Dec 31, 2010

Black Eye Peas for Good Luck on "Ole Year's Night"

Trini Saying: “Eat peas on New Year’s day to have plenty of everything the rest of the year.”

Every Trinidadian knows that on "Ole Year's Night" better known as "New Year's Eve" everywhere else must be ushered in with a plate of black eye peas peleau.

In order to ensure that good luck follows the individual for the rest of the year the first food has to be black eye peas and this is not a tradition for Trinidad and Tobago but one that has been around for a very long time around the World. However, in Trinidad and Tobago it is done in traditional peleau style. Having said that my personal delight for this pea is to enjoy it fried. Yes boil it until soft then fry it... "Dat is the dam ting self!".

The following was taken from an article in Newsday dated December 31, 2008:

"Tonight, thousands throughout the country will be getting ready to ring in the new year . In the traditional way. If you are planning on visiting friends and family, it is likely you will be offered black-eyed peas in some form, either just after midnight or on New Year’s Day.

Here is how to prepare it:

Trinidadian Black-Eyed Peas

1 1/2 cups black eyed peas

four cups parboiled rice

meat of choice

chopped chive

chopped pimentos

chopped onions

chopped spanish thyme

chopped celery

two tablespoons sugar

chopped parsley

chopped bhandhanya (chadon beni)

1 carrot, diced

1 cup diced pumpkin

three cloves of garlic

whole pepper

3 1/2 cups water

1 cup coconut milk

1 tsp salt (optional)

two tablespoons cooking margarine

pinch of black pepper

If using dried peas, soak the peas overnight in three cups of water. Drain. Bring three fresh cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and add the peas. Cook until tender and drain and set aside. If using canned beans, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy, deep pot. Add the sugar and swirl in the pot; allow it to caramelize to a dark brown colour. Add scalded pig tail, ham bone or your choice of meat and stir well to coat. Lower the heat to medium and add seasonings. Cook for one to two minutes, stirring constantly.

Add rice and water and stir pot to integrate all contents until pot starts to boil again.

Maintain moderate to low heat so that the pot continues cooking. Add coconut milk and stir periodically to ensure even mix and cooking of rice.

Add 1/4 cups of hot water as necessary until rice is cooked and grainy (Basically as the rice slowly swells the water level will drop). On low heat allow pot to continue to simmer until moisture disappears.,92650.html

Dec 27, 2010

"Dance and Dingolay" | Denise Belfon

Hear dis nah... Dis chune will mash up de place! Smarty say so... Chut man dis Shango rythym is seriously infectious. I say kudos to Denise for a fantastic delivery. This copy on Youtube lacks the high end and may sound a little flat but after listening to the track on WACK Radio ( I am sold and believe that this is the "mash up pick" for the upcoming Carnival (to date)!

Now if you believe that Trinis are the only ones with the wicked riddims (rhythms) then you are dead wrong. This beat comes from the Isle of Spice. It is called the Swahili Riddim and was produced by Andrew 'Hitz' Phillip. Andrew is a born and bred Grenadian producer/songwriter who had first major single sung by Blaxx of "Roy Cape Allstars" entitled Zombie.  The hook that follows 'Hitz' is simply put: "My Life, Your Entertainment"

Information sourced from Youtube and REVERBNATION

Dec 16, 2010

Pan Fraternity Mad as hell it Culture Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters!

Can you envisage Carnival without Panorama? Yuh mad or what? Well this is exactly what Pan Men are considering after reviewing stinging statements made by Culture Minister Winston "Gypsy" Peters. Is it on or is it off and will the Minister apologize to the Pan fraternity? The Minister is talking tough and at the same time pointing fingers at Pan Trinbago as it relates to its management of the Panorama festival and cash flow issues. 

The pan men are upset! The minister is upset and when the public becomes upset then the entire show will turn 'ole mas'. What will carnival be without Panorama? The greatest show on Earth for Pan takes place every year in Trinidad. The talent and creativity is beyond words. Hours spent at nights rehearsing and running drills to get the song right for competition for the right to be called the best in the land may not happen in 2011 if the pan men and Minister can't come to an agreement. The Minister has the funds to make the competition work. The Pan men want the funding but the Minister wants the Pan Trinbago to become autonomous. This is good but someone who can plan and forge ahead in a different direction needs to step up to the plate to make this happen. This statement by the Minister seems to have caught the Pan Fraternity off guard. They expected nothing but cooperation from someone who they believed understood the plight of the pan man and someone who comes from a group that creates the music for the pan. Is the Minister wrong to want Pan Trinbago to become less dependent on Government funding?

The answer is no, he is not wrong but to do it 'cold turkey' will not work even in poor financial times (even if the government is stressed for funds). Minister Gypsy is spending money to rebuild stands (temporary?) in the Savannah for the Parade of the bands and calypso finals but is brandishing his sword with the Pan Fraternity. This strategy, at this time, will back fire on the minister since the Pan Competition is the heart and soul of the Pan Fraternity. People come from all over the world to see and to be a part of this competition. Players come to Trinidad to participate, to learn and to take back to their countries the experiences of the Panorama festival. Panorama is not killing the pan movement... It is the mismanagement by the people in charge that has created the problem that the pan movement faces today. Accountability is essential and no one seems to be able to account for the monies that the government has poured into this organization year after year. "Whey de money gorne", has been and will continue to whispered but not spoken in public. 

Change is good but not all change is good. There needs to be some form of compromise and proper organization that involves the Pan Fraternity, the Government (Culture Ministry) and the Private Sector. Carnival fuels the economy and the Pan Movement is part of this engine that drives the carnival festival. Pan men should benefit but not only from government funding. The competitions are always packed... What happens to the monies collected at these events? The Government allocates prize money and yet still we have money issues. The minister has reason to be concerned and so too should the management of Pan Trinbago. 

Pan Trinbago needs a new business model to progress. How should this be done? Well all interests concerned should come together and brainstorm for the betterment of steel pan. Maybe the government should have a say in the daily operations of Pan Trinbago, maybe a private entity should be employed to come up with a sustainable business model for the steel pan. Pan Trinbago, thus far, has not been able to create this business model. Help is needed before the Minister cuts funding and carnival will not hear the beat of an iron or the tuning of a pan or notes of music when night falls. This may just end up in the hands of the Prime Minister!

Dec 15, 2010

Asa Wright Nature Center | Arima, Trinidad

Trinidad boasts of an ecological diversity unmatched in the Caribbean and the east coast is a prime example. Featuring protected wetlands and miles of fine brown sand, this five and a half hour tour allows you to travel to the fascinating Asa Wright Nature Center. Here, you will experience rich bird life such as the Ruby-topaz humming-bird and the tufted coquette.

Half day trip to the Asa Wright Nature Center
Ecological diversity
Rich animal life
Exotic flora and fauna
Hotel pickup and dropoff

Visit the world-famous Asa Wright Nature Centre, a 200-acre (800,000 sq.meter) bird sanctuary and conservation center located deep in the hills of the Northern Range. Following the 1.5 hours drive to the nature center, you will be met by your knowledgeable guide for an informative nature walk through the lush tropical forest with its exotic trees and colourful flowers.

While actual sightings are not guaranteed, you'll want to keep a watchful eye out for exotic birds such as toucans, manikins and hummingbirds as well as graceful butterflies that live in this unique environment. Following your 1.5 hour nature walk, allow us to return you to your Port of Spain hotel.

Dec 11, 2010

Soca Releases 2011!

This playlist is from IslandMix and was done by Julian!





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