Dimanche Gras 2014 Live Right Now!!

I like that chucky won! I enjoyed calypso monarch more than soca monarch, one of the best calypso monarch for a long time, a lot of Afrocentric themes throughout the competition.

Way better than the disaster that was 2013. Calypso should be getting 2MM as well, and some much more deserved airplay. It would be nice to have a new state of the art facility and not the tired savannah, what they waiting on the build the carnival center?

I think after seeing Karen asche and chucky winning, more young people will come into the calypso arena...so I am not worried about that aspect.
It is so sad that Trinidad and Tobago doesn't have a carnival museum, dedicated to the history of canbouolay, steelpan, carnival characters, soca, calypso, masquerade etc

What are they waiting on?


Registered User
I must mentioned that this year's Dimanche Gras/Calypso Monarch Finals show was one of the best ones in years especially stage and music production wise so must commend TUCO and everyone involved for producing a splendid and entertaining show especially after the flop last year.

Congrats to Chucky and all the other finalists who all did a creditable job in presenting their calypsos.
No way on earth does the Calypso Monarch winner deserve to get just half the amount that the Soca and Chutney Soca Monarch winner got for their competitions when Calypso is like a mother to those two offshoot genres and we are supposed to be celebrating 100 years of vocal calypso recordings this year 2014.

Julian Whiterose aka Duke of Iron - Iron Duke in the Land (1914, 1st vocal calypso recording)
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100 years ago saw the first recorded vocal calypso and since then this folk tradition has been articulating our very soul and all our dimensions, warts and all. It has praised, maligned, lampooned, denigrated and elevated just about everyone you can think of not least of which have been women. Yet it has been our medium by which those same women expressed and flaunted their assertiveness, sexuality and desires. Others, as Heather Macintosh pointed out, see its value more than we do and even though they stand in awe of its potential, we still remain indifferent, even embarrassed by being associated with calypso at times.
But, one remains optimistic. Long live kaiso and all its offshoots, soca, reggae, zouk, chutney, etc.
Bredda man! You is a warrior and defender of we artform and you get big props for that. Some ah we own people who does be so willing to jump down your throat but sit grinning their teeth and are accomodating of the absurdity of others on this forum.

Yeah man long live Kaiso indeed!

Btw that show last night was 10times better than the power soca garbage and should be rewarded accordingly.

I was with a group of guys who thoroughly enjoyed Chalkdust but everyone acknowledged that the presentation of Chucky was just outstanding.


Registered User
Maybe Soca Monarch generates more money.

Calypso Monarch represents the Greatness of yesteryear and a tradition that we must hold on to no matter the cost(monetarily).

But Soca Monarch is a "Cash Cow" that apparently generates far more excitement amongst the younger generation.

Saw Monroe on an interview saying that Soca Monarch doesn't generate money because the money to be made in broadcasting and not in the arena itself...basically the money-making potential hasn't been tapped yet.....

and going by that power soca show....it never will.



CaribKaraoke.com Owner

Saw Monroe on an interview saying that Soca Monarch doesn't generate money because the money to be made in broadcasting and not in the arena itself...basically the money-making potential hasn't been tapped yet.....

and going by that power soca show....it never will.

And...you...believe that? There are other areas to be tapped into to make money for Soca Monarch, but to say it doesn't generate money...I doubt that.

Speaking of that other area...Broadcasting...I payed for the Pay Per View in America to watch the show. I wonder how many others around the world got an opportunity to do the same.
some people are dotish,,, de amount of people that ordered it on ppv( cable ) when it said 9-1am,,, and they missed basically the whole power monarch, rofl


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Chucky is 2014 Calypso Monarch
By Donstan Bonn (T&T Express)
Story Created: Mar 3, 2014 at 2:57 AM ECT

Chucky Calypso Monarch 2014.png

Roderick "Chucky" Gordon is the new Calypso Monarch of Trinidad and Tobago.

He won the title from Kurt Allen and Selvon "Mistah Shak" Noel, in that order, at the Dimanche Gras at the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, on Sunday.

Singing in position eight, the reigning Independence Calypso Monarch delivered two well-received renditions of "Wey Yuh Think" and "Wedding Of De Century" to wrest the crown from Eric "Pink Panther" Taylor, who placed eleventh.

