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Calypso Dreams
Posted: Monday, February 2, 2009

By Derren Joseph
February 02, 2009

It was a good week for calypso last week.

Last Tuesday, there was a screening of the 2004 documentary called Calypso Dreams at the National Library. It was to promote the launch of the DVD. Kudos to Alvin Daniell and the rest of the Calypso Dreams team on this effort. The screening was dedicated to the memory of the Mighty Duke. One of the good things that have come out of the recent loss of the Mighty Duke is a greater consciousness of just how special this art form is. There is Web site to support the documentary

On the tent scene, last Thursday was Kalypso Revue at SWWTU Hall, and last Wednesday was the opening of Kaiso House at what was formerly Strand Cinema in Port-of-Spain.

At Kaiso House, we bumped into our good friends - Anjen Mc-Lean and Roger Prince. I had not seen them in years, so liming with them was long overdue. It was a reminder that one of the best things about the Carnival season is that it brings us Trinidadians and Tobagonians together in a way only we could understand. Nothing like Trini Carnival season…ent?

On that night, a few artistes in particular stood out to me. Sharlon Bailey gave us "Faking Evil", a strong social commentary with great delivery. I also enjoyed the thought-provoking piece from Singing Sandra - "Ghetto of the Mind". It appealed to me because she seemed to be inviting us to take responsibility for our own situations in life. Do not be so quick to blame other people – just consider the choices we are making.

In the Calypso Dreams documentary, I think it was Brigo who said calypso was like the "poor man's newspaper." It is a way for the average person to enjoy discussion and analysis of such a wide variety of topics. That comment came back to me as I enjoyed the performances at Kaiso House.

A particular favourite of mine on Wednesday night was Brother Valentino's "A Fool's Paradise". It is one of those I would call a consciousness-raising piece of music. I heard lyrics like:

"A generation of people who refuse to be themselves.
The philosophy of 50 cent has them hook, line and sinker.
The young black men become like a sacrifice.
They love it; they living in a fool's paradise."

There were two or three video recorders in use, so I assume a DVD would be available in due course.

At the Calypso Dreams screening, we were chatting with Sean Samad from Cott Foundation who was telling us about some of the latest ideas on what could be the future of the music industry.

It all centred on the role the Internet is playing. One emerging idea is music downloads for free with advertising paying the artiste. Another was a certain number of downloadable tracks or even the ability to listen to an unlimited number of music tracks for a fixed monthly charge.

Internet companies that offer free content and services to consumers and where the advertisers foot the bill are not far-fetched at all. According to Alexa, the top three global sites are Yahoo, Google and YouTube. While the top three sites in Trinidad and Tobago are Windows, Facebook and Yahoo. In these two lists, I think only Windows does not depend on advertising revenue for most of its profit.

So if a company can offer search tools or Web e-mail for free to consumers, then why not music? This brings us to a local partnership between Flow and Trinidadtunes. Trinidadtunes has been offering music for free with the cost underwritten by Flow's advertising.

Preserving and nurturing the creative arts is critical to our development. This kind of innovation and collaboration needs to be acknowledged. Kudos to the teams at Flow and Trinidadtunes. I know many of us have had challenges with Flow in the past, but my recent experience has been positive.

Just the other day, one of its sales specialists, a Mrs Khan, was exceptionally helpful in responding to my query. I believe in acknowledging good customer service when I see it. So again, kudos to the team at Flow.

As always, I end by saying that despite our challenges, we are so blessed to live in this beautiful country. We need to remember and acknowledge just how much uplifting work is being done all around us. Let us continue to have the audacity of hope in our country, as we move towards Vision 2020.

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