Trinidad and Tobago

Terry's beach banner

Exodus Japan debut sold out

By Terry Joseph
July 21, 2003

Exodus Steel Orchestra manager Ainsworth Mohammed yesterday described response to the band's debut performance in Japan as "unbelievable, overwhelming."

Exodus left Trinidad late Tuesday and after stopovers in New York and San Francisco, arrived in Tokyo on Thursday to a massive reception mounted by its hosts, the Min-On Concert Organisation. The group visited Min-On headquarters Friday morning, then held a rehearsal for that night's two-hour performance at the 3,500 seater Miyagi Kenmin Kaikan Theatre in Sendai; some 300 km from Tokyo. Yesterday, they travelled a similar distance to Hakodate, where the band will play from 6 p.m. tonight at the Shimin Kaikan.

In the sum, the Exodus troupe will travel more than 8,500 km by rail, road and air during the 15-city tour of Japan. The longest haul takes place next Saturday when, after playing in Muroran, they do a 900 km hop to Takaoka for another show.

"The Japanese reception on arrival at Narita Airport was fantastic," Mohammed said. "Min-On had their people in place and it was a grand affair, with speeches and welcome toasts, which really made the group feel at home.

"Hotel accommodation in Tokyo and Sendai has been excellent. Min-On's organisation and arrangements leave nothing to be desired. Every single thing has been bang on schedule and our group has responded wonderfully. In fact, the game is now trying to be ahead of our hosts, who are punctual beyond belief.

"Last night's opening concert was sold out. The audience reception was unbelievable, overwhelming. At first we had minor problems with sound but the engineers managed to fix that quickly. "It looks like a wonderful tour if this kind of hospitality and efficiency is maintained and we have no reason to believe anything less will obtain during our stay here," Mohammed said.

Reigning Caribbean Panorama, World Steelband Music Festival and National Panorama champions, the Tunapuna-based band also topped last Carnival's 40th Anniversary Commemorative Competition and Bertie Marshall Jouvert Contest titles, plus notching a 14th lien on the East Zone playoff trophy.

It has already been a busy year for Exodus. Apart from the extended challenge of Carnival competitions, the band performed thereafter in Martinique and at the Barbados Pan Festival, having cancelled a trip to Beijing during the height of the SARS scare.

In addition to preparation for Pan Ramajay and other staples on the entertainment calendar, Exodus is also booked at October's Pan Royale and plans a Christmas concert. The band returns home on August 13.

Terry's Homepage