Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 22nd 2013 Contents A11
December 22, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Six (out of eight) family members
were present for Friday s interview
with the Sunday Guardian.
The bond between the close-knit
group was evident as the family gath-
ered at their restaurant and guest
house, Cafe Mariposa, to tell of their
love for music. It all started with a
father who shared his love for music
with his eight children (seven girls
and one boy). It s a tradition they
tightly cherish: singing has bonded
them deeply as a family, just as the
family are united in their dream to
develop their restaurant.
The Guerrero s story reads like a
pull-out from The Story of the Von
Trapp Family Singers, only it was
uniquely Trinbagonian, with parang
as the centrepiece.
It began with the family s maternal
grandfather, Cornelius Ciprian Ruiz,
who taught "authentic" parang to
UWI students, visitors and even to
some of today s popular parang
rero-Salina, Gail Guerrero Tsoi-a-
Sue, Margot Guerrero, Marcia Guer-
rero, Bianca [Guerrero] Hamel-Smith,
Hyacinth Guerrero-Huggins) who sat
in the interview, recalled that Ruiz
would often use his Spanish bible to
compose "authentic" parang. (Arthur
Guerrero and Gillian Guerrero-de la
Bastide, who played the guitar and
cuatro, and who were the first and
last of the children, were both absent
from the interview.)
The group's musical lineage did not
stop there. The family's mother and
father, Benedict (now deceased) and
Hildred Guerrero, met in the Lopinot
RC Church choir. However, the group s
father did not want his children to
have a career in music. While, they
said, he was proud of his children
singing, he was uncertain whether
they could earn a living from the art.
"My father always saw that (music
career) as not a good profession," Mar-
got said. She said he wished for all
of his children to become teachers
The group began singing, they said
jokingly, "straight out of the womb."
The group was a staple on the local
music and parang scene in the 70s
and 80s. The group could not offer
an exact start date but said that they
often sang around the house and "the
bed was their stage." Moonlit nights,
in Lopinot, were often accompanied
by their singing.
"There was no television and no
electricity. So moonlit nights were
concert nights," Margot said. The fam-
ily s musical career saw them perform
for the country s first prime minister
and president, Dr Eric Williams and
Sir Ellis Clarke respectively, as well
as former prime minister Patrick
The group also has under their belt
a music festival win (1984---family
class) in which they won the Cynthia
Alfred Cup. They ve performed on
Aunty Kay (Twelve and Under show)
and at some "10,000 weddings."
"We went on Aunty Kay, and I was
and we sang Santa s reindeer and
we came first...When we went, it was
on a truck in the Savannah," she
added, with the others laughing at
the memory. The family wants the
"authentic" parang to be maintained.
Asked if the art of "authentic"
parang has been lost in T&T, the group
said, "We are hoping that it is not
quite lost. We see what is happening
with the school children, how the
teachers are teaching them the
Bianca said as a judge at one of the
school competitions, the passion she
saw in the children gave hope. She
said she wanted to see more authentic
parang being composed. Parang, the
group said, was about the birth of
Christ. There are also the Eastern
and Lenten parang forms.
"Parang is a reverent sort of thing.
When you sing about coro, coro, you
are singing about the celestial choirs.
It has to have some kind of meaning.
When making songs, do some
priate to continue on that line. For
(some people) it is just a song..." Bian-
ca said, speaking of people who often
create songs with little regard for the
The group would like to see greater
respect shown to paranderos as musi-
cians. The group said they often sang
for free at most events and that little
has changed from the 80s to now.
Paranderos, they said, still performed
free at many events. The group
stopped singing at many events
because of the "disdain" often shown
to paranderos. "We stopped singing
parang for years because of that.
Because they think of you as rum
drinkers...toothless rum drinkers, and
I did not want to be associated with
that," Marcia said.
The group plans to create a CD
with their grandfather s compositions,
as a tribute to him, entitled Viva Cipri-
an, Viva Parang. There will be ten
tracks on the CD which will be avail-
able in August 2014.
Guerrero Ladies at Cafe
Mariposa Standing from left
is Hyacinth Guerrero, Margo
Guerrero, Bianca Hamel-
Smith, Marcia Guerrero.
Sitting is Gail Tsoi-A-Sue,
Brenda Guerrero-Salina and
mother Hildred Guerrero.
The Guerrero Ladies
...people think of you as toothless rum drinkers
Ste Madeleine was once the hub of sug-
However, 108 years after oil was found
in T&T, Minister of Tertiary Education Fazal
Karim is transforming the canefields of Ste
Madeleine into the "brain fields" of the oil
industry, with the opening of T&T s first
The National Drilling Academy for T&T
opened its doors last Monday at the Ste
Madeleine campus of the National Energy
Skills Centre (NESC).
Delivering the feature address, Karim
advised that the Drilling Academy would
move T&T from the "cane fields to the brain
"It will further provide exciting and lucra-
tive opportunities for young nationals. After
108 years of oil exploration and production
locally, the Drilling Academy is the first of
its kind for T&T," karim said.
He added that it is the only open access
drilling technical training facility in the
region, with only a few drilling academies
existing around the world such as the insti-
tutes in Texas USA, Aberdeen Scotland and
Karim explained that the US oil and gas
industry now employs one million workers
of which the majority of growth in 2013
was concentrated in oil and gas extraction,
drilling and support activities.
He further quoted from the Forbes Mag-
azine entitled "The Most Lucrative Countries
for Oil and Gas Workers," which listed T&T
at third in the world with the most lucrative
compensation packages for oil and gas work-
ers averaging US$169,000 per annum.
"Australia ranked first with US$171,000
per annum and Philippines ranked second
with US$170,000 per annum," Karim said.
He noted that NESC would be the agency
with technical oversight of the National
"The academy will offer a rig technician
programme at one and two-year levels,
graduates would acquire cognitive hands
on training to perform multifunctional roles
which include, driller, roustabout, rough-
neck/floorman, derrickman, rig mechanic s
assistant, rig electrician s assistant," Karim
He added, "The academy will also offer
continuous professional development cus-
tomized training in a number of significant
areas some of which will include, Intro-
duction to Rig Floor Operations; Well plan-
ning; Well control; Controlled Directional
Drilling, Drill Rig Components and Func-
• Continues on Page A13
Fazal takes Ste Madeleine...
From cane fields to brain fields
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