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Dalton Narine

Dalton Narine

  How to Stop Worrying About Duvone Stewart

BP Renegades Has a Feeling In Its Soul Like It Born Again

by Dalton Narine

© 2019 -  All Rights Reserved.

I know a delusional man who thinks he’s witnessing from the front seat of his car a flamingo laughing at the antics of a clown.

But it’s just BP Renegades arranger Duvone Stewart performing his usual nightly theatrical presentation — not those of a clown — to the music of Nadia Batson’s Hookin' Meh, sung by Farmer Nappy.

People should focus on themselves without worrying about others. This is how I see it.

Duvone Stewart
Duvone Stewart at semi finals 2019

For sure, the band legitimately has Duvone at its disposal and Duvone executes his routine while drilling the band in preparation for Panorama.

One sees Duvone as a flower that blossoms, then goes away, short-lived by nature, an ambitious, artistic process that features his dance. Everything looks pastel, In the mind, Shocking Pink, to boot.

The pans articulate how the music works nonstop into the dew. The journey of the music is itself the work of art, beyond painting and sculpture.

Indeed, a different realm of visual and sound experience. Not the real steely sound but the new shimmery music of the instruments, like fireflies in the glare of the panyard and flickering in the light of the moon.

Duvone now seems to be inspiring the appreciative crowds inside and outside the yard. He inspires you to get up and dance with extreme pleasure. And the band becomes part of them.

The pans become part of their blood, too, their life, their energy. It inspires the audience, its own sensory experience that hints at the song’s husband and wife’s outlook at life and a backward view of themselves.

Small wonder Renegades’ Panorama victories, shared by Jit Samaroo and Duvone Stewart, stand as sculptured songs in the Pantheon of Steel Band music.

“A huge chunk of the band’s Panorama call to order is strategizing about how to expand its music,” says Michael Marcano, President, Renegades Steel Orchestra.

“What’s new is the band’s seductive tone, its creativity, the soul of American soul music, something fresh and exciting.”

“How about Quincy Jones?” I say. “As an arranger, Duvone poses as the Quincy Jones of Pan.

“You hit it on the head,” Marcano chimes in, a smile beaming across his face.

Marcano settles down, addresses the song.

“Soca songs of joy rouse, unite and celebrate. The piece begins with a single, very long melodic line, and it reaches a strong climax followed by an interminable silence or crescendo of applause.

“It is well harmonized, from the instruments to the tempo,” Marcano says. “If Duvone makes adjustments, all he needs is a simple melody. It is extraordinarily wicked music.”

“We have a good team and organization here. Good spirit and good mood. Some rough edges to correct,” Duvone declares.

“After the 2016 Panorama, I accepted the fact that my name has been a household meme.”

Maybe so, but Duvone has swag, the way he moves, like a man who has the world at his feet. This bold manner of movement as well as his stylish antics in front of the band aren’t antique. The reality of his performance is that they are valued for its beauty.

Wait a minute, now. Household meme? Duvone’s name?

Yeah, right. SWAGGY-D should be his real meme.

After all, Duvone has become a winning arranger with great panache.

Duvone Stewart
Duvone Stewart with Renegades - 2019 Panorama Semi Finals

Back to Marcano and BP Renegades’ strategizing mission for Panorama 2019.

“We chose a story about a couple interpreting music, arguing and ending up in a fight. Nah leaving.

“It was an offering of what I can do with a piece that was given to me,” Duvone says. “Material that was far different from the monotonous drive of the 1960s Panoramas.

“Now, people could narrate an arrangement into a story of a particular song and phrase it note by note.

Michael Marcano

“Hooking‘ Meh, the video, sold the whole story. A man and his woman in a relationship. Cooking good. She hooking. I did some sample lines of well-known songs, offer first variation chorus, ‘nah leaving’ (a holistic, national sound of the country, any country).

‘Looking good, cooking good, looking so good.’ “Imagine the quads and the cellos playing their roles,” Marcano intercuts. In the yard on Charlotte Street, Duvone slaps hands with players, signaling Renegades’ utter confidence, its continuation of greatness.

To wit, there’s a change of pace in the music, so sly that you wonder how it developed just so. And the runs that lead to the tenors to “Baby, doh do me dat, yuh go break meh heart” are telling blows that leave you and you become hooked right there.

Follow the pans. Hear how masterly and accomplished Duvone reweaves his arrangement with soulful art.

If Renegades strive like that beyond horizons, nah leaving.

Until five more bands will have unpacked their pans.

Look me in the face.

You believe that?

Look meh, nah.

The Rama in the Savannah Grass


 Renengades at Sememfinals 2019

This is the sixth in a series by Dalton Narine, leading up to the Panorama Finals


Dalton Narine
About the author, Dalton Narine

Dalton Narine is a Belmont-born Trinidadian who dabbled in the arts and wrote about Trinidad & Tobago culture. He spent the other half of his career as a filmmaker and TV broadcaster during T&T’s annual Carnival. Narine is an avid collector of calypsos by The Mighty Shadow, a singer, he says, who had a knack for telling stories on himself and his own country that, at last, has embraced him.

contact Dalton Narine at:

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