Origins and Nature of Parang Music

Parang Music has long been associated with Christmas festivities. The word parang originally came from the word ‘paranda’ meaning merry making. Traditional parang bands made up of parenderos consist of singers and musicians who play the guitar, the mandolin, the cuatro, the violin, the maracs, the clapper, the box bass, the tambourine, the scratcher (güiro) and the toc-toc (claves). Other non-traditional instruments such as the dolak and the steelpan are sometimes included but this has caused some controversy within the Parang fraternity.

Rudolph Edwards: Journey with Desperados

Mr. Rudolph Edwards has offered, in this piece, his history and the history of his involvement in the internationally acclaimed steelband movement, Desperados. Mr. Edwards is one of the founding fathers of the Desperadoes pan organization and has enjoyed many victories with this pan-side. Along with his outstanding awards and achievements, it has been said that Mr. Edwards is the oldest and longest playing panman around. Surely, his contributions in terms of his commitment to the Desperados pan movement as well as the pan movement in general must be recognized. Mr. Edwards now shares with us his journey with the Desperados pan movement and some of his life lessons acquired along the way.

Brother Valentino: Life is a Stage

The Grenadian born Anthony Emrold Phillip, better known in the Calypso arena as ‘Brother Valentino’, has proven his worth as a riveting performer, expressing his political and social awareness through songs such as ‘Life is a Stage’, ‘Stay up Zimbabwe’ and ‘Dis Place Nice’. Brother Valentino has expressed his love for the Calypso artform, the struggles of aspiring Calypsonians, as well as the behind the scenes ordeals of Calypsonians. Valentino walks us through his life experiences and the ups and downs of the Calypso world, which is largely unknown by those outside the realm. Valentino tells it as it is.

Black Prince: Life as a calypsonian not easy

Calypsonian Black Prince exemplifies persistence and determination in the calypso arena. This experienced calypsonian has been singing since the 1950’s and has graced the stages of a number of early calypso tents. Black Prince also appears on the Raw Kaiso CD: a recording of live performances, with other kaiso powerhouses such as Zandolie and Lord Blakie. At age 61, Black Prince continues to compose music and perform for appreciative audiences around the world. In this interview, he shares the highs and lows of his experiences in the calypso world.

‘Bertie’ Marshall Speaks on the Steelpan

Bertie Marshall (1936- ) is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s living icons who has made an invaluable contribution to the evolution of the steelpan instrument. Marshall, an adept pan-tunist, introduced several fixtures and accompaniments to the instrument that are evident today such as the canopy, and the popular double tenor pans. He is also responsible for other innovations made to the pan such as the introduction of the chromatic scales to the instrument and adding a “keyboard face” to the pan for greater proficiency. Bertie Marshall was also the leader of the “Armed Forces” band and later ascended in the ranks of the band “Highlanders” and became captain, as well as its tuner and arranger.

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