At the tail end of his delivery of "Wedding", a song depicting the marriage between soca and chutney, Chucky brought on stage Drupatee Ramgoonai, Ray Holman and Superblue, who he introduced as the iconic representatives of chutney, pan and soca, respectively.

Allen, who sang "Sweet Sizzling Summer" and "The Lost Psalm Of King David", also had two crowd-pleasing performances, but they were not enough to prevent the bard referred to as 'The Last Badjohn of Calypso' from being third-time unlucky in having to settle for the runner-up position for the third consecutive year.

Noel was equally good in his delivery of "Bois" and "Crime Round De Clock".

The level of the competition was at a very high standard with Brian London (5th), Victoria "Queen Victoria" Cooper (6th) and Dr Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool (4th), all delivering strong performances.

The first, second and third received cash prizes of $1,000,000, $500,000 and $250,000, respectively.

One of the evening's highlights was a guest appearance by Dr Slinger Francisco.

The "Birdie", as he's affectionately called, did a spirited medley of past hits "Jean & Dinah", "The Lizard", "Melda" and "Drunk and Disorderly", to which patrons applauded lustily in appreciation.


1. Roderick "Chucky" Gordon - 'Wey Yuh Think"/"Wedding Of De Century"

2. Kurt Allen - "Sweet Sizzling Summer"/"The Lost Psalm Of King David"

3. Selvon "Mistah Shak" Noel - "Bois"/"Crime Round De Clock"

4. Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool - "Ah Miss De Bards"/"De Guest List"

5. Brian London - "The Heart Of A Warrior"/"Call Dem Out"

6. Victoria "Queen Victoria" Cooper - "Political Love Affair"/"Congo Warrior"

7. Alana Sinnette - "Sea Lots"/"And Calling It Rain"

8. Weston "Cro Cro" Rawlins - "Pious, Poor But Proud"/"Goodness Delayed"

9. Carlos "Skatie" James - "Calypso Woman"/"Jack And Jill"

10. Myron "The Incredible Myron B" Bruce - "One More Sip"/"First Black Prime Minister"

11. Eric "Pink Panther" Taylor - "De Richest Man"/"Not Tonight"

12. Roger "Bodyguard" Mohammed - "Aloes Vendor"/"False Papers"


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Henderson: Move to make Dimanche Gras ‘TV-friendly’
By Michelle Loubon (T&T Express)
Story Created: Mar 4, 2014 at 8:23 PM ECT


Carl “Beaver” Henderson, veteran musician and technical director of Dimanche Gras 2014, says there was “a concerted effort to put back respect for calypso”.

He also said his aim was to produce a show that would complement television broadcasting.

In a previous interview, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation TUCO) president Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance) said it cost about $3 million to produce the show on Carnival Sunday night at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

From 6 a.m. Sunday, Henderson and co-producer Gregory McGuire and their team set about transforming the Savannah stage after the National Panorama finals the night before.

Interviewed at the Savannah’s Grand Stand, Henderson said: “We only got the stage at 6 a.m. It has been dying for years...there has been a level of disrespect. We want to introduce respect and pride for the artform, especially given the fact we are celebrating 100 years of vocal calypso recording.

“If you notice, the band (Errol Ince Music Makers) is on the stage. It is concert-style. We tried to produce a show for television. We looked at taking the show worldwide. It is appearing in HD. It cost much less than previous years,” he added.

Backstage, Klassic Ruso presenter/calypsonian Shirlaine Hendrickson said: “Things are progressing smoothly. We have the hospitality crew working.”

The dressing rooms were complete with mirrors, lighting and air-conditioning.

Natasha Wilson, who had flown in from New York to perform as a guest artiste, said of the Monarch line-up: “I am impressed with Cro Cro, Mistah Shak and Skatie.”

Sharing her sentiments on calypso, she said: “We need change, but what is positive is there are a number of young people singing calypso. We have to find ways to help them be consistent.”

She thanked her “dad”, the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) for introducing her to calypso.

“When he was sick, I was there right through with him. I was with him in the therapy and hospital.”


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
By Keino Swamber Tuesday, March 4 2014 (T&T Newsday)

Chucky Gordon Calypso Monarch 2014.jpg

Roderick Gordon, known in the soca arena as “Chucky” is the 2014 National Calypso Monarch. Singing “Wha Yuh Think” and “Wedding of De Century”, Gordon emerged ahead of a field of mostly veterans to take home the $1 million prize at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Sunday night.

