and Caribana heat
By Ramabai Espinet
Timing is everything, yuh hear. And things doh really happen before dey time. A few years ago (really in de early nineties which only go to show how time could fly) Rudder make a try for a serious pre-Caribana musical experience in a theatre on de Danforth. Ah was dey, ah see it with mih own two eye. The theatre had about two-three row a people - David Rudder diehards - and dat was it. One friend start wining from the first few notes and continue till Rudder heself had to say (because de wining could never stop and it was a lil distracting) “Miz B, siddong now, nah. Gimme a lil break.” Miz B cheups loud and siddong, until “Madness” start up and she proceed to spring up and start wining again.
Dat was then and now is now. De hundreds of participants in de massive fete in de Hummingbird Centre Saturday night couldn’t hold back. Dey receive permission from Rudder heself to go ahead and mash up de place. A slight fella from de management side play de role of officer as in “One more, officer, one more/before ah go dong de road and fight with mih brudder.” He stand up in de fete near de front, in de aisle, fold he two arms, turn he back to the stage and start to stare dong the people dem in de big concert/party as if he going mad. Or he ba-a-ad or something. This slight, slight fella from de management in he lil blue suit. Nobody take him on at all except one or two time a body part from a winer connect with he and he taylaylay though he never stop looking at he watch.
De event dat set out to mash up de place succeed in doin dat, lemme tell yuh. De thing had a electric kinda charge from before it start, when Moko Jumbie and tassa and Muhtadi mash up de street in front de building that was home to the Canadian National Ballet and Opera. De lobby too get take over by Moko Jumbie and a preview of the Trini Carnival 2005. Yuh walk in to de space and the stage was de first thing to hit yuh. De music from de rainbow country had rainbows for days in de stage backdrop - dem panels was it. Colour and design fadder - all de work of de Mighty Pinheiro Heself- de panels dem and de Moko Jumbies. Ah have to salute Christopher before ah even start on de show.
De weaving in and out of de audience was great - Rudder start it by coming dong from de back singing AInternational Chantuelle@ with word like griot and storyteller suggesting de kinda evening to come.
De Rhythm River it was too - with a seamless kinda movement from David Rudder to Mungal Patassar on de sitar to Andy Narell on de pan, a movement from individual to band back and forth, keeping the crowd expectant, anticipating de next move, never sure about de direction. Dis was good, a real ride into de rhythm river on a boat dat went from Calcutta to Caroni, from the Ganges to the Nile, meeting up with the Mississippi on de way.
The way de concert went was proof of real musical intelligence. It start with Rudder proclaiming de role of de griot/storyteller as international chantuelle and proceeding to a widening circle embracing the diversity of T&T first, with Patassar and the Indo-Gangetic beat, then it move to Narell and the North American jazz beat, now mainstream, is true, but remember how jazz start up with humble little black people in de Southern U.S. hoarding what music dey remember and beating it out at night and in de swamp for endless years before it reach whey it reach, not to say dat dey ever really derive de benefit dat shoulda come from dat creation, as with pan, as with kaiso too, though all a dat is a next thing for some griot to chant about.
Anyhow, the Patassar set was something else, mournful, quarrelsome, soft, harsh and never once stopping de strong harmony of the thing - it take you away to another place and time, a history without word, man, and when people begin to recognize in all of dis complex rhythm the well-known “Every time ah pass, yuh sooting mih” it bring de house down. So much ting bring de house dong, no wonder the slight fella was staring at de crowd instead ah de stage for nearly de whole night. And ah cyah forget Patassar son, Prashant, who compose the music for the 3rd piece and dat was innovation with ah edge of something different from he fadder - ah looking out for dis young man.
Narell do a three-piece set too: de first two was from Sankesho, it have a CD call so too, and de 3rd piece is de one everybody, me included, was waiting for, de piece name “Coffee Street.” A next thing to bring de house dong - a mellow piece in parts, sharp staccato rhythm in others, but it was de sense of everlasting liming on Coffee Street dat de man manage to ketch, day in, day out, male members of de human race explatiating in rumshop, bar, beer garden, snackette and café, and even by the lamppost in de evening with a cockset light up by dey foot in de wet season to fend off de mosquitoes. A lazy, lingay rhythm, dat hit you with a lay-lay and den change to a hard times moan - yeah, Coffee Street for true. He wasn’t born on de Coffee? He is not a member of de ubiquitous Coffee boys Club, now a moveable feast all over de Trini diaspora? All dese question ah have to put to dem and no time to do it.
