It took Machel Montano 40 of his 49 years to creatively and graphically make an emphatic statement on this senseless commess that surrounds calypso and soca. I am still not sure however that his contention—that soca is the soul of calypso—is correct, but he laid down the gauntlet for anyone who wishes to argue otherwise. I have never entered the debate before. Not when it raged in the 1970s with flamboyant stage performances by artistes like SuperBlue, Maestro, Ras Shorty I and the like. Continue reading Machel resurrects the old→
A few days ago, businessman Inshan Ishmael issued a pre-action protocol letter to Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins). He demands Cro Cro respond favourably to his letter within the next 28 days or face legal action in the High Court. Ishmael says he is the subject of Cro Cro’s calypso, “Another Sat Is Outside Again”.
Attorney Richard Jaggasar, Ishmael’s lawyer, says, “In the trial it will be contended that it was immaterial whether Cro Cro intended to cause harm or was careless in making his statements, as the tort of defamation is one of strict liability.” (Express, February 14.) Continue reading Cro Cro: our warrior king→
Businessman Inshan Ishmael plans to take Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins) to court over what he says are Cro Cro’s “highly defamatory lyrics about him” in his (Rawlins’) 2023 calypso, “Another Sat is Outside Again”. He says that he never listens to Cro Cro’s calypsoes because they always denigrate the East Indian community. This time, he is really offended. Continue reading Defending our noble art form→
Upon rereading my column last Sunday, I thought I did grave injustice to Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin, by attempting to evaluate his immense contribution to calypso, the art form, and culture as a whole in Trinidad and Tobago, or indeed in the Carribbean, by summarizing his works in a few paragraphs. My apologies to the late bard who passed on and was given one of the most impressive funerals I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Continue reading Celebrating Our Bards→
I was dreaming of the din that has developed over vaccination—to vaccinate or not?—which of the vaccines is acceptable, which is not?—an unholy row that is international in its reach, with the Internet offering a global platform to everyone who must have his say—when an apparition of Cecil Hume, stage name The Maestro, blotted out everything else, crooning in his high-pitched voice the near-comical lyrics of his masterful calypso, ‘Mr Trinidad’. Continue reading Encounter with The Maestro→
Judith Reyes is my neighbor. Our parents lived in the same spot for over eighty years. Neighbors thought our mothers were sisters. Judith’s brother Giles and I live like brothers. We have never quarreled with each other.
Every morning when I am in Trinidad Judith sends me a cup of porridge with prunes in it. She makes it clear that she is not doing that for me. Rather, she is doing this for my mother who she reminds me was my protector. She says: “Yo’ know how much candles yo’ mother light for you at Mt. St. Benedict?” Continue reading Puttin’ Yo Self in People Mouth→
Makeda Darius’ response, in song, to Prof Selwyn Cudjoe’s claim that the late Sat Maharaj reminded him of US civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr, earned her the National Women Action Committee’s (NWAC) National Calypso Queen crown. Her piece was entitled, No Martin. Continue reading Makeda Darius crowned NWAC National Calypso Queen→
Having written last week that I did not see the successors to Sparrow and other icons in the pantheon of great calypsonians of Trinidad and Tobago, hence of the world, I think I must be man enough to apologise to the London family, three of whom won the four most prestigious calypso titles at stake this year.
Uncle Brian, who composed the winning songs for nephews Ronaldo and Rivaldo, beat a formidable field (Gypsy, Myron B, Black Sage) to take the ex-tempo crown convincingly, having failed on several previous occasions. Ever since his entry into the calypso arena sometime during the first decade of the Millennium, Brian has consistently maintained high standards as a composer and singer. He was selected for the monarch finals on five occasions (1st runner-up in 2010), and the ex-tempo finals more than that. Continue reading Salute the London clan→
It was a moment of sheer serendipity last Friday night. My wife Rosina and I had just watched the television news, and, scanning the local stations for some Carnival-related activity but finding nothing of interest, I resorted to YouTube for some good music that would take us to bedtime, around ten o’clock. Continue reading Thanks for the lyrics and music, Sparrow→
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. Continue reading Chalkdust, calypso must change or die→