Political calypso monarch, Kurt Allen, has come up with a formula for the Calypso Monarch crown in 2013. Allen told the Express during a recent telephone interview that to ensure his success he will be creating a paradigm shift where calypso is concerned. Faithfull fans as well as the calypso fraternity may want to ready themselves because it is possible that the former calypso monarch will shake things up with a new concept of calypso he has branded as "calypsoca". While Allen isn't referring to calypsoca as a new genre he said the new concept is the way forward where his career in the calypso arena is concerned. The new concept according to Allen is an opportunity to stretch the limits in the area of his creativity and uniqueness.
Allen, who considers himself a diehard calypsonian doesn't intend to compromise the integrity of what calypso represents. "I think by now people understand that I am a diehard calypsonian and I will never do anything to stray because I'm one to uphold the traditional quality of the music. I have basically patterned my entire artistic development from the pioneers of calypso like Roaring Lion, Atilla The Hun and Lord Executor, so I am well rooted. I have my foundation but I have to express me."
Allen went on, "A lot of people would have seen me as a traditionalist in terms of calypso but I have always seen calypso as something evolving and I am going to be adding my touch to it this time around. I am not trying to come up with a new genre; it's my own original style. Machel Montano has his own particular sound of soca that is why he is on top. People have to realise that they have to put themselves in the music and not just follow other people. Even though we share the same love for soca and the same pulse you still have to be you. SuperBlue, David Rudder and Machel Montano came with their own brand, touch, style and flavour. What is happening now is everybody is sounding like everybody," Allen said.
According to Allen, people have gotten bored with the current state of the artform. He intends to lure even the youths with his new brand. "Over the years the support for calypso especially at competition level has dwindled. You are now seeing people falling asleep at the Dimanche Gras; imagine you are seeing people sleeping. In previous years that was unheard of," Allen said. The musical evolution of calypso has not progressed. A lot of the younger people are not interested in calypso because what they are looking for in the rhythm and the music they are not getting. They are finding that comfort in soca and not in calypso," Allen said.
Allen said the musical evolution of calypso has not progressed as the same rate as soca. He went on to further explain his drive behind calypsoca: "It is not that I am drifting; I am just expanding my vision of what I want to portray. I'm blending the two energies together which is soca and calypso. I am using the soca element and calypso element not to create a new genre but a new concept. I will be re-using some of the traditional instruments that calypso is noted for like the banjo and cuatro; these instruments are absent from the music. Those are the instruments that will build a nice pulse to create a more appealing sound for the music. It's a more interesting sound for calypso."
While Allen has already released a track titled "Feel to Party" which is a blend of soca and rave, he is timing the release of is calypso monarch contender which will be featured on his CD titled Calypso Thesis. The 19-track compilation will feature humour and political commentary and comes with a sound book, so fans can have a copy of the lyrics to his offerings. Allen is heavily focused on political and social commentary. In 2010 he won the Calypso Monarch title with "Too Bright", a scathing political commentary pointing out the shortfalls of the People's National Movement (PNM) administration as well as that of the Opposition.
Allen said while it may be perceived that the government of the day is under attack his aim is always to be fair and balanced on the political platform. "I am balanced that is the main thing; to make sure that calypso maintains its balance. I don't ever sing against any political party regardless of who is in government because those are the people who represent the people Trinidad and Tobago. It may be hurtful but my aim is never intended to attack any political party; my aim is never to be negative. I present my views in the best balanced way I could, although it would always be perceived that the government of the day is under attack," he said.
Having won the soca monarch in 1999 I came off the soca scene completely and concentrated on calypso. Shortly after winning the 2010 title, he opened The Office of The Calypso Monarch in Barataria which is dedicated to keeping the memory and the work of past Monarchs alive. He placed 2nd in the 2012 Calypso Monarch competition with "Long Live Calypso" and "When Will It End".