ETIENNE CHARLES: THE SOUND OF A PEOPLE
The Anglophone Caribbean is the subject of Carnival: The Sound of a People, by Trinidad-born, Juilliard-trained trumpeter Etienne Charles. Charles was fascinated by Jab Molassie (Molasses Devil), the blue-colored, horned, winged, pitchfork-carrying, fire-breathing carnival characters in Trinidad and Tobago—and the people who become them for Carnival. He went to the village of Paramin on Carnival Monday, to watch them compete—only to dive in and start playing the biscuit tin along with them, getting himself splattered with blue paint. A scholar of Caribbean music and conservator of traditions who also extends the traditions in everything he does, Charles says of Carnival: “It’s music. It’s dance. It’s costume. It’s improvisation. It’s history. It’s social commentary, political commentary. It’s all of that in one word. And the only way to do it in a show is to have as much of it as possible.” This show makes its Jazz at Lincoln Center debut, rescheduled from June of 2020.
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