Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2013 Contents B1
Edward “Teddy” Pinheiro is prob-
ably one of the best kept se-
crets in T&T as far as his vast
knowledge and collection of
Carnival and calypso material
His interest in information and tangible items related to ca-
lypso, Carnival and “combo” music, dates back to his time in New York in the
mid-1960s. At that time, during his return visits to Trinidad, he realised that
the radio station which would either record or broadcast from the calypso
tents was not storing them. This was what really propelled him to purchase
equipment to start taping and documenting the recordings, a couple of times
at the tents but mainly off the radio. Thanks to him, many calypsoes that were
not commercially recorded are available in his extensive archive...a labour of
love for our culture indeed.
Also instructive is that during his stay in New York, he started to visit off-
the-beaten-track record shops where much to his surprise there were many
records/LPs and 45s (long playing vinyl records/albums and their smaller ver-
sion for the uninitiated) that were intended for the American audience.
During his return visits here during the Christmas and Carnival seasons he
did the same, going to the record stores and seeking out records and other ma-
terial available. On his return to live here the work continued, and before he
knew it the collection was growing by leaps and bounds.
Over the years, he has also collected many live recordings of the dance
bands including the combos of the 1960s which is still one of the main areas of
interest to him.
The Dimanche Gras of 1972 (the Calypso King/Monarch segment) started
him off in another area of preservation which went on to 1981. This was all
audio. The year 1982 was the start of video recordings of the Carnival events,
which he has continued recording to the present time.
Sadly, many of these VHS tapes have deteriorated, but hopefully they can be
somehow restored. Using the guts of a VHS tape rewinder he has developed a
device that helps in salvaging these shows while he awaits, after many frus-
trating attempts, to have the authorities acquire his collection for long-term
The entire collection is made up of LPs, 45s, cassettes, open reel tapes,
newspaper articles of Carnival results, Carnival books and features, catalogues
of recordings of Sa Gomes, Kay, Cook, Telco, Vitadisc, etc.
He has become one of the go-to fountains of knowledge, enhancing the con-
tent of many programmes that feature calypso music over the years, such as
Winston Maynard’s Bring Your Music and Come and Calypso Carats, and a pro-
gramme of 1960s dance band (combo) music on Radio Trinbago with Andre
Williams. Several programmes at UTT with the Mighty Chalkdust featuring
many of our great calypsonians have accessed his collection. He has written
several letters to the newspapers, especially when wrong data is featured in
any articles or books. One was about who actually arranged the national an-
them. Tuco and many others find him a useful resource person for hard-to-find
music and information. Many times, too, requests for information have come
In 2011, Pinheiro was presented with a Sunshine Award for his work, the
Friends of the Arts Award for his in-depth study and research of the various
Pinheiro says, “At the moment I’m preparing to sell the collection. At my age,
74, it has become too much for me to handle. Another reason is that none of
my children are really interested in having it.”
Q: You have been
described as a human
library of calypso and
Carnival. How would you describe
this to our readers?
A: Somehow I retain what
I’ve read, heard and saw,
even though I’m starting
to forget on the spur of the moment
replies quite a bit now. The more
that is retained, the more bits and
pieces can be put together to refer
to a new project.
Who were the people who have
influenced you the most in what
you do and in life in general, and
how did they?
My father had a very large col-
lection of records of many genres
which I enjoyed from very small. For
many years after he died many were
retained by me until they were dis-
carded during my time overseas. He
seems to be my inspiration to collect
What inspires you to do what
Someone has to preserve the
music of the land and to be able to
speak of the people who are con-
nected to it. Sharing music, in what-
ever form, without speaking about
the creators is only doing half the
Where were you born, and where
did you grow up?
Belmont is my birth place, but it
was Tunapuna with all its cultural
identities which gave me part of
which I was to become.
At which schools/institutions did
you receive your education?
Tunapuna EC School, then to
Osmond High School. Most else was
self-taught....to use the old Univer-
sity of Me.
Of all your accolades, accom-
plishments, prizes and awards
which do you rate as extremely spe-
The Sunshine Award is very spe-
cial since I didn’t work towards it.
Someone saw and appreciated what
work was being done and decided
to reward me for it.
Very much unlike the trophies
which were won for Carnival skills
The other is creating Dr Tah Tah
Rides Again, the first puppet ever in
the King Of Carnival competition,
Dimanche Gras 1980.
If you were able to interview peo-
ple in the Carnival and calypso
arena, both past and present, who
would they be and what would you
In calypso, Spoiler and Maestro.
My question to Spoiler would be,
where did he get the very special
ideas and lyrics for his calypsoes,
and which was his very favourite?
To Maestro, I would ask, did he
set out to compose Mr Trinidad, To
Sir with Love and You’re Foolin’ as
a trilogy, or did one naturally follow
Edward “Teddy” Pinheiro’s
Library of calypso,
Carnival for sale
Edward Pinheiro poses among a small portion of his vast collection proudly
holding his Sunshine Award.
Continues on Page B8
WITH NASSER KHAN
bullying —Page B8
terrier —Page B6
grounded —Page B27
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