BOY BOY AND THE MAGIC DRUM The exciting new children’s book, “Boy Boy and The Magic Drum,” by Machel Montano, the Caribbean’s most popular and sought after soca artiste, is set in the twin-island nation of Trinidad & Tobago, the land of Montano’s birth and the home of the world-renowned festival of music, dance and street theatre, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. The country is also one of the world’s leading producers of oil and energy-based products, which provides an important backdrop for this warm and engaging tale of a young child’s dream of making music on his magic drum , a steelpan and which Machel fondly refers to in song as the “Land of Oil and Music.

As “Boy Boy and The Magic Drum” unfolds, the little boy is experiencing the unhappy effects of industrialization on his small island known as Carnival Land, as pollution from The Factory threatens the beauty of his Land. When one day The Factory shuts down, Boy Boy and his family and the rest of the country are thrown into despair and confusion since their annual and eagerly anticipated national festival, The Peace Parade is suddenly in jeopardy.

One day Boy Boy is wandering about at a garbage site when he stumbles across an old man making music on a discarded oil drum from The Factory, and he marvels at the incredible sounds emanating from this piece of steel! The man had found an old oil drum, now recycled material from The Factory, and imaginatively fashioned a unique product which would forever change Boy Boy’s world, and all those who would hear this exciting new instrument. (The Steelpan , incidentally ,was the only new musical instrument invented in the 21st century!)

Through a vivid dream and a visit from his musical mentor and elder, The Old Magic Man, Boy Boy quickly became immersed in learning his magic drum, and soon played the instrument with amazing skill. Boy Boy now had the inspiration and guidance he needed to hold onto his dream and forge ahead to achieve it – to rescue his people through the power of music and to bring everyone together again for The Peace Parade. Boy Boy’s music will soon inspire hope amidst despair and will rally the diverse citizens of his nation to come together to celebrate their ‘oneness’ in The Peace Parade.

However, there will always be challenges in reaching one’s dreams, especially the big ones, and Boy Boy was no different in pursuit of his own. Even his mother and father tried to discourage him from going forward with his ambitious plan of uniting the people of Carnival Land through music. C’mon, he was just a little boy and there was just no way he could get the Peace Parade back on track! Fortunately, in the end Boy Boy’s parents gave in to their child’s wishes to walk through the streets of his country making music on his magic drum hoping that it would revive everyone’s hopes and dreams.

While experiencing the enchanting sounds created by Boy Boy and The Magic Drum, the people of Carnival Land began to follow him in their numbers, making their own unique contributions. A powerful and exciting musical mosaic was created by Boy Boy and his followers , a ‘rainbow brew’ was everywhere! People of all races in Carnival Land – Africans, Indians, Chinese, Arabic, Caucasian – and everything in between – joined in the procession which soon became a massive throng of humanity all dancing and celebrating their oneness in the streets. The Peace Parade was back, and Boy Boy and his Magic Drum had brought back joy and happiness to Carnival Land!

The author would like to give special thanks to Mr. Anthony Chow Lin On for his conceptual contribution in the creation of “Boy Boy and The Magic Drum,” as well as the work of the gifted illustrator Mr. Kenneth Scott for so vividly bringing to life Boy Boy’s story, Carnival Land and its ‘rainbow brew’ of inhabitants, and Ms. Jeunanne Alkins, who handled the book’s design and layout, and all other valued contributors to this project.

The entire Machel Montano HD family would like to urge parents, educators and administrators to celebrate the joys of reading with their children and our nation’s children everyday. Our children’s sense of wonder and joy at the world around them is so often present in their imagination which should be nurtured and encouraged through reading from a very early age. It is through our imagination, vision, and determination to succeed that we transform ourselves and ultimately the world. It is through our vision and collective efforts that we will achieve our common goals of peace, environmental awareness, literacy and unity.

Credit: Machel Montano