Msc, Lecturer, CISPS
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Reliving the glory days of Calypso Spektakula
During the 1980’s into the 1990’s upper Henry Street, Port-of-Spain would come alive during the Carnival season from opening night of the Calypso Spektakula calypso tent at the Spektakula Forum. People, from the regular working man to the wealthiest personality, flocked to the venue’s doors to catch the premiere of what was then the most exciting tent on the calypso circuit and they packed the Forum every night throughout the season.
For more than 25 years, Calypso Spektakula presented the most sought after calypsonians and soca artistes of the day, as well as served as the nurturing ground for artistes who would eventually stand among the best of the best.
The Calypso Spektakula treated patrons not only with great performances featuring the top artistes delivering calypsoes exploring social and political issues through either stinging lyrics or humour, but also the hottest soca, chutney soca and ragga soca.
In 2014, Spektakula Promotions is relighting the flame of Calypso Spektakula as it will, on February 14 and 15, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Keate Street, Port-of-Spain present Calypso Spektakula Through The Years.
This show will be a nostalgic journey revisiting the wonderful Carnivals of yesterday and the 25 plus glorious years of Calypso Spektakula.
Calypso Spektakula was the place where David Rudder launched his campaign to compete in the National Calypso Monarch competition, which he won in 1986 along with two other coveted titles, the National Road and National Calypso Young King titles making him the first ever triple crown winner.
Rudder remained at the Calypso Spektakula even as his international career took off.
Rudder will be performing at the show delivering some of his hits through the years.
Also on stage for Calypso Spektakula Through the Years will be eight-time National Calypso Monarch Chalkdust who was also at the tent from its inception. Trinidad Rio built a fine career at Calypso Spektakula with his unique brand of humorous social and political commentary and also storytelling through comedic calypsoes.
The king of humorous calypsoes, Funny, will also perform at the show along with Luta and the world’s most proficient extempo calypsonian, Winston “Gypsy” Peters.
These are only some of the artistes in the impressive lineup for the show that will be hosted by Tommy Joseph who had audiences in stitches nightly for the quarter decade of Calypso Spektakula.
He will be joined by Nikki Crosby, the first female to serve as MC in a calypso tent.
From its inception the Roy Cape All Stars served as the house band accompanying the calypsonians and soca artistes performing at the tent and they will be there to recreate those wonderful moments along with Wayne Bruno and his band, which took over accompaniment duties in 1994 when Cape moved on to other pursuits.
Frank Martineau, Spektakula Promotions CEO, was quick to point out that because of the limited amount of artistes that can be accommodated; it’s creating a nightmare to finalise a cast.
He said last weekend: “There have been so many artistes that stood behind Spektakula through the years, I am sincerely hoping that those who were not selected would not get vex with stage manager Lennox (Toussaint) and myself.”
The Calypso Spektakula was the production that set new standards for calypso tents from its debut.
The producers introduced the latest lighting and lighting effects technology of the day and also employed the most advanced sound system.
They also incorporated professional dancers to accompany some of the calypsonians and featured the most popular acts from across the other Caribbean islands and the US including Arrow, Becket and Swallow.
For more info about the Spektakula Promotions show on February 14 and 15 at Napa, Keate Street, Port-of-Spain, contact 682-7887.