TUCO’s 2014 Boat Ride Interviews

By TriniSoca Reporters
Event Date: November 08, 2014

On Saturday 8th November 2014, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) held its annual Boat Ride Party on board the Coral Vision Cruise Boat as the crowning close to Calypso History Month.

This year marked the thirteenth annual celebration of the organisation’s Boat Ride event titled, “Celebration.” This event is aimed at raising funds to further TUCO’s Welfare Fund. TUCO’s concern for the challenging personal welfare of calypsonians has inspired the birth of this fund which has been in existence for a long time. The fund has intensified and revitalized over the last five years to ensure that calypsonians receive the assistance in a dignified and respectful manner, unlike back in the days when one had to pass a hat around during a show to collect funds for those in need. Through this boat ride, as indeed with many other ventures, TUCO relentlessly continues to give the needed support to an aging population of artistes who have to this date, received little support from the greater community and suffer tangible losses from the onslaught of musical piracy.

TRINISOCA.COM spoke with members of TUCO and avid fans and supporters of the art form.


Karega Mandela, TUCO’s Public Relations Officer

Karega Mandela, TUCO's Public Relations Officer
Karega Mandela, TUCO’s Public Relations Officer

TRINISOCA: What do you want to get out of this evening’s event?

KAREGA MANDELA: To show that we could have a kaiso Boat Ride and have some fun with kaiso music alone. It is a fun night. A time for kaiso lovers to really come and enjoy themselves as we celebrate Calypso History Month. It is a nice little celebration for all the warriors who have gone before. Tonight is a night for celebration and for people to come and have fun with their favourite kaisonian and meet and greet people.

TRINISOCA: Do you think events like this are important for the fraternity?

KAREGA MANDELA: It is, because sometimes we can’t always meet in a confined situation. We need to socialize a bit more. Tonight is a night for socializing, no competition, no tenseness, just freeing up and having a good time and listen to some music from Trinidad and Tobago.”

TRINISOCA: It seems to be a very family oriented atmosphere with regards to the membership.

KAREGA MANDELA: Kaiso is a family thing and plenty families are a part of kaiso. Even if it’s not a physical family, kaiso is a friendship and a family kind of vibes. Kaiso is family all how, from the tents, from the zones, different aspects but all one family.

TRINISOCA: This evening’s event is for what?

KAREGA: It is to raise funds…the Welfare Fund because we have some calypsonians who fall on bad times or situations and would need a person to help them take care of themselves with pride and dignity so they don’t have to pass some hat in no show for anybody to disrespect them.

TRINISOCA: How long has the fund been existing in TUCO?

KAREGA MANDELA: It has been around for a long while but for the last five years it has intensified and revitalized and helping people with their homes, if somebody roof blows off or if somebody needs medicine with an operation because long time when somebody was sick, you go in a show and you pass a hat [around] and so on. I find that is kind of demeaning and some people are not comfortable with that so we say if we could help somebody in a dignified way and privately, and we don’t publicize who we help, that’s internal.

TRINISOCA: We spoke about ‘Calypso Rose’ last week but let us touch on her again. What kind of ripple do you think that is creating in the calypso fraternity?

KAREGA MANDELA: Well it is good for kaiso in general and for the women in particular because all the doctorates before was ‘Sparrow,’ ‘Stalin,’ ‘Roy Cape,’ and ‘Chalkdust.’ ‘Rose’ thing is significantly as strong and positive for the women folks in calypso. You could keep your head up and keep your chin up and you can achieve anything.

TRINISOCA: So you are saying greater acceptance from the mainstream society for the role of the calypsonian.

KAREGA MANDELA: Kaiso has always been a mouthpiece but I think the intellectuals are now understanding that kaiso covers all the aspects of life. Any subject matter you think about, it has a kaiso to deal with that you just have to do some research and you will find a kaiso to deal with that. The politicians ain’t work it out yet but I think the intellectuals kind of studying the work and realise that kaiso touch a lot in the society and they start to give a little bit of credit for the work it is doing for Trinidad and Tobago. No tourist board or anything has ever promoted Trinidad and Tobago as kaiso does. I hope the Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism will see the need and the level of work that kaiso do for no money at all, just for our love for Trinidad and Tobago.

TRINISOCA: What are some of the challenges the fraternity is faced with?

KAREGA MANDELA: One of the challenges is some more concert halls. We hardly have concert halls to perform in. We used to perform in the Jean Pierre stadium but with the sporting situation, it’s not really built for that. We need some more performing spaces. We also need some more local content on the radio stations because when foreign music plays the royalties for the foreign music are being exported to different countries, so if it stays here, more artistes will get a chance to develop themselves.

TRINISOCA: Do you think the music piracy is still as big an issue as it was a couple of years ago?

KAREGA MANDELA: It is bigger now and the frightening thing about that is you see pirates in town selling CD’s and a police standing next to you looking for a thief and don’t realize pirates are thieving from the artiste. The authorities still don’t see piracy as a challenge but it is a serious challenge for men having hits. Long time when you have a hit it is twenty or thirty thousand dollars, you have a hit now and it is three or four thousand dollars. The piracy thing is serious. You might not be able to stop piracy but you have to put a dent in it. You can’t be so brave to come out in the road and expose your goods. In Trinidad and Tobago pirates just come out like normal and police passing up and down looking for thieves and passing pirates straight.

