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→
They 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. Continue reading Death of calypso tents→
The Government missed a good opportunity to impress upon the population the gravity of the country’s economic circumstances, and consequently the dire need for all segments of society to make sacrifices on the expenditure side of the equation, when it capitulated by doling out millions of taxpayers’ dollars to fund private promoters whose sole interest in Carnival is to profit off it. Continue reading Funding culture vultures→
Serendipity 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. Continue reading Interlude with Rudder and Tanker→
I don’t think Trinidad’s Carnival is dying, as many people say it is.
For the traditionalists, it’s a case of wishful thinking. They want to see the jarring noise that passes for music, songs that have no melody, only hook lines and tempo, consigned to the dustbin of Carnival history. Continue reading Carnival in transition→