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Economy taking toll on Calypso tents

Published: 
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Bunny B performs his calypso “One Drop” during the opening of Kaiso House at the Southern Academy of the Performing Arts (SAPA) on Sunday night.

​Calypso tents have been losing audiences over the years, but the state of the economy is taking a further toll on this Carnival tradition.

This was evident on Sunday night as Kaiso House, the flagship tent of the Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (Tuco), performed to a much smaller audience at what was billed as its grand premier, held at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando.

Member of the management team, calypsonian Twiggy admitted that audiences had been waning over the past two to three years, but Sunday evening’s show “was not as good as the year before.

Nevertheless, patrons were able to enjoy a mixture of satire, humour, social commentary and political commentary from the performers.

As expected, one of the more topical issues was crime, as newcomer Lani K, who got the first encore for the night, broached the subject of witnesses seeing but saying nothing. Marvalous Marva also commented on the strange place T&T has become because of crime.

Neesha Wattley, who became infamous for her “dat making any sense” comment in response to receiving keys to a house from the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) was also immortalised in Calypso by Duane O’Connor.

O’Connor advised the HDC in the future they may have to present the keys to a car as well as keys to the house to recipients. One of the biggest acts in Calypso, Lady Aiesha earned a number of encores as she sang about her experience while shopping for an obeah man to find a male companion.

But the night was not without some hiccups as a number of the big names advertised, failed to show.

Twiggy apologised to south audiences, who upon leaving the venue, expressed dissatisfaction that calypsonians such as Karen Asche, Mista Shak and Gypsy, were a no show.

Twiggy, who was also unable to perform as she had to fill in for the stage manager who fell ill, promised to make amends before the end of the Carnival season.

Twiggy explained that Asche experienced some problems getting her music in time, and was still in the studio on the evening. She said Gypsy was out of the country and did not make it back on time. As for Mista Shak, she said he had a previous commitment and because of the rain, was unable to make it to the southern venue on time.