Archive for the 'Music' Category

Chalkdust, calypso must change or die

By Raffique Shah
February 16, 2018

Raffique ShahDear Chalkie,

I rarely respond to critics of views I express in my column, unless, like you, I hold them in high regard. Just as I enjoy the freedom to criticise public figures within the bounds of decency, I respect others’ right to respond to my opinions when we disagree, or even when they distort facts and resort to abuse.
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Death of calypso tents

By Raffique Shah
January 30, 2018

Raffique ShahThey looked pathetic, three of the leading calypsonians in the country—Chalkdust, Sugar Aloes and Pink Panther—as they begged the Government for a “mere half-a-million-dollars” to operate the Calypso Revue tent over the three-week Carnival season. Admitting that they had already received $100,000 funding that was woefully inadequate, the top bards invoked the name, memory and legacy of the great Lord Kitchener, who founded the Revue 55 years ago. For Kitchener’s sake, they pleaded, grant us the half-a-mil.
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Interlude with Rudder and Tanker

By Raffique Shah
January 02, 2018

Raffique ShahSerendipity often steals upon you in strange ways. I was about to shut down my computer last Wednesday night when, in my e-mail inbox, I saw a post by Lasana Liburd alerting me to a video interview he had conducted with David Rudder. I respect Liburd for maintaining high standards on his Wired868 blog, and for me, Rudder is a peerless trailblazer who attempted to usher in a new era in calypso music in 1986.
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An Anarchist Anthem

By Dr. Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 06, 2017

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast Wednesday, Max Prime’s “We Jammin’ Still” was declared the Road March of the year. Over the two days of Carnival, it was played over 556 times as opposed Machel Montano’s “Your Time Now” that was played 77 times. On January 11, Joanne Briggs declared: “Ultimate Rejects” has already been declared the people’s anthem for Carnival 2017″ (Trinidad Guardian). She wasn’t wrong. Over the last two months, “We Jammin’ Still” replaced our National Anthem as an expression of our people’s sentiment: a directionless nation in crisis.
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Hail the Queen

By Raffique Shah
February 24, 2017

Raffique ShahI had planned to write on the resurgence of Calypso Rose since last year, when, having read about her successes in France, I decided to check YouTube to get proof of the pudding, in a manner of speaking. I have grown wary of boasts by many bards, more so those of the fast-foods Soca-ilk who make similar claims when all they have done is appear at carnivals or concerts up the islands or before diaspora-audiences in North America.
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Holly B passes at 91

Right: Holly Betaudier
Right: Holly Betaudier at the Independence Queen of the Ball and Dance Competition 2007

By Joan Rampersad
Tuesday, May 31 2016 –

Former radio and television producer and presenter, as well as actor Holly Betaudier passed away peacefully at his home in Westmoorings at 11.20 pm on Sunday night. He turned 91 on January 27, 2016.
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Humility was Jit’s hallmark

By Raffique Shah
January 11, 2016

Raffique Shah“I don’t know who Jit Samaroo was, but listening to others speak, he must have been a great man…my condolences to his family.”

That was a caller from Princes Town to TV6’s Morning Edition’s host Hayden Blades, who devoted much of last Friday’s programme to persons wanting to pay tribute to Jit, who had died the day before.
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Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons on 106 & Park

Bunji rocks ‘106 and Park’

By Leiselle Maraj
May 02 2014 –

Host of BET’s 106 and Park, Bow Wow (Shad Moss), did his research before interviewing local artiste, Bunji Garlin, and his wife, Fay-Ann, on the show’s episode that aired yesterday, questioning the two about their boycott of the recently concluded Tobago Jazz Experience.
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Sparrow alive, calypso dead

By Raffique Shah
February 23, 2014

Raffique ShahThe Mighty Sparrow’s resurrection from a coma seems to have awakened many a dead, although the miracle I hoped for most, breathing new life into calypso, appears to be beyond the Birdie’s prowess.

Ever since calypso’s most iconic practitioner fell gravely ill, no pun intended, I assumed that the Government had quietly funded his medical expenses. After all, here’s the world’s greatest calypsonian in his winter years encountering not-unexpected health challenges, and his country, the land of calypso that he helped brand, enjoying a healthy economy, so much so that the authorities award millions of dollars every year to artistes of relative Lilliputian stature, you would think….
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The singers…and the songs

y Raffique Shah
December 22, 2013

Raffique ShahJust when it seemed that we would end 2013 with only memories of macabre murders, of innocent children being battered and slaughtered by barbaric adults, two Caribbean singers rescue us with their vocal and musical prowess, with the food of love that transcends the pettiness of insularity, lifts our spirits and maybe even our souls.
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