Montano’s One Show to tell story of Carnival, past, present, future

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Machel Montano is deeply moved by Siparia Deltones performance of his song The Meeting Place during preliminary judging for medium bands at the band’s panyard on January 24 . The band will be part of Montano’s One Show concert at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on February 17. – Photo by Marvin Hamilton

Soca superstar Machel Montano said his One Show is a celebration of the story of Carnival, beginning at the source. He said on that night, every facet of the culture of TT will be on display.

Speaking at a media conference at the Hilton Trinidad, Port of Spain on Thursday, Montano said he drew inspiration from his study of the history of Carnival at UTT.

“I used to say soca was the sound of the Caribbean because I used to hear the beat in music all over the region. Carnival came from Africa. I always thought Trinidad was the land of Carnival, but when I started studying, I realised something came here, but because of the conditions of here, it happened very uniquely, unlike anywhere else and that is a gift that must be shared. The story is no longer about the story of the Caribbean, it’s about the story of Carnival, because this is a global thing. It needs everybody involved, because worldwide we have issues that are happening to all of us as one.”

He said the Afrobeats rhythm resonated with him and with the rest of the Caribbean.

“There’s Afrobeat music, and I’m a fan of Fela Kuti, but there is Afrobeats music which is happening today. I’m a huge fan of WizKid, I’m a huge fan of Afrobeats music because something about it is tender and royal. I feel this is the source of where we’re coming from. I am joyful to sit with the source and say, look at what we have done here in Trinidad with what you have done. There’s a kind of marriage that is happening for me and I felt the movement of Afrobeats music makes us very proud to see how the world is embracing it. What a wonderful moment to see us understanding the importance of our roots.”

He said in curating the show he wanted people to understand the story of Carnival, both the history and the contemporary aspect. He spoke about restoring the knowledge of TT’s heritage, in the movement from the African drum to the tamboo bamboo to the steel drum, which didn’t happen anywhere else in the world, and was something the nation should know and be proud of. He said as part of his Carnival Studies class, he had to study a pan side and chose Siparia Deltones, as that was his home town.

“For the past five years Siparia Deltones and I have been working on a project with Hugh Masekela, from Siparia to Soweto, an album of the greatest African jazz trumpeter playing Lord Kitchener music, Sparrow, Alison Hinds, KMC, Machel Montano music, and we had this album with a lead song called The Meeting Place.

“Hugh Masekela sat with me and said, before his passing (in 2018), “Machel, my main project in life is heritage restoration, to restore the heritage, especially of the African, because we are the ones it has been taken away from the most.” I said I wanted to be involved, and he said, let’s do it. So my class is not just restoring my heritage and understanding for Carnival and who I am, but about helping all the young people gather that understanding. And if we look at all the heritages TT possesses, we will understand we are universal.”

He said the show was called The Meeting Place because of the focus on Afrobeats music and the focus of Welcome Home – a tribute to Nigeria where the music is being made.

“We want them to see soca and see what we have done and what we are about to do, because I believe soca music is next and we must be aligned with Afrobeats music. I will be having conversations with WizKid, Rema, Arya Starr.”

The reenactment of the 1881 Canboulay riots, part of the origins of Carnival, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain on February 25, 2022. A Canboulay presentation will be part of Machel Montano’s One Show concert on February 17. – Photo by Jeff Mayers

Montano said on the night of the show, all facets of TT culture will be displayed, beginning with young and upcoming artists; women in the industry, not just the new ones but those who have given TT great works; chutney music; power and groovy soca; and some surprise elements, including a tribute to Black Stalin.

“From the Congo drum to the steel drum, we want to stress the African and steel drums, so we will be honouring Hugh Masekela as well as former Desperadoes arranger Carlton “Zanda” Alexander, who wrote The Meeting Place, and passed the torch to Akinola Sennon, so we will invite Deltones and Desperadoes to play with us, along with Aaron “Voice” St Louis, as Desperadoes is performing his song Long Live Soca for Panorama.”

Producer Tony Chow Lin On said the Signal Hill Choir will also be performing, and excerpts of the Canboulay re-enactment will also be performed.

Montano warned patrons not to be late, as the show would start promptly at 9 pm, with gates opening at 6 pm to allow people to get there in time and find their spot.

“There will be a full Wizkid performance starting the show, and I’m really impressed with how he performs. We’ll also be having the other artistes performing throughout. Don’t miss my intro at 11 pm sharp, it’s never been done in this region before and all I can say is look to the east when it happens. I’m trying to keep my set to three hours, right now it’s at three hours and 32 minutes and we’re trying to shave it down.”

Montano’s concert takes place at the Haseley Crawford Stadium on February 17.