Story and photos by Vishani Ragobeer
GUYANA’S National Steel Orchestra excited the crowd of Caribbean people at the Grand Market in the Queen’s Park Savannah with their well-executed performance.
The team came on stage after a spirited performance by Soca artistes out of St. Kitts and Nevis, Haitian dancers and drummers, and even a Trinidadian Youth band.
The orchestra performed four melodies: ‘Happiness’, composed by Administrator of the National School of Music, Andrew Tyndall; ‘Obeah Wedding’ by the Mighty Sparrow; ‘Don’t Stop’ by Michael Jackson; and ended with the beloved Soca piece by Guyana’s Brandon Harding, ‘Alive’.
While the patrons in Trinidad’s Queen’s Park Savannah were moving to the groovy and later energetic songs, it was the pannists themselves who were thoroughly enjoying themselves on stage.
Guyana’s Queen of Pan, Jovanka Williams confidently stood in the first row, among locally-renowned pan players Tirese Thomas, Detroy Dey and Don Johnson. These four, lining the front of the stage, brought their varying personalities to spruce up the performance. By the time the group eased into MJ’s ‘Don’t Stop’, it was clear that neither they nor the patrons wanted the performance to come to an end.
The National Steel Orchestra will be joined by members of the Parkside Steel Orchestra to perform throughout the CARIFESTA XIV period as one unified Guyana Steelpan team.
CARIFESTA XIV began on August 16 and will go until August 25.
Here, some of the Caribbean region’s best creative talents have assembled to showcase the rich and diverse culture of the region. Guyana, by itself, has sent a 100-strong delegation to present the Guyanese culture, drawn from the country’s six ethnic groups.