Even as the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians' Organisation (Tuco) kicked off its month-long calendar of events yesterday in celebration of the 18th annual Calypso History month, local artistes are still struggling to find spaces to perform and to have their music played on local radio stations.
Speaking at the launch of Calypso History Month at the Queen’s Park Savannah yesterday Tuco's president Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance) said although the celebrations were about appreciating those who have gone and paving the way for young and upcoming Calypsonians, the issues facing the industry cannot be ignored.
“When we think about Calypso History month, it is important for us to identify the challenges that we are still going through as Calypsonians in this country, some people say I have a one-track mind but I must talk about the fact that we still have to battle and struggle for 50 per cent local content on our national media,” Masimba said.
Masimba said artistes also have difficulties finding spaces where they can showcase their talents, especially in the capital city.
He said as Tuco moves forward, its goal was to focus on righting those wrongs and ensure there will be research and education on the art form for future generations.
Masimba said calypsonians have been vital to express the views of citizens on all public matters over the years.
“Calypsonians have made their pronouncements on other things in the society that affect our lives in other ways and in a number of ways we owe a lot as a nation to our Calypsonians, we celebrate those who have paved the way through the trials and tribulations that they have been through so we can be here today speaking about the art form.”
The theme of this year’s celebrations is “Calypso: Music to Educate, Empower and Embrace our space in the world” and Tuco has planned an eight-week workshop in eight Secondary schools across T&T.
During the workshop, students will read and analyse calypso and soca lyrics of both past and current songs to “introduce to the consciousness" of young people issues related to gender and youth in the calypso art form.
The celebrations also include screenings of the film, “Charlie’s Records” about the life and work of Rawlston Charles who is credited with producing some of the greatest names in Calypso like Calypso Rose, Sparrow, Shadow, Superblue, Ras Shorty, and Explainer.
The event calendar kicks off on September 24, with Lady Gypsy in concert at the Creative Arts Centre in San Fernando and ends on November 10 with a Tuco Family Day at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Reporter: Sharlene Rampersad