Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 9th 2015 Contents B9
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Calypsonians have long been the
people s voice, keeping on the pulse
of what was happening socially and
politically and not mixing matters
when it came to airing the govern-
ment of the day s dirty laundry.
With the election season upon us
and the many unresolved social, polit-
ical and economical issues still floating
around, one can only imagine and
anticipate the "lyrical cook-up," to
be unveiled. The public will have the
opportunity to taste some of that
stew at the upcoming semifinal round
of the National Political Calypso
Monarch competition to be held at
Skinner Park, San Fernando.
The event was carded to take place
last Sunday but was postponed,
because the venue was flooded by
heavy showers. It will now be held
on Saturday, July 18, at the same
The event is said to be a sticky
showdown as no one will be covering
his mouth this rounds. The T&T
Guardian caught up with some of the
calypsonians who will be competing and
also guest starring, just to get their views
on the quality of political and social
commentary in recent times.
This is what some had to say:
Winsford "Joker" Devine:
"Most of the songs have been out-
rightly against the the present Govern-
ment. I personally find some calypso-
nians are too one-sided. They always
seem to go against one party. They don t
sing on the PNM at all. I admired people
calypsonians like Chalkdust, Watchman
and Kurt Allen sometimes, who sang
on one side but just sang about what
they saw. All the others like Cro Cro
and them are too one-sided."
"Most calypsonians speak about what
they feel through their contributions.
That is, of course, besides Aloes who
singing for a food. I sing with my gut
feeling. To really talk about the quality
of social and political commentary and
where it going is a daunting thing.
"To begin with, they are rarely played
on radio and some calypsonians doing
nonsense, because they keep hiding from
the truth to get some money. But I don t
care. I am not singing no she s royal ,
and I am not taking any of their money.
Devine could talk that foolishness
because calypsonians like he not serious
about this. I don t sing what they want
me to sing. I sing the truth."
Gregory "GB" Ballantyne:
"All I can say is that calypso is a mirror
of the society. It mirrors the society very
precisely. If there is a lot of arbitrary
and radical things going on in the society,
the calypsonians will reflect that in the
content of their contributions. We are
responsible for well informing the audi-
ence we expect to entertain.
"There is a serious socio-demographic
at work by and large when it comes to
the calypso arena. Calypsonians are
mostly of Afro origin and ironically,
calypso is also largely Afro-based. So
there is a natural spin-off of anti-gov-
ernment songs because the PNM is in
"However, this does not necessarily
impute any necessary bias on one side
or the other. Calypsonians are still largely
a mirror of society."
"I believe the calypsoes that have been
coming out, have been representative
of what has been going on politically.
And there are some who might say there
have been a proliferation of calypsoes
over the last few years, but the current
political climate has been so pervasive
and has affected society on many levels.
And it should be understood (that) pol-
itics does not exist in a vacuum, so that
the things that happen in the political
sphere will affect the society globally,
economically and socially.
So you find the calypsonian tries to
keep his eye and his mind on what is
"Noticing that the current political
climate is so pervasive and unique in
comparison to any other kind before it,
even if the calypsonian wishes not to
sing on blatant politics, if he has to make
a social statement, naturally it will most
likely implicate politics.
"So, I believe the political and social
commentary we have been hearing over
the years are indicative of the current
atmosphere in the country and the
calypsonian (is) just keeping his finger
on the pulse of things. The calypsoes
are fitting in chronicling the uniqueness
of the political times we have been deal-
ing with in recent years.
"At a time like this when the country
is in an election season, we ought to
expect any contemporary calypso to
reflect the highly political atmosphere.
Calypsonians will look at the people in
office and what is affecting the society
and pen their contributions on that.
"What I can say of the quality of
social and political commentary is that
they are missing that satire and sarcasm
mixed with humour. If you are singing
about the Government, then make it
palatable. The people already know what
is going on, so you need to give them
an angle that they do not see, and therein
lies the creativity of a calypsonian.
"Fellas like Chalky and Luta knew
how to do this well. So far, in the young
calypsonians, I have to single out Chucky,
I think he did an excellent job with his
winning contribution this year."
A gifted composer and fierce
competitor, Mr Shak.
Bunny B is always a strong contender
in any calypso competition.
'Calypso a reflection of the times'
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