TRINISOCA: Does the organization plan to doing anything in terms of raising awareness of the issue?

KAREGA MANDELA: We are trying to talk to the Attorney General’s office and the Minister of National Authorities. Of course we have to make the public more aware but we also have to let the security forces put a little pressure on the pirates so it wouldn’t be so open. The fear factor has to come in. Piracy is in a lot of countries but it isn’t as open as how it is in Trinidad and Tobago.

TRINISOCA: Is there anything else you would like to add?

KAREGA MANDELA: Long live kaiso. Just love yourself, love kaiso and kaiso is the voice of the people and by kaisos our stories are told.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Beveryl Martin, staff member of TUCO

Beveryl Martin
Beveryl Martin

TRINISOCA: Where in Trinidad are you from?

BEVERLY MARTIN: I am from Waterhole Road, Cocorite. In October, Calypso History Month, we had an Interfaith Service and Pastor Dottin was one of the main speakers. He told us that the calypsonian is the voice of the people and the calypsonian could reach a wide range of people. For instance, he [Pastor Dottin] is telling us when the government do good we must sing that they did good and when they do bad we must also sing that they did bad but don’t ever let a politician use us as a tool.

TRINISOCA: Do you think calypsonians allow that?

BEVERLY MARTIN: Well, some calypsonians do and some don’t. My President, Lutalo Masimba, whatever party he belongs to nobody knows. He is the head of this organization. He doesn’t take any part in politics. Whatever government is there he knows that the organization would have to work with them.

TRINISOCA: What is this boat cruise about?

BEVERLY MARTIN: Our boat cruise is in aid of Calypso History Month but the proceeds from the boat cruise go towards a welfare fund for our members.

TRINISOCA: And this includes who?

BEVERLY MARTIN: Any member of TUCO who is in need, as long as you have a legitimate reason for wanting something, weather is medical help or so, the organization always help them. Besides the boat cruise, we have a yearly magazine that [go towards] that too.

TRINISOCA: What other roles does TUCO have?

BEVERLY MARTIN: TUCO has many, many roles. We are supposed to see about the calypsonians. They say by calypso our stories are told…TUCO sees about calypsonians. Indeed our president Mr. Lutalo Masimba is a very great man.

TRINISOCA: What are you hoping to get out of this evening’s event?

BEVERLY MARTIN: Ohh…a good time!

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Steve ‘Ras Kommanda’ Pascall

Ras Kommanda
Ras Kommanda

TRINISOCA: Where are you from and what is your position in TUCO?

RAS KOMMANDA: I am from San Fernando, the heart of the town, Victoria Street. I am the chairman of TUCO, South Central Zone of which I am proud. I have a membership of about one hundred and ninety something. I have six executives including a Vice Chairman, a secretary, a treasurer and two trustees.

TRINISOCA: How long have you been with TUCO?

RAS KOMMANDA: I have been with TUCO from it’s inception since in 1992 when there were two different organizations. The Trinidad and Tobago Calypsonians Association and the Trinidad and Tobago Calypsonians Organization so we unified and became TUCO.

TRINISOCA: It is a union, not so?

RAS KOMMANDA: It is a union for the calypsonians and the calypso fraternity. But we go way beyond that. We do educational programs, we do developmental programs for the art form. We also do promotions as well and we do marketing. There is a whole set of different things that you can come to TUCO for assistance. You have an event and you want us to sell it, we can do that for you. You want us to get it online for you we can do that. You want us to get it on radio program, we can do that for you.

TRINISOCA: So this is for you membership. You basically take care of your membership.

RAS KOMMANDA: Yes. Taking Utmost Care of Our Own which is also the acronym for TUCO. Although it is Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation, our motto is Taking Utmost Care of your own, so you use the acronym TUCO again.

TRINISOCA: Are you seeing a lot of young people coming into the art form?

RAS KOMMANDA: Yeah man! The art form is well taken care of presently. For the past few years is only youths under the age of thirty who have been reigning [Calypso] Monarchs like Karen Asche, Wayne O’Connor, and now recently ‘Chucky.’ The thing in good hands.

TRINISOCA: You don’t think the social media and the fact that a lot of the young people are fixating on their computers, cell phones, isolating themselves in the technology are perhaps having a negative impact on the development of the art form?

RAS KOMMANDA: The problem with the development of this art form is the radio stations. If we get more radio play you find more people will be able to hear the music. Young people love kaiso because[ I have seen them already…they traveling in taxis and hear some of the vintage and I mean, to see the smile on their faces, they love the art form but its just that the radio stations are not playing enough kaiso. Once they play it…because it’s positive lyrics, but there are people with agendas who don’t want the nation to become educated. Calypsonians educate, inform and relate as well as entertain and as long as they are denying the youths that art form you’ll find that the youths won’t have that consciousness.

Youths talk about conscious but they listen to reggae. But what about your consciousness in your country? It’s time that we let our youths hear what it is happening in our country to the conscious lyrics of calypso. I could tell you for example, anything in history, it has been documented by calypso. Every single event, from the first plane, the Zeppelin, to the man on the moon to as recent as Ebola. You must hear two or three songs for carnival 2015 on Ebola. We document the world events and it’s unfair that we, in our own country can’t get the opportunity to hear ourselves on our radio frequency.

TRINISOCA: What do you think is responsible for that?

RAS KOMMANDA: Well…people have their own agenda and some of the politicians can’t take a lash. In the olden days, like Dr. Eric Williams, our first father of the Nation, he used to say, “let the jackass bray.” Now, these days politicians and them taking it personal. They can’t take a picong and that is the art form, that is Trinidad and Tobago, that is where we come from.

TRINISOCA: Do you think that perhaps this is how they recognize the power of the calypsonians?

RAS KOMMANDA: Yes, they know that. They know that we could pull up a government and we could pull down a government as well because the Calypsonian represent the voice. We don’t just wake up and sing willy-nilly. We are not like Stanley who created Batman and who created Robin. We listen to the ground troops, which is…I go to the market…I love to walk…when you walk and you travel in taxis, you hear…you get the buzz. It’s like a bee…you traveling and you are going from plant to plant. I like that style so I hear the thing and when I hear it I go home and [write]. So many times you get ideas. Sometimes I might be sitting down and you just hear somebody say something and they don’t realize how powerful what they just say, so we take that and utilize it and just feed it back to the nation.

TRINISOCA: Would you like to share one of your happier memories in the community or in the art form performing?

RAS KOMMANDA: One of my happiest moments was in 1999 when I made my first Dimanche Gras and I sang a song named “Trinbago Rise.” That was one of my happiest moments because a lot of guys came into the art form, reach a ripe old age and died and never reach as far as the semi-finals in Skinner Park. So to make that pinnacle, that Dimanche Gras night, that is a big thing. The other moments are like when ‘Stalin’ invited me to perform in the last big concert he had. Things like that make the art form worthwhile and when your music is playing on the radio and somebody call you and say, “Ras, I love that song, I love that idea.” Many great moments.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any advice to offer to any young person looking to get into the field at this time?

RAS KOMMANDA: Yes. If you want to get into the art form as a young person, first you must love it. It’s like agriculture, agriculture losing the youths? Nobody wants to plant garden so it is the same like kaiso. Because of the musical construction, I think that is one of the deterrent. They like the more uptempo music hence the reason why they gravitate to soca. But if they want to come into this calypso art form, you must come with a purpose. You must come with wanting to say something to better your society, to better your peers and if you know you are coming for just an agenda about money, anytime you make money your primary objective, you can’t be a calypsonian. You have to come first to see about your people. That is what the calypsonian role was. Always to see about his people, to spread the message. We are the griots from morning time in Africa so we have to maintain that style and that focus if the art form is to stay alive.”

TRINISOCA: Is there anything else you would like to add?

RAS KOMMANDA: Yes. I would like to tell Trinidad and Tobago to love your own, love your art form, respect it. When we the artistes do the songs please purchase the original. It’s hard, its a very expensive art form. When we struggle for years and one day we get a hit and you let the pirates sell you it for $20, that’s unfair. So support your own, love your own because without your own you can’t be loving anybody else’s own.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Curtis ‘Dirty Curty’ Conyette

Ras Kommanda
Ras Kommanda

TRINISOCA: What is your position in TUCO?

DIRTY CURTY: I am the treasurer and office administrator for the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) East Zone. I am interested in the work, I do the work. I love the art form and I do it because of the people that went before. There are so many important people that went before and they never got any interviews.

TRINISOCA: What is your stage name?

DIRTY CURTY: ‘Dirty Curty’…the ‘Curty’ comes from my first name Curtis. When I sing on yuh, yuh’ll wish I wash meh mouth out with soap because there are no sacred cows excepting religion and if religion do something stupid, I will run a couple of lines but I don’t deal with religion and the religious. But politics? That’s my baby, because politicians make promises and as soon as they get elected…what happens to the promises when they get elected? Nobody knows. PNM, DLP, NAR, UNC, COP, PP…all ah dem is meh meat, because in my opinion a politician is a corbeaux. Some people say they are dogs but a dog is a faithful animal.

A politician flies high as soon as you elect him and the only time he comes down to earth again is when he wants to pick the flesh off your bones. That is why I do not do interviews. I am not a very good person to interview. I don’t have anything nice to say. Trinidad nice, the people nice. We are hoping that the politicians will do what we put them there to do but they don’t and then they are so bold face, they will tell you something like “come go down the road with me, I am the caring party.”

When we look around, there is nothing for the East West Corridor. It has a bag of places in the country where nothing is happening and then we have a whole pile of commercials with a set of stooges. Maybe they actually believe what they are saying…I don’t know. But they are paying to have commercials on cable. When I am watching my basketball and relaxing, here comes the People Partnership with a billion dollar commercial…gimme a break please, we ain’t stupid no more. It’s not just the politicians and them went to big schools. All of us went to big school and we are trying to make sure our children go to big schools too. I speak [from] my heart. We put them there to do a job for us and as soon as they reach in there, they do a job on us.

