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Artifacts brought back a flood of memories for Machel

Published: 
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Machel Montano, centre, is toasted by his family. His brother Marcus, a pilot, stands at right.

For more than three decades he has delighted fans with his pulsating rhythms and innovative beats now entertainer and entrepreneur Machel Montano is sharing his story with the country at the Boissere House, located at Queen’s Park West, Port-of-Spain, with a display called Onstage.

The 33-year archive, which will be open to the public until Machel Monday next year (February 9), shows all the significant milestones in Montano’s life starting from the ’80s. 

Onstage, which was officially launched last Monday, and goes as far back as the Pransonic Express and spans his illustrious career featuring several awards and trophies, including his many Soca Monarch titles. 

There are also some of his original writings of songs like Toro Toro. The exhibition even features the very first recording machine that Montano used.

An emotional Montano expressed his gratitude to Junior Sammy for having a space to share his journey. He also expressed gratitude to his parents Elizabeth and Winston for helping him to find his path in life early. He especially thanked his mother for “hoarding” all the information pertaining to his career. “I have been fortunate enough from a very young age to know my path and to know my purpose, which has taken me along this pathway. Tonight as I look at all these things, it brings back a lot of memories,” he said.

He added that the artifacts brought back a flood of memories; some happy and some sad. Montano said that he treasured the many relationships that he has formed with people during his career. 

These he said were more precious to him than any accolade. 

Seeing the display gave him a new appreciation for the past, he continued.

“This is a moment of high quality for me. I always called my mother a hoarder and I always complain about moving out of the old and getting into the new. I told her to throw these things away, burn them and stop living in the past but I learned another valuable lesson again and now my purpose has become so clear to me. Life is always about respecting the past, accepting the future but most importantly living in the now, which is the gift,” he said. 

The display will serve to help people remember to unite and realise that “we are one” and because of that he will be starting a new focus on his life at 40-years-old, he said. Montano also hinted at a new project called Monk which may be to help young artistes develop.

“Monk is my next company venture and it’s going to be movement of new knowledge because we are here to discover new things about each other , which are things we never knew and you know what is the funniest thing when we discover them we will realise that we always knew it. Know yourself and to thine own self be true.”

This will influence his new music for next year he revealed.

His mother, Elizabeth attributed her son’s longevity in the music business to his intelligence and said with pride that she knew he had a special gift from the tender age of five.

“We were teachers and everybody had to do something extracurricular and his brother Marcus would play the guitar and Machel would sing and at five he would pick up the recorder and tape and he would be Aunty Kay, the judge, the artiste and everything in one and he would bring it for me to listen. I told his father that this child has a good voice and we took him for lessons and from there we knew he had something special,” she said in an interview.

She said she hoped the display would inspire the youth of the nation to keep reaching for their goals because they can be achieved with diligence and determination.

“I want to teach a lesson about the importance of the preservation of heritage and culture and I would like young people to come through and see it and see Machel’s journey,” she said. 

Also present was president of the Trinbago Unified Calysponians Organisation (Tuco), Lutalo Masimba, better known as Brother Resistance, who said that he was proud of Montano’s achievement and hoped that soon all artistes would be able to share their journey in a similar way.

“This fits right in with Tuco’s Education and Development programme during Calypso history month. It is our goal to create a museum dedicated to Calypso history and this fits right into that zone,” he said.

The archive also features several of the costumes that Montano has used over the years, many of which were designed by Chive Fashions. Chive and his son Zwadi said in an interview that it was an honour to work with the electrifying artiste over the years because of his creative nature and because he is always a challenge that they welcome.

Curator of exhibition, Kwynn Johnson admitted that it was a lot of work getting everything in order but said she was very happy to be a part of the historic event.

“It was an easy collection to work with because it has been so well preserved and documented. What was difficult was finding a venue and funding for this project. It took me about three months and I had to go through an archive and determine the most important costumes, videos and articles,” she said. Onstage will be open to the public from 11am from December 16-20, and then will be closed for the Christmas season until January 5, 2015.

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