Kaiso No 11 - November 23, 1998

The snow keeps coming and winter is here with snow enough for cross-country skiing!  I've been busy with other things so this issue is much delayed.  Sorry.  I'll try to get back on track!

New Book

Despite my best efforts, I often learn of things at the last minute.  An ad in the Beat magazine mentioned that a new book on carnival and calypso is out:  Bacchanal!  Carnival, Calypso and the Popular Culture of Trinidad by Peter Mason with companion CD!  The official website description is at:


I have yet to see this and can't comment about it, but very curious.  The author is a British journalist.

Other News

A tribute to Lord Nelson was held at the Savannah last Sunday put on by Spectacula Productions that seems to have gone over quite well from the review this week by Debbie Jacob in the Express on the net.  A program of Vintage Kaiso in a A Musical Tribute to Lord Melody starring Fighter, Blakie, Prowler, Valentino, Power, Brigo, Funny, and Composer is scheduled for November 29 at the Aristocrat Manor, 539 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn, info (718-604-1723).

Sniper (Mervyn Hodge), born in Belmont c.  1936

One of the tragic figures in calypso.  In 1959 South competition.  In 1963 I'm told makes an album for National called The Old Woman Scandal (which I have never seen!).  Was in the OYB tent with Papa Knows Best.  Was monarch in 1965 with (Portrait of Trinidad) Trinidad, Land of My Birth and More Production out of the Revue tent after two seasons in the tents.  A problem with the law prevented him from defending his crown the next year because he was serving a two-year prison term for fraud.  Second in 1968 monarchy.  He dies in the United States in around 1969.  While everyone knows his Portrait of Trinidad, his other calypsos are not.  Here is his national building song for 1968.

A Way to Success (Productivity)

Through no fault of our own
We dollar drop down low
And I'm sure it's known
The pressure we might have to undergo
But lucky we have a way
Could make we burden ease up
And if we start from today
Very soon all hardships go stop.

Productivity is We crying need
We must produce heavy if we want to succeed
So pal let we use up we senses and start cutting down all expenses
Because we done see tile score
So let we produce some more

We were once a colony
But Independent now
So - we ain't have nobody
Again to teach us the right way how
No longer can we depend on any Mother Country
And besides - Right now she can't even help she own self
Much more to help we

Productivity is the Nation's call
We must produce heavy otherwise we might fall
Regardless what class you belong to
Produce more that's all we ask of you
Put your shoulders to the wheel
Or all who harden go feel

Right now we should be thinking
Of all the ways we could
So we could stop buying
This big set of Foreign goods
It's no use just complaining
Because it is plain to see
We gotta do something
To keep building up we economy

Productivity is the way to move
We must produce heavy if we wheat to is
This is not a Time for idling
Let we cut out all this skylarking
And every man do his share
To keep we dollars down here

Some folks say they going away
As they hear the dollar drop
But please let me say
This is not the attitude to adopt
I feel whether sink or float
We all should work hand in glove
And do we best to promote
This nation we always boast that we love.

Productivity is the solution
If we want to overcome this situation
We should all fight one for the other
And if together we aspire
My dear friends I do believe
Together we would achieve.

Postage Stamps

Sniper brings up another subject.  In 1968, he also did Thanks for the Stamps though all I have is a verse quoted in the paper,
So now let us do our best
This prize we now possess
Buy these stamps right now with pride
Post them to your friends far and wide
For in this way you must agree
The whole world knowing more about we
That we really unsurpass
When it come in calypso, steelband and mas
I have never seen any of the '68 stamps that were issued on Carnival subjects.  It seems that Cypher might have gotten a stamp of his own.  I have the recent Trinidad stamp for Kitch and the Grenada stamp on Ajamu but lack info on other calypso stamps.


The answer to last issue's question is One Man At a Time done by Calypso Princess.  Since I am so far behind, I thought I'd get this one out and I'll get more out for next newsletter.

Ray Funk

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