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Trinidad and Tobago

Published on April 4th, 2017 | by The Trinidad Guardian

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Deltones transforming children’s pain into for music passion

Because when because when academia is merged with art and that produces world-class leaders, when you have the art as a discipline and you merge that with different sciences or different communication subjects, you become a deadly person, a powerful person. Yvonne Webb Akinola Sennon is a bold, brash, visionary whose seemingly outrageous ideas annoy the hell out of people. But that does not interrupt his perspective. Sennon has set about transforming the pain young people in his Siparia community have experienced as a result of crime and other social ills into a passion for music—not as a mere distraction but as a potential career. Along with his musical mentor Carlton “Zanda” Alexander and others, Sennon is moving full speed ahead to develop the Deltones Institute of Steel Drums and Music into a full-day school where academia and music will be combined to not only transform them into world class leaders but in the process help them to shape their own identities.

The plan is to open the school about one year from now, on the Heritage site at Railway Road, Siparia, where Deltones evolved and progressed from a social club comprising a membership of college students, university graduates and other academics in 1962, the same year T&T gained Independence. From its inception, Deltones always had an interest in education and learning and training people, moulding and shaping the minds to be independent thinkers and embracing their heritage for self-acceptance. Five-and-a-half decades later, the concept has come full circle. Five years ago, children within the community who were already learning the practice and theory of the pan music were introduced to academics through the institute. Sennon is hoping to take it a notch higher.

“It is time for us to stop this narrow approach that we are a mere orchestra or a mere band and for us to evolve. We are at that point where we need to embrace the various disciplines of global music and not just exist in the box of the pan fraternity,” the executive director explained. World music is not unfamiliar to this group as they have had collaborations with great musicians, including renowned Grammy Award winning South African artiste Hugh Masekela on an album titled From Siparia to Soweto. Last year Sennon introduced the Cousoumeh project—a melting pot of rhythms— which featured some of T&T’s finest alongside international musicians like Shane Dahler from Virginia, pianist and composer Chris McCarthy of Boston, Manhattan’s Cole Davis and New Jersey trumpeter Alonzo Demetrius.

 

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