TRINISOCA: Do you think that is one of the major problems facing the country?

DIRTY CURTY: That is the major problem. Why don’t the politicians start running the country instead of running over the people? That’s what they do! And that’s why as a political commentator I’ll always have a topic to sing because politicians with all their degrees etc., etc., they are stupid. They don’t care about the people and they don’t realize that the same people who put them there will move them! Eric Williams used to give a little back pay every five years and that is what they feel they could fool us with. Eric died plenty, plenty years ago.”

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


William ‘Dr. Wil B’ Bannister

William 'Dr. Wilby' Bannister
William ‘Dr. Wil B’ Bannister

TRINISOCA: What is your position in TUCO?

DR. WIL B: I am one of the trustees for TUCO North Zone. TUCO has four zones, East, North, South/Central and Tobago. I am one of the trustees of the biggest zone, North.

TRINISOCA: What are you hoping to get out of this evening’s event?

DR. WIL B: Well…it’s much more than this evening first of all. This is just the gravy of the real pie.
This mainly is to go towards the Welfare Fund for all calypsonians. We have to get self sufficient so we are raising our funds for when our guys get sick we will be able to help them. We might not go one hundred percent but right now we are putting a board in place to manage that particular fund. This [boat ride party] is all towards the Welfare Fund.

TRINISOCA: How long have you been with the association?

DR. WIL B: From it’s inception in 1992 from the old Calypso Organization it adopted TUCO as Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation. Everybody came together and I was in it from that time. As a matter of fact I was the only original member of the North Zone. The first election I was elected trustee and I am still a trustee twenty something years later.

TRINISOCA: What are the other events that the organization does with regards to Calypso History Month?

DR. WIL B: Well you know October is designated as Calypso History Month and we had a lot of events. We had workshops for the children. I personally into fine art too. I launched a necktie line called “The Ties That Bind.” It’s Caribbean stuff. You can personalize it too. Whatever design you want I will put it on the tie.

TRINISOCA: Where is it based?

DR. WIL B: In Belmont where I live. You can check TUCO and you can check me. I had an exhibition in National Library and Information System Authority (NALIS) from October 11th to October 23rd 2014 highlighting all my art work. I have an ongoing series called “The Monarch and Icon” series where I put on canvas all the past and present Monarchs and all the guys we consider icons, from Sparrow right up, all the guys. Right now TUCO has almost forty pieces from me.

TRINISOCA: Is this your personal project? Is it affiliated with TUCO?

DR. WIL B: Well it ties in with TUCO because TUCO supports me one hundred percent by taking the art work and when I have shows TUCO part sponsors it. It’s one! It’s one!

TRINISOCA: What are your prices like?

DR. WIL B: Two hundred dollars for one of the hand painted ties. They are all individually handed painted, no prints. I can do a beautiful portrait of you and that will be three to four thousand dollars. It’s all good. Beside the workshop in conjunction with the History Monty because we usually have the workshop around the same time as Calypso History Month, the children could come through and I can explain them the art until they are ready to formally learn the art. In my time growing up in the sixties it was physical. Everything was outdoors, not like now where everything is indoors. I grew being physical from the carvings to the paintings, to the dabbling in the mud. I just went back to John Donaldson [Technical Institute] and those places to enhance it and get certified.

TRINISOCA: Are you working heavily with young people?

DR. WIL B: Yes. As a matter of fact we run our Tent called the Klassic Ruso Tent based in City Hall every year and even picking the cast, our policy is we must have young people amongst the seniors like ‘All Rounder,’ ‘Crazy,’ ‘Contender.’ Young and old don’t really mean age. Like my brethren here, Edwin ‘Stockings’ Brown. He is one of the top performers in our tent. We go back from boyhood.

TRINISOCA: Do you think that in the community, not just Belmont but the national community, that people are still as interested in the arts as they used to be considering what the social media has become where as you see a lot of people are now concentrating themselves, young people indoors and on the computer?

DR. WIL B: I must say, that is one area in which I am personally disappointed. Belmont, where I am from, born and grew up, we formed Belmont Fifth Dimension, that’s a Steel Orchestra right on the Valley Road after St. Francois College in 1973. We played “Bassman” from ‘Shadow’ 1974, we won best playing on the road. We used to bring J’ouvert in those days. I told the youths and them that the pan saved us during the 70’s coming out from the Black Power Movement and all the social unrest. We never used to get paid, but the love of the music developed us, gave us discipline, but now all over the panyard they [youths] liming and nobody in the panyard. I think we lost that for whatever reasons because you know we are having problems with the crime and so on.

Even my beloved band like Desperados had to come off the hill. When you move from your community, that says it all because the community is the band. Nobody wants to come in because of fear. But I always believe that good will overcome the evil so that too will pass. All the evil will pass. I am very optimistic about life and about the young people involved. I read in the papers today they just honoured Sparrow with the children playing all his songs. I feel good. I played pan from 1969 to 1987. I played about twenty years of pan. That is my background. “The Bull” by ‘Lord Kitchener’ in 1969 I was about eighteen or nineteen years old. That was the first pan I played and when I decided to stop playing pan I became a full time calypsonian.

