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           Date: 12.02.05


Silver Stars have 'Star' Quality
and a Winning Formula

Trinidad - Silver Stars not only have had the right idea for a number of years, but they have kept on using the same winning formula on an annual basis around the festive season in Trinidad and Tobago.  This year their Parang and Steel series is in its fifteenth year, and remains immensely popular with the upper middle class in Trinbagonian society.  December 17 will be the final in the six Saturday nights of Parang and Steel.

The night of December 3rd was yet another one in the steel orchestra's super successful musical series.  Each weekend, the Silver Stars stage side of pan musicians performs two sets, along with their invited guest artistes.  This time around, one-time Calypso Queen of the World, Denyse Plummer joined the line-up.  A consummate performer, Plummer engendered crowd involvement from the beginning of her time on stage, and included musical favorites such as Mih Lover and Nah Leaving, and an old-time medley of Jean and Dinah, Last Train to San Fernando, Rum and Coca-Cola.


The other star attraction for the evening was parang band Los Buenos Paranderos.  For those unfamiliar with the concept of parang, it is a set of musicians and singers who perform beautiful Spanish-flavored selections, both melodies and actual songs, usually sung in Spanish, but there are the occasional few with English lyrics.  As the Christmas season nears, these bands go into high gear, and close off their own season around the end of the yuletide season as well.

The Parang and Steel setting in the Silver Stars panyard was a gracious one for a truly intimate yet engaging and enjoyable social evening, with seating available for the majority.  The dance section was positioned between the seated patrons and the stage, and while initially the bulk of the crowd sat and enjoyed the parang music, it was not long before every inch of the dance area was taken.

Some patrons opted to stay through the evening into the hours of the morning, while others took advantage of at least the initial hours.  Present were several members of Trinidad and Tobago's diplomatic community including the Venezuelan Ambassador His Excellency Hector Azocar and his wife.  He has been a devoted and recurrent fan of the Parang and Steel concert series every year, and found it as always, truly enjoyable, noting that he particularly loved the combination of steelpan and parang.  When Steel Talks  captured him as he was doing an impromptu dance while still seated in his chair, before actually taking to the dance floor.

It was the first time at Parang and Steel for the Brazilian ambassador, His Excellency Luiz Fernando de Athayde.  "I am enjoying it very much, very much - thrilling; like carnival in Rio - it reminds me of my country," the ambassador enthused.   Also taking a break from their diplomatic duties and lapping up the music and ambiance were their Excellencies the Mexican ambassador Madam Luz Elena Ines Bueno and her husband; and on his second visit - German Ambassador Helmut Ohlraun and his wife.  Everyone one of the diplomats eventually found their way to the dancing area.

Other notables included Dr. James R. Hepple, President and Director, Trinidad & Tobago Tourism Development Company (TIDCO);  the Permanent Secretary in Trinidad and Tobago's Ministry of Tourism, Jacqueline Ganteaume-Farrell; and Dr. Carla Noel-Hernandez, the former Vice-president and Director of (TIDCO).

When Steel Talks
also chatted briefly with a few members of Silver Stars steel orchestra's stage side.  Their repertoire and musical sequence were extremely well conceived, with much thought given to their particular audience.  Selections included Love's  Theme, O Holy Night, Bump 'N Wine, Poinsettia, Secret of Christmas and Amor.  Camille Benjamin  has been with the orchestra for eleven years, beginning on the tenor bass, and is now on cellos.  Percussionist Cordelle Francois has been around for fifteen years, and maintains the pulse of the musicians.  The crowd response to the energy generated on stage by Silver Stars was something to behold. 

But honestly - it is simply fantastic to be able to tell a visitor to Trinidad and Tobago, that there is a nightspot in the capital on Saturdays during the yuletide season, that they can visit and enjoy not only the 'sounds of the season' la parang, but also steelpan, the national instrument of the twin-island republic.  It is the kind of opportunity that perhaps more people who visit Trinidad and Tobago for the first time, but out of the Carnival season, hope to have.

Silver Stars Steel Orchestra is captained by Edwin Pouchet who is also the band's arranger.  Their panyard is conveniently located and very easily accessed at #56 Tragarete Road, Newtown, Port-of-Spain, right along what's known as the St. James taxi route. 

C. Phillips, Basement Press Corp.
2005 When Steel Talks - All Rights Reserved

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