ROBERT “De Mighty Trini” Elias is not satisfied with the treatment meted out to calypsonians, the steel pan and chutney by the authorities. As such, he is calling for the establishment of a home that will collectively promote these indigenous art forms. “We need a home - a theatre for pan, calypso and chutney. Those shows should come together and it would be filled. It is not going to happen overnight.”
Calypso, in particular, Elias said, has been all over the place and has been losing its audiences for several reasons including out pricing itself. Elias of “Curry Tabanca” and “Sailing” fame, was the guest speaker at yesterday’s luncheon of the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain held at the Normandie Hotel, St Ann’s. Calypso, like pan, he said, should be taught in schools and not be allowed to be lost like limbo dancing. The Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, he said, “should recruit people who could advise her correctly.” On the steelpan, he said, “First of all was pan was not patented by Trinidad and Tobago and that is very hurtful. Countries now are claiming under the eyes of God, what we own rightfully because those in authority at the time were distracted by selfishness.”
Calypso needs to be independent of the National Carnival Commission, he said, and should account directly to Government. “Calypso is suffering. When I go on a stage now and I see ten people in the audience and six people, it really hurts,” he said. At the last Dimanche Gras, he said, “I looked into the North Stand. Lights, chairs. God knows everything there except people.” Then he looked into the Grand Stand and at least 50 per cent of the people there were on complimentary tickets.
When he sang in the 1997 Dimanche Gras, he said, “You couldn’t see an empty seat in the North Stand or in the Grand Stand.” To try to find a solution to correct that situation, Elias said, a group of calypsonians went to the last Trinbagonian Unified Calypsonians Organisation’s (TUCO) election.
“I got a shock when I went to TUCO and saw 200 people who never sang calypso in their life and who voted,” he said adding, “I have court house clothes. I have seven shirt jack suits.”