Parang...Parang...Parang

 

Christmas will certainly not be Christmas without Trinidad's Traditional music - Parang.  (Parrang is derived from the Spanish word Parranda which means "the action of merry making, group of serenaders.".  Musicians or "Parranderos" roam the visiting home-after-home playing Parang music and serenading people with both sacred and non sacred repertoire. 

 

Parang is a musical style which fuses together Venezuelan and Calypso influences to create up beat tempos with a Spanish style and is popular in Trinidad & Tobago and various areas of Venezuela.

Parang is celebrated during the Christmas season with Singers and instrumentalists (musicians) traveling from house-to-house in communities, and is often joined by friends and neighbors using whatever instruments at hand performing.   The music is typically played with cuatro (a four-string small guitar), maracas (locally known as shak-shaks), and is often sung in Spanish.     Other instruments are used as well and they are violin, guitar, claves - locally known as toc-toc, box bass, flute, mandolin, bandolin, caja - a percussive box instrument and marimbola).  The entertainment and performances are done in exchange for food and drink rum or ponche de creme (an alcoholic eggnog). 

Although the repertoire is influenced by nearby Venezuela's traditions, it has largely developed into an indigenous performance genre in Trinidad. While the traditional house-to-house caroling tradition is still practiced by small groups and larger organized groups, the music has also developed into a season of staged performances called "parang fiestas," held from October through January each year, culminating in a final national parang competition.  

Parang has evolved throughout the years and many soca music artists have generated a cross-over music called "soca parang" which is a fusion of calypso and soca whose lyrics are sang in English and are inspired by the "Americanized" Christmas often referring to such symbols as Santa Claus.  Noted parang-soca artists include Scrunter, Crazy and Big B. Chutney (a singing artform of the indigenous people of Trinidad which have influences from Indian rhythms and are sometimes sung in Hindi) melodies have also been fused in with Parang.

 

To hear  and view a funny Parang Song performed by Trinidad's Parang singer Marcia Marinda entitled "Thiefing Parang Band" -  Click the picture to the left.  (Courtesy of on-line family member Amoke, and powered by You Tube).