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→
I 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. Continue reading Hail the Queen→
As the Trinidad/Tobago United Calypsonians Association (TUCO) is currently celebrating “Calypso History Month”, it became supremely imperative for this writer, albeit lover of the calypso art form, to pen a few thoughts about the need to take the art form of calypso to the next ultimate international level.
I waited patiently for Calypso Fiesta, the Mother of all Calypso shows, which featured 41 of the top calypsonians for this year. I did not trust the 20-plus radio stations in the country since those that feature local music kill us with pumping, jarring noises accompanied by voices that all sound hoarse as if the artistes are stricken with sore throats, that they tell me is soca. Continue reading Kaiso, boy!→
That Trinidad Carnival is today mostly a feast of the flesh in its most carnal manifestation should surprise no one. We have worked very hard, over decades, to get here. Now that we have reached the pinnacle—a sea of near-naked bodies gyrating and simulating sex acts that put the Kama Sutra to pale—we should rejoice. Continue reading Feast of the flesh→
The 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…. Continue reading Sparrow alive, calypso dead→
ON Ash Wednesday, two articles in the Express perked me up. In the first, Planning and Development Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, interviewed in the Grand Stand, told reporter Anna Ramdass that soca star Machel Montano “should be leading the charge in selling Trinidad and Tobago internationally”. Vowing to pursue this quest at Cabinet level, Dr Tewarie added, “…I think Machel is in a class by himself… we should try to support an external thrust led by Machel in the world outside…” Continue reading Marketing our music→
I was stuck by Michael Narine’s post, “Culture is a ploy for more state money” and Newsday’s headline “Calypso gets $1M.” With that came a justification from Dr. Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool: “This is good for calypso. Calypso is the father of all different genres of music, so they must ensure that calypso gets a good prize. All these other genres of music: chutney, soca, they came out of calypso, so it’s only fair that calypsonians get a good prize.” I will not argue with the doctor’s thesis except to say that at the beginning of the 21st century we may have to revise our accepted concepts of the genre, its influences and the musical forms it has spewed. Continue reading Carnival and Culture→