SKIFFLE BUNCH Steel Orchestra
- part of the Caribbean 'Musical Tapestry'

As part of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organization's (CTO) Caribbean Week activities in New York, Dr. Gloria Gordon, and Sigfrido Benitez co-curated the Caribbean & Latin Fine Art Exhibit by the Sea.  The June 3, 2003 gala charity preview night with champagne reception was at Front Street, South Street Seaport, New York followed by entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, and dancing across the way at Bridgewaters, where some additional art works were also on display.

Clay, oils, acrylics, watercolors, enamels, etchings, and more provided a vivid visual array of fine art as interpreted through the eyes Caribbean and Latin artists hailing from over thirty-six countries including Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Antigua.  After working in more than twenty-three African countries with UNICEF, co-curator Dr. Gloria Gordon appreciates much of the historical African characteristics that influence the Caribbean and Latin artistic expressions shared with New Yorkers in this pioneering art exhibition appropriately held during Caribbean Week.

In much the same way, the instrument of choice which provided the post-art preview's main entertainment - the Steeldrum or Steelpan - is a natural evolution from the African drum which was silenced in Trinidad by the British colonizers in the mid 1930s.  The Steeldrums were the determined response of the largely African populace when the beating of the African drums was outlawed.  Today it is an art form in itself where the pan players or pannists themselves create their own musical 'tapestries' with all genres of music - and this is exactly what the stage side of the Skiffle Bunch Steelband Orchestra from Trinidad did as they greeted the evening's guests as they entered, and into the night.  The steel orchestra was part of the musical entertainment arranged by Trinidad & Tobago's Tourism and Industrial Development Company - T.I.D.C.O.

During the evening, Event host - Channel 7's David Ushery - warmly welcomed patrons, drawing their attention to why they had all come together.  He introduced CTO Secretary General Mr. Jean Holder who wisely announced that he was aware of the necessity to be 'brief' in light of the very festive mood which prevailed!  Those following Mr. Holder included exhibition developer CMC Communications CEO Dion Clarke and co-curator Dr. Gloria Gordon.

In defiance of the dullness due to the rainy weather outside, the atmosphere was quite bright inside, with the festive merge of Steelband music, dance and food prepared by Caribbean Chefs which capped the Gala Charity Art Preview evening.   This sated even the finest senses musical and culinary senses of the Art critics and aficionados, collectors and many more who thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Those who were initially seated eventually gave up their seats in favor of kicking up their heels to the musical morsels being served up the band.

Skiffle Bunch captivated the crowd with their performance (and their own obvious enjoyment!) throughout the evening, solely in the spotlight themselves at first, then with noteworthy highpoints when additional artistes joined them beginning with violinist Anselm Walters, for a 'Titanic' collaboration of 'My Heart Will Go On'.  They kept 3 Canal company again later as the crowd kept up with the group's energetic renditions which included 'Blue' and 'Ben Lion' Black Stalin also performed many of his classics, with full Skiffle Bunch accompaniment and back up from 3 Canal.  Stalin encouraged Trinidad's Minister of Culture and Tourism Penelope Beckles first to say a few words, then got her to sing a few, when drafted her as an impromptu performing partner when he sang his immortal 'We Can Make It If We Try'.

Just after nine o'clock when the celebration came to a close, not very many minded the rainy weather outside, after spending a few hours in the sunny disposition of Caribbean styled hospitality!


By CP - Basement Press Release Writer


Click here for just a touch of Skiffle Bunch's
'TITANIC' performance...


Click here for pictures of Skiffle Bunch during their performance at the National 2003 Panorama finals in Trinidad




Date: 6.04.03



Skiffle Bunch Steelband Orchestra was the main 'musical fare' on the entertainment menu...


Some of those who played major roles in the event, shared a few words with the patrons


A good time was had by all!
Patrons and
performers alike...


Anselm Walters, 3 Canal and Black Stalin
all shared the spotlight
 with Skiffle Bunch Steelband Orchestra


Coaxed by the Black Stalin, T&T's Culture and Tourism Minister Penelope Beckles shared first a few words, then the stage with Stalin
 during his "We Can Make It If We Try"


A job well done!  The Skiffle Bunch are all smiles after their performance at the evening's end.   So too is their Band leader Junia Regrello, along with Penelope Beckles and Black Stalin


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