By Michael Mondezie
A 360 DEGREE exploration of powers in Trinidad and Tobago. That’s what rapso trio 3Canal is promising for their 2018 production ‘Power’, scheduled to run from Tuesday to Saturday at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s.
The Woodbrook-based collective, known for their thought-provoking theatre, plans to hold the mirror up to society. Their hope is to reveal the role that an inequitable division of power plays in economic instability and rising violent crime.
‘Every year we ask ourselves ‘What time it is? What’s going on?’ Those questions help us to locate things in time and space and I think that’s what affords us to be as topical as we tend to be,’ 3Canal lead singer Wendell Manwarren began during an exchange with the Sunday Mix last Wednesday.
‘I think the idea of power is very real in Trinidad and Tobago now especially in light of the economy and state of security and the violence,’ he continued.
‘The three, four murders a day and the reasons behind it, a lot of it has to do with power and/or the feeling of powerlessness.’
Manwarren said the idea itself of exploring the concept of power in a local context was triggered by the visit of American chef and travel blogger Anthony Bourdain to these shores last year. Bourdain produced an episode of his CNN show Parts Unknown in T& T last April.
‘Bourdain came to Trinidad and went around talking to people about food and society and politics. A family boasted that they came from a community that was the smallest in size but the most powerful,’ Manwarren recalled.
‘A lot of debate ensued after that statement was made and it raised the question in my mind as to power. How we get it? Who has it? What do you do with it once you have it? And if you don’t have it what it means to you?’
Manwarren said he subsequently
challenged his Black Box group to come up with their own emancipation proclamation.
‘We were working on a tribute to Lancelot Layne called ‘Blow Away’ and I had been exposing some of the crew to a lot of his tracks they haven’t heard before.
‘I challenged everyone to come up with an emancipation proclamation for now. Jelae Stroude Mitchell a.k.a Rude Gyal Rapso Feminist really rose to the occasion and came up with: Self-proclaimed. That was the beginning of the vibe (for Power),’ he said.
Power in the music
Though they had a compelling theme, Manwarren said they found difficulty in putting together the presentation. That was until they decided to let the drums do most of the talking.
‘Power is a difficult theme to present. How do you represent that right? One of the ways we intend to do it is through the use of the rhythms, the big drum sound. (Band members) Keshav Chandradath Singh is a master of those big drum sounds as is Jayron Remy,’ he said.
‘A lot of the music we have chosen is what we call power music. Orisha and Baptist vibes. Expect a very sonic soundscape vibration going on at Queen’s Hall.’
The show will also feature the next generation of rapso acts. Manwarren said they feel these particular voices are ready to be heard.
‘Act 2 is entitled This Generation where we present three new acts. Jelae, Randy Stanley as Ms Jenae and Mugabe and Shamakee Thomas. Within our camp we consider them the ones who have emerged to find their voice and are now prepared to make their statement,’ he concluded.