Tishri. The first month in the Hebrew calendar. The new year. A time of reflection, nostalgia, anger, joy regret…hope. A time for resolve. And a time for change. The uneasy symphony of every scent, sight and every sound of those moments captured in every vibrating string and percussive strike. Every vocal nuance and every turn in mood like a lonely simple boat being tossed on a tumultuous sea of the year’s tears, sweat and blood. These were the Sentiments of Tishri.
The band had been three years in the making. After Isa Jez D., Rehan Mohammed and Bevan Awai parted ways with a group only interested in playing covers. They wanted something more, something different and were already writing on their own, interested in expressing their own thoughts as more senior bands such as Incert Coin and Orange Sky had been doing. Rey and Bev had known each other since secondary school only stumbling on their common interest in guitar at a random house party after which they became lifelong friends. Jez, who had been writing and composing solitarily for years, frustrated by those around him who were only interested in replicating others’ music for the Anchorage Pop Rock Awards – came to know of Bev and Rey through their relationships with his cousins. He invited them to join the fledgling outfit he had been practicing with and the three soon realized that they had more in common than the others around them. They became lifelong friends and started developing the beginnings of what would become Sentiments of Tishri.
Bev, Rey and Jez continued to jam together during their university years. With Rey converting his dancehall and rock influences into body moving bass grooves; Bev his love of reggae, dancehall and Pantera into rippingly rhythmic guitars and soulful vocals; and Jez expressing his interests in philosophy, theology, introspection and art through pen on paper, fingers on strings and lips on the mic. All that was missing was a likeminded drummer. After a number of unsuccessful drummer trials, Dexter Banfield, known to the trio only through his website, then the online mecca of the Trini local rock scene, “The Band Field” walked humbly into the bandroom. He too had been searching for the right fit. With sticks in hand he sat quietly on the throne that was his. After that day, they all knew the search was over. Sentiments of Tishri was born, and with the fire of music, lifelong friendships were forged.
The quartet developed their ideas patiently in a dark band room with a single lava lamp lighting the solitary decoration of the T&T flag high on the wall. After more than a year, they developed what they viewed as pieces of art. Stories with characters and themes, not just songs. The set included four songs over 6 minutes long, each with improvised interludes. They had something to say and were in no rush to say it. However, it was only about what the story needed, for them there was no room for self-indulgent, ego-gratifying skill showmanship.
At ages 20 and 21, like a wave that had been building in the depths, this young band crashed into the local rock scene. First playing at Jenz in San Fernando under the pseudonym Elul (the final month in the Hebrew calendar) then at Tasca Latina in Port of Spain for the first time as Sentiments of Tishri. They then played only two more gigs at the Circle of Rock, stirring strong interest.
…And as quickly as that wave crashed into the shore bringing the new and taking the old, it subsided into the dark ocean never to be seen again. In 2004, Sentiments of Tishri played their last gig. And, just as the year gone by before the month of Tishri, nothing was left behind but the echo of distant memories.
Or so we had thought. While rummaging through the boxes of yesteryear some undeveloped negatives were found. Sentiments of Tishri had recorded an EP at Eleanore Street Recording Studio circa 2004 and those raw tracks were left unmixed and un-mastered for more than 10 years. Now for the first time those old tracks are being released to see the light of day in a new and changed world. With the help of Sterling “Merling” Quan Soong and Shyamal Chandradathsingh, mixed and mastered versions of these rudimentary recordings are emerging and you can find them here at GSD Promotions. Stay tuned.
As for the members of Sentiments of Tishri, after years on their own various personal paths of development, growth and change, elements of Tishri have combined with elements of Tripped and Falling to become Witness. Check them out here.