Friday 30th May, 2008

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Unleash the tiger of Tourism

Today being Indian Arrival Day, it’s only fitting that I celebrate the beauty of T&T, via India, motherland of more than half our citizenry.

On the weekend, I gave photographer ADRIAN BOODAN the enviable chore of journeying to the Temple in the Sea, with a bevy of beautiful models, displaying garments from Divas of Ramsaran Street, in Chaguanas.

Kavita Manoo shows off this red and gold garara which she designed herself.


Adrian Boodan

Anala Maharaj in

a trendy blue, copper

and orange sari.

HAVING attended both days of Taste T&T at Jean Pierre Complex on the weekend, I fully endorse Joseph Ross’ sentiments expressed in March, “it’s time for the sleeping tiger of (T&T) tourism to be unleashed on the world.” The weekend’s food exposition, staged by the Tourism Development Company (TDC), served to highlight a positive side of this country’s creativity and style, not to mention the infinite scope of its cuisine.

Brian Mac Farlane was nothing short of magnificent with his design of the venue, complete with white vintage automobiles, foliage and water displays, and the hospitality of the men and women of the Liz Franco Hospitality Service was exemplary. Also deserving kudos were twin sisters Judy and Judette Coward, and their Mango Media Entertainment outfit for the variety and quality of performances offered.

Taste T&T - Entertainment menu

Clive Zanda, Diamond Vale Government Primary Choir, Clico Shiv Shakti, Unlimited Soul Project, Keino Swamber, pannist Daryl Reid, Crazy Catholic, Relator, Jewels of Nature, Kimmy Stoute Robinson & Friends Limbo Dancers, Jeunes Agape Choir, Kay Alleyne, jazz and R&B vocalist Samantha Gooden, Bollywood Indian Dancers, Northwest Laventille Cultural Movement, Nite Life Susan & Rana Mohip, Ziggy Rankin’, Laventille Rhythm Section, Marcia Charles Dance Troupe, Dexter Theophille, Alternative Quartet, Nalini Akal & N9 Dancers, saxophonist Pedro Lezama, Patti Rogers, H20 Phlo, Wendell Constantine and Wendy Sheppard, and Blue Culture.

Best of T&T highlighted

Behind the scenes personnel like Jason Baptiste, Giselle Laronde-West and staff of Special Events Security also worked their butts off to ensure the success of this venture.

Operating off three strategically placed stages, visitors were treated by the best T&T has to offer. Particularly outstanding were Digicel Rising Stars 2007 winner Kay Alleyne, Unlimited Soul Project and H2O Phlo, the latter receiving a standing ovation following its Saturday night performance. Also winning the audience on the main stage were Sheldon “Crazy Catholic” Narine and his troupe of actors (DC Shell Family Theatre) who staged their own zany chef competition.

One of the most significant and noticeable aspects of the weekend event was the large number of families that turned out. Free before 8 pm, and $25 per head after, Taste T&T was undoubtedly the best ticket in town for a quality family outing.

To get back to where I started, I think Taste T&T has achieved its fullest potential in its current form and it’s time that Messrs Ernest Littles (president), David Lewis (chairman) and Joseph Ross (minister) begin thinking of a much larger and ambitious project, embracing all of the region. With aggressive and strategic marketing, promotion and proper planning, Taste T&T could establish our twin-island state as the mecca of culinary achievement in this hemisphere. Our superiority in this area, as has also been repeatedly proven in horticulture, is underscored by the repeated wins of our national culinary team in international competition.

  • New music is here

Clifford Charles and his trusted guitar.

I’VE had the pleasure of listening to two new CDs that I’ve added to my collection without hesitation. They are Downtown Scarborough, featuring guitarist Clifford Charles, and Alive, a 13-track disc by Imij & Co.

With the exception of Tension (Shadow) and Dance with You (Machel Montano HD), all tracks on Downtown Scarborough were composed by Charles. The wizard behind the mesmerising lure of this CD, however, is Ming Low Chu Tung, of elan parle and Parlemusik. With Ming also responsible for keyboards, congas and percussion, vocals, and sequencing/drum programming; drums and percussion overdubs were by Richard Joseph.

Clifford Charles is acclaimed as one of Trinidad’s leading jazz guitarists, a fact that is borne out by his virtuoso playing on this release. In a career that spans two decades, he has performed with the legendary R&B group The Drifters, appeared at the Montreal Jazz Festival with Grammy Award-winning songwriter Anselm Douglas, and at numerous other festivals in North America, Colombia and throughout the Caribbean.

Charles released his debut CD—Just in Time—in 2004, on which he collaborated with former Road March champion Chris “Tambu” Herbert on an original song called Beautiful Island. In 2006, he released a limited edition “live” CD album—Trinidad Jazz Flavour—containing smooth jazz standards as well as his popular version of It’s Carnival by soca artiste Machel and Destra.

Each cut on Downtown Scarborough receives some kind of special treatment by the artiste. However, Charles’ interpretation of Tension and Dance with you are simply off the radar.

Michelle Xavier and Russell Cadogan adorn the cover of Imij & Co’s Alive, the group’s first full-length CD. The disc sure lives up to its name with something for all tastes. My favourite track is a racy, chutney-soca-influenced ditty titled From Meh Mudder, but other enticing cuts include Big Bottom Gyal, Only You, New Dance Craze, Having a Time, and a remake of Edwin Yearwood’s Wet.

Imij & Co includes guitarist Joey Ng Wai, third from right, and vocalists Russell Cadogan, second from right, and Michelle Xavier.
The jacket cover of Clifford Charles’ third CD—Downtown Scarborough
Imij & Co takes a bow after one of its successful performances.

  • Pan in the spotlight again

FOLLOWING last Sunday’s very successful 8 of Hearts steelband festival, staged by by the Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation (LSF) in Laventille (see pages 10 & 11), pan again holds the spotlight this holiday, this time at the panyard of Clico Sforzata, located on the Priority Bus Route in Curepe.

Following a gruelling but exciting month of elimination competition in all fours, football and cricket, the finalists will decide who’s best in the pan world.

Among the steelbands that participated in this year’s competition have been Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, Witco Desperadoes, Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille, Sagicor Exodus, Eastern Credit Union Pamberi, Couva Joylanders, T&T Defence Force, bpTT Renegades, Birdsong, Curepe Scherzando, Caribbean Airlines Invaders, Solo Pan Knights and Sforzata.

Following today’s family-oriented activities, all attention will be on this evening’s Walk wid yuh Sticks and come, a unique “pan extempore” event. Each participating band will be allowed a maximum of five players—tenor, double second, guitar, bass and drummer—and required to select from a hat one of five Panorama calypsoes from the 1970s.

Organiser Julie Williams said this week: “This is pan ramajay in its purest form—it’s going to be a real jamdown.”

  • Sorry, Crew

MY apologies today to DJ Cutting Crew which provided music at St James Government Secondary School’s reunion but for which I named DJ Crosby Sounds in last weekend’s Pulse.

Cutting Crew out of Belmont is staging Ladies Night Part III, usually a bumper back in times party, attended by bevies of beautiful women.

This year’s edition, to be headlined by Black Stalin, is also served by DJs Allan Diaz, Mr Q, D’Original Wax, Sound Master One and, of course, Cutting Crew.

The party is scheduled for July 5, at SWWTU Hall, on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.



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