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Monday, May 21, 2007

Pan legend turns 80

The following article is re-published on the blog by request;it first appeared in yesterday's Express and the full article can be read here. Happy birthday Neville "Cap" Jules!

Pan legend turns 80
Dalton Narine

Sunday, May 20th 2007

Neville Jules turns 80 tomorrow. At the Duke Street panyard, even the young players call him Cap. They see him around Hell Yard, a shrine to pan, but can't fully fathom his weight. Founder of Trinidad All Stars, Jules led the band and arranged its music for 25 years or so. In either capacity, Cap wasn't easy. If he were alive, badjohn Big Sarge would tell you he owed his failed confrontations with his nemesisto band discipline. And Invaders, the Harps of Woodbrook, can testify, though begrudgingly, to his groovy road music. As sweet as a lickin'.

Cap migrated to the States in '71, and many a band was glad, not for him, but for that. Their leaders had figured the road would be clear of Jules' stylish arrangements. They were fooled. For the past several carnivals, Cap has been back in the thick of Jouvert. His music, too. You can't miss it. You can't miss him, either. He wears a letterbox mustache the colour of Chalkdust goatee. And it's a rare day you catch his smile hanging out for all to see.

I'd wager no one who'd heard Cap's "Theme from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" would dismiss this year's Jouvert experience. Ennio Morricone's tense score pulls you into the hearts of the film's characters. But Jules' playful adaptation had you chipping inside their soul.Not surprisingly, the band won every Bomb competition.Yeah, like the grand, old days.

Emerging from the bamboo era, and following a stint on Shango drums up Laventille Hill, Jules played the first melody on pan, a four-note ping-pong. (Ah-ah! They always say, never argue pan and religion.For, every soul has got an interpretation of how things went down in both Books, the Bad and the Good.)

The melody was abridged from King Radio's "Do Re Mi". Jules shared his discovery with Fisheye, the panman who played the song when the band, then Cross of Lorraine, celebrated the end of the big war on the streets in fine style.

One of pan's elite pioneers, Jules introduced the tune boom, a biscuit drum with four notes, to fatten the music like a box bass. Later, a caustic soda drum captured the full-bodied effect he'd aimed for. Further experiments led to the "Chaguaramas bass," which carried the lowest register of the day on 55-gallon drums. Jules also invented a pan to simulate the strumming of the cuatro. Furthermore, the Grundig, or cello pan, was his, too.....................................

Africa Unfolds

Masquerade 2000 launched their 2007 Nottinghill Carnival presentation "Africa Unfolds" this weekend. Here are photos of the launch courtesy the bandleader masquerade2k who regularly visits the blog (click on the photos for larger view):







Adult costumes cost between £80-£100 and the frontline costumes are £160. I was informed that at the launch the sections Masai and Egypt generated the most interest with 62
costumes and all 10 frontlines of Egypt sold, only 8 more spaces were available as of yesterday.
For more information on costumes and registration visit Masquerade2k's myspace page. And for video clips of the launch check out these Myspace Links:

Clip 1

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Clip 6
More costume photos:

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