Brother Valentino

Brother Valentino: Life is a stage

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

I see this society like a jigsaw puzzle

Brother Valentino
Brother Valentino
When you go to a studio and you burn up all that energy, from the time the guy gives you that first sample, where would you be heading? Not at the radio stations to see if you get a play? That is the objective. That sample is what you are going with, and it is whether or not they are going to play it. You have to go with something to make sure you will get a play or else you will be compromising, and that is one of the problems that we have: we compromise.

I think that the public is being deprived of the real thing in terms of kaiso. They are being deprived of their own thing. When you turn on the radio, you will always want to hear a good kaiso if you have a choice. As it is, you have to take what you get on the airwaves, which is a sad thing. They are setting you up for the fetes with the music that you listen too on the airwaves. Right now our stuff is being buried, so you have to come to the live show to hear us.

What makes me feel really good is the appreciation that we get from the audience when we do our live shows. We know that the audience is starving for that sort of thing. There is a saying that "out of evil cometh good." Well right now I am enjoying the best of my career. There is always that audience out there waiting and you cannot just allow the older generation be locked off by the younger generation. What about my generation? Who are catering for them? They want entertainment too. They are the more disciplined and well-organized audience (the more experienced ones). They would show more appreciation, and you feel better performing for them at this age.

I have asked myself why the Calypsonians do not own a radio station. Right now what I know we are doing is putting up a recording studio. That is a surety, and it is on the way. The follow up to that could be a radio station dedicated to the culture, or if not, they will have to buy some space. It is either one or the other. They will have to seriously do something about that, which they intend to do. Right now they are going through a transition, because elections will be soon. Once they go through the transition, they will set out their programme and so on. The recording studio is definitely on stream. I guess it is a step forward in our direction.

Coming back to the issue of Calypsonians music being aired and advertised, I feel that we should have a better space regionally. These people play their own Calypsonians most of the time. They would play the Trinidadians, but fifty-five or sixty percent would be their local artistes. Why can't we do that? Barbados does it, and I guess Jamaica does it too. We are so cosmopolitan here, and the society is so complicated that if you try to figure it out, it is like a jigsaw puzzle. I see this society like a jigsaw puzzle. The Prime Minister said that he was going to give licenses to about ten more radio stations. When these ten more radio stations came into effect, it should have been such a good thing when they were added to the other radio stations, but somehow it seems as though less Calypsos are being played. When you were expecting more revenue from playing more Calypsos, the radio stations played fewer Calypsos. I do not know the reason for not wanting to play your own thing in your own land as a national, and they cannot give a proper reason why.

Another thing that we have failed to do was to document things.I find that we could have had more documentation for the generations to follow and trace.

Pantrinbago right now is more active than us, for more than one reason. I guess it is because of the volume of people that they have to deal with. They are very viable and their ideas are always flowing. They always have programmes set up. The pan man is always active, and the community is always active. Right now they are getting ready to do a big show in Madison Square Garden. It is really something to get that volume of people into one place. The steelband members are sometimes about eighteen members and more in one band, and you might have about twelve bands. You wonder how these guys and them work these things out with all the preparations and the accommodations. But, Pantrinbago has a way of making things happen for their members even if they come into some heavy criticisms after (and they are always taking pot shots at Arnold). Nevertheless, they have a way of making things active for their members, which we would really like our Association to do. The resources are there, and once they have the right proposal and the right ideas, it can work. For example, next week Saturday (July, 18th), we would be taking part in a competition with the zones. I would be representing the east zone. It is a nice thing to keep the guys active during the year. We need things like that to keep us going. We have made a step forward.


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