In 1962 we (“we” as in I’m feeling a little patriotic right now) lowered the Union Jack for the last time and raised the distinctive red with diagonal black and white striped ensign of our proud island. I remember the moment because not only was I given a tie in the design of that flag but also my passport was changed; having been one of He Majesty’s Citizens I was suddenly a foreigner.
I heard the National Anthem for the first time then too and I thought, even at that young age, “why are National Anthems so dull?” Trinidad has to be the most musical island in the world (sorry Jamaica, but it’s true), we have musics from all over the world influencing our carnival, our calypso and soca, our parang. Yet our Anthem sounds like some vaguely uplifting Wesleyan hymn. And it’s not just us; why can’t national anthems reflect the musical and poetical cultures of their home countries?
Anyway, the reason I’m going on about this is because the Trinidad & Tobago High Commission is having a month of celebrations in London in August and Nitro is very much involved.
The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will be the “Trinidad & Tobago Village” during the Olympics and the month will culminate in a performance of Mass Carib at that venue. It’s not quite the Olympic Stadium I know but much better when it is raining, which – given the time of year – it certainly will.
I am delighted and very honoured that Mass Carib has been chosen. We will perform a brand new arrangement for voices and steel pans and will feature players from the brilliant Ebony Steel Band as well as our very own and rather wonderful singers, Nitrovox.
And talking of the Tricycle Theatre, I’d like to wish Nick Kent all the best in his future endeavours, now he’s leaving after so many, many fruitful years as Artistic Director. In my opinion (and I’ve never told him this; the damage to his already fragile ego would be irreparable) Nick has possibly been the best Artistic Director of any theatre building I this country. He has raised it from obscurity, given it a strong and meaningful identity, rebuilt and expanded it after a devastating fire, then overseen a refreshed identity shift as it became the country’s foremost political theatre venue. Given the Tricycle’s compact scale and his recharging and rebuilding skills, it’s as though Sir Alex Fergusson was managing none other than Fulham; though of course we’re incredibly happy with Martin Jol….