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Calypso on a roll

Friday, November 10, 2017
ABOVE: Winston Peters, Gypsy, left, battles Joseph Vautor-La Placeliere, Lingo in an Extempo War during the TUCO North Zone Extemporama 2017 in tribute to Mervyn Telfer at SWWTU Hall, Port-of-Spain, on Saturday evening. RIGHT: Willard Harris, Lord Relator during his performance.

The weekend past was a bumper one for entertainment with a dizzying variety of events being staged nationwide. The members of Tuco were in seventh heaven as two of their events staged were successes.

Tuco North Zone held its annual Extemporama at SWWTU Hall, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain on Saturday night. Its organising committee headed by Mark John (Contender), the event was billed A Tribute to Mervyn Telfer, a departed icon of the art form.

In attendance at the packed venue were Telfer’s family, including companion Farida Pollard and children Derek, Sean, Stephen, Joel, Martin and Gisele.

Also seen were former government minister Joan Yuille Williams, former National Security Minister Brig General Carl Alfonso and Eintou Springer.

Extemporama featured 11 extempore giants as well as junior calypsonians Kevan Calliste, Kishon Phillip and Josiah Dubarry.

Making guest appearances were Humour Calypso Monarch Bro Ebony and 1980 national monarch Relator. Emcee chores were shared by Tommy Joseph and Shirlaine Hendrickson with music accompaniment by the Bunny B Band, featuring Bro Superior on guitar.

The entire programme was chock-filled with humour as calypsonians tried to outdo each other in extempore fashion. As the night wore on some were eliminated including past national extempore monarch Black Sage, veteran Short Pants and Contender. Progressing to the final round were Gypsy, Lingo, Myron B, Brian London, Abelele and Dion Diaz. The face off between Gypsy and Lingo was the night’s most entertaining duel.

On Sunday, Tuco held its Calypso History Month Sports & Family Day at The Paddock, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain and this also attracted a large turnout as members of all Tuco regions and they were joined by teams like the National Carnival Commission (NCC), Last Band Standing, NCC, Belmont Jewels & D Boss, Kaisoca Touring Team and Not Just Fun.

Aside from novelty events, managed by members of T&T Fire Services, there were also cricket and football tournaments, and a calypso synch competition to round off the day’s programme.

Saturday’s diary of entertainment events also included St Joseph Convent’s annual, inter-class Parang in a Pot 5 competition; Vaughnette Bigford Under the Stars at St Anthony College Grounds, Westmoorings;

Pan Kingdom... Music of the World staged by First Citizens Supernovas at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain; and, the 2017 Top 20 Calypso Awards Gala Ceremony hosted by the National Action Cultural Committee at Central Bank Auditorium.

Sunday’s calendar was also hectic with the Little Carib Theatre remembering late dance diva Beryl Mc Burnie with A Celebration of La Belle Rosette (Beryl Mc Burnie). The cast of this tribute included 2 Cents Movement, Johann Chuckaree, Bro Superior, Cecilia Salazar, Jessie James Joseph, Raul Landaeta, Felipe Noguera, Felix Roach, Little Carib Dance Company and the UTT Dancers.

An Evening of Thanksgiving was also held on Sunday evening at Church on the Rock, Lady Young Road, Morvant and featured Delamo, Sean Daniel, Denyse Plummer, Tambu, Luta, Mention, Gennex and J Errol Lewis.

These days local radio is missing one of its best loved voices, that of Rennie Bishop.

After returning to Trinidad two years ago from his New York base, Bishop has again returned to the US.

With lots of curious people enquiring about his move, Pulse caught up with the Iceman this week to get a first hand explanation. Said Bishop: “First, the reason for coming to Trinidad was to use talk radio to assist in moving the country forward.

“There are many people at home who want to move the country forward; who believe in Trinidad and Tobago.

“I wanted to do that but in this format, time for talk radio needs to be on an extended basis. While I enjoyed my morning show and the Soul Train (on Saturdays) it was not the reason I came back. What I did on Sunday was (authentic) talk radio.

“I think we were able to bring the acquired knowledge of running a morning show and show that the expertise of conducting is Sunday talkshow is non-confrontational but educational.

“All the same, doing it once a week limits the full exploration of talk radio needed in Trinidad and Tobago.

“In addition, it did not allow us on a daily basis to deal with the issues expeditiously when they came up.

“Waiting until Sunday meant we were dealing with issues where the heat already left the street and the essence of the story had to be regurgitated or reintroduced. The time was just too short so every topic of the previous five days never got its due. I had to return because I felt I was not the selling the profession in the direction that I would have liked it to go.”

Who can forget Bishop piloting Projection 3 of the Rennie Bishop Experience exactly 40 years ago, or when he co-hosted The J&R Show with the late Jim Sutherland, who would have been 72 next week Saturday, on 95.1FM? Bishop carved in a niche for himself and has become a legend in local radio.

He did this at a time when local music was changing, especially with the advent of the soca genre and Black Power movement.

So while he had a legion of fans, he rocked the music status quo, which at the time was piloted by calypso/soca purists DJs like Phil Simmons and Gerald Agostini, with his American tracks.

High in praise of veteran radio guru and disc jockey Anthony “Chinese Laundry” Chow Lin On, Bishop expressed satisfaction in what they were able to achieve in two years.

Now back in New York, Bishop continues to be involved in US media and coordinating his interests abroad.

Known for traditionally closing his sessions with Silver Convention’s popular Thank You Mr DJ, when Bishop played his final track on the Morning Show on October 30, he said goodbye with the instrumental Manhattan Skyline.


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