Den was time for David Rudder heself - ah eh want to mislead all yuh, de other two didn’t play by deyself only yuh know, in between de three ah dem jam and riff and play back to one another plenty times too. Rudder give de crowd de more serious things in de first half, so much so dat one ah mih friends swell up in de intermission and complain about how she come to hear calypso and she eh hear one calypso yet. Ah start to deliver mih spiel about how dese is serious musicians and experimenters but she give me a hard look, cheups and flounce off. (And she is a Guyanese too, yuh wouldn’t think she go be breakin dong de door bawling for calypso. But in de second half she was one ah de people who nearly lick dong de slight management fella with she heavy anatomy and she heavy wining).
Rudder had lyrics to make a calypsonian scream and turn a woman body into jelly. One ah de political pieces was “The Immigrant.” Dis was commenting on de assault on Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant, by de NYPD. “Am I an immigrant/Or am I a new slave?” And de memorable “Jerusalem” lamenting de fact dat in de birthplace of three great religions dey cyah make a decision for peace: “In this battle zone/Of bullets, blood and stone/I hear the mothers groan.” And “Haiti” and “Johannesburg” - important political pieces too.
The Rudder music going through some changes and ah sure different people have different opinion about it - ah hear plenty friends complaining dat it goin away from calypso into something else. I hear dem, ah really hear dem.
De truth is dat de place start to mash up for true when dem earlier pieces start up - Bahia Girl, Calypso Music, Madness, The Hammer, and den ah start to wonder about ah different inside rhythm in dem pieces. What could be deeper than “The Hammer,” a requiem for Rudolph Charles, a hymn ah praise to Laventille and its son who rise out of it to play it and speak it and sound it, and for Rudder to write dis song and sing it without missing a beat from deep inside that hillside that put aside so, on the outside of de place where de city fathers live, while dey children on de hills ketchin dey nennen to live, and to show how de man with de hammer command a force of sound, and to commemorate dis man life together with Sister Sheila and Thunderbolt Williams and de shape and rhythm and feel of dat whole ambience - man, ah really have to ask another question about exile and memory and if yuh could really speak a place and time when yuh far, far from it, yes.
Well, dat was a small part of mih take on de concert dat was ah Event in itself and though it was big up in de town, ah still feel dat it wasn’t big up enough - especially to de whole Caribbean community scatter through dis here town. But it go have more, ah sure ah dat, and if yuh miss it dis time, well doh let it happen a second and third time, yuh hear.
Canada - Americas Cricket champs
Canada were crowned champions of the Americas when they overcame Cayman Islands by 67 runs at Somerset Cricket Club, Bermuda. The win, their fifth in five games in the tournament, left the Canadians four points clear of the United States, who got past Bermuda and thus claimed second place ahead of the host nation.
Canada regained the trophy they first won in 2000 in Toronto at the in-augural Americas Cricket Champion-ships, before relinquishing the title to the USA in Buenos Aires in 2002.
After being put in to bat, Canada powered to a formidable total of 298 in 47 overs, the highest score of the tournament. One half-century from Zubin Surkari (52), the eventual Man-of-the-Match, and a number of solid contributions from the batsmen - including Desmond Chumney (46), John Davison (41), Ian Billcliff (47) and Don Maxwell (31) - got them to the massive score.
For Bermuda, skipper Ryan Bovell, led from the front with 4 for 57, while Lawrence Cunningham took 2 for 50 and Saheed Mohamed 2 for 41.
The Cayman's response could not have started in a more disastrous manner, as they were reduced to 6 for 3 within four overs. The early burst from Austin Codrington (1 for 10) and Ashish Patel (4 for 50) effectively ended the contest placing the title in Canadians' hands.
However, the Cayman batsmen produced another sterling display, as they have done throughout the tournament, to fight back with a series of partnerships that eventually took them to 231 for 9 in their allotted 50 overs. Mohamed (49), Franklin Hinds (48) and captain Ryan Bovell (35) led the way in the middle and lower order.
His Divine Holiness Pramukh Swami Maharaj, Spiritual Leader of BAPS (Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha), presents a shawl to the Hon. James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, bestowing honour on him in the tradition of the Hindus. The occasion was the Vishwashanti Mahayagna (World Peace Prayers) marking the opening of the Shree Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir (Haveli). The Lieutenant Governor addressed the thousands of devotees from across North America and remarked that the Haveli will "enrich society as a whole, as well as the Hindu community."
BAPS is a worldwide socio-spiritual organization in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, dedicated to community service, peace and harmony.
Earlier, the Haveli, a modern marvel paying homage to traditional Indian architecture, was declared open by Pramukh Swami Maharaj amidst the chanting of sacred Vedic hymns and with great fanfare.
The Haveli structure is an impressive display of Indian architecture, with majestic Burmese teak columns inlaid with intricate carvings of peacocks, elephants, lotuses and Hindu deities.
Frontal view of the main foyer of the new Haveli that stands majestically at Humber-line Dr and Clairville Dr in Toronto’s west end.