Broth­er Re­sis­tance: Local artistes struggling to find spaces

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

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