by Daniella Maraj
When Glenda Collens returned home to Trinidad in 2000 after pursuing her music degree abroad, it was with a strong determination and the intention of producing her own musicals and stage productions. Nine years later and she has accomplished those goals through the establishment of her own production company and a critically acclaimed band.
MEDEA Productions was formed by Collens in her attempt to start realizing her dreams of stage production. The company’s name, MEDEA, is not only a curious one but it is perhaps just as significant as the woman behind it. “I studied Greek mythology at college for electives while doing my music degree. Medea was one of the characters I studied, came to love and decided I would name my company after her. She was a woman committed to whatever she set her mind to and did not waver. I came home armed with a degree in music, determined to produce my own musicals and stage productions.” With the spirit of Medea flowing through her Collens embarked on her company’s journey starting with a Vocal Coaching Studio where she conducted classes at TTW and Necessary Arts. By 2006 MEDEA Productions launched itself as a full fledged production company with its first show “Swing Out” at The Little Carib Theater. Collens asserts that the production was quite the undertaking, comparing it to that of motherhood. “I wrote, co-directed and produced this show all by my self. It was my second child.” The production was met with critical acclaim and was nominated for six Cacique Awards that same year.
MEDEA the band was the next step for Collens. While her production company was on the rise, her frustrations with unavailable musicians increased. Failing to find other artists to commit to musical ventures, Collens successfully attempted to learn to play the piano thus Glenda Collens and MEDEA was formed. “I started playing the piano exactly one year ago out of frustration; I couldn't get anyone to accompany or work with me on a regular basis and my music and career were suffering. It was born out of a necessity to be a fully self sufficient musician. I wanted to be able to sing and play my music and not be dependent on any other musician for my lively hood, as had been the case. The band evolved out of that.” Her husband Shane Collens joined on Bass guitar and started playing gigs. “We had our first gig at Martins with just he (Shane) and I and a drum machine in April of this year. My second gig was at Movie Town with some musicians I assembled for that occasion and it’s just been snowballing since.” The band fleshed out significantly during the course of its inaugural year starting with drummer Rene Coryat who joined the line up. “The original line up of MEDEA for one whole year has been myself, Shane and Rene Coryat. Percussion came in June when Everald "Red Man" Watson joined. An additional percussionist, Wayne "Lion" Osouna, and guitarist, Ryan Mohammed who is the baby of the band and an amazing discovery, joined in September.”
Celebrating its one year anniversary, Glenda Collens and MEDEA has been playing a stream of steady shows in Trinidad with much acclaim and Collens’ vision that once seemed to be of mythical proportions has made her a champion following closely in Medea’s stead. “I took the chance on putting MEDEA the band out there with the mantra, “If we put ourselves out there, we can attract the musicians we want” and we have. I am tremendously happy that I made the step to invest in myself this way. The end result of people loving what we are doing all started with a desire and the determination of spirit, to get up and do for myself.”