Juliet Robin, musician, story, Sweet T&T, Sweet TnT, Trinidad and Tobago, Trini, vacation, travel

Musician Juliet Robin’s story

I am Juliet Robin, daughter of former Director of Culture Melville Robin and Rosalind Robin. I am a musician, vocalist, composer, arranger, producer, teacher and radio host, classically trained in string, woodwind and keyboard instruments and I am specialised in the violin, clarinet and piano. I have been involved with music from the age of five.

At 15, I performed throughout Europe playing the piano and cuatro as part of the band that accompanied a folk choir and at age 17 I was selected to represent Trinidad on a cultural trip to Venezuela to play the violin with the Caracas Youth Symphony Orchestra. I am the winner of several classes in the Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival, including those for composition.

I performed as a keyboardist and vocalist with several bands including Charlie’s Roots, Chandelier, Dr Roy Cape, Andre Tankar and Mano Marcellin. I played the clarinet, bass, drums and piano with the female jazz band called The Jazz Triple. I am still a member of the jazz band but recently started my own band. I have also performed as a guest Clarinetist with members of the Police Band in a series of concerts.

Juliet Robin shares stage with Terry Brook and Jarmo Hoogendijk

I travelled extensively throughout Europe, North America and the Caribbean either as a member of a band or as a soloist, performing at several festivals and carnivals. I performed privately for former Miss Universe Lara Dutta. I provided musical accompaniment for several artistes including David Rudder, Destra Garcia, Machel Montano and many popular Jamaican artistes. I worked on an international level, sharing the stage with artistes such as Terry Brock from the band Kansas (the original singer of the song “dust in the wind”) and Jarmo Hoogendijk, jazz trumpeter from the Netherlands.

I held the position of Musical Director and Choir Master at various private schools, preparing children for public performances, competitions and examinations. I have been the Assistant Musical Director of the band Chandelier.

I had both good and bad experiences as a musician. I recall on one unfortunate occasion while visiting a country for the carnival, the promoter was given money to take care of expenses for the band. However, he decided to provide inconsiderable accommodation for the band and keep the extra money. As a result of this, the musicians demanded that the promoter take them back to the airport and on the next flight back to Trinidad. I recall that all hotels were booked up except for the most expensive five star hotel and the promoter had no choice but to use the most expensive hotel. Some of the members did have a feast as they ate no end of lobster and they also took advantage of  the room service.

Juliet Robin included in book on Roy Cape

One of my most memorable experiences was when I was contacted by Jocelyne Guilbault, Professor of Music, French and English-speaking Caribbean music, Caribbean diasporas in the Americas, theory and method in popular music studies, aesthetics, cultural politics in musical production and circulation, from the University of California Berkeley, to be included in a book entitled “Roy Cape: A Life on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand”.

I was contacted because Roy Cape mentioned me to Jocelyne who later informed me that I was the only female musician that was featured in the book. Another positive experience for me was the respect that I got from Terry Brock who treated me as if I was the star of the band even though Terry was the star.

I am proud to be a Trinidadian and of the fact that my father was responsible for introducing the symphony orchestra and teaching stringed instruments, including the recorder.  My elder sisters were the first to play the recorder in Trinidad and Tobago and there are many older musicians who can testify to what I am sharing. However I am very saddened not only of the increasing crime, but the type. There seems to be no more respect for lives including children.

‘Take it Higher’ a pan song

In 2015, I recorded a pan song called “Take it Higher”. It has been getting a fair amount of airplay. As a result of this, I have been contacted by a few other studio owners who expressed interest in me singing their compositions. The result is that I will be recording a variety of different genres although I am working on my Latin Jazz CD, which is my first love.

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management with future plans to pursue a second degree in Carnival Studies. I donate my talents to several charities including performing at homes for orphaned children. This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  As a teacher, I continue to share my knowledge of the music business with students  who are interested in pursuing music as a career.

February 2015 – Issue 14     www.sweettntmagazine.com

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