Nearly every citizen will have an opinion on our very favourable results in the London Olympic Games of 2012 but very few have lost sight of the enormous Diego Martin flood tragedy, which immediately preceded Keshorn Walcott's gold medal performance. The javelin hijacker politicians will not accomplish such distraction. To our credit, tragedy accompanied triumph in bringing unity as Trinis rallied to help each other with the mud clearing.
During the decade of my columns, I have lamented the paradox of the decent widely talented Trinidad and Tobago that we are trying to save and promote and the dirty political and bandit waters which we are forced to navigate every day and despite which our talents flourish.
Before Keshorn's triumph, I had intended to make that contrast again by reference to the week commencing Sunday 5th August. On the afternoon of that Sunday, immediately after I saw and heard the Laventille Road Police Youth Steel Orchestra perform on the Eastern Main Road, Laventille, I knew that such would be the direction of today's column. I could not, as indicated, return to our sad political dysfunction. My mind was again so clear about our under-realised potential for peace at home and a bigger place on the world stage.
Little did I know that in one week's time an extraordinary teenager from Toco would drive these points home with such grace and emphasis. Moreover no one could fail to notice that he returned home with that fetching "freedom of mind" (thank you ATA for the phrase) of untainted youth and kept it intact after nine hours of motorcade. His athletic forbear, Hasely Crawford, also hailing from humbler parts, to this day has never puffed up. The omens for continued balance and humility in our second winner are good however the politicians abuse his success; but let's go back to Laventille and the start of that week.
The occasion was the thirteenth annual street parade of the Laventille Steelband Festival Foundation, about which I had written two years ago in a column entitled Dorata Street.
This year's street parade co-incided with the publication of a magazine entitled The Other Side of Laventille, an impressive dossier on the achievements of persons belonging to the area. I am honoured that the publishers included my column in the magazine.
The accomplishment of the invention, improvement and exposition of pan music is in good hands. Band after band in the street parade comprised teens and pre-teens. Each band played two tunes and, except for a few same choices of tune, as many as 50 different tunes across a wide spectrum were played. This is a parade of music organised on a very small budget and yet this Government and others are lecturing the pan movement on its need for prudence in its business arrangements.
Three nights later I attended the closing concert of birdsong's music camp. No need to repeat the contents of my recent column on the birdsong model. The music integrated pan, conventional music instruments and voice, all from the pupils of this one academy, also operating on limited resources.
The music varied from Beethoven to Kitchener. Students of the birdsong academy are now scholars in top music schools such as Berklee School of Music, USA and Prince Claus Conservatoire in Holland. We were asked to acknowledge a Trini sound engineer who is the sound guru of groups like Sting.
The very next night, again at Queen's Hall, there was the launch of K2K's second mas venture, not done as a fete, but as a techno music stage presentation interlaced with live 3Canal, a crisp challenge to the changing character of mas, accepting of current market demands for bling but embracing the tradition of meaningful costume.The designers are two Trini twins reportedly successful in an unrelated field in New York City.
The week in August under review is but one small sample of what our talent regularly makes available. Keshorn's javelin gold medal iced the talent cake of that week and I have not yet mentioned the Boogsie concert at Little Carib, which completed for me a hat trick of entertainment nights, nor Trinidad Theatre Workshop's Echo in the Bone.
Our country is vibrant and alive with creative artistic expression. In just one week, in theatre, dance, music, design and Carnival arts, young persons played central roles. Many of them are or are soon to be winners in various appreciative parts of the world but may get there only chirrup-chirrip, like how we win the top Olympic medals, because we will not make the investment necessary for Trinidad and Tobago to become a permanent household name in performing arts and sport.
Can we think about this investment imperative with clear heads, while Keshorn is fresh in our hearts, and proceed to invest and earn pride in such abundance that there will be insufficient days in a year to declare holidays.