Kaiso House Calypso Tent Opening Night 2015

Patrons at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA)

Patrons at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA)

On Sunday 11th January, 2015, Kaiso House Calypso Tent hosted its launch for Carnival 2015 under the domed architecture of the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA). As the sun set over the south lands, eager patrons began arriving in their numbers and mingled sociably in the lobby, discussing the performances to come and catching up on the latest Carnival gossip.

Ms. Noeline Brown and her daughter, Ms. Sascha Ann Moses

Ms. Noeline Brown and her daughter, Ms. Sascha Ann Moses

Attending the show was Ms. Noeline Brown of San Juan with her daughter, Ms. Sascha Ann Moses. Ms. Brown explained that she had brought her daughter to see what Kaiso House was all about. She disclosed, “Kaiso House is one of the tents that I always try to see. They have good calypsos like everybody else, but they’re always out in front.” Young Sascha is a dedicated fan of kaiso and at age eighteen, she is establishing herself as a soca artiste and calypso singer. The National Junior Monarch declared her anticipation for the show and stated, “I’m excited to see how everyone plays. I’m currently the National Junior Monarch and I placed second place in the National Soca Monarch as well. I’m excited for tonight!” The past pupil of San Juan South Secondary School went on to share that singing kaiso and soca has been her dream and she has been competing since the age of eleven. Of particular interest to her in this evening’s cast were performances by Karene Asche and Chucky. She opined that shows like this are vital since, “It’s really important to showcase the art of Trinidad and Tobago, because some people say it’s dying, but it’s not. There are young calypsonians like me coming up to take their place.” She added, “This year I’m moving forward and I’m making my transition from juniors to seniors so I’ll be competing. Hopefully I’ll be in the National Calypso Monarch and the International Soca Monarch as well.”

Neville 'Bunny B' Brown performs 'Isis Crisis'

Neville ‘Bunny B’ Brown performs “Isis Crisis”

Madona Hamilton of Couva was another kaiso fan who made her way to SAPA, having attended this event every year. She disclosed that she was looking forward to, “all the ills and things that going on … you know [how] we calypsonians sing about it. I like vintage calypso, that’s why I come to the tents.” Her frank sentiment was that the Kaiso Tent played a significant role in the Trinbagonian lifestyle, stating, “Of course it important for people … a lot of people don’t know what’s going on. There are people in the rural countries and people who don’t even have radios who somebody could say they went to the show and they sing so, so and so, and they get a message … this is a message. They are messengers and “foresighters”. There are calypsos [that] people sang five years ago and ten years ago and they came to pass now. Calypso is a serious thing. The calypsonian is a seer man; he see things coming down the road and everybody has different visions. Calypso is a serious thing. A lot of people don’t know that it’s not only funny; it has a lot of messages somehow you know. Yeah, I love calypso.” Her friend Linda Drakes-Rogers was also from Couva and she too was at the show saying, “Well I come to hear everything that is going on in the country because, as you know, by calypso our stories are told. I want to hear how they sing about the economy.”

Anthony 'Brother Valentino' Phillip performs 'Queen of the Carnival' with his wife, Peggy Castanada-Phillip

Anthony ‘Brother Valentino’ Phillip performs “Queen of the Carnival” with his wife, Peggy Castanada-Phillip

Vanessa Hamlet and Kenrick Baptiste of San Fernando both arrived early and Mr. Baptiste owned that they had come to enjoy some good calypsos saying, “This is the first outing for the season. I want to see what we are up against for 2015.” Ms. Hamlet agreed and affirmed that they were there to “see what the calypsonians were bringing this year.” Mr. Baptiste went on, “We are calypso lovers. We try to go to most of the tents. Kaiso House is unique in terms of some of the best artistes are in the tent. We just looking forward to some good calypsos tonight.”

Jalani 'Lani K' Kojo performs 'Engine Room'

Jalani ‘Lani K’ Kojo performs “Engine Room”

Organization for the show had started months before and the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) Head of Hospitality, Head Office, Ann Marie Parks-Kojo stated, “I’m one of the organizers … one of the part managers of Kaiso House. We are excited because last year we had a beautiful show and we’re hoping that this year is more beautiful.” She expounded on the history of the tent saying, “Kaiso House [has] been in existence for a number of years so we have a core for the tent … like Explainer, Brother Valentino, Brother Resistance, Poser, Singing Sandra, Rootsman … We have a core and every year we do auditions for the tents. This year we took five other persons, young people included, because we also like to nurture the young ones.” Her goal for the evening was to provide “a beautiful show,” and to “entertain the people, give them a good show so that they’ll come down to Port of Spain after and enjoy Kaiso House.” While some might be uncomfortable about the political content of the show, she reassured that political commentary was a normal part of the fare. She shared that at a meeting with the Prime Minister, she had told her that she had no problems with the songs, “once you don’t be disrespectful.” She observed that the double entendre, which the tent is known for, is not vitriolic and she was looking forward to the launch of the tent in San Fernando.

Heaven 'Snakey' Charles performs 'Cyah Rhyme'

Heaven ‘Snakey’ Charles performs “Cyah Rhyme”

The show started shortly after 7p.m. and the artistes certainly brought their best to the forefront, showcasing topical themes. The intellectual diversity presented on the stage was indeed multi-faceted, covering the philosophical to the political: from commentary on international criminals such as ISIS to the local banditry plaguing Trinidad and Tobago citizens. Even Global Warming received mention and comedy was threaded through many of the performances, ensuring that the mood of the crowd did not get heavy. As the red curtains closed on the last act, the audience gave a thunderous applause of appreciation ending an evening of comedy, social and political commentary and general reflections on life in Trinidad and Tobago.

Performing Cast:

Artiste / Song

Gene Toney / My Name Is Calypso
Doodnath ‘De Guru’ Radhakisoon / Journey of Life Is Yours
Anson ‘Brother Musa’ Alleng / Wake Up And Smell The Coffee
Elizabeth ‘Lady Aiesha’ George / Plus Size Lover
Neville ‘Bunny B’ Brown / Isis Crisis
Sharlan Bailey / Land Of Demons
Marva ‘Marvellous Marvah’ Joseph / Safe Hands
Heaven ‘Snakey’ Charles / Cyah Rhyme
Allan Welch / Confused Global Warming
Allan ‘Brother Mudada’ Fortune / Nobody Eh See
Phillip ‘Black Sage’ Murray / Banditism
Knolly ‘Brown Boy’ Brown / Captain Rowley vs Penny
Jesie ‘College Boy Jessie’ Stewart / The Untouchables
Duane O’Connor / Stand Strong
Karene Asche / Every Knee Shall Bow
Anthony ‘Brother Valentino’ Phillip / Queen of the Carnival
Wayne ‘Doppy’ Dopson / Road March Dying
Sylvester ‘Poser’ Lockhart / Bertie’s Dreams
Roderick ‘Mr Chucky’ Gordon / The Rose
Tammico “Spicey’ Moore / D’Advice
Selvon ‘Mista Shak’ Noel / Target
Deneison ‘Dee Diamond’ Moses / Big Yard Music
Genelle Bharat / Cords
Jalani ‘Lani K’ Kojo / Engine Room
David ‘Wolde DaWit’ Thompson / Show Me Yuh Motion

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