Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 11th 2015 Contents A29
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Karl Lagerfeld was caught
moonlighting as a barman at
Brasserie Gabrielle in Paris on
Tuesday---but never fear, Chanel's
couturier hasn't given up his day job.
The 81-year-old workaholic
designer was merely posing for the
press at the giant French brasserie
he recreated inside the Grand Palais
for Chanel's latest ready-to-wear
And what a fall-winter show it was.
French waiters walked with silver
platters past brass champagne bars,
bistro tables, newspaper stands with
"Le Figaro" and huge revolving doors.
The models, led by Cara Delevigne,
soon followed in long, coloured
textured jackets, on-trend pencil
skirts, 60s check dresses,
embroidered parkas and revamped
vintage Chanel block heels.
It was a relaxed affair, with some
models even taking the time to chill
at tables marked "reserved." The
realism of the set was astounding
with its coffee machines and "no
mobile phones" signs---and even, said
the designer, down to the fact that
the models just had coffee. (AP)
Chanel creates French bistro for show, Lagerfeld behind bar
musician Clarence Curvan
was the man who gave the
legendary Roy Cape an
PHOTO: ROBERTO CODALLO
PETER RAY BLOOD
Legendary local musician Clarence Curvan
has added his voice to the growing confed-
eracy of supporters of Massy Trinidad All
Stars winning this year s Band of the Year title.
Based in New York for several years, Curvan,
who returned home for this year s Car-
nival, lamented the dearth of "creativity
in mas" in T&T Carnival.
Said Curvan, now aged 76: "I am in
total agreement with the Band of the
Year for the past two years. All Stars deserves
to win, as it was the only band portraying anything
recognisable. It is difficult to choose a winner when all
the bands are playing the same thing, perhaps only dif-
ferent by colour."
An acclaimed T&T musician, Curvan has a deep and
special affinity with the steelpan. His musical roots are
deeply embedded in the national instrument: from being
a pan player and steelband captain, he rose to lead one of this
country s top orchestras.
"I was born on St Vincent in 1939 next to a calypso tent (The
Old Brigade)," said Curvan, "and, around the age of six, my mother
and the neighbours would go to the calypso tent yard and peer
through the holes in the fences. We enjoyed a night s performance,
so you could say I was nurtured on calypso and music. I
grew up knowing all the popular calypsonians of that
era, like Growling Tiger, Dictator, Commander, Spoil-
er, Spitfire and Lord and Lady Irie. This was the
start of my experience in the calypso business."
"Around the age of of 16, my mother began
sending me for piano lessons by Norman Sim-
monds, a recognised pianist. I grew up as the
eldest of three children, with a younger broth-
er and sister. My father, a well-known prison
officer, was very close to me, and he had
other children, four all told."
Curvan s initial love in music was per-
cussion, despite his piano lessons. "This
was probably because of my steelband con-
nection," he surmised.
Divided between his love of band music
and pan, Curvan devoted some of his youth
to the steelband. He explained: "As I got
older, year after year, my interest in the
steelband grew, and I was playing bass
with Starland at the age of 15. When
the original guys gave up the band,
and being born and raised on St
Vincent Street, and having a recog-
nised steelband on St Vincent
Street, I couldn t just let it die.
Having virtually grown up in
the dance hall, panyard and
calypso tent, I was already
in the belly of the beast."
Before devoting all his
attention to his fast-rising
orchestra, Curvan also
took his Starland steel-
band to lofty heights. Fol-
lowing the success of the
band s 1956 presentation of
Zapata, Curvan unleashed a
huge Sea Bees band on the
streets of Port-of-Spain on Carnival
Monday of 1963. He followed this up on Carnival Tuesday with
Back to Mexico. Curvan remained with the steelband for two more
years before extending his talents internationally.
Learning in the orchestra
During his transition, Curvan began realising that orchestras
were a vital commodity at dances and school fairs; his favourite
group was then Sel Duncan Orchestra.
Duncan s music and band had a positive impact on young
Curvan. He said: "My entry into band music is a curious tale. One
night, a neighbour gave a dance in Manzanilla and I somehow
ended up on the stage with the band, knocking a cow bell. The
band, Sonny Lewis Orchestra, elder brother of Joey Lewis, was
one of the leading bands in the country back then, so being seen
on stage with them increased my popularity. In that band there
were musicians like Joey Lewis on piano, and Boyie Lewis on
guitar. When the dance was over the bandleader paid me a dollar.
After that night I found wherever the band had to play, and was
very present on stage each time."
The Sonny Lewis Orchestra became Curvan s apprenticeship as
an aspiring musician. He recounted: "I continued with Sonny
(Lewis), all the while observing how a band was run. I also began
messing around with other instruments. Two of my relatives
abroad eventually got me a pair of bongos and I then eventually
got into the Phill Britto Orchestra, the resident band on Radio
Trinidad. I began learning the drums and just kept myself going
His own band
The Rediffusion Radio had two programmes for teenagers: Hi
Teens in the morning, produced by Trevor MacDonald and Ashton
Chambers, and an evening show.
Curvan remembers: "One day, one of the show s producers
asked me if I could find a small band to perform on the show.
That s when I got the incentive to form my own band, taking some
of the guys from my street. I knew Beverly Griffith s brother
Selwyn, arranger of Starland steelband, so I invited Beverly, and
had Stan Chaman on guitar. Back then I was already considered
to be an accomplished drummer."
The band was named Clarence Curvan Combo Estrellas Juveniles
Musician Clarence Curvan
laments Carnival s glory
days, as he recalls his
rise as a bandleader
Continued on Page A31
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