At 26, in his third outing to “The Big Yard”, he is one of the youngest calypso monarchs in the history of the competition. Others who preceded him were Karene Asche (2011) and Duane O’Connor (2012). Defending monarch, Eric “Pink Panther” Taylor, singing in position number one, finished in 11th position with his compositions “De Richest Man” and “Not Tonight”. Bringing up the rear in 12th position was Roger “Bodyguard” Mohammed whose 2014 season was mired in controversy when his song “False Papers” was deemed unacceptable by former National Calypso Monarch Michael “Sugar Aloes” Osuana who is the manager of the Calypso Revue tent. Mohammed’s other song “The Aloes Vendor” threw jabs at Osuana accusing him of being a “sell out”. Placing second was former monarch Kurt Allen with “Sweet Sizzling Summer”, a song which many may have underestimated at the semi-final round at Skinner Park on February 22, and “The Lost Psalm of King David”. Coming in third was Selvon Noel, singing under the sobriquet Mistah Shak, who went into the finals as a crowd favourite with his popular composition “Bois”. He also delivered “Crime Round De Clock”. Shortly after being announced the winner at about 1 am, Gordon, who was crowned Independence Calypso Monarch in 2012, described the victory as a “bittersweet” moment because his father Roland Gordon was not present to share in his success. Roland, an arranger, cultural activist, and calypso judge, passed away in January, 2010. “I worked hard for this in his memory and I tried to execute everything he taught me over the years,” Gordon said.

He told reporters he believes it was his mix of political commentary in “Wha Yuh Think”, written by Larry Harewood, and social commentary in “Wedding of De Century,” written by Ray Holman, Fazad “Uncle Joe” Shageer and himself, is what propelled him to the top of the pack. The first calypso touched on the pressures brought to bear on this country’s first female prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who, since May 2010, has struggled to keep a five-party coalition Government intact. With all that she has had to go through, Gordon reasoned what is wrong with her “taking a sip” to ease the tension of political life. The lyrics were cradled in a very melodic and infectious musical arrangement and enhanced by Gordon’s clear diction and delivery. The second song celebrated the marriage between Chutney music and Soca in an elaborate production featuring tassa, pan, East Indian and African dancers in the wedding procession.

The rendition was warmly appreciated by the audience in the Grand Stand. Gordon plans, within the coming year, to establish his own music studio. He is a graduate of the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine with a BSC in Social Work and is a student at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Mt hope reading for a MA in Human Resource Management. Gordon admitted the road to success has not always been an easy one and he is advising those following in his footsteps that nothing comes easy. “Trinidad and Tobago is a very unique place and you have to have the wherewithal to be able to function here as an entertainer.” His mother, Glenda Gordon, said she was elated by her son’s victory. She told Newsday her late husband would have been very happy to see what their son had achieved. “He’s looking down at him right now,” the proud mother said.

The show, which celebrated the 100th year since the first calypso was recorded, started promptly at 7 pm with an R&B style recorded rendition of the National Anthem. This was followed by a medley of calypso classics by the Lydians Choir featuring several soloists among whom two were children of calypso greats. They were Karen Francisco, daughter of Slinger Francisco “The Mighty Sparrow” who appeared as a guest artiste later in the show, and Krisson Joseph, son of the late Sedley Joseph “The Penguin”. Included in the medley were Gypsy’s “Sinking Ship”, Sniper’s “Portrait of Trinidad”, King Austin’s ‘Progress’, Valentino’s “Stay up Zimbabwe”, David Rudder’s “1990” and Duke’s “How Many More Must Die”. The chutney classics also featured prominently including Sundar Popo’s “Nani and Nana”.

Celebrity Masters of Ceremonies, four- time Olympic Winner Ato Boldon and Miss Universe 1977 Janelle Penny Commissiong-Chow, made way for host Errol Fabian who introduced all 12 contestants in both rounds of the competition. In fine form in the first half were Mistah Shak, Victoria Cooper (Political Love Affair), Alana Sinette-Khan (Sea Lots), Chucky and Kurt Allen who sang in position number 12. In the second round, Brian London (Call Them Out), Kurt Allen and Chucky were the ones who stood out. The competition ended at midnight and was followed by several guest artistes including 2014 National Schools’ Soca Chutney Monarch Aaron Duncan, Junior Calypso Monarch Ronaldo London, nephew of Brian London, Natasha Wilson and Sparrow who delved into his expansive repertoire and delivered “Jean and Dinah”, “Lizard”, “Melda” and “Drunk and Disorderly”. The crowd showed their love for the bard who, in September last year, was in a coma at a hospital in New York.


