Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music
What moves grown men to wear fur and poke at a papier mache polar bear in the tropics? Probably an imagination that demands a Grandstand's worth of space. Desperadoes plays Polar North. Photograph by Kingsley Lyndersay (restored 2009).
The debate around the state of Carnival tends to boil down to a simple one, whether the traditions of Carnival are more important than its commercial initiatives.
This Hobbesian debate is about whether Trinidad and Tobago was better served by a Carnival that was imagined and staged by a hivemind of individual creators or overseen by a single agency that guides its progress.
Is the self-interest of the masquerader superior to the guiding wisdom of the NCC?
In some ways, it’s now a moot argument. There aren’t enough individual creators working in the space to constitute a meaningful constituency and state spending on the festival is so vast and important to Carnival’s staging that the wishes of politicians fundamentally guide where the event goes from here.
Two things over Carnival jumped out as flashpoints of this discussion.
One was the resentful toilet papering of Sugar Aloes at the Calypso Monarch Semi-Finals. Here, the hotmouth kaisoman was called to task by a crowd of calypso fans for appearing to pander to the People’s Partnership government.
But really, what was Mr Osuna to do? Allow the oldest continuously operating calypso tent to collapse through an adversarial relationship with the government agency dispensing critical funds needed to keep it going?
Mark you have raised about 50 jep nests of debate here,and some are kohong jeps....yuh know the ones that follow you quite a distance from their nest.
There are some who wants everybody to be paid (economically,a good thing) but are against any moves by the Interest Groups/GROTT to make the product more marketable.
Some are constantly crying for pan players to be paid (a good call) for their services on the road/panorama,and don't articulate how that can be achieved,but decry any moves advance/made that is not "traditional".....a complete oxymoron..!
Some don't agree with the changes made to the Dimanche Gras ( oh yes,what we had as a replacement was disgraceful) but the product was dead for about the last decade,something had to be done to revive local interest and to seek online markets.Again,that production was disgraceful.
Unfortunately the interest in Panorama also seems to be on the wane,and whether I believe Pan is the best invention since the wheel is true or not,if the product does not find ways to get the consumers to spend enough money to pay the players handsomely,we are only barking mangy dogs,limping after fast cars.
I suggest that as early as next week (18/02/13) the NCC,Ministry of Culture,UWI, Chambers of Commerce,Interest Groups,Competition Judges,Interested Individuals etc are called to dissect what we have at present and plan a way forward.Strange we know the dates for each years Carnival decades before,yet the financial/mechanics discussions only begins/settled in the December/January period, prior to the following Carnival.
About the Sugar Aloes issue,he rode the tiger that he and others happily fed and trained.It's probably a good thing it happened to him,because it is now being discussed.Funny no one is talking about the treatment De Fosto also got....like he is not people too.
I must also say that Trinidad calypsoians are the most peculiar entertainers that I know.I don't know any other group of entertainers who had/have gone out of their way to chase a potential 50% of his market away.
What did the people he (Sugar Aloes) humiliated years gone by did? Answer - abandon the calypso tents.
He got what he deserves. Mark Lyndersay, what about Denese Plummer, singing her heart out, one year, and got humiliated worst than Aloes. No one said a word, but we all knew is because she was white and have no place singing in 'WE TING'.
Panorama is dying, the greens will save the pan industry if the funds collected is used to sponser at least one band.
CRO CRO AND ALOES DIG THEIR OWN GRAVE/// IS THEY WHO RUN PEOPLE FROM THE CALYPSO REVUE AFTER KITCH & JAZZY PANTIN DIED/// HE & CRO CRO TOOK OVER THE TENT AND RUN IT TO THE GROUND.... INDIANS USED TO PACK UP THAT TENT WHEN JAZZY WAS ALIVE, AFTER HIS DEATH CRO CRO & ALOES INSULTED THEM BY SINGING SONGS LIKE/// WE GO BEAT THEM COOLIE IF THEY COME IN TOWN FOR ELECTION & WORST THAT THAT... THEY RUN PEOPLE/// THAT IS WHY TENTS ARE SOMETHING OF THE PAST
This subject matter, invites a more invasive analysis, as it speaks directly to the unique cultural streams
in our Trinbago space. I will add a view point
Are we addressing the concept of how Art as art itself in our political /economic/cultural and nationalistic/ manifestations;
who are the financial under-writers of the creative structures, what are the power centers;are the Artistes fundamentally anchored to a course of how their art form should be valued, and has the consuming public developed a valued appreciation for the product or service of the Artiste which demands and commands "Respect".
Should Artiste permit themselves to be used by political drivers, to position the politics and disenfranchise the Art, is this now the normative plantation, for transforming a whole set of cultural subset, that normally emerges from segments of our emerging Carnival Universe, which must be permitted to germinate and flower and reap from communal wellsprings, informed and structured by the interaction of those individuals, and sponsors;
Both Cro Cro and Aloes and their use of Art, is a monument to the dangers, that awaits their Art form, with a fickle public, who have been conditioned to a genre of commentary with its own political discourse, and one can witness the response of the money brokers and the consuming sector to the marketing of a regal image.
If the stake holders, are asking the GOTROTT to put up tax dollars in the pot, to deliver the varied menu to satisfy our varied pallette, then the stake holders must define their leverage and partnership value for a Grand Valued Spectacle.
People with the competence and creativity and vision is a must.
Nice archival photo. I can still see Rudolph"'trail"-"charlo"-"hammer" Charles playing a Cello in 1960 when Desperadoes portrayed Mr. Wilfred "Speaker" Harrison's, "Frozen North." Good point Mark, (my words, men wearing clothing as per photo) is more honest than some of today's depictions. This shows the creativity of an "ordinary people", ones who are void of the term, "politically correct/incorrect," but think outside of the box. I am all for progress, but not at the detriment of "other(s)" (lol) On a lighter side, in 1959, Desperadoes portrayal was "Noah's Ark" and you know what happened on Charlotte Street near the General Hospital. So 1960 was a "cool down" although no climate change (lol)