The last time Joel "Coconut Man" Ali hung out with his father they were in Mayaro. Two days later Ali's father passed away and the memory of their final lime remains a joyful moment in his heart. The seaside community of Mayaro is therefore very special to Ali who is a singer/musician that has worked alongside the likes of; Joe Brown, Ralph MacDonald, and Anthony "Moze" Moses of the now defunct band Sound Revolution.
When Ali who lived in Canada for some 23 years decided to form a parang band out there the choice of name was for him obvious. Mayaro not only reminded him of his father, but also of sunshine, donkey eye, crabs and of course the coconut water he loves so much and he went with that as the band's name. The name is in fact, Mayaro the Wave and its mission statement is; "To Change and Fix the World through Music."
An accomplished guitarist, Ali for a number of years accompanied many of the calypsonians and soca artistes whenever they performed in Toronto and other cities in Canada. He has also played alongside internationally acclaimed acts such as Percy Sledge. Ali is what you can define as a multidimensional musician, just as skilled in calypso, soca and reggae as he is in jazz, rock, Latin and pop.
Having returned to Trinidad in 2010, Ali last year decided to startup Mayaro here and set out to find vocalists and musicians. One of the first potential members he met was Valarie "Chip Chip" Hilaire while at a parang jam session.
Although just 18 years old, Hilaire's versatile vocals impressed Ali and he approached her father asking that she be allowed to be Mayaro's female lead singer. Hilaire who is pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering has been singing publicly since childhood and before joining Mayaro was a member of the Sencacion Parang Group. Along with parang and Latin, Hilaire is comfortable performing soca, reggae, pop, jazz and other genres.
The responsibility of male lead vocals falls on Khiry "Irie Khiry" Flemming who is also 18-years-old. Flemming has a bit more experience on stage than Hilaire as he made it to the finals of the Synergy Soca Star series and also placed third at the 2011 Schools Soca Monarch competition. The young man who is at present pursuing business management studies began singing as a member of the San Fernando Boys' RC School Choir.
He tells an interesting story about one day hearing his father, Murcheson Flemming, singing in the bathroom. Flemming started to laugh and when his father realised he was being laughed at he challenged his son to a singing competition when he got out of the bathroom. Flemming sang, "Ordinary People" by John Legend and when his father heard how good a voice he had, tears came to his eyes. The father decided then that he would provide whatever resources were needed for his son to develop his natural talent.
Since formation Mayaro, which is based in Marbella, has performed at a number of events including the memorial service for Ralph MacDonald at Queen's Hall earlier this year and as the road band for Carnival mas band So Be It.
One of their biggest gigs to date was the Beach Jazz event at Mount Irvine Bay during the Tobago Jazz Experience in May and they were selected to perform at the Express newspapers 45th Anniversary celebrations. Mayaro also performs in clubs as well as for corporate functions and private events such as weddings and anniversaries. For each gig the band — which performs multiple genres — assembles a repertoire to suit the occasion and preference of the audience.
For more information on Mayaro you can check out; www.facebook.com/mayarotheband and www.youtube.com/mayarotheband, and they may be contacted at email@example.com, and 744-4737.