Brother Valentino

Brother Valentino: Life is a stage

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

My most memorable experience

Brother Valintino, Peggy Castanada - Phillip and son Ade
Brother Valintino, Peggy Castanada - Phillip and
son Ade

My most memorable experience on stage was my first challenge as a solo artist in 1975, doing 'Poet and Prophet'. At the end of the day we had eight sold out shows, which was very successful, even though the price to come in at the gate was four dollars. Another memorable experience was performing for the Grenada Revolution in 1980, and going through the whole experience leading up to 1983. Being a Grenadian, I was being recognized by the government. A man should be proud of his birthplace. But, if you ask me, although I am still proud of the place I was born in, I would not trade Trinidad for anywhere else. When the Grenadian Prime Minister and they were celebrating their twenty-fifth year anniversary, they called me and gave me a plaque as an appreciation for being the Grenadian artiste who was doing good outside. They still have me in mind. As a matter of fact, I have to go to perform for them on the 2nd of July 2005. 'Poet and Prophet' was a memorable experience, and I know why. It was one of the experiences I would not forget. Then there was 'Blood Brothers' with Stalin and myself. Those were some outstanding shows.

Outside is something else. I do not like to talk too much about outside because sometimes when I try to tell people about outside, a man might be thinking, "He just saying that." But outside was nice too. I had the opportunity to perform in a place called Sound Of Brazil. At the time, very few Calypsonians had ever performed there. It was one of the prestigious nightclubs down in New York. The audience was not local; only the musicians. There were two sold out shows, and I was very surprised. I have also been to Philadelphia, Texas, Atlanta; you name them and I have been there. Within the communities in those States, it would seem as if everybody having a Carnival. All of a sudden everybody want to have a Carnival. Boston, Texas and Washington all want to have their Carnival. You have opportunities now to go to a lot of states, even if it is to perform in a show for the Carnival. You must have kaiso, because it is one of the main ingredients in the Carnival all over. It gives me opportunities in Miami and in other places. Although you might have a few smart men in New York, it is really like being home. Everywhere you turn you will see somebody you know. You feel at home in New York, and that is where the bad habit comes in. That is where those fellas and them have to exercise their bad habits. After a while, you do get fed up of that and you want to move away from it. That is why I did not go anywhere at all last year. I had made up my mind this year that I was going to take a rest, but my wife is begging me to go, and everything is almost set.

I want to attract this young generation here now. I would like to make friends with them through my music. I am looking forward to at least doing some more recordings. Right now I am in the studio, and I just completed a CD with ten tracks. The only finishing touches now are to put on the background vocals and mix down. I am really looking forward to launching my new CD, which is entitled 'One Day Soon'. I want to launch it for my birthday. Leston is the man holding up things. He just has to give me the green light.

Around this time there are Carnivals going on, so these guys and them from Antigua and Barbados come down to the studio to do what they have to do and they go back. Some of the guys are down in the studio now, and that is why my stuff isn't completed as yet. A lot of those guys come down to Leston. He has a very good commercial sound. It is very attractive to the listener. Leston Paul's music is something else. It is very enticing music. Sometimes you may come with something mediocre, and when Leston finishes with you, you are good to go. That is one of the reasons that I didn't do any recordings before, because Leston was the man I was really waiting on. I love to work with him. I would confess that my greatest piece of arrangement was done by a guy whose name is Earl Rodney. That is the guy who did 'Stay Up Zimbabwe' and so on. I always like to give him his credit. He is one of the great arrangers around. Earl Rodney is the man who arranged for Solo Harmonites in all of the Panorama competitions they won. He is also from Point Fortin.


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