It’s Jazz Season at the MCDCA with Live@Lunch and Fusion Concerts  


April 30, 2018                                                                                

 For those who could not go to Tobago for the Jazz performances, the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts (MCDCA) gave them a day of Jazz with “Live@Lunch-Simply Jazz” and “Fusion the Jazz Experience” on April 26th in Port of Spain during the lunch and evening times.

“Fusion-the Jazz Experience,” saw the elements all aligned to create the perfect evening outdoor concert on the steps of the National Academy  for the Performing Arts (NAPA). The cool evening breeze and the effortless beauty of NAPA’s architecture and lights complimented the medley of performances by the National Steel Symphony Orchestra and guest artistes Vaughnette Bigford, Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung, the UTT Jazz Ensemble, and Shiva Manick.

As expected it was yet another outstanding performance from the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) as they delivered to the audience’s delight.  Artistic Director of the NSSO Akua Leith signaled the Orchestra’s intention to continuously raise the bar for steelpan performances as he led his team through a varied repertoire from Mungal Patasar’s “Dreadlocks” featuring Shiva Manick on the tabla, to “Guantanamera” and “Sunday Morning Funk” to name a few.

The powerful voice of Vaughnette Bigford, the smooth music of the UTT Jazz Ensemble, notably saxophonist and group leader Anthony Woodroffe, and Michael “Ming” Low Chew Tung on the keyboard had the crowd of more than four hundred persons drifting and clapping throughout the night. They brought out the best of Jazz music in T&T, and the NSSO’s experience with fusion performances was evident as they blended the steelpan and jazz rhythms. The MCDCA also capitalized on this event by facilitating a Craft Market in NAPA’s Foyer, featuring jewelry, local wines, handbags, homemade delicacies and much more. The end result of this event- the crowd was left wanting more, which seems to be the usual aftermath of each cultural event hosted by the MCDCA.

The nighttime event was not to be outdone by the second edition of the MCDCA’s Live@Lunch Concert at Woodford Square, titled “Simply Jazz”. The first Live@Lunch installation, “City Blessings”, celebrated Gospel Music on March 29th, an appropriate selection to conclude the Lenten Season.

The Jazz theme was next, and the midday heat on April 26th was somehow moderated by the groovy music of artistes Moricia Cagan, LeAndra, the Adan Hagely Project, Candice Caton and Shannon Francois. Master of Ceremonies Jamie Thomas kept the Woodford Square crowd upbeat as he navigated the lunchtime session. Curious downtown shoppers and students making their way from the Bocas Lit Fest at the National Library were amidst the crowd of over three hundred persons choosing to fill their lunch hour with music under the trees of Woodford Square, switching off the typical Port-of-Spain lunchtime pace.

The upcoming Live@Lunch edition will feature an east-indian themed event to celebrate Indian Arrival Day in May, followed by a vintage and steelpan concert respectively. Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly expresses sincere gratitude to the Ministry’s Live@Lunch partners; the Port of Spain City Corporation, MusicTT and A Class Events for their commitment to the development of the local music industry.

Staying on the topic of varied music genres, the MCDCA successfully hosted a two-day concert event at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts on April 21st and 22nd, ‘Seasons- a time of Remembrance.” Hundreds of patrons filled the Sundar Popo Auditorium to witness the National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO) perform in a ‘classical meets local’ setting. Conductor of the NPO Dr. Roger Henry reiterated to the audience that the orchestra intends to showcase the music and energy of Trinidad and Tobago through the medium of classical orchestra performance. Notable soloists Natalia Dopwell and Hermina Charles, along with the Academy for the Performing Arts’ Choir complimented the symphony orchestra, resulting in two evenings of world-class entertainment. The National Theatre Arts Company was not to be omitted, with a solo dancer gracing the stage with gentility in her movements and expression. Satisfied audience members conveyed to the MCDCA team that the calibre of these young musicians and artistes is certainly on par with their international counterparts.

These concerts are part of a wider initiative to bring audiences closer to the range of music genres of Trinidad and Tobago, whilst creating opportunities for the veterans, up and coming musicians, and cultural stakeholders to network, thereby expanding this country’s cultural community.