Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 1st 2013 Contents mas, but there has been a development she disap-
"It has now reached the stage where the first
thing that comes to mind is parang, you must have
a parang band. But it has come back to haunt me
because it is now being bastardised."
She said simply there was no such thing as "soca-
parang." As far as she is concerned, true parang
should be sung in Spanish, and the subject of songs
should be about the Christmas season.
"You want that parang vibe, you know what they
do? They pick up a cuatro and sing a pack of non-
sense. As long as the words phonetically remind
the listener of Spanish or Spanglish."
She said such songs, which stray from traditional
parang, should be called Christmas calypso.
"Vulgar lyrics have no place in Christmas parang.
I have no problem if you want to sing a Christmas
calypso and you sing it in English."
Such songs were "killing out" traditional parang,
This year, the venue for the festival will kick-off
at St Augustine Senior Comprehensive School on
November 3 with primary schools.
She said none of this success would have been
possible without the full support from school
principals and teachers.
Before Diane McIntyre could
settle into her seat to chat
about the upcoming Junior
Parang Festival starting on November
3, she whipped out her cuatro from
its case, and sat through the hour-
long interview holding it affection-
ately in her arms as she explained
why the festival was necessary.
McIntyre, who was once the music
officer of the Division of Culture in
what was then called the Ministry of
Education and Culture, said she found-
ed the parang festival primarily because
of society s negative perception of
parang and its parranderos.
"What really upset me was once you
said the word parang, conversation
would stop...No respect for parang. No
respect. But also disrespecting you as
a person who performs or likes parang,"
She said there was once a miscon-
ception that parranderos were uncul-
tured and uneducated.
Motivated by her desire to change
this, McIntyre, while pounding her fist
on the table for emphasis with each
word, said that her goal was to "make
every single person in Trinidad love
"I will make them love it," she said,
describing her thought-process back
in the 70s.
McIntyre founded the festival in
1978 with its first showing at Providence Girls
Catholic School in Belmont with about 12 schools
participating. It is now a major event on the calendars
of up to 50 primary and secondary schools across
"When I thought up the festival, as much enthu-
siasm as you can have, you must have a venue. If
you have no venue, you don t have a festival. Prov-
idence just said You want a venue? Take it. "
From its humble beginning in a hall with wooden
floorboards at Providence, Mcintyre realised she
needed to expand to accommodate more schools,
and the festival was moved to Woodford Square in
its second year.
She credited the principal at the time, Sister Regina
Leiba, for the overall success of the 35-year-old
event, because she offered the hall so willingly.
McIntyre said many of the adults in today s parang
bands got their start because of participating in her
festival as children.
"The cradle for the adults was the junior festival,"
she said, remembering a young Alicia Jagessar, who
has become a popular parang singer with Los Alum-
nos de San Juan.
She said people should not doubt the ability of
children to learn Spanish and play parang instru-
ments, as their performances could move anyone
In 2008, on the 30th anniversary of the festival s
inception, McIntyre took her talent and parang band
Un Amor to Tobago and created the Tobago Schools
She said her band teaches young students how
to play the cuatro, guitar, mandolin, and violin in
parang style, organised by the Tobago House of
"Tobago is absolutely onboard with the parang.
McIntyre said she has been successful in making
parang socially acceptable, evidenced by a high
demand for parang bands to perform during Christ-
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, November 1, 2013
Keep vulgar lyrics out
of Christmas parang
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