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Pan Trinbago shines in Nigeria

Thursday, January 31 2013

PAN Trinbago in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago High Commission in Nigeria and the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago facilitated the Laventille Courts Sound Specialists Steel Orchestra history making tour of Nigeria from November 24 to December 29 2012.

We have taken the opportunity to chronicle the events of this historical occasion for the benefit of the cultural historians among us. Laventille Courts sound Specialist became the first steel orchestra to perform at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. This event was carried live on the BBC in the presence of the Vice-President of Nigeria, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation of Nigeria, the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Nigeria. Other prominent guests included members of the Diplomatic Corps, Government Senators, House of Representatives, Captains of Industry and other influential persons in Nigeria.

Laventille Courts sound Specialists also established many firsts during this tour, being the first Steel Orchestra to perform live in the streets of Abuja at the closing ceremony of the 8th Edition of the Abuja Carnival on November 27 2012.

The first Steel Orchestra to perform at three major secondary schools in Abuja; the International Community College (Children of Diplomats from over 57 Countries attend this institution); the Abuja Navy School; and the American International School. The First Steel Orchestra to embark on a tri-state tour of Nigeria; Benue State, Rivers State and Cross-River State.



• BENUE STATE

The first stop was Benue State where they performed at the state house at a reception in honour of the Deputy Executive Governor of the State.



• RIVERS STATE: Port Harcourt

The second stop was Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State where they performed in the streets for the Carniriv Carnival in front of hundreds of thousands of people. They were also hosted by the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce.



• CROSS RIVER STATE: Calabar

Since its debut in 2004, the annual Calabar Carnival has become a benchmark for other state Carnivals. It’s arguably the largest cultural Festival in Africa with 50,000 costumed revellers, two million spectators and an audience of over 50 million television viewers on NTA Network, NTA International, AIT, CRBC and Continental TV (Africa Magic, Channel O and MTV Base).

(Source: Business Day Online).



Laventille Courts Sound Specialists undertook a series of performances in this state, including: at the world headquarters of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star; a command performance at the National Stadium in Calabar on Christmas night where they opened the King and Queen of the Band Competition. This event was attended by thousands of people in the presence of the Acting Governor of the State, Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation — High Chief Edem Duke, Trinidad and Tobago High Commissioner to Nigeria — Nyahuma Obika, the speaker of the House of the State Parliament, Senators and other leaders. This event was carried live on Africa Magic Television.

Following this, they performed on the streets of Calabar for the

Children’s Carnival Parade on Boxing Day. Thousands of onlookers were thrilled with the sweet sound of steelpan from the Laventille Courts Sound Specialist Steel Orchestra.



On the of December 27 2012 the Orchestra performed on the streets of Calabar and was hosted by the Calabar Carnival Commission.



• OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY

It is evident that this tour has been a major contribution to promoting the national instrument and Trinidad and Tobago as a whole on the African Continent. There is a huge market for the steelpan in Nigeria (with a population of 170 million people) and the Africa Continent.

Trinidad and Tobago is in an ideal position to export to various markets of the world its Carnival products. An example of this was seen where a few costumes acquired from the band Tribe by the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism for the trip was a huge attraction in the Abuja and Calabar Carnivals. This underscores the fact that there is a lucrative market for the export of costumes and designers. The Laventille Courts Sound Specialists Steel Orchestra and Pan Trinbago are deserving of national recognition, appreciation and reward for the far-reaching benefits that will accrue to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago as a result of this ground - breaking tour.

Special thanks must be given to the leader of the contingent, High Commissioner - Nyahuma Obika and his wife Mrs Dela Obika who accompanied the Orchestra throughout this historic tour.

Tribute must also be paid to internationally acclaimed Pannist and Musical Director, Ken “Professor” Philmore; Musical Director, Mr Rudo Forteau; Founder and Manager of Laventille Courts Sound Specialist and Secretary of Pan-Trinbago — Mr Richard Forteau, President of Pan-Trinbago - Mr. Keith Diaz and Vice-President of Pan-Trinbago - Mr Bryon Serrette.

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