1. Roderick “Chucky” Gordon - Wha Yuh Think / Wedding of De Century

2. Kurt Allen - Sweet Sizzling Summer / The Lost Psalm of King David

3. Selvon “Mistah Shak” Noel - Bois / Crime Round De Clock

4. Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool - Ah Miss De Bards / De Guest List

5. Brian London - The Heart of a Warrior / Call Dem Out

6. Victoria “Queen Victoria” Cooper - Political Love Affair / Congo Warrior

7. Alana Sinette-Khan - Sea Lots / And Calling It Rain

8. Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins - Pious, Poor But Proud / Goodness Delayed

9. Carlos “Skatie” James - Calypso Woman / Jack and Jill

10. Myron “Myron B” Bruce - One More Sip / First Black Prime Minister

11. Eric “Pink Panther” Taylor - De Richest Man / Not Tonight

12. Roger “Bodyguard” Mohammed - The Aloes Vendor / False Papers.


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
‘I enjoyed songs’
By SASHA HARRINANAN Wednesday, March 5 2014 (T&T Newsday)

Kamla at Carnival Parade in Siparia.jpg Kamla.jpg

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday said she took no offence to several calypsoes at Dimanche Gras which not only criticised the People’s Partnership but made reference to an alleged drinking problem she has.

“I am not of the view that they were critical. Indeed, I found that three performers, they were not very critical of the Government. They sang their hearts out, they sang what they had to say and I enjoyed their songs,” a relaxed, smiling Persad-Bissessar told Newsday.

The PM was speaking at her Siparia Constituency Office in Penal yesterday afternoon, where the Siparia Women’s Association, of which she is the patron, was hosting its 19th annual Children’s Carnival Parade.

The 2014 Calypso Monarch, Roderick ‘‘Chucky’’ Gordon, earned his crown by singing the political commentary, “Wha Yuh Think” and his social commentary, “Wedding of De century.”

In the calypso, “Wha Yuh Think”, Gordon sang about the Prime Minister “taking a sip” to ease the tension of being the head of a coalition Government. Asked about her thoughts on Gordon’s cheeky calypso which was interpreted by some as being about the PM having a “drinking problem”, Persad-Bissessar said the lyrics were, “not allegations but comments”. She said calypsonians have the right to interpret things in their own way in their lyrics. “Chucky is entitled to his view. We have license, we have freedom of expression and Calypsonians are entitled to their views. If they see it this way, they sing this way. I am not troubled by that. It does not worry me,” Persad-Bissessar said as she hastened to congratulate Gordon on winning the calypso crown.

Persad-Bissessar also pointed out to rumours of her having a problem with alcohol first becoming a talking point during the election campaign leading up to the May 2010 General Election, which her PP coalition ended up winning 29 out of 41 seats.

“There are many people who know the truth and this has been a campaign against me since 2010 but I could not work in this manner if that (the drinking allegations) were true. I work very long hours...the media saw that up close in China. I’m there out front every single day,” Persad- Bissessar stated.


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Some suggestions for ‘Mr TUCO’
Story Created: Mar 3, 2014 at 7:37 PM ECT (T&T Express)

If I didn’t read it “in black and white” in your Opinion column in the Sunday Express, I would never have believed it. TUCO’s Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba) actually said “ We are hoping to tighten up the judging system and upgrade personnel through the holding of workshops”

Permit me Mr TUCO to suggest the following:

1. Do away with the present judging system and return to the former with five judges plus two alternates. It is really easier to find seven competent judges than 15. Also singers depend on presentation to get them ahead instead of rendition and good lyrics.

2. There is no way persons who say they love calypso can be taken off the streets and become good judges in one or two workshops. That takes several years of constant reviewing. One can know the world of music and not necessarily be a good calypso judge. There was a team of fine judges sometime ago, but one by one they were excused.

