Written by 5:45 pm Music

Parang time is any time: Divas to serenade on Saturday


Parang queen Alicia Jaggasar will perform at Divas of Parang at Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, on April 22. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

The National Parang Association will host the Divas of Parang at Central Bank Auditorium, Port of Spain, on April 22 from 6 pm.

Its purpose is twofold: to look at the association’s 52nd anniversary (April 19) and to spotlight the various women who contribute to the art form.

The association’s PRO Joanne Briggs said the concept to host the event was stirred by one other it held for its fiftieth anniversary.

That yr there have been awards and the reintroduction of the National Parang Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago.

“At that event we had the orchestra performing with some guest singers and it turned out to be such a pore-raising event we thought that the subsequent event we’ve got, we might have the orchestra teaming up with some more singers.”

This was how the Divas of Parang got here about, Briggs said.

Joanne Briggs, PRO of the National Parang Association of TT

Additionally it is a by-product from last yr’s Parang History Month which paid tribute to the parranderas.

“It’s a culmination of celebrating last yr and coming into fruition this yr that we’ve got this celebration of parang with the voices of ladies.”

It is going to feature 13 parranderas including Jennifer Ann McPherson, Dr Francisca Allard, Gail Ganpat, Alicia Jaggasar and Briggs.

“Together, combined, we’ve got contributed to the parang movement for close to a few a long time. What we realise, traditionally; it has been the fellas on the front. You hear in regards to the Lara Brothers, Leary Collymore…all those voices are legends in their very own right.

“People hear about Gloria Alcazar, Daisy Voisin and Clarita Rivas but we never really sat down and realised how that trajectory carried the ladies’s voices into the art form today. So we tried to curate those voices and tell people of our history.

“In the course of the Christmas season, you’re hearing these voices but you don’t know who they’re.”

She said the association is celebrating these voices while they’re still alive.

These women compose, arrange and are leaders of bands and lots of people don’t recognise the numerous contribution they make to the preservation and continuation of the music.

Parang is commonly relegated to Christmas, Briggs admitted and said people often didn’t realise that there was also parang at Easter.

This was something the association wanted to vary and the concert helped to do that.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that parang can occur at Christmas time alone. It may well apply to any time that we would like to and that’s the reason we’re saying allow us to start from here and see how far we will push the envelope and let people know that parang can occur at any time and anywhere,” Briggs said.

The association has been working to construct the parang community over the past years by doing online parang workshops and welcoming people curious about song making and learning to play the cuatro.

But to do these require funding and that may be a challenge it faces.

The association hopes to do more now that covid19 restrictions are lifted.

Briggs said doing the show presently also helps to strengthen the association’s presence within the cultural landscape and assist in its fundraising.

She said the association is aware it needs to search out ways to monetise but this requires the parang body to take a seat down and work out its next steps.

The association wants to make use of its headquarters at 22 Hollis Avenue, Arima, to do a few of its projects however the space is in need of repair.

It didn’t have a full subvention for the past three years due to covid19 pandemic which might have helped in getting the repairs done.

That is something it intends to work on, now, Briggs added.

She reminded TT that, “Parang time is any time” and it was music.

“In the event that they come to Divas they might hear exactly what I’m talking about,” she said

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