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Calypso stars of Sangre Grande

Published: 
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Pink Panther, the 2013 National Calypso Monarch. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAYhis

Sangre Grande has produced several top calypsonians, whose names have become famous, not only here in T&T, but internationally as well.

These Sangre Grande bards will be featured in a special show on April 29, titled Calypso Icons of Grande, at North Eastern College, Sangre Grande and showtime is from 7.30 pm. A Spektakula Promotions production, it takes place under the auspices of Councillor Terry Rondon. This is a show not to be missed.

The icons to be featured are Scrunter ((Irwin Reyes Johnson); Johnny King (Johnson King); Poser (Sylvester Lockhart); and, Pink Panther, (Eric Taylor) Special guest at the show is an icon himself who is a friend and colleague of all the icons to be featured, none other than Baron (Timothy Watkins Jnr).

Scrunter is a much beloved name in the calypso world and has been performing for over 40 years. He won the national calypso crown in 1982 with the hits Lick-e-Ting and the classic The Will. Many will no doubt remember, that famous appearance on stage at the Dimanche Gras show, by the late Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), when he handed him the will, as the song said “ah just get the will from Lord Kitchener.”

Scrunter’s hits are almost too numerous to mention and include the classic Woman on De Bass, Take De Number, Sing In She Party, Oil in De Coil, among others There is also his many hits in the parang soca genre.

Johnny King, though born in Tobago, has made his home in Sangre Grande for many years.

The now retired policeman, first entered the calypso arena in 1980. He is known for his insightful, thoughtful lyrics with classics like Nature’s Plan, Appreciation, Darling and the mega-hit Wet Meh Down. King has been a finalist many times in the national calypso monarch competition and is well known for his performances at home and abroad,

Veteran and icon Poser, was born in Sangre Grande, in the village of Matura. He won the Sangre Grande calypso monarch crown for five consecutive years before deciding to come into Port-of-Spain to try

​The result is, he became one of the greats himself with hits like Ah Tell She, which won him the 1979 Road March title, Town Man, Party Tonight and Bus Conductor. A true culture lover who also played pan in his youth, Poser is a seasoned performer, both at home and abroad.

Pink Panther, renowned for his well-tailored pink suits, after the cartoon character of the same name, has a funny story to tell about how he got his start at the Kalypso Revue tent where he has been a staple for many years.

He remembers that he was invited there to try out by his brother calypsonian Scrunter as they were both Grande boys, however, tent manager, now deceased Jazzy Pantin, did not like his song We Ketching We Tail and turned him down. It was the founder of the tent Lord Kitchener, who took him under his wing after chatting with him and realising he’d composed his song and beat Scrunter with it in the Grande competition.

Pink Panther says not only did Kitch become a mentor and friend, but also, so did Kitch’s lifelong friend, Pretender. He recalls many Sunday sessions, honing the craft of calypso at Kitch’s home, Rainorama, in Diego Martin. He also credits National Calypso Monarch Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool), with being another of his mentors. Panther is known for his satirical social and political commentary Dey Laughing In De Ghetto and is always a favourite with the crowd in the calypso monarch competition.

Saturday, April 29 promises to be very special with the Calypso Icons of Grande. Contact Spektakula Promotions for more information at 628-8700. Also check them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.(Reporting by PRB)