Tuesday 10 December 2019

Creole Christmas 2.0: Venezuelan Roots – a review

In a season of annual Christmas pageants and choral events that get local audiences excited, Etienne Charles’s return to the stage for the 2.0 version of his Creole Christmas celebration, subtitled Venezuelan Roots, on Thursday, 5 December was a needed fillip for the entertainment options here in Trinidad and Tobago that seem to veer away from the contemplation of local art towards the experience of a festive adventure. However, in this case, the two are not mutually exclusive, but integral to showcasing Charles’s Caribbean perspective on the important music of and inspired by the Christmas celebrations. 

Quite literally, this concert presents the idea that people in Trinidad and Tobago are part of the wider Americas, and specifically, in the Caribbean, they engage with music and the season not via the depictions on a Hallmark postcard or the co-opted Coca-Cola image of Santa Claus, but by the rhythms of musical collaborations from their past, by the celebration of old friends meeting and singing the songs and dancing to the drum beat that pulses in their veins informed by the African-Caribbean heartbeat.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Creole Christmas 2.0: Venezuelan Roots – a further localising of Christmas

Etienne Charles is a musician who believes in and lives by a tradition that is grounded within his creole soul. The blood that runs through his veins carries the DNA of a Caribbean life infused by Spanish, French and African ancestries all within a modern music industry milieu that recognises art, folk and popular music with equal commercial importance.

On Thursday, December 5, Charles will again engage with a local concert audience, this time at the 1,200-seat Lord Kitchener Auditorium at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain for his Creole Christmas 2.0 ~ Venezuelan Roots. His goal is to revisit the original idea of finding the Caribbean perspective to the annual Christmas celebrations and its music, but with the twist of wider collaboration with musicians steeped in the language of improvisation and the knowledge of traditional music from this region.