3. Don’t be afraid to call in personnel who know and have the experience of knowing what judging calypso is all about. I’m sure rather than sit by and see the art form decline, they would be willing to step in to lend a hand.

4. Just as important, stop this “eat ah food” nonsense by carrying 40 singers to Skinner Park for the semi-finals most of whom shouldn’t be there in the first place. Instead just 18 with two songs each and select nine to go against the reigning monarch.

These are just four changes which would make a lot of improvements to the art form. Come on TUCO you have a whole year to put things right.

On another subject, I respectfully ask media people to get the facts right before making statements that the public would accept as fact. The change from Calypso King to Calypso Monarch was made in 1976. The reason being, in 1975 there were three ladies in the competition and one of them, Singing Francine, nearly beat the eventual winner, The Grand Master, The Lord Kitchener. Secondly the last time Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins) won the Monarch was in 2007 with one of the all time great Dimanche Gras performances, Nobody eh go know and not in 2009 as stated.

Teddy Pinheiro


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Mistah Shak on Calypso Monarch judging: Lift shroud of secrecy
Published: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Yvonne Webb (T&T Guardian)

Mistah Shak 03.jpg
Selvon “Mistah Shak” Noel performing Bois on Sunday night.

Selvon “Mistah Shak” Noel, who placed third in this year’s National Calypso Monarch competition, is now calling for an overhaul of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) judging system. He made the call yesterday after saying he was told a National Carnival Commission (NCC) official indicated he was in front following Sunday’s Dimanche Gras show at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, but eventually ended up third, behind Roderick “Chucky” Gordon and Kurt Allen, after the results were doctored.

In an e-mail sent to undisclosed recipients yesterday, the Siparia bard said the NCC official told one of his friends: “D judges original scores really had yuh pardner Mistah Shak winning de monarch & Kurt 2nd!” The e-mail went on to claim that the NCC official said the fact that Gordon’s “stepmother” was on the judging panel swayed the results in his favour.

Noel sang Bois, one of the more popular songs in the semifinal and final, and Crime Round D Clock, while Gordon sang Weh Yuh Think and Wedding of De Century before an appreciative crowd on Sunday. However, the result was still being debated on the radio airwaves and across social networks yesterday, although there was still a division on whether the results were just.

In an interview with the T&T Guardian, Noel said he was not going to demand to see the scoresheets as others in the past have done, but said he was standing by his claims. “As far as I am concerned, myself and all calypsonians and anybody concerned about calypso and culture, we need to do something about the transparency of calypso judging,” an upset Noel said. “They have done nothing to me personally, but everybody with a conscience, a brain and an understanding could see what really went on Sunday.”

Time for transparency
However, he called for major changes to bring about transparency in the judging process. In the first instance, he wants the judges to produce the scores immediately after calypsonians perform, as they do for athletes in the major events like the Olympics. “As soon as one singer sings and moves on, all the scores from all the judges should go up on a huge screen so everybody can see it,” he said.

“In this way, there can be no tampering with the scores after the fact. For people who want to do their own judging at home, they can be more certain of the transparency and keep better tabs on what is happening.” The second proposal is for calypsonians no longer competing to be part of the process. Saying he gave the claims validity because he had heard of manipulation of results in competitions before, Noel said, “There is no reason why you should take upwards of 45 minutes to an hour and a half to tabulate results.

“If the calypsonian is given a score as soon as they perform, it is a simple case of calculating numbers. I don’t see what should take so long, unless you leave right thinking people to think you cooking the books.” He said until such time as major changes are made to the judging process there would be no integrity in the judging of calypso. “Calypso has to have the belly and the fortitude to take such a courageous step and stop keeping the judging of calypso in this cloud of secrecy.”

TUCO/NCC deny claim

In an immediate response yesterday, TUCO president Lutalo “Brother Resistance” Masimba described the comments as unfortunate. Saying he knew Noel and had utmost respect for him, Masimba said, “It is unfortunate a competitor could make such allegations and I am a little embarrassed by the statements.” He also denied that the NCC had any involvement in the judging of the competition. “It is a TUCO run competition,” he said

NCC chairman Allison Demas also denied any involvement of her organisation in the process. “As chairman of NCC, I have no involvement in the judging process. I don’t know who is the official being referred to. I suggest you speak to TUCO, who is responsible for the selection of the judges and the judging of the Calypso Monarch Competition.”


