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Destructive to tradition

Chalkdust on 'new-look' Dimanche Gras:

By Julien Neaves

EIGHT-TIME Calypso Monarch Prof Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool has criticised the change in the format of the Dimanche Gras show as "destructive" to the Carnival tradition and African people.

"People have died for Carnival. People have went to jail for Carnival," he said.

He was speaking on Wednesday with the media following the launch of the book, Rituals of Power and Rebellion: The Carnival Tradition in Trinidad and Tobago 1763-1962, at the John S Donaldson University of Trinidad and Tobago's (UTT) Port of Spain campus.

The Dimanche Gras show in previous years traditionally consisted of the Calypso Monarch competition and the Kings and Queens of Carnival competition, but the new-look Dimanche Gras show does not include any competitive element this year.

Liverpool said, however, the split was being done for monetary reasons and we have fallen into the trap of capitalism.

On competing again for the Calypso Monarch crown last night, Liverpool said he was glad to be in the finals and that he was eldest person there.

He said many young calypsonians were learning the artform "by the wayside" and there was a need for training. He lamented that when calypso training programmes are held at UTT, calypsonians do not attend.

On the current state of Carnival, Liverpool said the "beads and bikini mas" has its place but it cannot be to the detriment of the traditional mas, and we were losing the essence of Carnival.

He stressed it was important for the younger generation to learn about the mas, and he expressed hope his book in schools would spark that interest so that the children will want to be Midnight Robbers and other traditional Carnival characters.

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