Brother Valentino

Brother Valentino: Life is a stage

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

Everybody identifies with their music

Brother Valentino and Roberta Flack
Brother Valentino
and Roberta Flack

We have to look at the economical developments that are taking place around the art; and we are not talking about television rights yet. And then you have the man who may sometimes want to come and shoot something. He might make some arrangement with somebody except the Calypsonian who is performing, and you find that the person will make a deal.

We have to watch very carefully for the video cameras also. That is something separate from the CD piracy. Right now I have a pirated CD here with my music. I went to the States and I couldn't believe it. The only thing that made me realize it was a pirated copy was that they shifted two of the tunes that were on the original, in the order, and they put in two other tunes. That was the only difference between the original CD and the pirated copy. When I caught the guy in the act, he said, "Hear what Valy, the only thing I could do is give you some of the CD's and you could sell them." If he could give me some of my own CD's to sell, can you imagine how many he is printing?

That is the most serious problem we are having. At the end of the day; after all is said and done, and with all the hard work involved, when a man could still find a way to cheat, that is hard. The problem continues, but life goes on. I still have to deal with challenges. You still have to accept challenges, because life is a challenge, and nobody ever told me it would have been easy. I am surviving, which is the most important thing, and the people like me. At the end of the day I like what I am doing.

The situation is not at it's worst, but it can always get better. Somebody will have to pay the consequences for that at some point in time because every so often, they will still hold one of those guys and make him pay the price. There is a very serious law that they have passed where that is concerned, and they are enforcing it. That is one thing the police do not make joke with at all. If you are playing your Reggae thing and your American thing, they are not studying you, but from the time they hear a Calypso, anything local, they gone with you. Our music is being protected, and I really appreciate that. This year was C.O.T.T's biggest collection of money and we were well treated.

I have a show on the 24th of this month June, in Howard DC and I am leaving on the 23rd June. 'Singing Sandra', 'Bomber', 'Johnny King' and I, will be going to Howard University. Every year I go out, but last year I took a rest. Out there you get a lot of respect and more appreciation, even from the same Trini who play he took the thing for granted. When he is out there he realizes kaiso is his thing, and it is what he has to identify with it. Everybody identifies with their music.

Everybody identifies with their flag too. With the cab drivers, whether they are Vincentian, Grenadian or whatever, you would know them because their flag is always on their car. The flag thing became rampant, because your flag identifies who you are. On Labour Day there were many flags, and each flag represented its country. I have been to a lot of places and many states. Sometimes too, you run into a certain amount of promoters, and it is starting to get monotonous. Then you realize this thing is not making too much sense again.

After you have been through it all the time, you could do without it. These guys and them now get so smart, and they are trained. If you charge them two thousand US dollars, they are checking the exchange and telling themselves that it is twelve thousand TT dollars, and is too much money to give you. Under normal circumstances, a dollar is a dollar in any country. It is the Trinidadian promoters who are doing that, because they are the ones who promote Calypso. Those guys and them are smart. I got to realize that they were checking the money in TT dollars, and that wasn't making too much sense. I am not too keen on going there again. A little Washington isn't too bad though. It is a different kind of environment and a different kind of people. You will be dealing with more people who are in the University of Howard, and they are more disciplined. The guys and them in New York are hustling, and it is a good bit of them. Not me and those fellas; I had enough of that.


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