Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Sunday, January 29, 2017
I not old, I ripe...and ready for Soca Monarch
When 86-year-old "Papa"
Lord Nelson (Robert Nelson)
steps on the stage at the Inter-
national Soca Monarch semi-fi-
nals at the Arima Velodrome on
February 5 he will be going up
against scores of artistes includ-
ing 13-year-old Aaron Duncan.
An elated Nelson said he never
thought it would happen to him at
his age as he had been overlooked
in the past.
He was in New York when he got
a call that he was selected to be in
Still in disbelief, Nelson said he
was happy to take part in T&T's
culture and to help develop it.
The Sunday Guardian spoke with
the evergreen entertainer in a tele-
phone interview on Friday from the
verandah of his family's Plymouth,
Tobago, home about his life story
in the calypso world and away from
When asked what he thought
about his chances in the competi-
tion, he downplayed the aspect of
winning. Nelson said "I'm just glad
to be there to be in front my peo-
ple performing surrounded by the
beauty of this land. If you work hard
enough for anything, you will get it.
"It will be an honour and privi-
lege to be performing among the
young artistes. Aaron is good as well
as many others.
"If you give me a million dollars
I don't know how to act, just to be
there in Soca Monarch with the best
of the best is a thrill.
"I'm not old! I ripe!" he burst out
He dislikes being called "Mister"
or "Sir" as it did not make the per-
son feel closer to him and preferred
, saying "all ah we is one fam-
, referencing the title of one of
his many gem-like songs.
During the interview, you could
hear him acknowledging several
people who passed his house and
hailed him out seeing that he was
Known for his trademark colour-
ful jumpsuits, Nelson said he does
not have to rely on elaborate props
such as pyrotechnics and wire acts.
He said half of the performers go
on with little clothes or bareback
these days and the women were
half-naked compared to the ar-
tistes of his era who came on stage
immaculately dressed, and if their
song did not have wine in it, it was
Pacro for longevity
When asked if he had any secret to
his longevity, if there was something
in the water in Tobago, he replied
Nelson said he ate a lot of fruits,
he was not used to eating too much
meat, loved fish, and was glad to
come home as he loved good Tobago
He described himself as a seafood
For Saturday lunch, Nelson bub-
bles a pot with fish, spaghetti, and
"buck buck" or green fig. He said he
also ate crab and dumpling, conch,
wilks, shrimp, lobster, but not eel as
it resembled a snake.
Nelson said when he was away
from the stage, he was a humble,
religious and happy person who
believed in God and all his goodness.
The Korean War veteran said Un-
cle Sam took care of him, referring
to the time he was drafted into the
US Army and sent to Korea during
the war in the 50s.
Nelson said his hobby was fishing,
he liked to go out there and try his
best to see if he can outsmart the
fish below the water.
He said besides Tobago, he fished
around the world such as the US and
Sweden, using fishing rods, line, and
Nelson said he did drink "a little"
in the past but it was not helping
him, it was not cool, and he was
never into drugs because he felt he
was very hyped naturally.
Entering Calypso Monarch race
He said he did not know any-
thing about calypso, when he was
stationed in Korea and patterned
himself after calypsonians such as
the Mighty Sparrow, Melody, and
Kitchener, especially Sparrow, and
sang calypso and ballads for his fel-
When he left the service he con-
tinued mimicking Sparrow and
continued singing in dancehalls in
Nelson said the average person
did not know that he was instru-
mental in inventing what would
be known as soca along with Ras
Shorty, Maestro, and tutelage from
the Mighty Duke.
He scored hits with songs like
, "Bald Head Rasta"
, and "Disco
Nelson bemoaned the influx of
wine and jam in songs, with some
foreign elements such as rap, some
smoke, and some girl who can wine
He said one man would come off
the stage and another would come
on singing the same rhythm with
no lyrical content.
Nelson said he felt proud of the
former Junior Calypso Monarch
Aaron Duncan, and he mashed up
the stage in France when to took
a young Machel Montano on his
shoulders to sing Too Young To Soca.
He said he was a soca pioneer tak-
ing the music to places like Sweden,
Germany Norway, England and Lat-
According to his manager, Errol
Peru, not only will Nelson be mixing
it up lyrically with the young guns in
the Soca Monarch competition, he
will also be participating in Calypso
Nelson will be singing "Sug-
, composed by Kernal
Roberts, Kitchener's son.
Papa Nelson, 86:
Lord Nelson on stage
performing "Meh Lover" at
the Magnificent Glow Grand
Calypso tent presented by
Tuco at the YMCA pool
compound at Grafton Road,
Courland, Tobago, on
PHOTO: SHASTRI BOODAN
Links Archive January 28th 2017 January 30th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page