Sweet Tassa

T&T’s first: The Sweet Tassa all-female tassa group during a performance.

The Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa Academy created the first Tassa Academy website offering online classes from May 1. The idea came about as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, which forced the cessation of in-person tassa classes at the academy’s compound.

The main mission of the academy, located at Mt Stewart Village in Princes Town, is to tutor those interested in learning tassa drumming.

NGC has sponsored this dynamic tassa group since 2014. The group launched the country’s first Tassa Academy in 2017, and their all-female band is also the first all-female tassa group in Trinidad and Tobago.

The academy’s website gives access to members who register online to one-on-one tassa classes with Lenny Kumar, tassa drummer for 48 years and founder of Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa.

Sessions are conducted via video conferencing app Zoom, and payment is also done online.

Kumar also worked alongside Digital Business Ltd to create the tassa app and is well-known as the creator of the renowned tassa hand “Chutney”, a style of tassa drumming.

The academy sees these online sessions as integral to their mission of ensuring tassa drumming continues to grow and develop as an art form in Trinidad despite the current Covid-19 restrictions.

The online sessions have been well received by students thus far, and will continue to be relevant for tassa enthusiasts who cannot attend classes in person, and may prefer to learn the art of tassa drumming from the comfort of their homes.

The academy has been advertising via social media to provide the opportunity to those keen on learning tassa drumming. The website also allows for international students to log on for classes, where they too can learn about tassa drumming and our culture.

The band will continue weekly updates on the website as they aim to provide a seamless experience.

Referring to his passion, Kumar stated: “I would like to preserve and protect the roots and original style of the art form of tassa drumming to positively promote the culture and to produce an appreciation for the culture within and beyond the shores of Trinidad and Tobago.”

According to Lisa Burkett, NGC’s corporate communications manager, “NGC Sweet Tassa Academy’s online initiative demonstrates our continued resilience as a people.

“We all must make the requisite changes as we adjust to our new normal. We urge the band to continue gaining momentum and promoting our country and our culture, both locally and internationally.”

Those interested in learning more about the art of tassa drumming can visit the NGC Trinidad and Tobago Sweet Tassa Academy at www.sweettassaedu.com.


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