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Parang season opens in Lopinnot tomorrow

By SEETA PERSAD Friday, October 5 2012

The village of Lopinot in the foothills of the Northern Range, just north of Arouca is well known as the venue for some of the best parang shows and events during the Christmas season. It is therefore no surprise, and perhaps fitting that the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) is starting the 2012 season there.

The highly anticipated series of events gets underway tomorrow at 7 pm at the Lopinot Recreation Ground with ten of the country’s top parang bands making their first major appearance for the 2012 season. It is expected that the bands would perform some of their new material as well as some of the old favourites.

This year’s theme is “Renaissance” which, according to NPATT represents a new vision for people involved in the art form. According to NPATT president Darcelle Charles, “As our theme suggests, the new-look NPATT intends to give birth to a new parang product that starts this year.” As outlined by Charles, the product incorporates all elements of the diverse capabilities and talents of the present-day parrandero (parang singer).

She said the association 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.

“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.

She continued, “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.”

Bands scheduled to perform at tomorrow’s event are: Los Alumnos de San Juan, Amantes de Parranda, Los Amigos Cantadores, La Familia de Carmona y Amigos, La Familia de Rio Claro, Voces de Promesa, Los Ruisenores, Renacer, Viva Nueva and San Jose Serenaders.

The calender of events for the rest of the season, according to a release from NPATT is as follows:

October 13: Petrotrin Palo Seco Sports Club, Palo Seco

October 20: Vintage Parang Night, UWI, St Augustine

October 27: Battle of the Sexes, San Raphael

November 3: Instrumental Competition, Arima Tennis Club

November 10: Tribute to Icons, Tabaquite High School

November 17 & 18: Junior Parang at a venue to be announced

November 24: Soca Parang Competition, WASA, St Joseph

December 1: Tune of Choice Competition, YMCA, St Augustine

December 8: Parang in the Valley, Maracas Valley

December 15: People’s Choice Competition, Arima Tennis Court

January 2013: Lewah, Tabaquite Catholic Church Grounds

Charles said the cost of producing this year’s events is an estimated $1.2 million and she is nnow looking for sponsors to meet this amount. She said the Ministry of The Arts and Multiculturalism has promised the Association $620,000 of which it has so far received a first tranche of $120,000.

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