Welcome to our website

    

 

Bienvenida! Welcome! Parang Alive! is just for you.  

 In this website you will find out about the very interesting heritage of our Spanish, French and African descendants of Trinidad and Tobago, and how their music created a unique artform known as Parang. In our quest to find out about the origins of Parang we have discovered a rich history that is shared and enjoyed by our people. The delightful rhythms and timbres of the instruments and vocalists capture the essence of what Christmas is really about.
 

 

 We hope that as you browse through our pages, you will derive much enjoyment and appreciation for this truly beautiful music, as we did.

 

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What is Parang?

Parang is Music! Parang is culture! Parang is tradition!

    Parang is an artform that is indigenous to Trinidad & Tobago. It is a genre of Music that was created in our country's history and still lives on today.  This music is heard during the Christmas season and starts from October every year.
    The term "parang" comes from the Spanish word "parranda", which means to fete, spree or party. These songs were religious in nature as they were mainly about the birth of Jesus Christ. Thus parang meant singing Spanish songs about the proclamation of the birth of Jesus, all that ocurred in between and up to the visit of the Magi (Epiphany), on January 6th of the new year.
    This was done in an extraordinary way. A group of about four to six people including instrument - playing musicians would go from house to house singing and playing their instruments. The musicians played guitar, cuatro, mandolin (bandolin) , violin, cello (violoncello), bandol (bandola), box bass, tambourine, clapper, toc-toc (claves), wood block pollitos, tiple, scratcher (güiro) and maracas (chac-chac or shak-shak).
A point to note is that while we can easily go to a shop and purchase and musical instrument today or even place an order for a customized one, in the early years the parranderos carved out their musical instruments from tree barks and gourds. The guiro is still made from gourds and the chac chac made from calabash.
    The families would meet the parranderos (musicians) and serve them drinks and food, (see our link on recipes) and follow a particular routine in singing. This included rituals for the entry into the home, the dedication of songs to the host for his warmth and hospitality, and the departure. During the early years men alone were parranderos while women stayed behind to prepare the food and drinks for the festivities.These sessions lasted until the early hours of the morning.
 
The merriment, joy and vivacious music  that is shared by neighbours and friends have made  this traditon a rich part of our culture.
A tradition that many of the pioneers want to keep alive!


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    PARANG VILLAGES


There are many villages that are keeping parang alive locally.

These include:

Lopinot, Santa Cruz, Rio Claro, San Rafael, Palo Seco, Tabaquite, Arima, Paramin, Bonasse, Brasso Venado, Las Cuevas, Rancho Quemado, Erin, Mundo Nuevo and Cedros.

 
Parang in the villages was a way of life for the villagers. One established parrandero shared that in Erin, where he grew up and went carousing house to house during the Christmas season, parang was used to help overcome and address disputes and disagreements. If another parrandero knew of a dispute among members in the village, he would act as the mediator in trying to get the disagreement sorted out, through the parang, and it usually was. In some villages some parranderos would sing and give picong ( light comical banter where someone is teased or mocked in a friendly manner) to each other.
However, even though parang is the same generally, each village has its unique and peculiar style. In the village of Lopinot, we learnt parang is played throughout the year at different occasions including Easter. Even a solemn occasion as a funeral would have parranderos present to sing each night and of course there would be food to accompany!

 

 

Many parang bands also perform at Malls and Christmas events. In recent times it has become part of the landscape of Tobago although the form is more contemporary than traditional.

 

 

 

 References:

The Parang Project (accessed 9th Spetember 2010) from http://www.nalis.gov.tt/music/parang_project/parangproj.htm

 

Parang Festival (accessed  October 3rd 2010) from: http://www.ttconnect.gov.tt/gortt/portal/ttconnect/eventnholiday/?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/gortt/wcm/connect/GorTT%20Web%20Content/ttconnect/home/events+and+holidays/parang+festival

Opposites Attract (retrieved from website September 9th 2010): http://trinidad-guide.info/past.and.present/history/

What is Parang? (accessed September 09 2010) from http://aingram.web.wesleyan.edu/parangdescription.html 

 

http://www.tntisland.com/parang.html

 

 

 

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News

Interview with Mr Timothy Gervais and Mr. Peter Diaz

30/11/2010 19:44
    On Sunday 12th September, 2010 we visited the band "Gervais Mello Strings"  at one of their practice sessions as they were preparing for the upcoming Parang season. Their manager and member of the band, Mr Timothy Gervais had lots to tell us about Parang, its history...

Interview with Mary Mendoza on Making Empanadas

30/11/2010 01:49
  At the offical launch of the Parang Season we met Mrs. Mary Mendoza who was preparing empanadas and pastelles for patrons. Miss Mary travelled with her daughter from Erin in deep south Trinidad to the parang location in Arima, home of the parang association. She can be seen at all...

Interview with Ms. Joseph of San Jose Serenaders

29/11/2010 06:19
We met Ms. Joseph at the Parang launch 2010 on Saturday October this year. As we sat in the front row taking in the show, we heard some of the comments she made and asked her for an interview. The lighting was poor and so the video was not very well done.Nevertheless Ms Joseph shared some of her...

The National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago

28/11/2010 07:22
The National Parang Association was established in 1971 in Trinidad & Tobago. Mr. Errol Mohammed had a vision of organizing Parang Bands accross the country under one unbrella. He wanted to revive, protect and promote this noble artform. The...

Interview with Errol Mohammed - Vice President of the Parang Association of Trinidad & Tobago

24/11/2010 01:14
      We met Mr Errol Mohammed who is the founder, and the current Vice-president of the National Parang Association of Trinidad & Tobago, on Sunday 3rd October 2010.       While at Mr. Victor Burnley's home, we...

School Broadcasting Unit Programme on Parang

24/11/2010 00:51
The Ministry of Education's School Broadcating Unit of Trinidad  and Tobago  has developed programmes for schools to aid teachers in the deliverey of curriculum. The topics researched cover a wide range of curricular subject areas.For this project we have sourced the teaching unit...

Interview with the Master Craftsman

05/11/2010 11:47
         I had the opportunity to speak to Mr. Victor Burnley about Parang. Where are it oringins. What role he plays in parang  today and in the future. My first impression left me deflated. Our visit to Lopinot lead me to imagine a character, a great...

Interview with Martin Gomez -Tour Guide of Lopinot

16/10/2010 11:00
   We drove through the Eastern Main Road, then onto Lopinot Road, one Sunday morning, with a picnic lunch prepared to spend the day at the Lopinot Historical Complex. We had a meeting  set up with Mr. Martin Gomez, a son of the soil and parang pioneer from the village in Lopinot....

Visitors notice

12/09/2010 04:37
This website was designed to create an awareness and appreciation for our indigenous parang music, that has a rich history, tradition and culture.    As far as was possible we have checked and re-checked the data before publishing. If through your use of this site you have a need for...