Parang president wants $1.2M for 2012 season
By SEETA PERSAD Saturday, September 15 2012
Newly elected president of the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT), Darcelle Charles, says the cost of producing parang this year is an estimated $1.2 million.
And to make the season a success the association, at the beginning of the month, applied to the Ministry of Culture for funding. The theme of the 2012 season is “Renaissance” and it starts on October 6 at the Arima Tennis Club.
“As our theme suggests, we intend to give birth to a new parang product that starts this year,” Charles said, adding that the product incorporates all elements of the diverse capabilities and talents of the present-day parrandero (parang singer).
She said NPATT will be experimenting with the different types of parang songs and music, thus allowing for changes to be implemented within the structure and format of shows.
“Having acknowledged that culture is not static, we hope to gather information coming out of this very original season and use it to inform the decisions we will make towards the marketing and packaging of our parang product in the future,” Charles said.
After several meetings during the recent months, NPATT has embarked upon developing a strategic plan for the art form. This is in keeping with the theme, which she said is a new vision for people involved in parang.
“Coming out of this very new and different season we intend to host five mini-competitions including a People’s Choice Competition.
This is just a preview of the different persona that parang will adopt for this year,” Charles said.
NPATT’s plans to take parang to a new horizon will include the following shows: Petrotrin Palo Seco Sports Club - October 13; Vintage Parang Night - UWI, St Augustine - October 20; Battle of the Sexes, Brazil High School - October 27; Instrumental Competition, XTra Foods, Arima - November 3; Tribute to Icons, Tabaquite High School - November 10; Junior Parang - November 17 and 18 (venue to be announced); Parang Soca HD Competition - November 24; Tune of Choice Competition, St Augustine - December 1; Parang in the Valley, Maracas Valley - December 8; People’s Choice Competition, Arima Tennis Club - December 15; Lewah, Tabaquite Catholic Church Grounds - January. As outlined by Charles, this line-up shows that NPATT is currently going through a transformation that one can attribute to the changing image and sound of the parrandero.
“Parang is spreading rapidly among the youth (we have been seeing considerable growth in the Junior Parang Competition) and the parranderos desire greater recognition for the time and effort spent in perfecting what they do,” she stated, adding that the association is seeing greater complexity in the music and lyrics of the new parang songs.
“Parranderos can look forward to a higher quality of sound and performance at the 2012 festival as we seek to bring a better package to parrenderos in this country,” Charles said.
She added that Christmas is not complete without parang and that NPATT is doing everything in its power to take this artform one step further this year. TT, she said, looks religiously to NPATT for the yearly supply of parang music. However, she believes that due to several reasons, the patronage of parang has been diminishing.
“We expect the excitement of something new and unique to entice some new interest and patronage at our shows and events,” she said. Charles, who teaches foreign languages at St Augustine Girls’ High School (SAGHS), headed the secondary schools competition in 2007.
Under her tutorship SAGHS went on to win the Secondary Schools Parang Competition in 2008, with Castay Guerra copping the Best Vocalist title.
Following this win, the form six girls collaboration with students of Fatima College, who assisted with musical accompaniment. This resulted in the formation of the parang group Voces de Promesa. Charles joined forces with Mandisa Nicholas of SAGHS and Cassell George of Fatima to manage the band that quickly became a strong parang band.
“NPATT is to be a vehicle for the advancement and preservation of the artform known throughout Trinidad and Tobago and beyond as parang,” she ended.