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A Melting Pot of Culture

By

Ins & Outs of Trinidad & Tobago

November 5, 2020


Trinidad and Tobago is a melting pot of culture, because of its diverse ethnic and historical background. Our cultural traditions are rooted in struggle, perseverance and passion, heavily influenced by our African and East Indian ancestry.

Playing ‘mas’ is a celebrated and cherished tradition, particularly at the junior level where the fun is at its most unadulterated and the benefit at its most pure. The Republic Bank Junior Parade of the Bands allows children to actively participate in this tradition. Similarly, they are afforded the opportunity to learn traditional mas-making artistry from veterans in the business through the Republic Bank/National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) Mas Academy Outreach Programme. It is hoped that through these initiatives, a love for culture will be ingrained in the nation’s youth that will carry through to adulthood.

A core facet of Carnival is the steelpan. The steelpan was created in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930’s and is the only musical instrument invented in the 20th century. The steelpan is now synonymous with the entire Caribbean. The Republic Bank Exodus Steel Orchestra has won the Trinidad and Tobago National Panorama competition four times and has taken steelpan to the world, performing on stages as far away as Japan. The Band has also been the recipient of various awards and accolades. On the junior level, the Republic Bank Pan Minors Music Literacy Programme engages primary and secondary school students in 30 hours of formal music training over a 3-week period each year. The programme, in collaboration with the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies, teaches students to read, score and eventually compose steelpan music of their own.

Republic Bank’s commitment to culture, and its development, stems from our overarching vision of preserving traditions for future generations so that they can continue to confidently champion cultural excellence.

Collectively the support of these activities, under the Power to Make a Difference programme, has a time-tested ability to build bridges across the boundaries of space and culture. We continue to work alongside our partners to preserve, protect and promote the cultural traditions that form the fabric of who we are as a people in the interest of building strong, sustainable societies.