Brother Valentino

Brother Valentino: Life is a stage

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Staff Article
Interview Recorded: June 12, 2005
Posted: July 07, 2005

The Grenadian born Anthony Emrold Phillip, better known in the Calypso arena as 'Brother Valentino', has proven his worth as a riveting performer, expressing his political and social awareness through songs such as 'Life is a Stage', 'Stay up Zimbabwe' and 'Dis Place Nice'. Brother Valentino has expressed his love for the Calypso artform, the struggles of aspiring Calypsonians, as well as the behind the scenes ordeals of Calypsonians. Valentino walks us through his life experiences and the ups and downs of the Calypso world, which is largely unknown by those outside the realm. Valentino tells it as it is.

Check out his photo album at:

As far back as I could remember

Anthony Emrold Phillip 'Brother Valentino'
Brother Valentino
As far back as I could remember, I grew up in a home with music that I was attracted to and conscious of. That music was Calypso; thanks to my old man and my old lady who really had that love for Calypso. At the time, Calypso was really the music of the day. I guess this was because the population could have related to Calypso better than any other music; it was the happenings of the day. History has always been recorded by a Calypsonian. Calypso was part of us; it was a part of the population, so automatically I was a part of that too.

Sometimes my old man would buy records from 'Beginner' and 'Cristo'. 'Lord Kitcherner' used to send records from England at the time as well. My father always had his collections, and he was very selective about his music. Since I was a child at home, I always had the opportunity to share that with him. Back then we had the gramophone with the seventy-eight speed fat records, and if the record fell, it would break. I was from that era, and kaiso was part of me.

Of course, if my old man was alive when I was older, I would have taken in some sort of academics; I might not have been the Calypsonian I am today. I guess he had other ideas for me.

Before my father died, he paid for my education. At that time, you could not make it in school among the other guys because of how the whole system was set up. That is why they always had the 'progressive' ones, and they had the odd ones. The odd man had to pay for their children to go to school. I attended one of those institutions, but only for a very short time, because my old man who paid for it, died. I guess I had the mental potential to do something, and my father had seen that too. What I really saw was the Calypso, the love and the appreciation for the music, but I never really thought about being a Calypsonian at the time.

As time went by, my mom was still trying, so she sent me to learn how to operate printers at a printery. The company at the time was called Yueles Printery on Marines Square, which is now called Independence Square. Somehow or the other, it just did not work out, so I went to learn how to be an electrician. That did not work out either. What crowned it off was when my mom said she would give it one more try. At the time she knew someone at Mc Ecneary, so she sent me there to learn mechanics. After about a week, the guy made me lift up some heavy batteries and it affected my back. I told my mom about it, and she told me I would have to quit that job. She then sent me to learn tailoring.

It was the tailor shop that made up my mind for me, because tailoring is a sit down sort of lazy job. All the tailors back then had their radio fusion, which was radio fusion "A" and radio fusion "B". An up switch was for one station, and a down switch was for another station. That is where it all started, because while you are doing your tailoring, you are also listening to music right through. The Calypso music used to be playing, and this thing kept going in you, and you would be singing along and getting the feel of things. It was right there in that tailor shop when I really started to think seriously about singing.


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