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Making Dimanche Gras sing
Published: Monday, March 24, 2014
Mark Lyndersay (T&T Guardian)

Carl Beaver 01.jpg
Carl “Beaver” Henderson at his St James studio. PHOTO: MARK LYNDERSAY

Nobody can doubt the credentials of Carl “Beaver” Henderson as a musician and producer. After his long runs in bands, beginning with The Last Supper when he was in his teens alongside Robin Imamshah and most spectacularly in Fireflight, he has been a constant presence in the music industry.

Henderson has been running his own studio as a producer since 1991, releasing work under his label, Heat of the Tropics.

His biggest recent hit was Ganga Farmer, with local reggae artist Marlon Asher in 2009, which triggered a ten city tour of Europe with Asher, Jah Melody and Maximus Dan three years ago that took the performers across the continent for two weeks.

His next tour will begin in the first week in June, when he takes 50 artistes from T&T, representing a sampling of the cultural profile of the country on another European tour, set to begin in the Berlin Festival of Cultures.

Henderson recognised a natural link between European dance music and soca almost a decade ago and has been stealthily seeding elements of the music into the local productions he’s worked on and encouraging other artistes to take note of the similarities.

By 2015 he hopes to have a new product on the local market that he’s calling electronic calypso.

“Not soca,” he insists, “that’s a brand that’s not particularly well known outside of T&T. People still know about calypso outside.”

But the veteran musician and producer still has a soft spot for the seminal music, so when Tuco’s Brother Resistance called a month before Dimanche Gras, Henderson had no real choice but to respond to a call from a former schoolmate and long term friend.

“I accepted because calypsonians have been pushed into a corner,” Henderson explained.

“I wanted to put them in a position of respect. I answered the call as a fellow soldier.”

There were no illusions about the scale of the challenge.

“I knew of the reports of the last couple of years, and I knew that I had a target on my back. Everyone had a reason why not. There were all kinds of negatives, but I kept telling everyone that failure is not an option.”

“My first decision was to produce with a television audience in mind.”

So Henderson turned the Savannah stage into a television stage set, placing the band, Errol Ince and the Music Makers at centre stage and having the calypsonians emerge from backstage. The large screens were the same ones used at the Soca Monarch competition.

To complete the illusion, he blacked out everything that wasn’t stage or audience, designating the extended wings on either side of the stage a “no-fly” zone and charging security with ensuring that nobody, not even the President of the Republic, was allowed to walk there.

The newly-appointed producer also had to work with a team he was largely unfamiliar with. Brother Resistance had called on The Players Workshop, led by Gregory McGuire, Mervyn DeGoeas and Giselle Langton, to work on the theatrical aspects of the production.

“So there’s a month to go and I’m working with people I’ve never worked with in my life.”

Henderson committed a week and a half of his production schedule to building chemistry with the group, allowing him to keep his focus on the technical and presentation aspects of the show.

“I planned it on paper, but there was never a full rehearsal,” he said. “We never got access to the stage until Saturday night. The sound check, dance rehearsal and set construction where happening simultaneously on Sunday.”

I arrived in the Savannah at 11 pm on Saturday night and never left until 3am on Monday morning. I had no sleep; I went right through.

“I can tell you that was a lot easier when I was in my twenties.”

The first time Dimanche Gras producer emphasised speed and efficiency for the production. Each calypsonian had nine minutes to deliver each of their two songs, which ensured that the production would run to at least four hours.

Henderson’s mandate was to deliver a show that started at seven pm and ended at midnight.

“I think what everyone responded to was the flow of the show and our determination that there would be no lapses.”

“The anthem was to play at 7pm, but there were problems with security armbands, and we started at 7:03. Good enough for some, not good enough for me.”

Technically, Henderson introduced a dedicated bus to capture and enlisted Robin Foster and Samuel Jack to mix live audio during the show for broadcast.

There’s now a full 64-track recording of the show to go along with the HD video produced by CarnivalTV for streaming.

The final statistics from the event not only satisfied viewers, but also justified Henderson’s decision to produce for television. The HD feed pulled 75,000 viewers on Carnival TV alone. The average viewing time was four hours on that platform.

“Ideally,” Henderson said, “a show like that should be two and a half hours long, maximum. I’d advise anyone not to let the show run that long.”

