A new steelpan manufacturing company will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2021. The company, Musical Instruments of Trinidad and Tobago (MITTCO), will produce a full range of high quality steelpans to supply growing demands both locally and internationally.
MITTCO is the brainchild of Akua Leith, Artistic Director and conductor of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO) of T&T. He is a Fullbright Fellow and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Masters of Music in Conducting, with emphasis on Steelpan Performance. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Musical Arts from The UWI. Akua has played and conducted in tours throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Central America and the Caribbean. He is also a teacher of the steelpan.
Akua says he envisioned a full-service pan ecosystem that would provide year round employment in the production and craftsmanship of steelpans. “I’ve had this idea for a while now…but was very protective of it until I felt I could collaborate with a team who shared the same vision and values as I did,” he says.
He approached the Hadad brothers, long time supporters of the national instrument and together they created a team to implement Akua’s vision. The company’s Board of Directors and shareholders combine musicians and pancrafters, and seasoned professionals – Akua Leith, Mario Joseph, David Hackett, Robert Hadad, Joseph Hadad and John Hadad.
MITTCO’s goal is to offer the best musical instruments coupled with flawless service to music and steelpan enthusiasts in both local and export markets. To do so, the company will work with a team of experienced and dedicated steelpan craftspeople, using the highest quality raw materials, and integrating tradition with innovative manufacturing practices. MITTCO will engage the wider steelpan fraternity to create more employment within the industry.
The pan facility will be based in the e-Teck Diamond Vale Industrial Park, Diego Martin and will feature a robust production process. “We believe in collaborating to compete,” says John Hadad, “and have entered this joint venture with a genuine desire to promote this musical instrument globally.”
“Trinidad and Tobago is the home of steelpan,” says Akua. “We have, without doubt, the best artisan steelpan craftspeople in the world, and this is no better time than now to establish a world class company with international reach. MITTCO’s goal is simple: to keep the authenticity of steelpan manufacturing alive, here where it belongs, in its country of origin.”
For further information, contact Micah Jodhan (762 6073).
Written by: Peter Ray Blood
DJ Lila Gives Miami Carnival Experience A Perfect 10!
The next generation’s being groomed to take over. Trinidad and Tobago’s DJ Lila is one of the prospects who’s been making a name for herself in the entertainment industry in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean but the young, female DJ and artist who is now a resident DJ at Next 99.1FM in Trinidad, isn’t being held back by geographic location.
Born in the US, Lila has always understood her mission. She’s under the guidance of her father, artist and multimedia specialist, Ziggy Rankin and they just completed the Miami Carnival circuit.
Grateful for the opportunity to represent and showcase her DJing skills in the carnival, Lila showed mad love for Giselle The Wassi One. “I wouldn’t have made it up there without Aunty Wassi. She organized the entire thing. I really want to thank her,” said the teen. The Miami opportunity brought her into the eyes of major promoters and artistes no doubt, and will essentially prove to be a springboard for her budding career.
Having really enjoyed the experience, Lila said as a TriniBad vocalist and representative for that sub-genre, she foresees more opportunity for the sometimes controversial music, which is prevalent in the Caribbean, to be included and collaborated in significant ways with Soca. “Everybody in Miami knew the music so I know we can continue to grow and become bigger,” she said.
On the matter of COVID-19 precautions and execution of the festival in Miami, Lila said she was impressed by the mask and testing rules, which had been implemented by the Miami Broward Festival committee, and the fact that the patrons followed those protocols. “Everything was well controlled,” said the young DJ, adding that in her view, experience was a perfect ten.
Lila, like many Caribbean youths, is eager to build her brand and represent her peers on global circuits. She says her goal was to get the experience this time around and for that, she is grateful.
This is Wild! TriniZuela Manager Turned Artist Morphs Into Kick A$$ Alter Ego, Gustavo.
A world without entertainment would be so dull. In the past two years, Trinidad and Tobago in particular, has experienced an entertainment drought as Covid-19 restrictions forced the abrupt and strongly enforced government shut down of an industry that fuels economic livelihood for countless people.
David Adams, the elder brother of entertainer, Mr. Renzo, says, much like everyone else, he too has been affected. He’s been an artist manager for some time, managing his brother’s career since 2000. Now, having embarked on a music career of his own a few years ago, the Venezuela born act, who’s created the perfect character alias in Gustavo, is bent on infiltrating the global entertainment scene in a way that others may not have thought of.
“This is music for the world,” said David on the release of his new single, ‘Straight Forward’. The track comes complete with a spanking new music video and is collaboratively sung with reggaeton artist, Jeico- a fellow Venezuelan. “He doesn’t speak English; this is pure reggaeton,” said Adams. This fact adds to the undiluted authenticity of the track. For Adams, the creation of a stage and digital character was necessary, since, off stage, in business mode, his personality is somewhat rigid. “This character, Gustavo, is full of himself,” admits Adams, as he speaks of the alter ego he shares his image with. Gustavo, according to the team behind Adams, is suave and chilled,but so sure of himself that he is undeterred by anything that may take place around him. “He’s truly something to see,” said Adams with a smirk.
Alter-egos aren’t uncommon in the entertainment industry, after all, right here in the Caribbean we’ve been met with Destra’s Lucy and Fay Ann Lyon’s Silver Surfer characters. In the United States, Sasha Fierce often makes her presence felt when Beyonce hits the stage. For David Adams, Gustavo is the stage personality he sometimes wishes he could be on a daily basis.
A national of Venezuela who migrated to Trinidad at a young age, Adams understands the tumultuous situation that Venezuelans continue to grapple with. He says there is no economy there and with that comes spiraling crime that has proven uncontrollable. Trinidad his home, he says he does not feel the same will take place in the twin island nation, explaining that once relations with the United States are maintained and there are no trade embargos placed on a country, it is highly unlikely that citizens of that country will see anything remotely close to what has been playing out in Venezuela. Adams is not ignorant to problems faced by people around the world and believes music is very important amid the current climate that everyone is now facing. “Music is part of our happiness and it’s very necessary. When you have stress, you have ailments and so music is really important. I pray for us to come out of this situation. In the US events are going on now, and I believe vaccination is a personal choice that we all, as individuals, have to decide upon,” he said.
The new single, ‘Straight Forward’, was produced by Prince Pronto of Tyrpp Records and written collaboratively by Pronto, RheoneElbourne, Jazeel Christopher, Gustavo and Jeico. Visuals for the track are now available on YouTube, with streaming accessible via all streaming platforms.
Press Release courtesy Etcetera The Company.
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