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Etienne Charles returns to T&T for Emancipation show

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 00:37

Acclaimed Jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles will return to Trinidad and Tobago on June 29 for three Emancipation shows.

The shows will feature music inspired by the African experience in the new world, a release said.

There will original compositions as well as music from Fela Kuti, the Mighty Sparrow, Lord Kitchener and many others.

“Emancipation has been a running theme in my music since I started composing. I finally wanted to put it together to perform in T&T near Emancipation,” said Charles.

He plans to tour the island during his visit for an educational outreach.

Etienne Charles: Emancipation will be held at 2 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm at the Kaiso Blues Café on Woodford Street, Port-of-Spain.

Owned by the iconic duo Carl and Carol Jacobs, Kaiso Blues has established itself as a special space with unique energy and intimacy that has become a creative oasis for many artistes.

Charles, who last played there in 2016, said he has been itching to return to Kaiso Blues since. He will be accompanied by his New York City band comprising: Godwin Lewis (saxophone), Brett Williams (piano), Jonathan Mitchell (bass) and Charles Haynes (drums).

Charles last performed in T&T in January at a sold out world premiere of his work from his soon to be released album, Carnival, at the Queen’s Hall.

Carnival, Charles’ fifth large compositional work was made possible with a Creative Arts Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The world premiere followed the Caribbean premiere of his sixth composition the San Jose Suite before a sold out audience at Queen’s Hall in November 2016.

Charles, a 2015 Guggenheim fellow was awarded the Reubin O’D Askew award, the highest award bestowed upon an Alumnus of Florida State University under the age of 35 and the Jazz at Lincoln Centre Millennial Swing Award, spent much of 2016 performing at prestigious venues including the White House, Newport Jazz Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Lincoln Centre and, most recently, the Jazz Standard in New York and SF Jazz Centre in San Francisco.

For 2017, Charles continued to tour all over the US and overseas including Japan and Jamaica.

More info 

Tickets are available at Kaiso Blues Café, 85 Woodford Street, Newtown, Port-of-Spain.

Hard to get foreign $ to pay international acts

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 01:27

Randy Glasgow Productions’ (RGP) chief cook and bottle washer believes that mega international summer concerts are a thing of the past. He said: “I would say yes, they are dead right now. The main problem facing promoters is obtaining foreign currency to pay international artistes. Plus, the current financial climate in our country doesn’t augur well for promoters. I don’t see this changing before the next four-five years.”

Glasgow’s advice on these challenges is: “What promoters need to do for survival is to become creative and use our local stars and whatever emerging talents we can unearth.”

Instead of seeking artistes from overseas to perform locally during the August-September period, Glasgow is staging “a first-time festival” which will be held outside of Port-of-Spain, branded The First Chutney & World Rhythms Festival.

“We are going to the middle of the country, to the National Cricket Centre in Couva,” said Glasgow.

“We will showcase the likes of Mungal Patassar & Pantar, Nigel Rojas & Orange Sky, as well as emerging star Nailah Blackman and her band and, on the chutney side, we will feature KI & The Band, Indar Kanhai, and Drupatee Ramgoonai and the ‘chutney king of the world’ Rakesh Yankaran.”

Glasgow expressed hope that the foreign currency issue would dissolve in the not-too-distant future.

He said: “Once foreign currency is available again, the foreign act I would like to bring to Trinidad is Earth, Wind & Fire for the secular music lovers. On the Indo side I would bring Shahrukh Khan. As far as comedy is concerned, I would go for Russell Peters from Canada.”

Stating that although he believes T&T is blessed with excellent performers, Glasgow added: “I don’t think that there’s any one local artiste who could sell out the stadium in a mega summer concert. It would have to be a combination of artistes and the event would have to have a good, unique concept.

“What is preventing us from staging such a show is that all our top artistes have dedicated themselves to shows in North America and Europe during this period and promoters definitely cannot get a booking with them.”

One of the oldest local promotions outfit in the country is Spektakula Promoters, founded by the late Claude Martineau and his brother Frank. Miami Sound Machine, held at the stadium in 1988, was the most successful international concert Spektakula Promotions has ever staged.

Frank said: “International acts have gotten too expensive for the pockets of the local market. The big name stars are living, but ‘eating a food’ elsewhere, and don’t seem to have T&T too high up on their menu. The logistics right now to stage a mega show in the stadium are way way too high.

“For instance, the police bill for the average event at the stadium is over a hundred grand, plus the fire personnel bill is also exorbitant. That particular issue is a serious one for all promoters.

“There have been incidents of promoters cancelling events because of the police bill.

“There is one time when a priest had to cancel a little fund-raising barbeque in St Ann’s because the police were charging way too much for the parish to make any money with their venture.”

Asked which international superstars he would have liked to bring to Trinidad, Frank said: “Bruno Mars, Drake and Ed Sheeran, without a doubt. They are really big.”


What is the best international act you’ve seen in T&T?

And who would you pay “big” money to see perform today?

​ Charlene Clarke

(event coordinator):

“Maxi Priest. I would pay top dollar now to go see Mariah Carey.”

Joella Corneille

(property manager):

“It was a concert with Barrington Levy and Maxi Priest. The best international artiste I have seen perform is Beyonce. I would pay money to see Beyonce perform again.”

Nicole Albert (public servant):

“Sanchez is the best artiste I have seen perform. I was totally impressed by him as he really gave us our money’s worth. I would pay anything to see Alicia Keys or Bruno Mars perform.”

Mary Sosa (former Miss T&T):

“The two Steel Pulse concerts, in the Savannah and at Spektakula Forum. I really like the old school so I would pay money to see James Ingram.”

​This concludes the
Summer concerts story
(Part 1 was on Monday, July 24)

The lighter side of music

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 04:41

Nigel Ferreira began playing the guitar at age 14. In 1976, together with friends, he formed the very popular five-member group Colonel & Company, in which he was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist.

After the group disbanded, Ferreira wrote and produced jingles for the local advertising market. One of the jingles he sang by Mark Fojo and Simon Galt was nominated at the International CLIO Awards in 1979.

After all these years, Ferreira has been consistent and he continues to please and entertain his audiences. He has no intentions of stopping and has now released his latest production—The Lighter Side—a 14-song CD, unplugged and all acoustic.

Speaking about his CD, Ferreira said: “It’s an interesting album as it’s the first time I’ve done unplugged. The music is light, softer and more laid back, unlike my last album. There’s a 12-page booklet inside, inclusive of front and back, with all the lyrics to the songs. What makes this CD even more interesting is that I am featuring some amazing artistes, like the super talented Cathy Ella sharing her amazing vocals singing together with me on one of the songs.

“Also on the album are two of the most amazing and gifted young talents: Glenn Miller Ferreira with his original, and one of Mexico’s budding singer/songwriters, Vivi Leal Velazquez, also with her original. It feels so good supporting young artistes like them.

“My brother Barry also blows some real bad-ass harmonica/blues harp on one of the songs.”

In 1985, Ferreira joined the very popular rock band Touchdown as its lead singer and rocked the town to the next generation. Two years later he received an Appreciation Plaque from the National Association for Down Syndrome Children for his contribution So Lovely, So Beautiful, a song he wrote and performed on many occasions to help raise funds for the special children.

Ferreira continued to excel as a musical exemplar for young and aspiring musicians through the eighties and nineties. In 1987, he wrote and performed solo a song titled A Waste of Time for the National Walk Campaign against drugs. In 1994, he sang on the late Johnny Gonzales’ Christmas CD—My Christmas—a compilation of the top local artistes performing the traditional Christmas standards. Ferreira sang the only original song from Gonzales, on the album Christmas on the Hill, which is still the most requested Christmas song. The song was at the number one position for two consecutive years on the local charts. So what else has this gifted musician been up to? “I have freelanced extensively,” he said, “appearing as a guest artiste on various shows and with different acts.”

No stranger to the recording studio, Ferreira has been hired on many occasions as a lead vocalist on varied projects. In 1992, he worked along with Dr Kiran Akal, who at the time was the Commissioner in Trinidad for the Seville World Fair, and he assisted Dr Akal in the production and preparation of local music for the Seville World Fair. Ferreira, in his amazing career, has also twice entertained two of the country’s prime ministers for private functions.

As a new decade rolled over in 2000, Ferreira continued to keep himself busy. In 2001, he and his good friend and old bandmate Arthur Reid formed the duo Framework II with two guitars, backed by pre-recorded digital sound. “To the present day, Framework II has been playing the circuits,” said Ferreira, “appearing at the top night spots, clubs, hotels, private and corporate functions.”

In 2001, as well, Framework II released a 12-song Christmas CD, of which four tracks are Ferreira’s compositions. Again a huge hit on the local market, the CD received great reviews in the local media.

In 2010 Ferreira wrote and produced another solo album—The Darker Side Of Me. This 13-song rock album has received the best reviews for Ferreira thus far.

In closing, Ferreira added: “My only grouse through my musical career is that there’s absolutely no support for local artistes from the radio stations and, for the life of me, I cannot understand why the radio stations refuse to play local artistes.

“On a positive note, though, working side by side with me on my latest album is the amazingly, gifted, skilled and accomplished musician Peter Shim.”

© 2014 Aakash Vani 106.5FM | TBC Network | Guardian Media Limited