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Published on November 22nd, 2017 | by The Trinidad Guardian

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Ayana ‘ Yanz’ Garcia soars

On Thursday, November 9, at just 24 years, Ayana Shallima Garcia, the youngest in her class, Ayana graduated with her Master of Arts in Carnival Studies Degree. Definitely neither nerd or bookworm, Garcia is more aptly defined as an allrounder; a Jenny of all trades. She is also a crackshot pan musician who is also an avid photographer, producer, writer and composer.

Born one month before time on September 19, 1993, Ayana displayed her love for music and the culture of T&T as a toddler. The fact that her parents own a business next to Kitchener’s Revue tent on Wrightson Road exposed her to many calypsonians. Said Allima Garcia, Ayana’s mother: “When Ayana was born I wasn’t sure how Saieed, her elder brother, would react having heard so many stories of siblings fighting. But Saieed lived up to his role as big brother, always protecting her and looking after her. In fact, he is the reason she started school at two-and-a-half years.”

Ayana’s love affair with the steelpan is one that transcends her relatively young age. From as early as the age of three, she was taught the rudiments of the steelpan by none other than her godfather, arranger and composer Robert Greenidge. She had to stand on a box to reach the pan but she persevered. This relationship played a significant role in her future career plans. Ayana’s first school experience was at a kindergarten school in the East before moving to Trinity Junior School. Her mother reminisced: “I remember there were tears everyday from Ayana to go to school. When Saieed went off to secondary school she insisted in dropping him off to school first before she went to her school. Then, when he entered university he would have to go with their dad (Cleveland Garcia) to drop Ayana off to secondary school before dropping off at the university even though it was walking distance. Saieed is a part of the reason Ayana switched programmes and did music instead of Animation which she signed up for but it was at John D and he was moving to O’Meara.”

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