Interview with Errol Mohammed - Vice President of the Parang Association of Trinidad & Tobago
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 tried to contact Mr. Mohammed to have an interview on the same day, but were unsuccessful. We remembered Mr. Martin Gomez at Lopinot giving kudos to this humble man; saying that when Mr. Mohammed was at the helm of the association that Parang was alive and flourishing. and that his love for this aspect of its culture motivates him to continue serving in this arena. Just about the time we were leaving however we got a phonecall to meet. We were so happy to meet this gentleman, who refers to himself as a Trinidadian with East Indian Heriatge.
At the interview he shared with us some of the History of parang and showed us some articles and newspaper clippings of yesteryear. He plans to have a museum with archives that could be viewed by the public, is dedicated to this artform and wants the traditions of parang to live on.
In April 1971 he held a meeting of parang bands about having an umbrella body to promote and protect the artform. This body was formalized one month later as the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) when Mr. Mohammed was elected as the President, a position he held for 14 years. He then moved to have NPATT launch its first Parang Festival season that very year. By the next year, this man of uncommon vision began compiling the work of the bands by having them record albums. Under his tenure, bands were regularly taken to Venezuela and the Caribbean islands. When he lived abroad he had a tour to the United States and held a massive show in New York.
In 2009, Mr. Mohammed was recognised by the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs and the University of Trinidad and Tobago for his work in keeping parang alive in the country.
Mr. Mohammed is back with the executive of NPATTwhere he continues to be active in the organization and is regular at all the parang shows. We thank Mr. Mohammed for spending the time we did with him and for sharing his vision of taking parang into the future. His passion for the artform was infectious and can only propel this music further.
See videos of this interview at : www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUkVPTclSH8