Los Parranderos de UWI celebrates 40th anniversary

A report from Loop.

Los Parranderos de UWI turns 40 this year.

The long-standing parang band has been celebrating its 40th anniversary via social media platforms.

The group’s Facebook page has been abuzz with posts since mid-September. These posts have focused on the history of Los Parranderos de UWI over the past 40 years.

Interviews with past members about their memorable experiences, music videos of the group’s past performances and a plethora of photographs from the group’s well-kept archives have all been highlighted over the past month and a half. 

The ‘Get in Tune’ segment where the group highlights one of its original compositions weekly has proven immensely popular.

As a gift or ‘aguinaldo’ to its many fans, the group has also uploaded many of the tracks of its four CD albums to YouTube. In this way, parang aficionados can still share in the joy of the festive season despite the difficulty of live performances during the pandemic. 

The pandemic has also afforded the group time to record new songs for a fifth album.

Founded in 1980 when some enthusiastic students of the Spanish Society organised a parang group to play at the annual ‘Tertulia’ event hosted by the Society on the St. Augustine campus, Los Parrenderos de UWI has emerged as one of the premier parang groups on the national circuit.

In its early days, the band functioned primarily as a campus band, performing only at faculty concerts and shows. 

However, the year 1993 marked a major turning point in the evolution of the band as it witnessed its entry into the competition arena.  

Competition gave the group more national exposure and became a household name thanks to the many awards and accolades it received over the 14-year competitive phase culminating in its emergence as National Parang Champions in 2006.

In 2003, the group recorded its first recording Mi Parranda (2003) followed by two other CDs to mark its 25th and 30th Anniversaries.

In 2015 to commemorate its 35th Anniversary, the group launched a booklet/CD titled “Nuestra Cancion” outlining its history and achievements and featuring its most popular recorded selections.

The recording process not only allowed the band to highlight its original compositions but also to pay tribute to some of the stalwarts and elders in the parang world. 

The band accomplished another significant achievement when it was selected to represent Trinidad and Tobago at the Christmas Folk Festival in Curacao in 2007.

It was the first time that the English speaking Caribbean was represented at the seven-year-old festival. Performing alongside groups from the Spanish and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, the band proved to be worthy ambassadors and was invited to participate once again in 2008.

At the root of the band’s many accomplishments over the years has been the love and dedication of its successive members for the artform. In spite of the changing trends and numerous challenges, that commitment to the preservation of parang music has remained constant over the group’s long journey.

Join Los Parranderos de UWI on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to celebrate this Christmas season. 

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