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In Folklore, Charles brings T&T myth to life

Friday, October 27, 2017

“This is a dream come true,” jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles told the audience at his latest concert, Folklore, staged at Queen’s Hall on Sunday evening. Charles was happy that he was able to stage a concert that not only showcased the music but also exquisite interpretations of the characters he immortalised in Folklore - Soucouyant, La Diablesse, Mama D’Lo, Papa Bois and the Douens.

Folklore was originally released in 2009 and it’s a very good work, but Sunday’s perfomance showed how Charles has grown as a musician and an entertainer. His execution was more vibrant and at times delightfully aggressive. He brought some top notch musicians with him - sax player Jacques Schwarz-Bart, drummer Quentin Baxter, bassist Jonathan Michel, pianist Jonathan Michel and cuatrista Jorge Glem.

Of those musicians, it was the man on the cuatro who managed to steal the show on several occasions. At times, Venezuelan Glem mesmerised the audience as he made the cuatro sound like a full on rock guitar.

Charles also featured talented local performers, drummers Everald “Redman” Watson and Kayode James, Siparia Deltones player Akinola Sennon and rapso group 3canal.

Charles introduces various elements to make his concerts as dynamic as possible and this time, there were cameos from his dancer sister Abi who protrayed Mama D’Lo as well as traditional Carnival exponent Tracey Sankar who included her children as folklore characters as well. Sankar’s La Diablesse was beautiful and haunting, matching the suite that Charles had composed.

A bonus for the audience was the world premiere of a previously unreleased composition, Lagahoo. In Lagahoo, the interplay of Charles on trumpet, Schwarz-Bart on sax, Baxter on drums and Michel on bass was sensational. It truly showed the transformation from man to beast - especially the dramatic bass beat in the style of the score from Jaws.

Charles clearly loves playing at home, and he will be back on January 14, 2018 to premiere the second half of the Carnival suite, then he will be here on Carnival time to lead his band, We The People. His devoted fans - the people - are eagerly awaiting.


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