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Friday 17 August 2018
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Mixed fortunes for calypso tents

Michael Osuna, manager of the Kalypso Revue, yesterday declined comment on how the tent is likely to fare for the remainder of the Carnival season.

The veteran calypsonian said he did not want to pre-empt his news conference, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday at the tent’s Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Trade Union (SWWTU) headquarters, Port-of-Spain.

“All will be revealed on Tuesday. I will talk about the poor turnout and all of that,” he told Sunday Newsday. Asked about the patronage at tents, Osuna said: “All that will be discussed, just bare a little patience. Everything will come full blast on the 7 o’clock news (on Tuesday) and on Wednesday morning.”

Last Friday, an upset Osuna complained about the meagre turnout at the tent’s Ladies Night Show in Port-of-Spain, saying he did not know if the tent would survive beyond next week.

Revue, where defending Calypso Monarch Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool is a headline act, was expected to host a show at its Wrightson Road headquarters last night.

Last Saturday, the tent also opened to a disappointing crowd at its stomping ground - Arima Velodrome. This followed complaints by Osuna and other tent managers that they were yet to receive subventions to manage their affairs, presumably because of the economic downturn.

Yesterday, Sangre Grande calypsonian Eric James, who performs out of the Kaiso Karavan, said their tent also had a poor showing of patrons on Thursday night during its launch at La Joya Complex, St Joseph. However, he said the tent was intent on fulfilling its obligations for the remainder of the season.

While he attributed a part of the decline in patronage to crime and the economic downturn, James said there also was urgent need to bring East Indians back to the tents.

“The East Indians have been bashed in the tents for too long. Let us get real, you don’t think one day will stop come,” he said.

James said he told some of his fellow calypsonians at the Karavan they need to take the artform to parts of central and south Trinidad.

“What we need to do is carry some calypso tents in Debe and Barrackpore, to show that the love still there for them.” James said the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation, which represents members of the artform, also must help tents to rebrand their product.

“We have to get business wise with the tents to bring the nation back to the tent again because the calypso itself not dying.

“It is the business of tent life that die because the few people who go to the tent get good kaiso. Tent managers have to ask themselves, ‘How could I make this marketable and attractive to the public?’”

On the flip side, the Port of Spain City Hall-based Klassic Russo tent enjoyed a strong opening night on Thursday.

“It was great, the greatest programme you will ever see,” declared executive member Mark John, otherwise known as Contender.

“The event was filled and the calypsoes and performances were of a high standard...We are off to a great season.” TUCO’s flagship tent, Kaiso House was expected to open last night at Globe Cinema, Port-of-Spain.

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