Global - I took time out Sunday night from a serious writing project, did the math, alarmed my phone, then waited for the signal that Massy Trinidad All Stars was about to redeliver Curry Tabanca for the second time in 28 years.
Everyone Behind the Bridge knew that the band had won in 1987. But it came fourth. And so, it took a new millennium and a world steelband competition to recognize the pop culture mastery of Leon Smooth Edwards, who usually leaves the Savannah right after the band plays its last note.
I simply wanted to congratulate him, as night was rubbing up against early dawn, because I’ve never been as proud of my pan heritage as tonight. Smooth brought a new shine to Winsford Devine’s masterpiece. He could have stuck with the fourth-place version, but perhaps he knew he’d get a fair hearing of his slightly reconfigured paean to Indian culture and indiscriminate eulogy on love, from a panel that included foreign judges..
Perfect timing to wring out the millennial sound just for them as well as the international crowd. After that, Smooth dismounted from the Savannah stage and drove home. Not to be awakened until morning as has always been his wont.
But it behooved me to call. You don’t dismiss a steel orchestra that has won the Trinidad & Tobago Panorama, People’s Choice award, Carnival Band of the Year title, and now topping off such a galaxy of accolades in a span less than a year.
Besides, as a member of the band since 1959, during the Barcarolle, Intermezzo and Liebestraum era, I can testify that Curry Tabanca, [the repackaged song], reached me like Franz Liszt’s Love Dream, a k a the Liebestraum Bomb dropped that memorable Jouvert.
And, I, like Trinidad All Stars' aficionados around the world, pride myself on the Hell Yard band/organization, which I joined as a schoolboy, operating in the garret of a gambling den, above Maple Leaf Club - and hiding from my father Carnival Tuesday lest I suffer an absolute beatdown by the old man right there on Frederick Street, in the middle of the mas and in front of the massive crowd the Stars had perennially attracted.
Thus, without prejudice, I apprised Leon “Smooth” Edwards of my mood; that tonight has been my proudest moment since Neville Jules rescued me from the depths of depravity that suckholed me upon my return from the war.
Massy Trinidad All Stars, the Best Panorama Band in the World. Such a nice ring.
Congratulations to Capt. Beresford Hunte, Smooth, and the gang for the win by such wide a margin, disproving a myriad of myths that the band swallows year in and year out, without argument.
Now, it’s as official as it’s real.
Bring on the forum.
Dalton Narine joined Trinidad All Stars when the band played in the Garret, the attic of the building housing Maple Leaf Club on Charlotte Street. While serving as a Carnival and Panorama commentator and interviewer on Trinidad & Tobago Television for more than 20 years, he continued to play the Bomb every J’Ouvert until he switched to filmmaking.