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Parang Serenaders

***** Location: Trinidad and Tobago
***** Season: Tropical rainy season
***** Category: Observance


House to house serenade telling stories about the birth of Christ, sung in a Spanish dialect; using such instruments as:, box bass, shac shacs, guitars quatros and mandolins. Both the music and the songs form the Parang. The singers are called Paranderos (men and women). Traditionally Parang is presented in Three forms: The AGUINALDO which tells the Navitity story, The GUARAPO which cover a wide rang of more secular issues and the DESPENDIDA which is a parting song as the paranderos leave the house. Homes welcomed the paranderos with rum and Christmas delicacies. In olden days it was common for a wife, not to see their husbands for days on end, if he was a parandero.

A newer version now appears, alongside the traditional parang: Soca Parang; sung in the English dialect, and influenced by the calypso rhythm; moving outside of the birth of Christ to inform on happenings, traditions, and life style within the Christmas Season in Trinidad and TobagoToday Parang is sung also in many Competitons at Parang Competition sites.

The "Parang Season" is at its height by November but as early as the last week in September Parang songs are aired on the radio. The late Daisy Voisin, a doyenne of the Parang, always sang holding a bunch of flowers in her hands.

Gillena Cox

Parang as a word is an interpretation of the word "Parranda" - this means basically "the action of merry-making, group of serenaders". In Spanish this word is used in the form "andar de parranda" or "parrandear" (used in Venezuela), meaning basically "to go Paranging". Originally the "Paranderos" - as the singers and players of instruments are called - went carol singing and playing from house to house in the neighbourhood, serenading family and friends spontaneously. These would in return often serve some food and refreshments such as pastels or other snacks and ponche-a-creme to the merrymakers, and the resulting atmosphere would be that of happy togetherness and the joy of a good Christmas lime that could continue to early hours of the morning.

The usual instruments that were (and are still) used in Parang were mainly string-instruments, such as the Guitar, the Cuatro (a four-stringed small Guitar), the Violin, the Mandolin and the Bandolin, accompanied by some light rhythm-instruments such as the Chac-chac (or Maracas) and possibly some other light rattlers to keep the beat. The rhythm is what can be loosely described as Hispanic or Latin-based, though it is distictively different from other well-known Latin rhythms such as Montuno, Son, Cumbia or Merengue.

There are a few theories about how Parang music came to be in Trinidad. One is that it all started during the Spanish rule (from 1498 to 1797) and the Spanish and French creoles kept the music alive after the British took over. Another commonly supported view states that Parang came to be in Trinidad from Spain but via Venezuela. Without a doubt, interactions with the people of Venezuela (where Parang music is also played) have helped to keep the tradition alive throughout the years.
After Trinidad's independence in 1962, a gradual revival of Parang music (as well as many other local arts) began to take place. Competitions on a national scale started and the National Parang Association was formed in 1971. Parang music also has had it's stars, most notably Daisy Voisin. Though she sadly passed away in 1991, she is still referred to as the queen of Parang by many fans.

Another Link:

Songs about Christmas and Parang
to listen to online



Worldwide use

Things found on the way


enjoying parang ~
hankering for cooler nights
October musings


rainy night --
parang songs on the radio
late October

parang ... parang parang
on the radio ...Christmas time is here


Gillena Cox



Related words

Daisy Voisin, Christmas, Paranderos, Auinaldo, Guarapo, Despendida, Rum.


Proposed by: Gillena Cox


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