In the Hot Seat with Control Band

In the Hot Seat with Control Band

For this week’s Hot Seat, we sat down with the two oldest members of St. Maarten’s very own Control Band, one of the island’s longest existing musical bands, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend at Astra.

Jules Carty and Mirougia Richardson told us all about their band, the local music industry, and their advice for the younger generation of aspiring musicians.

Please introduce yourselves to your fans and tell us about the band.

Mirougia: I was born on this beautiful island we call St Maarten.

Jules: I am the leader of the band. Today, Control Band can boast that it is one of St. Maarten’s longest existing musical bands and the second longest existing group in the Netherlands Antilles. This is a band which is consistent, persistent, very active and which is disciplined and only interested in providing a collection of music to their fans.

How did you get into the music industry?

Mirougia: From a young girl, I realized I had a strong passion for singing. I started singing in church at the age of eight. I entered various song festivals at around 16 years old and I was successful 99% of the time, and that was the time that I entered the music industry.

Jules: I got into the music industry through the influence of uncles who were band members of the Creole Stars band from St. Martin. Also, my father played the guitar and steel pan (guitar pan).

What is your favourite thing about your profession?

Mirougia: My favourite thing about my profession is seeing the audience enjoying themselves while I am busy entertaining them.

Jules: Playing music is very relaxing, at the same time you are making a lot of people happy; music brings memories and joy.

What can we expect from Control Band this year?

Mirougia: You can expect great things from Control band. We have a couple of events that we are preparing for the rest of 2022, and we will be going to the studio as soon as the carnival season is over.

Jules: After monitoring the steady decline of the Covid-19 effects on St. Maarten, Control Band is now planning a few events to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Amongst these are a music award show to honour local legendary artistes and bands, a song festival between local companies, a St. Maarten Day Celebration Grand Style, a Christmas show featuring local singers and bands and a Grand New Year’s ball.

What is your favourite song of all time to perform?

Mirougia: My favourite song to perform is our own song, “Baby I am all yours”.

Jules: “It’s Impossible” by Perry Como.

How different is the local music industry today compared to 40 years ago?

Mirougia: Music has changed tremendously over the years, with the major influence of technology on the instruments.

Jules: The music of today has evolved to a level where more emphasis is put into the lyrics. With regard to Caribbean music, we also moved from beautiful, melodic arrangements to more rhythmic compositions. The rhythm and lyrics in soca are now the dominant aspects of the music. Forty years ago, music also was played live by many musicians ranging from trumpet players, to Xylophone, marimba, trombone, sax, conga, tambora. Now music is composed in an electronic machine (rhythm box) which is called a sequence. This sequence is a kind of playback they use.

What would you advise your younger self or other people looking to get into a similar profession?

Mirougia: If someone would like to join the music industry, I will let them know first and most important is that you must love this art-form with all you got. This industry is not an easy road, it calls for a lot of hard work, dedication, discipline and consistency.

Jules: It is always advisable to start at the foundation of music to get a proper understanding of music as a whole. Too many youngsters get into music, but never get the fundamentals of music, nor do they master the instrument they play.

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