Monday, January 22, 2018

DEFOSTO Singing it straight


WINNING THEM OVER: The Original DeFosto Himself is harsh on fellow calypsonians Sugar Aloes and Winston "Gypsy" Peters in calypsoes about them he's produced for 2013. —Photo courtesy NCC / The Original DeFosto Himself.

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The political arena provides much fodder for the calypsonian when he is searching for a topic to write upon for any given Carnival season. The artiste must pen something that will capture the people and win them over so that he can be assured a good year and not end up on the sidelines, which can very easily be the case.

In order to secure a place in the calypso tent, then have a guaranteed spot in the nightly lineup, earn encores and make it to Skinner Park then hopefully Dimanche Gras, the calypsonian must make the audience want more and then some more of his calypso. The calypsonian must also convince the judges that he is a better pick than other calypsonians in the running and then earn their nod on the night of the finals. And while we've seen calypsonians over the years being crowned with humorous and social commentary, the political calypsoes have always seemed to be the ones that bring home victory many times over.

One calypsonian who has seemed to have mastered the art of crafting political calypsoes that pinch the nerves of politicians, while tickling the funny bone of the public is the Original DeFosto Himself. He has always managed to write calypsoes that make everyone take notice and take him to the National Calypso Monarch semi-finals if not all the way to the finals at Dimanche Gras. The title has thus far eluded him though, but he is hoping to capture it in 2013.

DeFosto is banking on two calypsoes on his new CD collection titled, The Patriot. There are ten tracks on the CD offering a mix of commentary, calypsoes for the steelpan and even music for dancing. The two political commentary pieces are very interesting as they do not only address political issues, but also take aim at two of DeFosto's peers namely Sugar Aloes and Winston "Gypsy" Peters.

DeFosto is unapologetic over his songs saying that he has always written calypsoes addressing whatever ills he sees and in these two songs, "Aloo Sing" and "Calypso Glad Yuh Gone," DeFosto told the Express he is expressing the anger and frustration that he believes his two fellow calypsonians have caused many people to have. He said that Aloes and Peters should have known better and understood that better was expected of them.

"By calypsoes our stories are told and I am telling the stories in these songs. I really don't want to get too much into what Aloes did and what our relationship is. He has the right to sing for whoever and wherever he chooses, but the people, especially the PNM supporters, came down on him for singing at the People's Partnership rally."

"The people say that he claimed he was PNM till he dead, so what happen there? Everybody wants to know what benefit to Aloes it was for him to sing for the People's Partnership and Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Aloes came down on me when I sang, "I Cyar Vote For Dat." Well now the people are down on him for performing on the People's Partnership platform," Defosto said.

As for the other song, "Calypso Glad Yuh Gone," Aloes said that he was very disappointed over the way Peters treated calypsonians and panmen when he was Multiculturalism Minister. In the song Defosto sings that Peters had a golden opportunity to provide for the calypso and steelpan art forms in a way no other before him had because he was a calypsonian and therefore understood the struggles of the two movements.

"I thought that as a calypsonian when Gypsy became Minister he would have been more friendly to the steelpan and calypso. There was no one in the Peoples Partnership more suited to serve as Multiculturalism Minister than he was. He came from the bowels of kaiso and instead of elevating the art form, he started to deduct money and pull support. He failed to extend helping hands to what are the two most struggling art forms. Shameful."

"It was very sad to have to compose and record a calypso like this, but we thought he would have excelled as a minister. We should have been inspired by Gypsy being the Culture Minister, but what we ended up realising is that they put a disbeliever of the culture to run the Culture Ministry. I don't know how he feels about the song and I don't really care because it's the truth and I wrote it for the people," DeFosto said.

DeFosto will be performing out of the Kaiso Karavan calypso tent run by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation East Zone. He is confident that he will make it to the National Calypso Monarch finals next year and is also looking forward to many steel orchestras playing his song, "We Come Out To Play" for Panorama. The CD collection also features a tribute to Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott titled, "We Golden Boy", as well as one in honour of Dr Eric Williams, "An Oath To Her."

Partial lyrics of "Calypso Glad Yuh Gone"

Two years ago ah told you more money for pan

More money for calypso do the best you can

Did you ever listen no Gypsy no

Your hatred for the PNM have you acting so

You had an opportunity to be the best like auntie Joan, Gypsy

She never one day turn she back on we oh no


Captain your ship is sinking

Captain you make culture cry

Captain you didn't heed we warning

Captain your icons ask you why

Captain you sunk your own ship

Captain your culture you denied

You never show much respect for pan and calypso you treat we with scorn

Gypsy calypso glad yuh gone

Partial lyrics of Alloo Sing:

People start to talk east, west, north and south

All in New York well the talk spread all about

We have a special guest everybody waiting to see

When he hit the stage Midcentre Mall went in a frenzy

PNM bawl out no no no dat ent Crazy

Defosto too dark and he head done bald already

You know dey couldn't believe they eyes well who dey saw on TV

Singing royally for Kamla and de PP


Alloo pie alloo why allo hit the PNM for six

She is royal she's my queen

Allo buy alloo tie alloo have to get the Revue fix

She's Royal she's my dream

PNM start to cuss dey want alloo for breakfast

Dey don't care don't want to hear bout circumstances

Dey say alloo lost his way on the 24th of May

Alloo sing alloo talk alloo say