The scream from mouths dripping a blood red substance, the rattle of chains, fire breathing and loud drumming on a biscuit tin – the horrors of enslavement are remembered through this ritual of masquerade from Paramin, Trinidad. This is one of the Devil portrayals at Carnival time, the blue colour an alternative to the traditional black oil or molasses. Immerse yourself in an understanding of this masquerade, from its spiritual groundings to movement, body paint and costuming.
The steelpan is more than the national instrument of Trinidad & Tobago. Born out of oppression and resistance, it is the only percussive instrument to be invented in the 20 th century.
The steelpan was created out of discarded oil drums by ordinary Africans who lived in the hills of Laventille above Port of Spain. The pan was nurtured in the narrow alleyways and the Ifa/Orisa spiritual yards of this humble community. Today, steelpan is a recognised component of orchestras, community ensembles and university music programmes around the world. Every year at Carnival time, pan enthusiasts converge on panyards around the country to learn or simply to listen. Thanks to AL&T you no longer have to wait until Carnival time to enjoy our pan. Whether you are a seasoned pannist, a novice or a supporter of our culture, our tour will cater to your needs. Ready for a true steelpan experience? Come!
The Yoruba-influenced Ifa/Orisa belief system is still practised in more than fifty shrines across Trinidad and Tobago. In these sacred places, ancient African songs and drum rhythms are preserved; in some of them, our national instrument, the steelpan was cradled. We move off from Port of Spain, the capital city of Trinidad and Tobago where the Emancipation Proclamation was read to the enslaved in 1834 and then again in 1838. We pay our respects at Yoruba Village located on the eastern outskirts of the city and then head to the Orisa shrine – Ile Isokan, House of Unity, lower Santa Cruz. At the Ile, one of the oldest in Trinidad, you will have the opportunity to take part in some of the ancient rituals and understand the strong links between Africa and the Caribbean. Our tour will close with the sharing of wisdom, blessings and samplings of traditional African cuisine.