Dear Brother Resistance, I want to ask you for a favour. I want you and your executive to reconsider and reorganise that show that you had on Saturday, March 13, at Queen’s Hall in celebration of 100 years of the calypso tent. I want to change your minds about the entire experience.
I hope you would use a different cast from the one that you had assembled, and I plead with you to have urgent consultations with sponsors, financiers and producers who are knowledgeable about musical presentations of such magnanimity.
The passage of 100 years of calypso tents is too important to be treated as lightly as I have observed. Consider how often you and the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) executive have quoted the memorable words “By Calypso our Stories are told”, from Mighty Sniper’s “Portrait of Trinidad”. The calypso tent therefore, is not only a venue for entertainment but it is our unique national archive, an institution which we have created, which is replenished annually and which we have gifted to our region and the Caribbean diaspora.
I mean, who chose the calypsoes for the show? There was hardly a selection that was celebratory except Mudada’s, “The Mecca’’. All Rounder’s “Garlic Sauce’’ was unsavoury. What in heaven’s sake was Versatile singing? What were SuperBlue and Aaron Duncan doing, really?
Who costumed the female calypsonians, Terry Lyons, Karene Asche, Sexy Susie (Natasha Nurse) and Maria Bhola?
Were their outfits the portraying characters from a yet-to-be-produced Carnival band?
Where did you get that orchestra whose music director was disrespectfully gathering up scoresheets on stage even before the show had come to an end?
I can’t believe you did not appreciate the importance of what you wanted to do, otherwise you and the executive would not have attempted it. But clearly, it was beyond your scope.
I viewed the TTT telecast on Monday and I am more convinced now that I was accurate when I reviewed a virtual show recently put on by Sekon Sta. In my critique, I mentioned how Rubadiri Victor made reference to a telegenic performance, which falls into what I know as “the experience economy”. That performance was not telegenic.
You and your executive could look at my article of Friday, February 23, 2018, “Carnival, Calypso and The Experience Economy” if you want some reference for a first-class celebration.
My statement was, “Of themselves the calypso tents were usually wonderful experiences. Since Railway Douglas (Walter Douglas) began the first calypso tent in 1921, some tents have made efforts to change with the times.
“In 1976 there was Professionals Tent which contracted the late spoken word artiste, Cheryl Byron”.
“Some six years later the Martineau brothers offered another kind of marketing and programming at the Spektakula Forum. One of the co-founders, Frank Martineau, recently said, “Managers of calypso tents may need to rethink the way they market their shows...”
There was no recognition for experiences (that word again) like these and others in your production.
From one culture man to another, wheel and come again. The nation is waiting.