I could have made that transition because we had to learn calypso in those days to play it on the pan. Nobody was reading notation. It was sound and listen and play it on the pan. That is how it was. Now children have notation. It’s good still, all is not lost. We have to keep trying and encouraging them. Where I live I am very cautious in driving home because they play in the road. If they want a ball I will buy a ball for them. If I see them with slippers…they will mash up their toes so I will buy sneakers for them. Sometimes parents can’t afford it. That’s my role, that’s the role I play and I am living it and I am enjoying it.

TRINISOCA: ‘Calypso Rose’ was recently given a PhD. What do you think that signals for the fraternity?

DR. WIL B: That’s important because if you work they are recognizing your work and that says a lot for the calypso fraternity. We feel proud because the same night, she was in Mas Camp and that was the same night of ‘Brother Resistance’ birthday and we had a celebration and she was there that night and that shows how very close she is to the calypso body. I feel honoured. ‘Sparrow’, ‘Roy Cape’, ‘Chalkdust’ ‘Stalin’ all those guys who got it before, we can’t stop. We have to recognize our own people and make them feel something of worth. That’s the only way. When you can do that with your people then we know we are kind of coming full circle. When we are recognizing our people we paying respect to our people. So we kind of move off the foreign taste and get the taste our original taste.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any advice you would like to offer to the young people in the community?

DR. WIL B: Yes. It may sound like a cliché, like a broken record but they cannot do it if their parents are not helping them. I hear parents say, “Go and pick up a book.” That can’t work! Go and pick up a book? And do what? That is a waste of time. That is long time thinking. You have call them and go with them and read with to them. I wouldn’t just tell them to stay in school but to pay attention to the care givers, to the teachers and so on. Everybody can’t be doctors and lawyers. In my time they might have considered me dunce but it have so much value and so much precious wealth within somebody. Just discover the area that they are strong in and nurture that. As I tell parents, if you see your son scratching the walls don’t beat him, buy a scrap book and let him scratch in it and that is a start.

TRINISOCA: So your advice would be more for the parents and not the children?

DR. WIL B: Yes. The parents because the children cannot do anything on their own. All that delinquency we are seeing, check the home situation, check the parents. Children are now starting, they need our guidance and if you guide them the right way everything will be alright.

William ‘Dr. Wilby’ Bannister can be contacted at St. Francois Valley Road, Belmont.
Cell: 1-868-762-7881
Home: 1-868-623-0807

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Joseph Adams

Joseph Adams
Joseph Adams

TRINISOCA: What is your position with TUCO?

JOSEPH ADAMS: I am a trustee with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO).
I am the man they trust with everything. I have to be in tune with most of the operations, the accounts, the trustworthy person so far as the property of the organization is concerned.

TRINISOCA: Are TUCO events well supported?

JOSEPH ADAMS: Yes. For the time I have been involved and that was a little while now. There are some events that might fluctuate in support but basically, yes.

TRINISOCA: This evening’s event is about what?

JOSEPH ADAMS: We have Calypso History Month which is in the month of October and we have a number of events and activities to celebrate Calypso History Month. This [boat ride] is one of them. This is our annual Calypso History Month Boat Ride.

TRINISOCA: ‘Calypso Rose’ won a PhD recently, what do you think that signals for the calypso fraternity?

JOSEPH ADAMS: I think it is a great achievement for the fraternity. ‘Calypso Rose’ has been a calypsonian for many years and she has been a pioneer not only in calypso but for women in calypso. I think anybody in our calypso fraternity who achieves such great honours is a plus for the calypsonians. Why? Because calypsonians, they know where we come from. Long time in certain establishments, they used to say, “No calypsonians and dogs allowed,” so calypso came from right down. It comes now where we have people like ‘Calypso Rose’ receiving an honorary doctorate doctorate, the ‘Might Sparrow’, ‘Black Stalin’, ‘Roy Cape’ and we have people like our president ‘Brother Masimba’ who is very high up intellectually and this is great for calypso.

It means that calypso has gone some place. Do you know that the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Carmona is a calypsonian? He sang in the semi-finals in Skinner Park some years ago. His calypso name was ‘The Prophet of Sisyphus’ so you see where we have gone.

TRINISOCA: So it has gotten mainstream acceptance?

JOSEPH ADAMS: Of course.

TRINISOCA: Do you think this was long overdue?

JOSEPH ADAMS: I think so.

TRINISOCA: Now, what is happening, nowadays, with the advent of the social media, a lot of young people are now retreating into themselves and they are now putting their minds and they focus a lot of their energies in their technology, computers, laptops, cell phones. In light of that do you think that there is a decrease interest in the calypso art form from the young people as oppose to some years ago?

JOSEPH ADAMS: No, no. I wouldn’t say that at all. As a matter of fact I think the introduction of all the new technology will enhance the product. When I was coming up in the car heading this side, I was listening to Kerwin Du Bois song…dem fellas singing calypso. So with all the technology they are in calypso so I think it will really enhance the calypso product.

