Thursday, March 4, 2010

Village Drums of Freedom Travel Through Time . . .

St. James J'Ouvert Jam 'Post' Observations and a Radical Approach to an ' Old Problem'.

J’Ouvert celebrations in St. James this year were marred by the 'virus' that now infects our nation, a total disrespect for law, order and common civility.

The disruptions that occurred J'Ouvert morning was by the hands of a minority and is in no way reflective of the majority of celebrants. We at St. James Times are of the opinion that even to the most lawless of society they (the lawless) see the need for law and order. How then are we to nurture and see to maturity our (St. James) contribution to the National Carnival celebrations? Ours must be a clean and incident free J'Ouvert.

In the two (2) weeks prior to Carnival Monday and Tuesday the ' hub' of activity in St. James is centered between Vidale Street and Bournes Road. The approach of Carnival Monday and by extension J'Ouvert Morning brings with it a heavy crowd presence and this crowd gains its fuel from the gigantic music systems lining the Streets. We now have a problem! The Crowd that gathers legitimate as they may be is a deterrent to those 'Bands' wishing to 'revel’ the Western Main Road. As a consequence the competition St. James J'Ouvert Jam becomes adversely affected.

A number of proposals have been proposed as viable solutions to this situation but it is only one that though radical in nature seems workable. The proposed solution to this situation is, at the commencement of the National Carnival celebrations - 4 A.M. Monday Morning there should be a cessation of all sidewalk music until the J'Ouvert period ends. This is a new approach (though being applied at the international Carnival Celebrations) St. James Times believes that it has potential and invites discussions among all stakeholders.

The stakeholders in St. James the Business Community, the St. James Working Council, CIC, and MANGEN and others are vying for the rights to have St James declared an Official Judging Point for the Carnival Season. The benefit that these developments can bring to the region is far reaching. If we are united in these efforts then St. James and the wider community by far can improve our quality of life and at the same time elevate St James' reputation as a City that not only does it not sleep but is also the entertainment Capital of Trinidad and Tobago.

Village Drums of Freedom - Finale

After 41 years of staging this after Carnival production the Village Drums of Freedom has taken this extravaganza to new heights. Sunday the final day of this three day fest clearly established itself in the chronicles of history. There are many ways that can be used to describe greatness but one had to be there to experience this year’s production of Drums Salute Dance - Dance Salutes Drums. Nyron Greenidge and Gerald Achee are to be complimented for their efforts not for this year but for all the years producing this masterpiece. Sunday’s presentation (day three) began with the elaborate preparations of the grounds which made way for the Children’s Treat and Fun activities. DJ music served as the fill in between the first segment and the start of the final presentations.

The M.C. opened the show to an eager crowd long in anticipation. The first act the NorthWest Laventille Drummers proved to be truly entertaining. This act was followed by a succession of performers Masters in their own right. Brother Valentino, Conqueror, Scrunters, Wafasi, PetroTrin Phase2 and the endearing Village Drums of Freedom. The crowd in attendance was truly enthralled by the high caliber of entertainment. The closing act, the Drums of Freedom, made their performance a memorable one. Their retrospective performance reminiscing of past greats in the personas of Julia Edwards, Carlton Francis, Henry White and Nyron Greenidge are a few of those whose contributions served to enlarge the perimeters of Dance and Drum Cultural adaptation. Echoes of 1970, the Cultural Revolution filled the air with this performance. Mansa, WilliBoBo and the Japanese Experience all underscored the importance of Drums Salute Dance-Dance Salutes Drums. St. James Times salutes Nyron and Gerry on this momentous occasion and extends their sincere wishes that their future presentations continue to enrich our Cultural Heritage and keep the spotlight shining on the jewel in Port of Spain’s Crown, ‘St. James’.