Ultimately, the Dimanche Gras 2014 producer notes that the success of the show was largely owed to the sense of common purpose and commitment to excellence by the team.

“At my last tech meeting an hour before we began the show I asked everyone what could go wrong,” Henderson said.

“Everyone explained what might happen and what was in place to manage it. After I listened to that, that’s when I finally relaxed. The respect that I got from Tuco and the calypsonians was phenomenal, the NCC was extremely supportive from chairman Allison Demas on down. Everyone cooperated, and it all came together because of teamwork.”

“I think my biggest success was in motivating people.”

Henderson recalls that the executives of support companies were putting down work to make the project happen, Cheval Maraj of All Events and Lighting Company and Ricky Raghunanan who built the stage structure were right there, alongside their workers making the project happen.

“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “Just do it right. You have to know where your market is. There are so many more things I could do If I had the time and the budget. I’d produce a show that nobody would forget for a long time.”

“This is a game where there are more coaches in the stands than on the field. I decided it was time to get my hands dirty.”

“For Carnival I’ve been a performer, I’ve been on the stage, I’ve been in the audience. That’s the experience and perspective that I bring to the table.”


Repect Our Soca Pioneers
Daniell: Upgrade needed in calypso judging
Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014
DAVID CUFFY (T&T Guardian)

Mistah Shak 02.jpg
Calypsonian Mistah Shak came out after Carnival and complained about what he sees as the lack of transparency in the judging of calypso competitions. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Calypso enthusiast Alvin Daniell contends that the time has come for a comprehensive upgrade in the adjudication system of calypso competitions.

Daniell made the comment in a paper titled Calypso 2014 delivered at A National Citizens’ Conversation on the Carnival, presented by the Artists Coalition of Trinidad and Tobago at Queen’s Royal College, Port-of-Spain, on Sunday.

Daniell was the first presenter at the event which began two hours later than the advertised 9 am start time, before a meagre audience of just 20 persons.

“Thirty years ago, the calypso tents held their opening night at the beginning of January and even as early as Boxing Day of the previous year,” he stated. “This allowed the tents to run for as long as six to eight weeks depending on the dates of Carnival. Thus, the preliminary judges could visit each tent twice, allowing them to better assess the songs and the performances by the calypsonians. Today, the judges are lucky if they get to visit a tent once, far more twice, as many of the tents open for just three to four weeks. The result of this is that many calypsonians are forced to sing to the judges on an assigned day, outside of the tent environment, when as many as a hundred artistes may perform. This hardly represents a fair platform for the assessment of the best songs at preliminary level.”

According to the organiser, the event was staged with the aim of “creating a Citizens Action Committee to intervene in ways that will rescue the Port-of-Spain Carnival from collapse.” It was carried live on Gayelle The Channel.

A number of speakers were expected to present on a range of topics on all aspects of the Carnival traditions and their current state. Confirmed speakers, the organiser said, included members of the steelband, mas, soca, chutney, and calypso fraternity, UWI and UTT lecturers, and activists from east Port-of-Spain.

Daniell went on to state that the selection of the 40 calypsonians for the semi-finals, increased from the former 24, was another bother. “No marks are released, just the names of the qualifiers,” he said. “If a calypsonian requests his marks, he or she is allowed to see it, but in isolation. This does not tell the inquirer where they placed and why.”

He said it was an exercise in secrecy for the competitors and the public, as even the judges were oblivious to how the final 11 to face the defending monarch were selected.

“Not that I doubt that a method is in place, but the transparency is not there, leading to widespread speculation that some sort of fixing of results may have taken place.”

He was also critical of the system that allows for separate judges to adjudicate lyrics, music and performance. “I am yet to understand how one can divorce lyrics from music in assessing the quality of a calypso,” he argued. “If that be the case why not put the judges in a room with the lyric sheets and let them mark it like a composition? Or when judging performance let them wear headphones to block out the song, so that they can concentrate on the performance only. Calypso is about the intimate marriage of lyrics and melody and many simplistic lyrics work best with the right melody. Truth is that it is not the system that is at fault but the quality of the judges.”

His recommendation for an upgrade in the adjudication process includes going back to 24 contestants in the semi-final, singing two calypsoes each, and selecting 11 to compete against the reigning monarch.