his set with Ah Want to Beat ah Pan. The steelband drew loud applause when it ended this calypso with a flourish.

One of calypso’s few entrepreneurial icons, Superior sang another of his gems–Trinidad Carnival–much to the enjoyment of his captive audience. During his rendition the musicians exuded exuberance, especially in the calypso’s catchy chorus, singing its refrain.

After intermission, Superior and Mudada performed again, accompanying each other on guitar. Resuming its repertoire, Musical Gems played The Holy City, The Hallelujah Chorus and closed with Have Yourself a Merry Christmas.

A Musical Conversation was the perfect title for Saturday’s production as the musical utterances were enlightening, exciting, exhilarating and entertaining. It was a treat seeing and hearing the young musicians of this Cocorite-based steel orchestra executing a perfect presentation and manager Brian Smart deserves taking a bow for this.

Pots o’ Gold
Attaining a 125th anniversary is a momentous milestone and must be celebrated with much fanfare. This is exactly what the Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) is doing tomorrow evening as it commemorates this memorable year of its existence. QPCC will celebrate with its annual Pots o’ Gold tomorrow at the Oval, Elizabeth Street, St Clair.

The hard-working organising committee of Roger Walcott, Amelia Walcott, Richard Commissiong, Marie Mouttet, Davis Soverall, Kirk Mc Ivor and Lee-Anne Lingo has been working non-stop mobilising QPCC members who cook a plethora of delicacies in an effort to increase the Pots o’ Gold financial fund. 

This fund is used to assist members with medical expenses or other devastating unexpected incidents which may have taken a toll on their financial wellbeing.

The mouth-watering meats usually vary from suckling pig, ribs, shrimp and more exotic meats like horse and, with the opening of the hunting season, QPCC is hoping to see more adventurous offerings like tattoo and agouti, to name a few.

Pots o’ Gold promises to be another memorable evening of dining and dancing as this event has become known for captivating entertainment. This year the cast of talented entertainers will include young, beautiful vocalists Arielle “Arie” Cowie and Krystal Kane, and the QPCC Ovalteens Steel Orchestra.

All of this can be had for the reasonable donation of only $300 and the all-inclusive value of the night out is unmatched so get your tickets early.

Tickets can be obtained from any of the committee members and at the QPCC Administration Office.

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