Laughter and reflections upon calypso and soca greatness filled Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s recently, when the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) held its Gala and Awards Ceremony 2020.

National Calypso Monarch Terri Lyons, crooned “Obeah” and veteran Typher (Cuthbert Blackette) rendered his version of “Die With Meh Dignity”. Alicia Richards gave a sound tongue-lashing on her “Woman In Law”. Iwer George, fondly dubbed the “Water Lord,” sent the audience into a frenzy. And when Ninja (Kenson Neptune)said he “Parang D’ Wrong House”, everyone appeared delighted as he ushered in the spirit of Christmas. Among those enjoying the performances were Culture Minister Randall Mitchell, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisati;n (TUCO) president Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba; TUCO general secretary Shirlaine Hendrickson; cultural aficionado Thora Best; assistant public relations officer Rondell Donowa and presenters Arlene Alexis and Omari Ashby.

This year’s theme was “Calypso... Beyond Boundaries and Borders”. Everyone was reminded that “by calypso our stories are told.” In his inimitable rapso style, Brother Resistance, who was honoured at the John Cupid Carnival Village for gems including “Ring D’ Bell,” said, “It was important to salute the pioneers.

“They have blazed the trail through many trials and tribulations from the plantation economy through Emancipation (August 1, 1934) and Independence (August 31, 1962). We highlight their contribution to the socio-cultural development of the Caribbean and Americas and the documentation of world history. It’s a cultural legacy which we should be proud of. As (soca artiste) Voice (Aaron Louis) would say, “We far from finished,” said Resistance.

Corporate tax allowance to benefit artistes

Resistance also said: “ Give thanks for the music and thanks for the power of the calypso tradition to move the world. This is our thanksgiving for the love of life we are living.” It was noted that creatives should also strive to be innovative against the backdrop of the pandemic.

Minister Mitchell also acknowledged the struggle of entertainers in these pandemic times. He said, “Tonight as we celebrate artistes’ many achievements we cannot ignore the fact that this celebration is happening in a new normal (Covid-19). The pandemic continues to affect the performance of your craft through the cancellation of concerts, elimination of opportunities for overseas gigs, workshops and events which provide an avenue to earn.”

Mitchell spoke about imminent plans for creatives. He said, “The Finance Minister (Colm Imbert) announced as a fiscal measure an increase in the Corporate Tax Allowance incentive from $6 million to $12 million dollars. Corporate Trinidad and Tobago can now increase their sponsorship budgets to sponsor more creative projects or more artistes in the same financial year.”

He added, “ This incentive targets local education or entertainment and local production companies and also applies to companies which sponsor sporting activities, events, arts and culture. The enhanced measure becomes effective in January 2021. Our Ministry will go on an education campaign about how artistes can benefit from a new fiscal measure.”

National Cultural Policy

On The National Cultural Policy, which was recently laid in Parliament, Mitchell said, “It will be supported by a Cabinet-approved National Cultural Recognition Policy. It speaks about how we recognise and reward artistes. It’s all encompassing and provides solutions to improve cultural development. I will be speaking more about it in the coming months and how it can impact cultural icons, legends and high performing artistes.”

Mitchell also said to date, about 1,100 grants were disbursed from the $25 million Cultural Relief Grant. The Micro-Enterprise Grant Programme and the Income Support Relief Grants were also provided. The cost of rental of State-owned performing spaces was significantly reduced.

Special Appreciation for the contribution to calypso

Hugh Grant

Wilton Howell

Long and Distinguished Service to the Calypso Organisation

Kassman (Wayne McDonald)

Long and Distinguished Service to Calypso

Organiser (Leydon Joseph)

Long and Distinguished Service to the Calypso Artform

Tallish (Francis Adams)

Gary Cordner

Kaiso Mac (Kenneth McConney)

Rando (Carlos Andrews)

Lady B (Ingrid Brathwaite)

Nancey (Maureen De Noon)

Black C’zar (Ronald O’ Caesar)

Distinguished Contribution to Arts and Culture

Errol Fabien

Christopher Laird

Rawle Gibbons

Supporting Vocalist

Long and Distinguished Contribution to Calypso Music

Allan Elizabeth “Maggie” Julien

Special Appreciation-Musician

Contribution to the promotion of Calypso Music

Arthur Marcial

Albert Bushe

Outstanding Contribution to the Calypso Music

Producer/Sound Engineer-Neil Bernard

Outstanding Contribution to the Calypso Music-promoter

Lorraine O’ Connor

Errol Peru

Special Appreciation-Media

John Benoit

Current 2020 Achievers

Sharissa Camejo—Junior Calypso Monarch

Makeda Darius—National Calypso Queen

Banjela (Addelon Braveboy) Young King

College Boy Jesse (Jesse Stewart) Groovy Soca Monarch

Brian London—National Extempo Champion

Terri Lyons—National Calypso Monarch

Neil “Iwer” George and

Kees Dieffenthaller —International Soca Monarch and Road March Champions

Lifetime Achievement Award

Crazy (Edwin Ayoung)

Calypso Is Christmas Too!

Special Appreciation for Parang Soca

Bindley B (Bindley Benjamin) (collected by Lancelot Benjamin)

Ninja (Kenson Neptune)

Performances

Music provided by Len Cummings and the Wailers, and Chorus by the Pips

Pannist

Kern Summerville

Calypso Welcome

Brian London

Gary Cordner-”Red, White and Black”

Duane Ta’zyah O’Connor National Junior Calypso Monarch-”Break the Silence”

1st runner up

Devon Seale-”Fashion Show”

Brother Mudada (Allan Fortune)—”Good Time Pioneers”

Makeda Darius—”Not Martin”

Banjela (Addelon Braveboy)—”T’is We Season”

Typher (Cuthbert Blackette) —”Die With Meh Dignity”

Alicia Richards-”Woman In Law”

Terri Lyons-National Calypso Monarch- “Obeah”

Ninja (Kenson Neptune)-”Parang De Wrong House”

College Boy Jesse (Jesse Stewart)-”Happy Song”

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