Thursday, February 22, 2018

Calypsonians: Nothing wrong in singing about Govt

 “If everybody could sing on them (People’s Partnership), they could call an election now.”  Veteran calypsonian Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins) made this comment in light of the prevailing view that most of the calypsoes that have made it to the final of the calypso monarch competition complain vehemently about Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s administration.  

Among the more popular songs were Bodyguard’s (Roger Mohammed) “False Papers” which addressed prominent people holding questionable degrees. 

The final takes place Sunday at the Dimanche Gras show at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah.

Asked to share his sentiments, Cro Cro said: “If 40 calypsonians could sing against them, then something has to be radically wrong. Aloes not there because he might have sung for them.”

Bodyguard said it was a case of “equal opportunity” for each administration whether it be People’s National Movement or National Alliance for Reconstruction.  

He said: “It is based on whoever is in power. When Luta (Morel Peters) won the PNM was in power. I sang “Ungrateful Power” (when Manning was PM). Once a government is in power, they are in the firing line. They have to get hit, if they are not serving the people who elected them. What sense would it making to sing about the Opposition at this stage?”

Luta said: “That is the vibes. That is what is happening in society. And it (singing about Kamla) seems to be a kind of passport to the finals. Singing Sandra sang a nice tribute to Mandela. Nobody cared about it. We are about bacchanal and confusion.” 

Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool)  said: “Politics is in everything. In all part of musicology, you will see it. You cannot divorce politics from music.”

Newcomer to calypso monarch final, Myron B (Myron Bruce) said: “Calypso is about whatever is the topic of the day. In the 1940s, it was the war. In the 1970s, it was about Black Power movement. Even Sparrow’s ‘Jean and Dinah’ was a war song. The government of the day is the hottest talking point.”  

Kurt Allen, who placed second to Reigning Monarch Eric Taylor in 2013, said: “That’s a reflection of the voice of the people. They have their own way of analysing issues. On the night of the finals, you might find 12 calypsonians singing a second song  that has nothing to do with Kamla. If they do that in the second song, they can be taken to task. We are not singing for the Trinidadian audience only.”

Finalist Alana Sinnette said: “I think it is mostly political now. As a child, Dimanche Gras was never about politics. It is strange. But the judges made their picks. I  am happy and it is an honour to sing about a place that is forgotten which is Sea Lots.”