TRINISOCA: What are you hoping to get out of this evening’s event?

JOSEPH ADAMS: Well, we want to have fun. We want to create a nice love among our friends because the boat ride wouldn’t only be calypsonians but the calypso fraternity, the supporters, the families. I think this is what we are looking to achieve from this event.

TRINISOCA: Events like this, would you say it is important to the fraternity?

JOSEPH ADAMS: Of course it is. Very important.


JOSEPH ADAMS: Why? Because to start with, the revenue what we earn from this event goes directly to a welfare fund for the calypsonians, so it’s not that we are having it because we feel to have fun and it doesn’t matter. It matters because it goes to the welfare fund.

TRINISOCA: Is there any advice you have to offer to any young person who is looking to get into the industry?

JOSEPH ADAMS: Yes, of course. Like any other business, it is not a quick fix. Don’t see calypso, soca, soca chutney, rapso as a quick fix. It is not something you could just jump into and feel, “Ah have a big one ah go make it.” Some people do and some people don’t. The majority don’t. It is a process. You have to work it, you have to love it and you have to stick with it. That is my advice to the young people because sometimes you come in and you feel this is a way out and when you do the first year or the second year you realize….you gone because you get frustrated. It’s not like that.

TRINISOCA: How did you get involved with TUCO? What inspired that?

JOSEPH ADAMS: Because I am a calypsonian and the love that I have for the art form. I saw the need to be involved in the activities of raising the calypso bar. I remember when we started in a nice little thing in a small office in the cruise ship complex quite a number of years ago. That is where we actually started TUCO. I think from where we started to where we are now, we have gone leaps and bounds and I think that is one my main reasons for getting involved. Not just to sing calypso but to help to push the calypso art form.

TRINISOCA: What is your stage name?

JOSEPH ADAMS: I don’t use a stage name. My name is Joseph Adams and I am the person who sang “Man Overboard,” “Ah Real Trini Christmas,” and “They want to kill Meh Piggy.” I don’t really have a stage name. I didn’t want to have a sobriquet. People tried to name me different things but I felt comfortable being Joseph Adams.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Enisha Clairmont of Arouca

Enisha Clairmont
Enisha Clairmont

TRINISOCA: What is your position in TUCO?


TRINISOCA:Can you tell us about this evening’s event?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: This is our fourth annual Calypso History Month Boat Ride. It has been in the planning for years, it’s just that we never really did it until four years ago when we decided to have something extra in the Calypso History Month, where at the end we will have a huge gathering of calypsonians along with the staff to enjoy the ending of the Calypso History month. We also have a Sports and Family Day which closes off the Calypso History Month. Unfortunately this year our Gala is going to close off the Calypso History Month.

TRINISOCA: Where is the Gala due to take place?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: San Fernando, at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA).

TRINISOCA: What are you hoping to get out of this evening’s event?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: We are hoping to get a family atmosphere. Actually the theme of the boat ride is “Celebration.” Celebrating Calypso History Month,celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, any form of celebration. It’s really to get everyone together at the boat ride and just celebrate life. A whole celebration of everything.

TRINISOCA: Would you say that the theme is in keeping with the Trinidad culture, the Joie de vivre?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: Yes, of course it is and us being the Calypsonian Organization, now we celebrate right round the year. Before we use to just celebrate at carnival time but now we want to take it throughout the year because we find that the calypso is being lost as the years go. If we widen the calypso arena to the people of the country the history of the calypso will continue to move forward.

TRINISOCA: Why do you think that the interest in calypso is dwindling?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: I am not really sure but I think it is because of the youths.

TRINISOCA: Do you think that the social media has something to do with it?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: I wouldn’t say that because we are actually into having our calypsonians go onto the social media where they will put your calypsos YouTube. Before, calypsonians didn’t have an avenue or a forum in which to showcase a calypso. We have some very good calypsos that don’t even make it on the stages in the calypso arena in Trinidad and Tobago, they are usually in the background. We decided we will get the recording studios to work with the calypsonians who don’t normally get showcased, and help them to get on You Tube and maybe bring the calypso to where it once was.

TRINISOCA: The vibe with the people who are coming, there seem to be very family oriented atmosphere. What do you think is the cause of that?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: The calypsonians. They like this atmosphere. To tell you the truth, it is their atmosphere. This is what they know and they always support each other . One thing with the calypsonians, they support one another. They give support in anything calypso oriented. They know the importance of being a group, of being with a family. I think this is the reason why they come together.

TRINISOCA: ‘Calypso Rose’ was given a PhD a couple of weeks ago. What does that mean to you as a woman working in the calypso fraternity?

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: Having ‘Calypso Rose’, being a female, getting a PhD, it’s phenomenal. Three men got it before she did so for her getting the doctorate in calypso is fantastic. It is a great feat for a woman to attain a doctorate and it will encourage others because I know persons who are actually trying to obtain the doctorate in the calypso arena as females.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any advice to offer any female who is looking to get into the industry.

ENISHA CLAIRMONT: Sure. It’s not only coming and singing calypso. Remember it is a history, it’s a culture, our culture. This is what we have grown from, from little children coming up. The world has spun so heavily that everything is out there except what is ours. This is our culture, calypso is our culture and we should preserve it. I encourage anybody because it is not only our culture but it is also
a good way for youths to develop themselves in and around the world.

