“Taking Calypso forward” - 4 jan 2009

“Taking Calypso forward”

On New Year’s Day, we went to the usual lime by my uncle and aunt in St Ann’s.  New Year’s Day is my grandmother’s birthday as well as their wedding anniversary.  After a while however, the talk turned to carnival and how expensive fetes and costumes are for 2009.  I suggested that a more conscious carnival diet could consist of a healthy dose of tents.  Nothing wrong with fetes mind you – I am just looking for a little change.  After all, when was the last time we went to a calypso tent? 
Some had the view however, that tents could be a bit too ‘political’.  Someone actually suggested that tents are in decline partly because they alienated part of their customer base and partly because of the switch in consumer taste to soca.  I am no calypso tent expert, so I just listened to these points of view. 
But I am still going to visit my share of tents this season.  I feel inspired to try something different for carnival.  Rather than consuming my normal diet of ‘all inclusive’ fetes, I think I will cut back a bit and instead take in more calypso tents.   
I have been watching what TUCO has been up to recently and it seems that President Eric Taylor has a new vision for the organization.  A few weeks ago, TUCO held the media launch for its new website -http://www.tucott.com/ 
Since it is a project that positions itself at the nexus of culture and technology, my two loves, it is of special interest to me. 
The website comes at exactly the right time.  TUCO’s members now have another platform to take their product to both local and international markets.  This is due to an online collaboration betweenwww.trinihits.com and TUCO which enables TUCO members to easily load their music onto the website and enables consumers to buy tracks at US 99 cents.   
O’Brian Haynes from Trinihits was at the launch and was quite pleased by the new relationship with TUCO.  The music functionality is user friendly as potential customers can hear music samples (say 10 seconds or so) before actually purchasing. 
From what I can see, the website also serves as a cultural archive of sorts.  Many artistes already have their biographies available, and webmaster Hayden Roberts from Zenon Designs tells me that by the end of this week, there should be a large photo gallery on the site. Hayden says he has about 20 CDs of images to upload – which means there are thousands of pictures.   
The website promises to be a resource not just for students of the art-form both locally and internationally, but also a reference for future generations. 
Although they represent, at least to me, part of the cultural ‘foundation’, TUCO President, Eric Taylor has been the driving force behind this new website and Brother ResiUstance (TUCO General Secretary) is not just a supporter of going ‘online’ but has his own website and is also on Facebook himself.  So it looks to me like TUCO is embracing change.   
Anyway, I have noted the schedule at http://www.tucott.com/events.html, so we are still planning to check out some of the tents.  I have a deep respect for the role of the calypsonian in shaping while reflecting who we are today.  Hopefully by the end of the season, I would also have a better perspective on this calypso tent debate.     
The Vision 2020 document recognizes the critical role our cultural activists.  The document notes that –
Artists, musicians, writers and poets form our creative arts and cultural groups. They help shape our emotional states of being by adding heart, spirit, energy and identity thereby fostering and building an inclusive culture where multiple identities springing from ethnicity, language, religion and race converge to create a single CITIZEN of Trinidad and Tobago.  Their lot is to influence change.
Part of me finds it hard to believe that it is 2009 already.  Time is indeed moving ever so quickly.  I wish everyone God’s richest blessings in 2009.   
As always, I end by saying that despite our challenges, we are so blessed to live in this beautiful country.  We need to remember and acknowledge just how much uplifting work is being done all around us. USA Tax Singapore
Let us continue to have the audacity of hope in our country, as we move towards Vision 2020. 


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