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Celebrating Funny and a bunch of funny calypsoes

Published: 
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
David Bereaux sings Cypher’s Papers, at Seriously Funny, a tribute to calypsonian Funny which was held on Friday night at the Lion’s Civic Centre, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: DARREN RAMPERSAD

When we say something is seriously funny, we are talking levity, not gravity. It’s nothing serious, just something that’s superlatively clever.

The audience gathered in the Lion’s Civic Centre in Woodbrook, last Friday night for the concert Seriously Funny: Humour in Calypso, was there to celebrate the work of veteran calypsonian Master Funny (Donric William­son), a gifted songwriter whose creativity has enabled him to consistently produce superlatively clever songs for the past 50 years.

Hosted by the Sparrow: A Special Someone Committee, the programme featured performances of Funny’s songs, and humorous calypsoes of other bards, by David Bereaux, Swami (Randolph Galt), Temples (Nigel Galt), Kid Kallaloo (Julien Hunte), Black Sage (Phillip Murray), The G Man (Graham Gellizeau), Tuffy (Roger Murray), Roderick Chuck Gordon (Roderick Gordon), and Trinidad Rio (Daniel Browne).

Bereaux opened the playbill doing Funny’s Check Up (1970) and the late Cypher’s (Dillary Scott) funny, but complex, composition titled Papers. 

Swami was up next to render two of Funny’s compositions—the amazing Time Really Flies with the classic chorus: “Day before yesterday was yesterday, yesterday. Yesterday was today, yesterday. Today was tomorrow yesterday. Tomorrow today go be yesterday. Day after tomorrow, tomorrow, will be yesterday.” 

The other was Accident Policy composed in 1976.

Temples opted for Bomber’s (Clifton Ryan) Proverbs, and was well-appreciated for being able to recreate the several extempo encore verses Bomber delivered when he premiered the work in 2001. Kid Kallalloo offered his witty composition She Tell Meh, which he sang at the Kaiso Karavan in 2013, and was loudly cheered for the clever word-play contained within. 

Black Sage enhanced Funny’s A Soul Man, updating the song with some new crowd-pleasing verses of his own. The G Man offered the unrecorded Bang It, and Tuffy showcased Bam See from 1975.

Two-time national calypso monarch Chuck Gordon went for non-Funny selections. His humorous choices were former road march winner and calypso monarch the late Penguin’s (Seadley Joseph) creative composition The Slipper, and Zandolie’s (Sylvester Anthony) highly popular Man Family.
Trinidad Rio sang two of his outstanding compositions—Back to Basic and For Cup—winning solid audience approval for the masterful use of language with which the selections are crafted.

Funny appeared after the interval, and established early rapport with audience members. He chatted, gave jokes, shared some life experiences as a performing artiste, and delivered a delightful, unique-styled repertoire, that included Funny Win, Screwcoo Cheek, Time Travel, Bacchanal in Hell, Hokey Pokey, Farmer Brown and, with the entire cast supporting him on stage, closed with the memorable, patriotic, Sweet Sweet Trinidad, the first calypso he sang in a tent as a cast member of the CDC Calypso Theatre in 1966.

Providing harmonious chorus work throughout were Sasha George, Carla Sayers and Rennee Guerra. 

Musical accompaniment was provided by the David Bereaux and Friends Vintage Kaiso Ensemble comprising Steve Neaves (guitar), Patrick Johnson (keyboards), Russell Durity (bass), Sylvan Sylvester (saxophone), Alan Nelson (trumpet), Earl Edwards (percussion), and Richard Joseph (drums). 

Bereaux performed duties of show host.

More info
The Sparrow: A Special Someone Committee was established in September 2014 to pay tribute to the legends of calypso. 
The committee has already honoured Sparrow (Slinger Francisco), Mighty Bomber (Clifton Ryan) and Winsford “Joker” Devine.

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