TRINISOCA: Is there anything else you would like to offer at this point in time?

TRINISOCA: Only that our Calypso History month is really to showcase our calypsonians, the love we have for them and the love they have for us. Anyone who is interested in learning calypso, singing calypso, performing in a calypso tent, come out and showcase your talent. It is instilled in us. Anyone could be a calypsonian. We encourage everyone to come out and be a calypsonian.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Edwin ‘Stockings’ Brown

Edwin 'Stockings' Brown
Edwin ‘Stockings’ Brown

TRINISOCA: Edwin ‘Stockings’ Brown: Where are you from?

EDWIN BROWN: Upper St. Francois Valley Road, Belmont.

TRINISOCA: What inspired your stage name ‘Stockings’?

EDWIN BROWN: A friend. He went Canada some years ago when I was small. I used to dance a lot.

TRINISOCA: What are you hoping to get out of this evening’s event?

EDWIN BROWN: Well right now I am normal. I just come on the scene and just seeing how everybody moving but I am feeling all right.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any advice to offer any young person looking to get into the field?

EDWIN BROWN: They have to use their own imagination and somebody has to help them. I am glad for the youths but you have to pick them out. You can’t bawl youths…just youths. You have to pick them out.

TRINISOCA: How do you think one picks them out?

EDWIN BROWN: If you have these youths giving trouble in school and humbugging the rest of children who want to learn…take it from there.

TRINISOCA: So pick the ones who are giving trouble in school and work with them?

EDWIN BROWN: No, no, no. You don’t work with them. Everybody ain’t really come out to be a doctor, so when they come into the school and giving trouble and don’t want to learn, you have to bat (beat?Huh??) them. Who want to learn you have to keep them and less trouble for you.

TRINISOCA: ‘Calypso Rose’ was given a PhD a few weeks ago, what do you think that means for the calypso fraternity?

EDWIN BROWN: She works hard and it’s nice that they gave her something and more than that too.

TRINISOCA: Do you think enough is done by the country to support its calypsonians?

EDWIN BROWN: No. I traveled in 1970…ah jus run seventh in the audition in Legion Hall and that year they clocked me out. They sent me to get our music done by Ralph in Belmont and then they shipped me out, so I went St. Croix.

TRINISOCA: How long were you there for?

EDWIN BROWN: I spent about a year and something and I came back in 1972. I went early in 1970 and came back in 1972. I went back in 1972 and came back in 1972 from St. Croix. As ah tell you, youths are youths and everybody is everybody but some have to come out a lawyer or a doctor so when a child giving you trouble in school and don’t want to learn…who want to learn you keep them.

TRINISOCA: What do you think should be done with those who don’t want to learn?

EDWIN BROWN: You could make a try in a next school and see what the teacher can get out of some of them and who you see naturally don’t want to lean because not everybody could come out a doctor, leave them.

TRINISOCA: Do you have anything you would like to say to Trinidad and Tobago right now?

EDWIN BROWN: I am a kaisonian and I have been saying already. What I can say to Trinidad and Tobago is that I find a lot of advantage going on on poor people with these bandits humbugging their own black people. I find it’s time that stop because everyday they are killing out one another and they saying they are bad, but they are not bad, they are wicked people. You have to get rid of these people because if you don’t get rid of these people they are going to humbug the whole country.

TRINISOCA: What is your happiest moment in the industry?

EDWIN BROWN: Singing calypso.

TRINISOCA: Is there any one time that you can think of that stands out?

EDWIN BROWN: All the time. When I am bored I just start to sing.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.


Anthony ‘All Rounder’ Hendrickson

Anthony 'All Rounder' Hendrickson
Anthony ‘All Rounder’ Hendrickson

TRINISOCA: Tell us a bit about your contribution in the field of kaiso at this point in time and do you think the field is growing?

ALL ROUNDER: I want to give you something nice about the art form, where all the soca and the groovy soca came from. They [soca and groovy soca] are the branches, the children and the grandchildren. The soca as a child and the groovy as a grandchild, they all come from calypso. I could tell you something about ‘Kitchener,’ ‘Sparrow’ and ‘Growling Tiger’ and I have to say [me] the oldest man around here where age is concerned still singing groovy soca…“Garlic Sauce,” “Body Wine” and next year please God, watch out for me with “Take Some.”

I would not use the word never, but calypso would not die. When I look around today and I see the younger ones coming from all around NJAC…it has a lot of calypso. You will hear plenty talk but people love calypso. If you look at a night like tonight and this is TUCO business, the amount of people, and it’s a mix, the youths, the young people, the middle aged and aged come out tonight as a Saturday evening. This is wonderful!

