DON'T COME BACK AGAIN…
Some big stars visited Trinidad during the second World War entertaining the US troops so I suppose it started then when Morey Amsterdam, a comedian, did something that was not funny.
He heard Lord Invader singing the calypso "Rum and Coca Cola", stole the song and then sold it to the Andrews Sisters.
Invader eventually won the case, had to wait seven years for the settlement and Amsterdam retained the copyright for the song.
Later, many American entertainers facing career crises, came to Trinidad to either try to steal something (or so some of my friends say) or stay out of the States long enough to re-launch their careers.
Johnny Nash got his back on track taking away with him not just a song but a whole genre of music which he made his own. Jamaicans did not see clearly enough at the time to understand what he was doing but can see clearly now.
I remember when Johnny Nash came to Trinidad. John Agitation quipped, "I ask Johnny whether he sings for love or money. He looked at me and say, 'Aggie, the musical scale begins with Dough and ends with Dough'."
There was an entire Jamaican invasion from several successive genres – Byron Lee and his Dragonaires started from the Ska days and in the ensuing years of dub, Reggae and dancehall they all came – Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Buju Banton, and Beenie Man. They are still coming. However, Trini artistes sing in Jamaica which even has its own Carnival Jump Up now. In other words, there is reciprocity.
These days magicians are coming. One of the great illusionists, David Copperfield, made the Statue of Liberty vanish. Jeff McBride is here now, they say, to take on Harry Harnarine to see who could outdo who in making millions of dollars in cash and real estate disappear. He is due to perform soon in Florida where Lawrence Duprey lives. The odds are on him to lose in both venues.
Not so with the Indian performers, wayfarers and trade-fairers. The imbalance is serious. When our Prime Minister visits India it is the only time our performers have a platform but for free. They can make whoopee but not rupee. The Indians keep coming. Our insatiable appetite for all things Indian and endless flow of oil dollars have brought them – Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachan, and almost every playback singer you can think of. The only time when we got our own back was when an Indian singer, Umar Devi, known as "Tun-Tun", came to make some money. Because of her nickname (a Trini vulgarism for the female sexual organ) a Trini calypsonian, The Mighty Power, was able to parlay it into a "road-march".
The Trade Fair came here and remained. From what some people say it is neither fair nor trade since we don't have the opportunity to sell anything in India and the prices that are charged for shoddy items are ridiculous. So too are the ticket prices for the Indian performers. A playback singer, Sonu Nigam, the most recent of the Indian entertainers looking for El Dorado, the gold and not the Guyanese rum, was said to have charged TT$1,000 per VVIP ticket. In Raleigh, Virginia, USA, the highest-priced ticket was US$100. Yet, from what the newspapers said, "All seats were sold out and scores of patrons had to stand."
Me, I can't stand it, and on behalf of our own performers and equity I would say like the old calypso, "Don't come back again Nigam/Man don't come back again."