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Chinese Steelband plays in Dublin

The Trinidad and Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble
The Trinidad and Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble

Dublin, Ireland -  The Trinidad and Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble (TTCSE) made its first international appearance on Saturday May 15 at St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Ireland. What started off as a pretty cold day soon turned out to be a still cool, but sunny, day as the park was bathed in bright sunshine.

The pans, which survived the long trip from Trinidad to Ireland with no damage, were quickly set up by the band while a curious crowd slowly gathered to hear the band perform. For most of them, it would be the first time that they would be hearing the sweet sound of steel.

Some of the visitors included Trinis now living or studying in Ireland. These included Matthew Martinez, a young man from Westmoorings, Trinidad who joined the Dominican order to study for the priesthood. Wendy Ferguson (formerly from San Fernando, south Trinidad) and her family came complete with Trinidad and Tobago flags to cheer on the band.

 St. Stephen’s Green Audience take in TTCSE performance
St. Stephen’s Green Audience take in TTCSE performance

An Irishman, John Sweeney, married to Helen Gayadeen from Tunapuna for the past forty-seven years, had come by train from Roscommon, two hours away, just to hear the band. Unfortunately his wife was unable to attend, as she had to officiate at a golf tournament.

Shaking off the tiredness that they must have been experiencing after the long trans-Atlantic flight the previous day and struggling to cope with the time difference of five hours, the band launched into its first tune, the Soca hit “Hooked.”

St. Stephen’s Green Audience
St. Stephen’s Green Audience

With its varied repertoire of Soca, Pop, Chinese and now Irish tunes, the band started attracting more and more people. They showed their appreciation with the band’s ability to “Soca-ize” the Irish songs by clapping and singing along. Even a wedding party that had come to the park to take pictures was seen chipping when they heard the music.

Any semblance of exhaustion by the band members was quickly dismissed when one of the audience shouted out, “You guys rock!” and another “More Molly!” after the band played “Molly Malone”, a popular Irish pub song.

The park management had booked the band to finish its performance at 4 p.m., but in true Trini style they gave the audience a “lagniappe” as the players got an extra boost of energy when they saw their many long hours of practice being rewarded by the applause of an appreciative audience.

The Trinidad and Tobago Chinese Steel Ensemble performs at St. Stephen's Green
TTCSE performs at St. Stephen’s Green

Every member of the band felt the positive vibes from all in attendance and looked forward to continuing its tour over the next two days: a private function the following day in Kingscourt, Cavan and its farewell performance in Askeaton, Limerick the day after.


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