Kaiso Showkase opened on Friday night at Palms Club, San Fernando, with an impressive audience and cast, unlike other tents which have had a poor showing this season.
Southerners demonstrated their love for calypso art by coming out in their numbers. There was standing room only as the tent rolled out a powerful mix of vintage and modern flavour from the veterans, the in-betweens and the upcoming stars.
As San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello declared the tent open, he expressed hope that the support would continue for the rest of the short season. He also told the artistes that to ensure a packed audience nightly, they had to deliver a product of substance.
“I am impressed with this audience tonight. I hope that would continue tomorrow and the following weekend and the next weekend and the next weekend,” he said, observing the long line of vehicles parked near the venue.
He told the audience about the golden days of calypso (1950-1960s) and the rivalry and demand for opening-night tickets at the few calypso tents available at that time and run by icons like Sparrow and Kitchener. “That has dwindled somewhat. In those days calypsonians made and effort to entertain the public. The topics were varied, from the current affairs, to political scandals which occurred in the year before. The public looked forward to going to the tents in January to hear the calypsonians put across these issues in the most humorous and entertaining way. “
Regrello said he was amazed “that today, people are boasting they are making a song in eight to ten minutes. My argument is, what thought could have gone into an eight-minute calypso to make people want to come and hear you sing.”
“I don’t care what kind of genius you are, I don’t think you can capture the melody aspect of it, the lyrical content, the concept of the song, the language, in eight to ten minutes.”
“The public has a responsibility to support the artform, but you have to understand, as well, that you have a responsibility to put together a product that could leverage the audience. It must be a win/win situation. Take time to prepare your work. Improve your product and you are going to increase your audience capacity.”
Regrello later told Sunday Newsday he was impressed with the tent’s offering, especially with two of the younger calypsonians Ronaldo London and Curlissa Charles.