Culture and The Arts

Pan in the Groove

August is Pan month as Trinidad and Tobago celebrates the invention of the Steel Pan as the musical instrument created by renowned pan-man Winston “Spree” Simon in the late1940s.  

For certain, since its emergence on the streets of Port of Spain as a crudely dented in oil drum intended to replace the “tamboo bamboo” sticks which the ex-slaves had been beating to discover their hidden spirits into a separate reality, the steel pan or “Pan” has come a very long way.

Sparrow Still Very Alive and Singing

Yes, the memory of that noble initiative to erect a statue in honour of the world-renowned Calypso bard Slinger Francisco (“The Mighty Sparrow”)  at the St Ann’s Roundabout some 15 years ago,  has certainly faded. 

More than that, however, is the callous manner in which succeeding governments have allowed this important  landmark to fall into decay, even as the celebrity himself keeps gallantly flying the flag of honour against all odds, for the cause of Calypso and Caribbean entertainment in general against all odds.

Comedy Crime Drama ‘Chee$e’ is a Delightful Time

While chatting with a member of the TT film industry about my Caribbean film industry (Cariwood) coverage for Red Mango Reviews they mentioned two shows to check out—Chee$e and Fish (sounds delicious, right?). And for this article I will be checking out the first of these recommendations, 2015 comedy crime drama Chee$e Episode 1; I haven’t seen any other episodes so I believe it’s stuck at the pilot stage.

Chee$e follows a young man named Skimma (Akil Williams) who makes and delivers cheese in his coastal community of Turtle Village, Trinidad. But his ambitions to see the world are not feasible with his small income, so he cooks up a scheme to start trafficking marijuana in blocks of cheese.

Akil Williams: Caribbean Actor, Writer, Creative

I recently had the wonderful honor of making the acquaintance of the mega talented being that is Akil Williams. A gentle and humble soul, his relevant and believable portrayal of Skimma, the lead character in Chee$e truly displayed his natural talent. With an easy and quiet confidence, he takes the audience through the reasons, circumstances and thought processes of a young man, living in a seaside village in the Caribbean, and navigating manhood and responsibility. 

My Heart longs for Mausica

Every now and then,  a few of the six thousand students who had graduated from the sprawling campus carved into remote farm-land at Mausica, east Trinidad, would meet by design or accident somewhere in the world.

Spontaneously caught up in nostalgic ole talk and banter about the place which made such a deep impression on their young lives, they would suddenly go silent, engulfed in a wave of fond memories that will not go away for the rest of their lives.

An Icon Gone

Trinidad and Tobago awoke this morning in a state of unsettlement – not out of the stressful Tobago House of Assembly matter– but because Sandra de Vignes had died in the wee hours of the morning.

Like the shadow cast by the assemblymen over the changes that must come to the island soon, Sandra cast a new wave of possibility of her people.

 It was almost as if, in the early morning dew, she was cutting a way through for those of us who need help to venture safely forward.

 How many times have various poets and priests failed to plumb the depths of our souls with lines that could never reach the bottom of our hearts much less our beings?

Pain in Trini Bone

One of the stories currently injecting arthritic pain into the bones of at least one Trini in Canada is that of George Maharaj who’s willing to “sell or donate away”  his collection of Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean music to a foreign institution.

“I come from a large family of six siblings, five still alive. I was born in Chaguanas and moved to San Fernando at the age of two years old, but moved to New York in 1969 and Toronto in 1974. 

I am married with two children and three grand-daughters. I went to San Fernando Boys Government, then ASJA College.”, says Maharaj from his home in Canada.

Carnival in Danger

As plans unfold for a remodeled version of  Carnival, evidence is fast emerging that Trinis will do whatever they can to prevent the closure of their beloved national safety-valve festival.

Ticket sales for the “Soka in Moka” virtual fete have increased over the past few days, according to Trinity College Soka in Moka Foundation PRO Dexter Charles. The virtual event, titled Soka in Moka XXII Uploaded, is scheduled for January 17 at 8 pm.

Some of the featured artists will be Aaron “Voice” St Louis, Olatunji Yearwood, Nadia Batson, and Nailah Blackman.

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