Alicia Jaggasar is an 11-time parang queen, and her band has won the national parang band award an incredible nine times. Jaggasar has been around the Caribbean parang circuit since 1987, but never as a solo artist. She has always been a part of the band Los Alumnos de San Juan, which has toured around the West Indies but has always called Trinidad home. This Latin band has served Jaggasar well for decades, but now she feels it is her time to shine and step out of their shadow to do something for herself.
“How will I live without you?”
Jaggasar is starting off her solo career with a retrospective of her singing work. She is going to be presenting a treasury of Latin Fusion and personal thoughts in a musical event called “Dare to be Me.” This will be her first official entry into the music world as a solo artist, and it encapsulates the entirety of her 35-year career.
The show will be presented in two parts, including a song dedicated to her late husband, Wayne Jagdeo, with the salsa number, “Dime Mi Amor.” With this song, she will be asking the question, “How will I live without you?” Her husband died in 2021, just months after receiving confirmation of a positive COVID test. He had lived a full life of 69 years and had been one of the founding members of Los Alumnos de San Juan.
Jaggasar’s setlist for the show will include “Music,” which is a parang crossover piece. She will also be performing “the World in Front of Me,” which treats the world as a stage for her, establishing her desire to make her mark as a new solo artist. The setlist includes a few songs about world peace, which has been a recurring theme in her music.
“Dime Mi Amor”
Jaggasar recalled her last few months with her husband. “Sometimes if there were a few little things, I would say: why don’t you go check this. He would say: nah, I’m alright. So, it really did take me by surprise, and it happened so fast. When the doctors spoke to me and told me about doing palliative care, at no point in time did I think he was going to die?”
Jaggasar calls herself a believer and said she prayed about her husband’s health. She said she never felt like he was going to die, so his passing was especially hard with that mindset. Without her husband, life has not been easy, especially amid the COVID pandemic. Her husband brought in most of the money for the family, and Jaggasar stated, “I was left with my son and my daughter, both looking at university in front of them. And I had to make a decision as to what I was going to do. After spending your entire life building an art, being into music, it was: what are you going to do now? As we know, parang is a very seasonal art form. So, I had to make a decision and look for other avenues.”
Alicia Jaggasar – “Dare to be Me” concert
Jaggasar says that monetary concerns and the welfare of her family were the main concerns that drove her to attempt a solo career. She still wants to do parang music with her band, but because it is seasonal music, she will still have time to focus on her solo career.
This isn’t the first time Jaggasar has gone solo. Over her lengthy career, she has primarily appeared with her band, but she has had a few opportunities to show off her vocal talents alone as well. This will be the first time she is embarking on a career that’s just for her, though, as opposed to just making some scattered appearances without the band.
Jaggasar has some ideas or what her solo career might be like. She is planning to produce her own songs and shows and appear at both local music events and international ones. She won’t just be sticking to parang, obviously, since she wants to branch out and be involved in music year-round. Since parang is traditionally Christmas-flavored, she will be showcasing her talents as a folk, chutney, calypso, and soca artist, and doing some solo parang work as well. All of this is imbued with some Latin flavor to create a fusion style of music that we don’t see nearly enough of.
All of that is going to keep her very busy, and like most busy mothers, she may not have time to do all the housekeeping she used to. She would normally have had plenty of time at home to care for the chores and take care of her living space. But she may now be hiring out cleaning services for those, especially if her solo career takes off like she hopes it will.
A Flair All Her Own
Jaggasar has some experience taking other singers’ work and giving it a Trinbagonian infusion of style. For instance, she took the incredibly popular “Despacito” from Puerto Rican performer, Luis Fonsi, and translated it into a style more suited to her home islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Also, she is literally translating Spanish songs to English, accepting help from Spanish professors to make sure she doesn’t lose anything in the conversion.
Her Latin Fusion style is front and center in the new “Dime Mi Amor.” And we can expect to see plenty more of that special style as she tries new things and branches out as a solo artist. She will be bringing her flavor to a bunch of events in Trinidad to start off. Hopefully, paving the way for others like her, and build up an international following in the process.
Jaggasar is currently working with her own brand called House of Fusion, or La Casa de Fusion. She is doing more than just releasing her music. She will also be offering merchandising, working with charities, training new artists, and partnering with her newly minted food venture.