Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 21st 2014 Contents could ask Cro Cro, you could ask
Eh Eh, don t mention nothing
about Cro Cro to me, please.
Alright. OK. Ah sorry, ah sorry
In other words, you are trying to
tell me that I must narrow back
myself to go into a tent to sing to
ten people and I am not sure I
would even get a salary? In 1985
my salary was $3,000 a week at
Spetakula and I saw it coming, I
foresaw it coming.
Relator, even though there are
many bright young people singing
calypso in its purity, do you really
think the art is dying?
(Crossing his legs) The way things
are being done now, the traditional
calypsonians are being sidelined...
they are being marginalised (raised
voice) and that is because of the
change in the music...the Mon-
tanos, the Garlins doing a thing
that is getting the crowds...Soca
There is a hidden group who
purposely do not want calypso to
go anywhere and they re stifling it
so the people who have something
substantial to say they push them
aside, which is living proof of what
I am saying.
And that group is?
I am taking the Fifth Amendment
on that one, Clevon.
People in our generation are say-
ing we don t understand what
them young people saying, you
know? I prefer the old time calypso.
So to answer your question if calyp-
Because of the unfortunate cir-
cumstance in which it has found
itself in today, marginalisation and
sidelining the people who have
something to say.
Because people like you who
are craving for it and people like
me who are still doing it with all
the blows I get...everywhere I go
I singing vintage calypso from way
back since 1913 right through the
ages. That s why it is not dying.
And as long as I am alive, it would
About one week ago, Mr Har-
ris, we met in Curepe. I left my
seat and greeted you, at which
point you berated me for snub-
bing you about five years ago in
a high-end restaurant where you
were performing at a birthday
function and I did not speak to
you then. Do your really believe,
Relator, that I had deliberately
refused to acknowledge you at
Perhaps you did it unconscious-
ly and after I blow up on you last
week, I realised de fella was not
conscious about what he was
doing , and it happens all the time.
And it is a natural thing...
At that meeting last week, you
said something which I found to
be extremely disturbing in this
day and age, that calypsonians
were being ostracised?
Yes and marginalised...it never
stopped from the Sparrow era
when he sang Outcast. (Relator
sang a chorus from that number)
Look at that photograph taken 60
years ago on the wall there (point-
ing to a family portrait including
himself as a six-year-old child),
everybody in that picture turned
to out to be a professional of one
kind or the other. I was the only
one who took up entertainment
as my career.
So if you wanted to be a pan-
man or a calypsonian, you were
labelled as having no ambition
whatsoever. I chose entertainment
so I was the "wutless" one in the
Mr Harris, do you honestly
believe that calypsonians are still
being ostracised in 2014?
From that regard, yes. Because
we make our contribution to the
development of our beloved coun-
try. They are the people who tell
you what time of the day it is, so
to speak, from the poets, the writ-
ers, calypsonians, prophets in their
Look at this classic of Crazy, In
Time to Come, where he predicted
the coming of America s first black
president and Sat Maharaj would
have a black grandchild...
Sat Maharaj has a black
Ask Crazy (bursts out laugh-
If this ostracising talk is real,
what can be done to erase that
perception of yours?
I wouldn t have the answer to
that one, it is something we have
lived with from time immemorial
and it is a cultural thing, a societal
deficiency, and they are now trying
to correct it by stripping apart the
education system that we have
had because it has failed us.
Now they are looking to sport
and film, they are moving from
pure academic to those areas
which, in my view, is part of the
move to diversify the economy
because it is known we cannot
depend on the energy sector indef-
initely as our financial saviour.
Relator, what has been the high
point in your professional career?
Apart from winning the Calypso
Monarch in 1980, singing with a
40-piece philharmonic orchestrate
in Cologne, Germany, four years
There was no low point. The
people disgraced themselves when
they threw toilet paper at me at
the calypso semi-finals at Skinner
Park, the same year that Claude
Noel won an international boxing
Finally Relator, do you plan
ever going back into the calypso
Never. Never. When a chicken
comes out of an egg does he go
back into that shell?
September 21, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
I did solo concerts, and the first one
at the then named Holiday Inn...Nos-
I did 135 radio and television com-
mercials which was my upkeep from
then and now, so that it was not that
I wasn t doing anything, that is only
through the media eyes...they only focus
on covering Carnival, and if you are not
in it you are not going to get covered.
But I have been working non-stop.
I left the calypso tent and have been
all over the world. If I give you my
resume (he retrieves a file which con-
tained his resume), you will be able to
take from that and build on the article
you are going to write.
I repeat, your absence from the
calypso tent was of your own making?
Of course. That was a conscious deci-
sion I made, and I have no regret what-
soever. I am not dead, I surviving, that
is the system under which we live. Since
1985 I never stopped working as a pro-
fessional artiste or performer. So the
coverage coming from the media doesn t
bother me because it doesn t starve me.
I must confess I am a calypso fan.
Don t you miss the traditional calypso
as we know it in the tents? When last
you went to a calypso tent...this year,
last year, two years ago?
There are only ten or 12 people in the
calypso tents right now!
Patrons. Nobody going to the tents
again, right? And if you think I lie, you
ostracised in T&T'
From Page A10
Lord Relator strums a tune.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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