making a statement: 3Canal, from left, Roger Roberts, Wendell Manwarren

and Stanton Kewley.

There is a saying where words fail, music speaks.

For rapso group 3Canal, their music is a tool to do just that—make a statement. The rapso group will stage The 3Canal Show 2020 at The Big Black Box, 33 Murray Street, Woodbrook, from this evening and continuing to February 22 at 8.30 p.m.

In 2004, the rapso group crea­ted The 3Canal Show, a multimedia performance event, which has since become an annual event on Trinidad’s Carnival calendar.

From this evening, the Big Black Box will experience Wendell Manwarren, Roger Roberts and Stanton Kewley, backed up by the Cut and Clear Crew, as well as a powerful cast of performers and musicians, in the first of a concert series titled “”, which Manwarren described as a “Love Revolution”.

Manwarren said Carnival has always been a platform to make a statement, whether it’s through the mas or music. “This year, we have a nice, strong dramatic component where we will cover the whole idea of love. We are focusing on love, but more as a revolution.

“We always take examples with what’s happening around us, and this year, we have the golden anniversary of revolution and recognition of the power of the people in the form of the Black Power Revolution and army mutiny of 1970. 2020 is also the golden anniversary of the landmark rapso recording Blow ’Way; an undisputed anthem of know­ledge of self and affirmation of self over contempt of self, from the seminal artist Lancelot Layne.

“2020 is also 50 years since Walcott said, ‘The future of West Indian militancy lies in arts’. Walcott made a very serious statement. I knew his passion about West Indian self and Caribbean-hood, and if we are to challenge the order and seek change, we have to use the arts.

“I believe in knowledge of self, which is the key to empowerment, and I think most of us are lacking in knowledge of self—we don’t know our stories, our history and the history of the communities we came from.

“One of the things we are inte­res­ted in is people understanding who we are and what our potential is—then we should not be having these arguments how to stop crime and how Carnival can be better.

So we are looking at all these sentiments expressed at that point in time 50 years ago. During that period, people wanted real change, so we must never forget our history. This is not a time to go in the streets and be violent, so we have to use the art to question present ideas and to get people to think about things. So the concert is all about that, plus a whole heap of good music, fun humour and bacchanal.”

3Canal continues to work with young people in the arts to help in their devel­opment and to give them a platform to share their stories. “We like to work with young people. We learn from them and they learn from us. We tell our stories together,” Manwarren said.

Manwarren has promised a theatrical experience alongside the The Black Box Crew, backed by the Cut and Clear Crew.

“We are not fete artistes, we are statement artistes. We make our own show and feature younger, alternative voices. We are working with a number of young people. We have a live band—six musicians, six back-up singers, 18 dancers, and that includes six young students from UTT and The UWI. We have Best Village and hip-hop dancers and actors.”

Referring to the Big Black Box where the “Revolution of Love” will take place, Manwarren said there is no place like home.

“We are home this year at the Big Black Box, a big change for many people who have gotten accustomed to Queen’s Hall. But after the Carifesta experience, where we had a nightly experience having people move to the experience of the music, we saw the Black Box come alive, so we thought of staying home this year to see what that feels like, and I think it was a right decision.”


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