Roots at Forty
On Saturday 9th January, 2016, a huge gathering of loyal supporters of the band formerly known as Charlie’s Roots and the Rapso band 3Canal joined Soca music giant, Pelham Goddard and Roots, in celebrating their fortieth anniversary in the music business. This event, themed “Roots at Forty: Their Carnival Story” was produced by JVMP (Junior, Vonrick, Malcolm, Pelham) Promotions in collaboration with Hotel Normandie. It was held Under the Trees at Hotel Normandie, St. Ann’s Port of Spain, from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. The artistes featured included David Michael Rudder, Roger George, 3Canal, Moricia Cagan and Nigel O’Connor.
According to Goddard, this event was in the planning stages for the last two years and it was Junior Hudson who reminded them that the band will be forty this year: He remarked:
“We started in 1976 with Roots as a band doing recordings and stuff. In 1977, we came out as a road band, launched with Peter Minshall (first band for 1978)… so with all of this in mind, we decided to have a big something this year to ’big up’ the forty years. We brought the idea to Normandie. At first I spoke to Donna Chin Lee as her dad was out of the country at the time. She called him and [confirmed that] the date was available.”
Even with younger generation bands pulling the crowds today, Goddard remains confident that with a repertoire of timeless music, Roots can render the many musical hits accumulated over the years to continuously draw people to their group. Goddard also explained the reasoning behind the musical lineup featuring 3Canal and Roger George on this special occasion:
“3Canal was part of Minshall’s band and they always enjoy playing with us. Roger George took over when Tambu left. Roger was a kind of a figure with us even though he was now starting. [He] started together with Machel, Nappy, Kurt Allen and all of those guys and we kind of groomed them at Roots. All of them used to be around Roots singing and we put them on the stage as young people, so when we asked Roger, he took up the offer too. We decided to put a good cast together and put it in a good venue which is Under the Trees, target a kind of crowd that used to follow Roots and who will remember and so on, and it worked.”
“If Maestro didn’t die in 1977 Independence Day, he might have been our lead singer with the band because he started with us with ‘Savage’ in the studio … and Rose too. We got our first Road March through Rose with ‘Going Down San Fernando’. The opening part of our show will be on a Maestro theme and then we will journey out with ‘The Journey’. [Although] Tambu is not with the band again, Tambu’s music up to today is still alive and kicking. So we’ll do “The Journey” and we have “Yes Darling”, then we will do some Rose. We will mix it up, but all is Pelham Goddard and Roots music.”
Today Goddard is recognized as one of the best arrangers, producers and composers in the music industry. His arrangements have produced some of the most memorable hits by calypso and soca bards such as Cecil ‘Maestro’ Hume, MacArthur ‘Calypso Rose’ Lewis, Francine ‘Singing Francine’ Edwards, Austin ‘Blue Boy’ Lyons (now ‘Superblue’), David Michael Rudder and Christopher ‘Tambu’ Herbert.
At 7 p.m., the show started off with lead vocalist Moricia Cagan who came on stage with a burst of energy. Cagan, who is known for her powerful vocal range, masterfully delivered classic hit songs by Calypso Rose setting the tone for the evening. Her set included, “Action is Tight”, “Her Majesty”, “Hold, I Say”, “More Tempo” and “Come leh we Jam”. Nigel O’Connor, also frontline vocalist was next and kept the tempo going with Blue Boy’s “Ethel” and “Soca Baptist” and Tambu’s “Journey” and “Yes Darling”.
Following O’Connor’s performance were Rapso icons, Roger Roberts, Wendell Manwarren and Stanton Kewley, also known as 3Canal. They sang their hit songs, “Carnival”, “Good News”, “Good Morning Neighbour”, “Blue” and “Talk Yuh Talk”.
Roger George soon followed belting out Road March hits by Christopher ‘Tambu’ Herbert which included, the 1988 classic “This Party Is It”, the 1990 hit “No, No We Eh Going Home” and the 1989 sensation “Free up”.
David Rudder closed the programme with a high-energy performance that began with “Permission To Mash Up De Place” followed by a slew of his past hits which included “Jump up”, “Bahia Girl”, “Hammer”, “Calypso Music”, “Trini Prance”, “Dust in dey Face”, “Panama”, “Bacchanal Lady” and “Calabash”.
Roots at Forty was professionally organized with top class music and a stellar cast of performances. It was indeed a nostalgic musical journey which was appreciated by those in attendance who were on their feet dancing, clapping and singing along throughout the show.
Pelham Goddard and Roots:
Moricia Cagan and Nigel O’Connor – Vocals
Pelham Goddard – Band leader / Arranger / Keyboards
Malcolm Boyce – Saxophone
Vonrick Maynard – Drums
Eman Ector – Base guitar
Albert Busche – Base guitar
Devan Ochoe – Base guitar
Spicer – Trombone
Mitch – Trumpet
Vernon – Percussion / Congas
Roots at Forty in pictures: