School team

PREVIOUS WINNER: The combined Queen's Royal College (QRC) Bishop Anstey Girls High School team when they won in 2018.

Parranda es la vida (Parang is life).

That thematic message will be echoed, tomorrow, when primary and secondary school parang bands from around the islands compete for those respective age group titles, at St Mary’s College, Port of Spain.

Eleven primary school and 12 secondary school bands have signed up for the clash that will require them to deliver traditional parang songs before an adjudication panel and live audience. They will all be looking to dethrone defending champs St Gabriel’s Girls’ RC Primary School, San Fernando, and the combined Queen’s Royal College (QRC) Bishop Anstey Girls’ High School outfit.

National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) youth officer Joseph Bertrand says it’s a much-anticipated return to competition bands have been plotting for three years.

“The children are super excited about the competition and being back after having two years of no competition. Last year, we had a junior festival online and they were able to gather in groups of five to record performances and we put together. But this year it will be full band performances,” Bertrand told the Express via phone yesterday.

Bertrand said despite the enthusiasm the three-year pandemic-forced lay off has adversely affected the parang programmes at some schools. A few regulars were unable to enter the competition this year as they are in the process of rebuilding their programmes, he explained.

“Schools accustomed competing say they can’t compete because they missed two years and students would have moved on so they are in a rebuilding phase. It’s a challenge, but we are rebranding and rebuilding the competition,” he added.

Preserving the art form

The preservation of the parang art form remains paramount to the mandate of the competition, Bertrand said.

“One of the mandates of the (NPATT) association is the preservation of the art form. The way to start preserving an art form is to engage the youth. The idea behind engaging the youth in parang is the bedrock of this competition. So, we not just competing for competing sake, the competition is really a by-product of the youth engagement,” Bertrand explained.

Primary school bands will be given eight minutes on stage to perform either an anunciación or nacimiento on the birth of Christ. Secondary school bands, meanwhile, in an addition to the anunciación and nacimiento will be asked to perform an additional traditional parang song of their choice during their alloted 15 minutes on stage, he said.

Judges will be paying close attention to lyrics, diction, lead rendition, chorus rendition, musicality and will award special prizes to the best box base and best cuatro, as well as, best lead singer male and female, he added.

Bertrand, 32, is a graduate of NPATT’s initiative to bring parang music into the classroom. He says he has seen first-hand the real-world benefits of the programme while attending Arima Boys’ RC primary school and later Trinity College East.

“I personally been through the junior parang system, and the competition and it has helped in building identity, taking pride in cultural art form and carving out a space in terms of self-confidence.

“I engage directly with teachers and mentors of the various competing schools. I want to make it clear they are the real heroes in this thing. They engage with the youth day in, day out to get them prepared. We see the fruit of their labour on stage, but we must remember they are the foot soldiers and real heroes,” Bertrand concluded.

NPATT PARANG FESTIVAL 2022 SCHEDULE

NOV 19: ¡Parranda Es La Vida! Junior Parang Festival @St. Mary’s College, Port of Spain — 9 a.m.

NOV 25: Divas of Parang @Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain. — 7 p.m.

NOV 26: ¡Parranda Para Siempre! @BP Renegades Pan Theatre, Port of Spain — 8 p.m.

DEC 10: ¡Parranda Para Siempre! Grand Finale @Arima Velodrome — 8 p.m.

DEC 16: El Aroma de Parang – Free event on the streets of Arima — 6 p.m.

JAN 7: Holy Mass & Les Rois @St. Anthony’s RC Church, Point Fortin — 6 p.m.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

THERE is a saying: Trinis are like salt, they are in everything. A prime example of this can be found amongst the thriving Trinbagonian community in Houston, Texas, which boasts of small business owners, realtors, restaurateurs, landscapers, mechanics and the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Texas (TTAT)—a vibrant, inclusive non-profit organisation that has been impacting lives.

WITH T&T experiencing one of the wettest rainy seasons on record, the risk of falling ill with the infectious disease leptospirosis is especially high. This risk is not to be taken for granted, if left untreated, leptospirosis can lead to organ failure and even death, warned specialist physician in medical microbiology Dr Rajeev Peeyush Nagassar.

Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria. The different bacteria belong to a grouping called leptospira, hence the name “leptospirosis”. It is commonly seen in tropical regions where the risk of contracting the disease increases during the rainy season.

Cane, Corn & Gully (Out-Spoken Press), the debut book by Barbadian-British Safiya Kamaria Kinshasa, brings together poems and dance “to observe, question, and ruminate on what it means to adopt, perform, and pass down the notion of black West Indian femininity”. Diagrammed notations of traditional Caribbean dance movements as well as “everyday rituals” alternate with the author’s powerful meditations on survival and rebellion.

This coming year signals a new dawn for the artiste formerly known as The Incredible Myron B.

A mod moniker, haute hairstyle and avant-garde approach to the business of entertainment has seen the man born Myron Bruce evolve from calypso’s jester of the court to “nite” in shining armour, over the past 12 months.

The Maraval-born entertainer/entrepreneur says “the changes have been long in coming”.

Ready to roar.

That’s the growl from the Lyons den as the countdown begins towards Carnival 2K23.

Terri Lyons will finally be called upon to defend her National Calypso Monarch crown, a title she has held since Carnival 2020, on Dimanche Gras night (February 19, 2023).

While the Covid-19 pandemic extended her seat atop the calypso throne, with postponements of the competition during the health ban on public gatherings in 2021 and at last year’s “Taste of Carnival” limited edition of the festival, she says she is looking forward to the challenge.