bmobile supports TUCO 10th annual Junior Calypso Vacation Workshop
Port of Spain, Trinidad, July 25, 2017
To inform, educate, edify and entertain. These are the four main attributes which were lyrically instilled into over 20 enthusiastic kids who participated in the 10th annual Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) Junior Calypso South Central Zone Workshop, which culminated on Friday July 21.
For the past two weeks at WACK 90.1FM radio station on Coffee Street in San Fernando, TUCO, with support from bmobile and other sponsors, played host to several eager youngsters (5-16 years) who share a patriotic passion for Trinidad and Tobago’s rich calypso culture. Detailed lectures on its origins, interactive segments, activities and several ‘sing-a-longs’ all played instrumental roles in the success of this special holiday camp.
Over the last decade, TUCO has held these workshops to increase continuity in the local art-form. According to veteran calypsonian and chairman of the TUCO South Central Zone, Steve Pascall aka ‘Ras Kommanda’, “These classes cultivate the younger generation, and encourage them to become more involved in this nation’s growing traditional music industry.”
“Calypso music is not a dying art-form but one that needs strong support to ensure Trinidad and Tobago continues to produce quality artistes and by extension, upright citizens. In this light, we can thank bmobile for their timely intervention, especially during these tough economic times. Through these camps, we have seen a lot of positive progress throughout the years. We are here to ensure our young people in the southland have a chance to learn more about our musical culture,” stated the seasoned kaiso crooner.
In addition to the two-week seminar in San Fernando, TUCO also held three similar programmes concurrently in North (Port-of-Spain) and East (Tunapuna) Trinidad, partnered with another in the sister-isle. At the sessions, young boys and girls were educated on topics inclusive of; How to Compose a Calypso, The Art of Extempo, Calypso History, Stage Presentation, Women in Calypso, the Job of a Master of Ceremony, Lyrical Content, Rendition, Orchestration and Style.
TSTT’s Vice President of Marketing, Camille Campbell, said bmobile is committed to supporting these culture-driven initiatives that are focused on young people.
“These children have a golden opportunity to interact with some of T&T’s top calypsonians and they even get a chance to chat, sing and learn with them. This is important to keep kaiso art accessible and interesting to them, which is what this workshop seeks to accomplish,” said Campbell.
Also present to inspire the kids were several former participants who emerged out of this particular south camp over the years. The likes of two-time National Junior Soca Monarch winner (2013, 2014) and founder/president of the Anti-Bullying Association of T&T (ABATT) Jeremy Rodriguez, T&T’s undisputed Junior Extempo Monarch champion (2016, 2017) Kevan Calliste, 2017 South Soca Monarch title holder Mickyle Calliste aka ‘Prince Calliste’ among others.
The students were also given fundamental words of advice by the eldest offspring of the late Ras Shorty I (considered the ‘Father of Soca’), Abbi Blackman, calypsonians Gary Cordner, Ainsley Mayers aka ‘El Drago’ and Ras Kommanda to name a few.
As a current beneficiary of the Junior Calypso Workshop, Kevan Calliste, grandson of the infamous ‘Black Stalin’, held in high regard his learning experiences at the workshop.
“This is my seventh year I’m here and I can proudly say that this workshop has laid very important foundations for my success thus far. After several classes, I grew a love for Extempo simply because the camp opened up a doorway for me. The lecturers encouraged me and strangely enough, 2016 was the first year organizers put on the Junior Extempo Monarch, and well here I am a two-time winner,” said the St. Benedict’s College Form Six student.
Seventeen-year-old ‘Prince Calliste’ also acknowledged the objectives of TUCO’s programme. “When I came into the camp, we were privy to an array of artistes lecturing us on the art-form. I took all that they said into consideration and use it to make sweet soca music.”
Blackman used her expertise in the arts to raise awareness with the budding female students highlighting ‘Women in Calypso’. She spoke to them about proper and respectable presentation of themselves on stage while performing. Their attire, attitude and aura, according to Blackman, go a long way in executing smoothly.
Following the completion of the camp, the promising kaisonians will stay connected to TUCO and their lecturers via their parents as TUCO South Central Zone remains intent on providing the assistance needed to continue nurturing the future of Trinidad and Tobago calypso.