Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2015 Contents WESLEY GIBBINGS
Final year UWI music students Mark Forde
and Jamal Morgan pulled out all stops for
their music recital on May 22 in front of an
audience of campus colleagues and friends
and a smattering of music connoisseurs who
managed to intercept the university s low-
profile promotion of the event.
These recitals, under the auspices of the
Department of Creative and Festival Arts
(DCFA), have offered up high-quality fare over
the years. Yet, the campus administration
appears quite content with a status quo elo-
quently articulated by one academic years ago
that "UWI is a fortress to be breached."
Nobody knows what happens to hours of
exclusive video shot of these events and terabytes
of photographs except that they probably con-
stitute a formidable, inaccessible archive on
encrypted hard drives somewhere. A request
by this writer to record snippets to aid in this
review had, for example, been turned down
despite the assurance it was not for public
Defiantly, the other night, students raised
their smartphones in salute to Forde and Morgan
and quickly uploaded to social media, in breach
of the fortress.
Nobody was going to hang a bureaucratic
cloud over the parade of the two talented Bar-
badian musicians who displayed professional
competence with their respective instruments.
No spring chicken himself, Morgan, who
plays the trumpet and flugelhorn and several
other instruments, entered the music pro-
gramme already an accomplished musician
who first played as a constable in the Royal
Barbados Police Band in 2001 and under dif-
ferent institutional banners in Bermuda, Cuba,
Grenada, Saint Lucia and St Vincent over the
By contrast, Forde started off as a snare
drummer with the Combermere School Cadet
band before branching off into pan and drums.
By the time he had reached 14 he was one of
the arrangers for the Combermere Youth Steel
Orchestra en route to a National Independence
Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) gold medal
for his skill as a tenor pan soloist.
Today, Forde is the stage side arranger for
the Power Stars Steel Orchestra here in T&T
and a regular in local jazz circles.
For their joint recital during which they played
separately except for the closing piece, the two
musicians chose an eclectic mix that moved
from the mid-1900s offering of Croatian com-
poser, Tonci Huljic, to a musical montage com-
prising the works of American jazz
icon Chick Corea and Rodney
"Benjai" Leblanc s composition
The People s Champion.
It took a 15-minute break at the
auditorium of the Centre for Lan-
guage Learning (CLL) before Morgan turned
up the tempo with a lively rendition of Kenny
Dorham s Blue Bossa with some help from
fellow music students and guest players.
It was clear that Morgan was more com-
fortable with more modern stuff. Earlier, his
trumpet stuttered somewhat on La Belle Amer-
icaine by John Hartman as did the flugelhorn
with the challenging but beautiful choice of
Movement II of American composer Williams
Himes Concertino for Flugel Horn & Brass
Forde was meanwhile displaying his amazing
versatility with a solo piece on the timpani
interpreting John Beck s Sonata for Timpani
Movement II which was followed by pieces
from Handel, on the vibraphone, and Fritz
Kriesler s Tambourin Chinois on the xylophone.
He later spoke of the fact that as someone
who was essentially a panman, his recital would
ironically focus more on his ability with other
percussion instruments---shades of American
pan tuner/player, Emily Lemmerman, who
crossed the musical border in the opposite
direction---moving from the timpani to the pan.
In both cases, there is a strong commitment
to the steelpan, though, and T&T will continue
to see more of Forde as a player/arranger.
Here are two regional talents who are now
on their way back home, but who will not dis-
appear from the T&T musical map entirely.
The DCFA, under co-ordinator of its Music
Unit, Satanand Sharma, continues to work off
centre stage to unearth, refine and hone new
and young talent. The university has to do more
to provide a broader platform for sharing these
gems with the country and removing glowing
musical lamps from under bureaucratic bushel.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 4, 2015
Musical lamps under the UWI bushel
Mark Forde, on the
vibraphone, is the
stage side arranger for
the Power Stars Steel
Orchestra here in T&T
and a regular in local
jazz circles. PHOTOS:
Morgan plays the
flugelhorn and several
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