Tobago-born calypsonian Winston Bailey (Mighty Shadow) and veterans, including Singing Sandra (Sandra Millington) and Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba), entertain patrons at the Kaiso House tent, Queens’ Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, during the Carnival season. While artistes are the headline acts, they depend upon back-up singers to polish their performances by singing lines the artistes would not sing in a lengthy composition. Chorus girls sing in keeping with the melodic arrangement of the piece.
Ramona Morales-Pompie, artistic director of Kaiso House Chorus group, leads that tent’s ensemble, enhancing and embellishing the artistes’ performance. Calypsonians Winston Henry (Explainer) and Brother Mudada (Allan Fortune) say they consider Morales-Pompie to be an integral part of the Kaiso House family. “She does a good job. She is a hard-working person, very enthusiastic and she does a very good job. She is part of the Kaiso House family whom everybody looks up to for guidance. We all appreciate her,” Explainer said. Brother Mudada added, “Ramona has been around before Kaiso House. Before she worked with Sparrow’s cast. She is very dedicated.”
Three years old in 1962
When T&T geared up for jubilee celebrations, she was busy rehearsing with the Kaiso House cast for a performance scheduled for Napa Auditorium, Keate Street, Port-of-Spain, on August 14. Morales-Pompie paused to share her sentiments. I feel proud. I feel great. I was three years in 1962. To reach 53 is an honour. I feel proud to be an Independence baby. I wasn’t born in 1962. But I still feel special.” Morales-Pompie said she was proud to be blessed with her four-month-old grandson Ethan. She also had the love and support of her husband bass player Oslyn and children Crystal, 27, and Oslyn Pompie Jr, 14.
For the past 20 years, Morales Pompie has been singing with Kaiso House. She said her musical journey began while growing up in Chaguanas and attending AME Methodist Church and primary school. “I started singing in church. The principal Forde discovered I could sing. I had a good voice. I had to sing for the school assembly. Whenever there was a special event I had to sing. Singing became my passion.” Her first experience at back-up chorus singing was with Sparrow’s Hideaway in Petit Valley. When that tent closed down she found work with chairman of Caribbean Prestige
Foundation (CPF) William Munro’s Expo Tent. For two years, patrons got quality entertainment. Then, in 1993 she moved to Kaiso House. “In my first year we won Best Chorus Group. After that they asked me to stay on..”
She said, “Singing is not my hobby. It is my career. I sing calypso and soca...all ranges.” Morales-Pompie said she is pleased with strides women like Denyse Plummer and Destra Garcia have made in the entertainment industry. She thanked fellow chorus singers Marilyn Williams, Rhonda Rosales and Kathleen Rosal for lending their voices to the arrangements over the years.