Sauté Trinbago 2010: Part 3 – The Picton Folk Performing Company (video)

Prior to last Saturday’s performance I was completely unaware of the existence of the Picton Folk Performing Company. As a result, I feel really grateful to Cloud Nine, the organisers of Sauté Trinbago, for the exceptional level of talent which they allowed to shine from the event’s start to its end.

Opening with a young charismatic performer, I could barely believe the level of sheer talent which was on display for what felt like almost an hour. The non-stop flow of the performances, the intricate choreography and the sheer dedication and discipline that was clearly upheld by all involved was nothing short of inspiring. In the clip below they do an amazing limbo presentation. Like the steelpan, the limbo is an indigenous creation of Trinidad.

From Wikipedia:
“Consistent with certain African beliefs, the dance reflects the whole cycle of life”. “The dancers move under a pole that is gradually lowered from chest level, and they emerge on the other side, as their heads clear the pole, as in the triumph of life over death”. This dance is also used as a funeral dance and may be related to the African legba or legua dance.

(For my complete playlist of the Picton Folk Performing Company click here)

Later that night I decided to learn more about who they were online. From an extremely moving profile on, it became evident that this company not only makes a huge contribution to the local cultural landscape, it’s also an immensely emotional and physical respite for the young people who comprise its majority. At the time of the article (2009) they were looking for a permanent premises to use as a rehearsal space. I certainly hope that they found it, and I hope that the public and private sectors become more aware for grassroot ventures such as these to be supported and funded.

Some key excerpts:

“We are dealing with young people from the age of three to nineteen. They are young people who need to be motivated and inspired. They are also willing young people who are educated and talented in all aspects you can think about. We even have members of the group here who are at the age of eighteen and nineteen teaching music in South East. We have Panmen and young dancers who go out and represent us in talent shows and come back with good results.

The group has members who are tutoring young people in the afternoons for their exams and who are really illiterate in certain areas. We try to help them in every area we can afford to.”

– Carlos Griffith, PRO and dance choreographer of the Picton Folk Performing Company

“I have been a member of the Picton Folk Performing Company for four years now. This group has been like a family to me and they have helped me to go further in my dancing. My blood family didn’t approve of me being here. When I came into this group they started to treat me differently and sometimes this group makes me feel like they are my only family because I cannot depend on them at home. Right now, I am going up for CXC Exams and a little boy is going up for Common Entrance this year. I needed some tutoring so Mr. Stephen Singh, a member of the group is giving us classes on evenings. The kind of things this group has done for me, my aunts and them back home have never done.”

– Afisia Charles

Read the full article: Picton Folk Performing Company Pleas for help here

The community which these performers are from, Laventille, is one which is oft maligned and dismissed by the populace at large. Moments like the ones I saw remind all of us that talent and ideals know no geographic boundary, and nurturing and respect are environments which all of our citizens have a right to expect and demand!

With night time fully upon us I decided to revisit Hanif & Sons for a proper doubles. My appetite was so whetted by that amazing aloo pie that I couldn’t wait to sample what their actual doubles was like (divine!). Doubles and another Gatorade in hand (oh how I was loving this all-inclusive deal), J and I found a bench away from much of the activity and looked on.

A Flavorite man moved through the crowd giving away lollies. It would have been great if there had been a sno-cone man as well (my real Achilles heel), but a Flavorite lolly would definitely fit the bill. At that point the sound system dipped once again, signifying that it was time for another act to take the stage…

Tomorrow: Sauté Trinbago: Part 4 – The Evening’s Entertainment Continues…