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Past and present merge in opening Steelfestt concert
Using a combination of electronics, water bottles, tubs, vehicle exhaust pipes, zinc plates, and other junk iron, Brazilian musical group Patubate (pronounced partubatay) generated an enthralling musical effect in its appearance at the opening concert of SteelFestt at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), on Friday night.
The world-famous percussion group shared the stage with the equally renowned Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra to inaugurate the Steelpan Festival of Trinidad and Tobago (SteelFestt) under the theme Steelpan—Uniting The Sounds of the World, a phrase created by the late Dr Pat Bishop to whom the four-day event pays tribute.
The steel orchestra opened the playbill with a varied four-song repertoire, comprising Autumn Leaves, Master Blaster, Stay Up Zimbabwe and Band From Space, that displayed not only the discipline, competence and musical prowess of the players, but the unbridled joy they seemed to derive from making the music.
Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon sent greetings via a video message in which he congratulated the people of Trinidad and Tobago for creating the steelpan and making it part of a global language. Patubate then took centre stage to showcase its unique brand of Brazilian music (that seems to demand a high degree of fitness and regular exercise) in executing the country’s rhythms and swings, such as samba, salsa, tango, maracatu, funk, frevo and others rhythms inherited from Africa.
The band uses unconventional instruments and used an electric sanding machine to throw sparks from a metal drum. Its five members, Fred Magalhaes, Fernando Mazoni, DJ Leandronik, Gustavo Lavoura and Pablo Maia, drummed loudly and pranced about unreservedly in contributing to the visual and sonic display that has been captivating audiences across the globe since 1999.
Following the interval the two groups combined to deliver a scintillating percussion-based repertoire of Latin-American melodies, inclusive of Bailamos, Maria Maria, Samba de Orfeo, Dead or Alive, Conga, and Samba House. What was notable about this collaboration was that the steelpan, which is commemorating more than 75 years of development this year, made wonderful music with a group that has risen to worldwide fame from using discarded objects, very much like the humble beginnings of the steelpan.
The conclusion? When junk iron becomes a musical instrument, a new concept emerges: sustainable music with a focus on the environment and entertainment.
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