Derived from the Spanish word “parranda” meaning “a spree or fête”, parang bands (or parranderros) in Trinidad embody this translation with lively and colourful performances that reflect the festivity of the Christmas season.
During Christmas season, the land of soca and calypso transforms into a country united by parang music. Derived from the Spanish word “parranda” meaning “a spree or fête”, parang bands in Trinidad embody this translation with lively and colourful performances that exude the festivity of the season. In recent times, there has been an emergence of soca parang which is an energetic mix of traditional parang and the tempo of Trini soca that even the harshest music critic will enjoy.
Two theories surround the origins of Trinidad parang. The first is that the custom was brought to the island by the Spanish colonists who ruled Trinidad from 1498-1797. It continued to flourish after the British took over the island, because of constant interaction between the people of Trinidad and those of Venezuela. The second theory suggests that the custom was brought over from Venezuela in the 19th century by the cocoapanyols who came from Oriente, East Venezuela to work on the cocoa plantations in Trinidad. Whatever its origins, parang is now an integral part of the cultural landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.
Groups of musicians called “parranderos” go from house to house entertaining members of various communities. These visits involve singing and dancing as well as the sharing of food and drink. Today, this type of social paranging only takes place in a few areas in Trinidad. The main towns for parang are Arima, Santa Cruz, St. Joseph, Caura, Mausica, Lopinot, San Raphael and Rio Claro. However, the mecca of Trinidad paramg is the hillside village of Paramin.
The season begins in mid-October and goes until January 6th, the feast of the Epiphany – the official end of the Christmas season. The resulting atmosphere is one of happiness, togetherness and the joy of the good Trini Christmas lime. “Parranderos” do not only go from house to house, they have become a staple at Christmas functions and concerts.
Famous parang entertainers include the late Daisy Voisin, Los Alumnos de San Juan, Lara brothers, Los Ninos del Mundo, Sharlene Flores, Marcia Miranda and Scrunter. Find out more from the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago.
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