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Panther donates $$ to charity (with CNC3 video)
Basking in the aftermath of his 2013 Calypso Monarch victory, Sangre Grande bard Eric Taylor (Pink Panther) says he regrets the late Aldwyn Roberts (Lord Kitchener) was not present to share in his victory. Taylor also said it coincided magnificently with the Revue Kalypso tent’s 50th anniversary celebrations. He copped the $1 million prize at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Thursday.
Asked about his victory yesterday, Taylor, a master of political satire, told the T&T Guardian: “I am sorry Kitchener is not here to see it. He is the man that brought me out in the calypso business. Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) took me over. And I am always happy and lucky to have a godfather in the business.
“I don’t feel it is a personal victory. I feel it is a holistic victory for Kitchener, Chalkdust and the Revue since it is celebrating 50 years. It is a magnificent feat to see we could celebrate a monarch title within the 50th anniversary.” Recalling his immediate reaction after he was announced winner on Thursday night, Taylor added:
“Words can’t express how I felt. In the life of a calypsonian this is the ultimate feat, to win the monarch title. There were many times I wanted to give up. “I thank God for my friends and family, fans and people who always inspired me. Had I given up I would not have been able to clinch that victory.”
Asked how he would spend his $1 million winnings, he said: “I definitely want to give some to charity.” Politics, the topic explored in one of his songs on Thursday, runs in Taylor’s veins. In fact he contested the Toco/Sangre Grande seat for the People’s National Movement (PNM) in 2010. Taylor said yesterday he continued to be burdened to improve the quality of life for people in Sangre Grande and environs.
“I am a politician. I would try to keep myself alive politically. Even though we (PNM) lost the election in 2010, I continue to help my constituents. There is a lot of work to be done,” he said. He lamented there was not a proper cultural facility in Sangre Grande. “If we have to do a little concert in Sangre Grande we have nowhere to stage it. Sangre Grande and Toco are replete with so many good artistes, like Scrunter, Poser, Valentino, Patrice Roberts and Stinger,” Taylor added.
Sporting pink shoes on Thursday night, Taylor wooed the judges with Travel Woes in the first round. After his performance, the audience applauded lustily and commentators gave it the thumbs up. Asked about the concept for Travel Woes, Taylor said he was trying to go to London but he could not find a smooth sailing ship.
“Ah find censorship, receivership and companionship. But I couldn’t find the perfect ship. I couldn’t find proper leadership,” said Taylor. During the performance, Taylor used simple yet effective props like his passport and a suitcase. On his second-round song, Crying in the Chapel, Taylor said he was paying homage to Carnival icons like his mentor, Kitch, and musician Andre Tanker. He noted it was sad but now obvious that many leading cultural icons went to God’s acre during Carnival celebrations.
During his doleful rendition of Crying in the Chapel, Taylor used elaborate props that included a coffin, mourners and the Point Fortin-based Jeunes Agape choir. He employed the talents of Joseph Rivers to dramatise the anguish felt at the loss of prominent masmen and panmen who had flown the red, white and black flag proudly. To cement the performance, Taylor even introduced a J’Ouvert band.
“We tired crying when the J’Ouvert band passing,” Taylor said. Taylor said he was also still hurting at the passing of his friend, calypsonian and former TUCO president Seadley Joseph (Penguin), who died on January 26. “He was a great man. He was best known for A Deputy Essential. But my favourite was What Dat Slipper Doing Under My Bed/And doh answer me with no dotish head.”
Asked about fellow calypsonian Michael Osouna (Sugar Aloes) being pelted and booed during the semi-final round, he said: “Long ago, they would use the crookstick if they didn’t like what you were singing. Now is toilet paper. Calypso has evolved. They pelt Denyse Plummer, De Fosto and Gypsy. Aloes stood his ground like a man and sang his song.”
Taylor also expressed confidence and pride in the younger crop of calypsonians, including Revue singer Alana Sinette and former monarch Karene Asche, who were both in the final. “It is a good statement to see the young ones. Chalkdust, Marvellous Marva and I are the veterans,” he said.
In previous years, Taylor wooed audiences and judges with thought-provoking commentary on issues like education, poverty and former politician Carlos John with Misprint, Laughing In D’ Ghetto and Mr Big Stuff respectively. Artistic director of the Revue Michael Osouna (Sugar Aloes), meanwhile described Taylor’s victory as a gift.
Interviewed yesterday, Osouna said: “I feel elated. Panther is from the Revue. I sacrificed myself to ensure the tent was operational. So I feel justified. It’s a gift to ourselves for the 50 years. It’s pure jubilation in the Revue camp.”