Being launched today, a new video brings a unique ensemble of virtual pan and jazz performers together to perform Mark Loquan’s My Home. Loquan’s anthem to his home in T&T, was written as part of his desire to celebrate his home country. He had spent several years outside Trinidad working from Norway to Africa, to Australia and with his permanent resettlement, he wishes to challenge everyone in these tough times, to focus on what each can do individually in our actions to shape our future, appropriately launched on Independence Day.
As the lyrics note, “All ah we is one” and for this project, the message is looking to build bridges with steelpan as discussed in a behind the scenes video released a few days ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN_mbN8M_N8.
A compelling video on the theme was created for the song by Gerelle Forbes and launched two years ago on Independence Day 2019: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAS7kpFbITI.
Part of the large contingent of musicians assembled for the production
This was followed by a stunning live premiere of My Home in October 2019 by the National Steel Symphony Orchestra, the National Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Lydian choir featuring Johanna Chuckaree on piano conducted by Akua Leith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFLuwoj8AAQ.
Now the song comes alive again in a new performance.
Discussions between Loquan and the great jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles, led to Charles doing a new arrangement of the song, uniting musicians in both T&T and the US, taking My Home in a new direction.
Etienne Charles, is himself, moving in a new direction. He has been teaching jazz at Michigan State for the last 12 years but is starting his new role this fall as associate professor of Studio Music and Jazz at the Frost School of Music, University of Miami. Charles previously arranged for jazz orchestra a Liam Teague arrangement of Loquan’s Nostalgia that was premiered in 2019, at a joint performance by the North Illinois University steel and jazz orchestras.
For Charles trying to arrange My Home presented challenges: “As Trini as this piece is, the world is really our home and it speaks on different levels.”
While Etienne Charles travelled in December last year to Trinidad, he was put in lockdown for two weeks and it was then he completely scored out this new arrangement of My Home for steelpan ensemble, jazz big band, voices and instrumental percussion.
Some of the musicians assembled for the studio session