President’s Annual Calypso Reception 2015
On Tuesday 27th October, 2015, President Anthony Carmona hosted a cocktail reception for calypsonians and others involved in the industry, at Queen’s Hall, St. Ann’s, Port of Spain, as part of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation’s (TUCO) Calypso History Month celebrations which runs from October into November.
The evening began with calypsonians, musicians, other cultural stakeholders and their guests gathering at Queens Hall’s atrium and mingling with their peers before being escorted to a tent set up in an area in the back of the main building for the formal proceedings.
On entry, they were greeted by patron of the event, president of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Aquinas Carmona and Mrs. Reema Carmona.
The first to provide formal greetings was TUCO president Lutalo Masimba, who lamented the lack of support for the arts from governments past, and expressed his wish for general improvement with this new political administration. Masimba implored the government of the day to give the calypso art-form more focus and assist in its development both financially and otherwise.
Also extending greetings on behalf of the Prime Minister was Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr. Nyan Elizabeth Gadsby-Dolly. She stated that she sympathised with Masimba’s concerns and promised to work together with TUCO and other cultural advocates to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago culture flourishes and continues on its evolutionary path.
President Anthony Carmona also known in the calypso realm as The Prophet of Sisyphus, a sobriquet he attained while singing calypso as a student of the University of the West Indies, addressed the audience next. He reminded the audience of his accomplishments winning the calypso crown in both Jamaica and Barbados. Although bemoaning his inability to make it to the “Big Yard” at the Queen’s Park Savannah, he praised the calypsonians who were able to attain such a feat stating that it takes industriousness, perseverance and genuine talent to make it that far. Carmona also praised calypsonians who attained prestigious awards for their work including Dr. David Michael Rudder’s recent attainment of an honorary doctorate from the UWI and the receipt of the Humming Bird Medal by Composer, All Rounder and Lord Superior for their contribution to culture. He stressed that the main difference between the success of reggae music and calypso in the international realm is marketing stating “our kaiso can match reggae step by step, walk by walk.” He ended by advising calypsonians to continue to play their part so that we could claim our “rightful place in the world.”
Following the addresses were calypso performances by the third, second and first place winners (in that order) of the Junior Calypso Monarch competition and their 2015 contributions. Sharissa Camejo, from Holy Name Convent, started off the performances with her song “Edward the Predator” followed by Desle Julien, from St Mary’s College with his song, “D’ King” which paid homage to Slinger ‘Mighty Sparrow’ Francisco, the calypso king of the world. Aaron Duncan who won the competition during his stint at Trinity Junior School and who now attends the Queen’s Royal College sang “Grammy Awards” as well as his 2016 soca contribution “Can You Feel It?” The audience was evidently captivated with the performances of these young ones and expressed full support singing along and cheering them on.
The reception, which was well-attended, ended promptly after the performances. Given the enthusiasm displayed by the guests of the president this year, in 2016 one should anticipate even greater things to come.
President’s Annual Calypso Reception 2015 in pictures: