Kaiso No 41- August 22, 2003

Perhaps its all the hot, hot, hot calypso, steelband and soca events happening throughout the Caribbean that has blown in the heat for the record European heat wave or the mysterious blackout in the US.  The summer season of Carnivals in the Caribbean is ending and the internet is providing more and more detailed coverage and for someone who only dreams of seeing Cropover in Barbados, carnival in Antigua, Grenada or St.  Lucia, it gives some idea of the sheer strength of these music forms.  Regrettably, for calypso a majority of all the songs performed in the competitions will not be released commercially.  But at least now on the web you can get a chance to hear some of them and get an idea from newspaper articles on various controversies brewing.  To me they show, if anything, that calypso is a lively force in the arts pushing and perhaps going beyond the envelope. 

Meanwhile, Carnival in Notting Hill in London and Brooklyn in New York are almost upon us with Notting Hill this weekend and Brooklyn the next.  Regrettably, Iím still here in Alaska waiting for a teleporter or a lottery win so I can attend all these!


Opening this Sunday is D Big Apple Calypso tent in Brooklyn to feature many of the legends of calypso in the week leading up to Brooklyn's Labor Day Carnival.  It runs from Sunday August 24 for one week ending the following Saturday night August 30.  The revue is located in an authentic big top tent setting in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Plaza located at 1368 Fulton Street, between Brooklyn and New York avenues.  Headlining the 2003 cast is reigning Calypso Monarch Singing Sandra, Scrunter, Sugar Aloes, Black Stalin, Mighty Duke, Crazy, Funny, Pink Panther, Swallow, Brown Boy, Poser, King Shortshirt and more.  The tent's MC is comedian Rachel Price.

The tent will have a special Comedy Night on Tuesday featuring Learie Joseph, Susan Kennedy and Rachel Price joined by other surprise comedy guests.  The musical bacchanal on this night includes special performances by Duke, Funny, Brown Boy, Crazy and Danger.  On Wednesday, August 27 the tent moves to The Bronx for one show only at The Pyramid Club, 3825 White Plains Rd.(Corner of 220nd Street). 

This is the third year of the D Big Apple Calypso Revue and it is starting to be recognized as a regular part of Brooklyn Carnival.  The tent is the brainchild of producer Dawad Philip.  Phillip has been a Trini cultural activist his whole life and has been active the last several years as a mas designer.  He had put on a series of Living Legends of Calypso concerts and a couple fine CDs.

For information call Dawad Phillip at 718-469-6755, 718-735-1533 or e-mail him at Dawad6@mac.com.


The BBC London will feature extended coverage of the upcoming Notting Hill Carnival including a live Machel Montano concert, panorama and more from the streets and sperate from the radio coverage which you can hear on the internet, there is live sound and vision webcasts for hours this weekend.  Go to: www.bbc.co.uk/london/carnival/index.shtml for more details.  They also have a piece on pan pioneer Sterling Betancourt on the site as well.  Go to: www.bbc.co.uk/london/carnival/steelpan_history.shtml

Calypso remains strong in London with The Association of British Calypsonians (ABC) presenting their annual London Calypso Tent at the Yaa Asantewaa Arts and Community Centre, http//www.yaaasant.demon.co.uk/, Chippenham Mews in Notting Hill.  Tomorrow, August 23 they feature a Picnic in the Park at Powis Square.  The tent has been going every Friday night from July 25 and ends tonight.  This year the featured artists are Lord Cloak (Errol Brown), Alexander D Great (Alexander Loewenthal, Admiral Jack (Jeffery Hinds), Sister Sandra (Sandra Alexander), Totally Talibah (Talibah Hawkins), Cleopatra Cleopatra, and Deloris Francis.  The guest star is Soca Elvis who was featured at Spektakula Tent this year.


In Antigua, the results are first Queen Ivena, second Young Destroyer, third Zacari, fourth Lord Short Shirt and fifth De Bear.  The season was eventful in that there was an attack on calypso by a local politician.  In the Antigua Sun, commentator Dobrene OíMarde gave an impassioned defense of the artform that I think is worth reading.  Go to: www.antiguasun.com/paper/?as=view&an=330641099507292003&ac=Special%20Feature&aop=240238096407292003#StoryRest

Barbados Cropover

The calypso monarch in Barbados, the Pic-O-De-Crop winner was Red Plastic Bag who who it for the seventh time to tie the record number of wins with calypsonian Gabby.  His songs were Hair and Competition.  The Road March for Cropover was won by Lil Rick with Mash up and Buy Back.  Two calypsonians, Colin Spencer and Anderson Mr Impact Ward, were removed from the competition.  It was determined Mr Spencer had questionable lyrics and the song performed by Mr.  Impact had been performed in a prior year.

Grenada Carnival

Black Wizard (Elwyn Mc Quilkin) was the reigning 2002 monarch and won the crown again and Tallpree is the soca monarch with his Carnival Madness

St Lucia

Pelay (Jeff Elva won his sixth crown as the Calypso Monar5ch of St.  Lucia.  I can hear his two winning songs Nostradamus and Pusher because audio files of all the leading selections are on the web at: www.luciancarnival.com/2003_calypso_finalists.htm

St Vincent

Princess Monique, the reigning Queen of Calypso in St Vincent is now also wearing the crown of National Calypso Monarch of 2003.  She sang Caribbean Integration and The New Colonizers

BBC Radio

On BBC Radio 3 on September 13, a radio show called World Routes will feature the second of a two part series on music in Panama and will feature an interview with Lord Panama.  Calypso in Panama has intrigued me for a long time but very little is known about it. 

Feel free to contact me and tell me the calypso news.  Also I am happy to get email addresses for additional people who might be interested in these occasional newsletters.

Ray Funk - 22.8.03
POBox 72387, Fairbanks, AK 99707, rfunk@ptialaska.net

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