I started singing calypso in 1967 on the 6th January, ten to ten a Friday night, number one Richmond Street, Legion Hall, Port of Spain singing at number five. I sang with people like ‘Power’, and ‘Composer.’ The Tent was led by Kitchener, Mr. Aldwyn Roberts…oh my God!…’Black Stalin’, ‘Lord Melody,’ great men. Praise and thank God today I won the calypso King of the world twice, in 1983 and 1984. On both occasions ‘Chalkdust’ came second, ‘Duke’ third, ‘Arrow’ fourth and ‘Becket’ fifth. I am feeling so proud today to be standing here. I won bi-local, I won Calypso King. The only one I didn’t rest my hands on yet is the Monarch in the savannah, but many thanks and praise God.

I love the art form. It is my ting…Trinidad and Tobago. It is we ting and it’s nice. When I look at my daughters ‘Lady Wonder’ and Shirlaine, my wife…we’ve been married for fifty-four years, four daughters and one son I feel so proud to be around here, feeling good, fit as a fiddle. Shirlaine is my manageress, that is the boss lady. All my little dan dan (pretty clothes) I have on, is Shirlane.

I am heading to the Klassic Ruso Tent at City Hall now, but this is nice when you are around with the young people. I always say congratulations to Machel Montano, Kes, Kerwin Dubois, great people, Sherwin Winchester, they are my students. When I look at Kerwin Dubois, he started to sing calypso before he came over and I feel nice. That little Machel Montano, “they say ah too young to soca, Oh-oh-oh.” I always remember that. I admire his mummy and his daddy. Elizabeth, that is his mummy. I love those people as a family. They always would say a family that prays together always stay together.
I love the art form.

I am feeling happy seeing the crowd in our boat ride. From the time I walk in here some call me ‘Roundos,’ ‘Roundabout,’ some call me ‘All Roundy’ and all those nice names just to say ‘All Rounder’ the youth man in calypso. It is very nice that we could stick together. Trinidad and Tobago is a beautiful place. You will get some who do odd things that is not right but we can’t get down on the youth and blame them. We have to pray with them and cheer them up.

TRINISOCA: Do you think that will help the youths?

ALL ROUNDER: Oh yes. Believe it or not, the guidance from the parents, and don’t let anybody fool you, we the parents have to help the government, have to help the opposition, which you see and you practice at home, when you reach out there you will be up to it. Don’t leave your children alone. Stay with them and pray no matter what. When you tell your children, “I ain’t able with you nah.” Could you imagine telling an eight year old child, “I ain’t able with you nah,” he would be glad…“My mother say she ain’t able with me yuh know.” No, you have to pray with your children and keep them close. Tonight, with my four grandchildren and my one great grandson.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any advice you would like to offer to the parents of the national community?

ALL ROUNDER: I would tell Trinidad and Tobago and even to the world but I am speaking about Trinidad and Tobago to help the government, help the opposition a little more to help yourself. You have your children, you neglect your children, they walk out. Little fellas twelve, thirteen, fourteen walking in your house bareback, sitting down to eat food around a table bareback…oh my God, no. At my age, seventy-five, the 17th of October gone was my birthday. They putting all the blame…about the government ain’t doing this, but the government is not doing this. People waking up, you have water, you sleep to your leisure and you get up when you want.

We had to get up three o’ clock, four o’clock years gone by. We are very happy now and living in nice buildings. I for one, I feeling more young than ever. I walking down the road, nice, nice people calling meh “All Rounder’ and ting. You know how nice it feels? “Garlic Sauce,” “Body Wine.” But I will tell you something. From the time these words, “Don’t beat children again,” nobody tell you to beat your children to destroy them or to mash them up, but sometimes it needs some spanking to talk to them. Sit down, pray with your children. Don’t be ashamed or don’t be afraid to pray with your children. You made your child, kneel down with them and pray. All these things stop and everybody get lackadaisical and the whole thing mash up. Most of the young people today know what they are doing. They are get the ting easy. “Mama giving meh, papa giving meh so ah going down the road and play the fool until meh mother come and bail meh.” They wait until they get inside and they say “Tell mammy to bring a bible for meh.” When you were outside you could have prayed all the time.

TRINISOCA: Do you think parents tolerate or encourage that?

ALL ROUNDER: Most of them, and it’s like if you are afraid at times to talk to the children. As they say, “I ain’t able with them,” and you are afraid. You are not supposed to make children and be afraid of them. If you are praying sincerely and you are praying from your heart, that prayer could dominate and you could still lead your child. Children coming now and disrespecting parents. We didn’t know it that way. Love your children, and your child or your children must get to love you. Don’t try to over rule them on the streets. Deal with them, hug up your children, talk to them. Most of the fathers like they have no time to deal with their children. Why? And then you blame the Prime Minister for that or you blame the opposition leader for that because you are not holding on to your responsibility. May God bless you and it was nice talking to you.

Next time when we talk, we will talk about ‘Sparrow’ and ‘Rose.’ ‘All Rounder’ could tell you about these people. I owe them my respect for what they did for me. When people like ‘Sparrow’ and ‘Rose’ say to me, “You would be a great calypsonian ‘All Rounder,’ and I prove it, I went outside there.

TRINISOCA: Do you have a specific message for Trinidad and Tobago at this point in time?

ALL ROUNDER: We need more love.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.

TUCO’s 2014 Boat Ride Party

TUCO Boat Ride 2014 in pictures:

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