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Monday 24 June 2019
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Gypsy: special ability needed to master extempo

An emotional Gypsy delivers a song in honour of his friend Ras Shorty I.
An emotional Gypsy delivers a song in honour of his friend Ras Shorty I.

Chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Winston “Gypsy” Peters told students from various schools yesterday that mastering the art of extempo takes a special ability.

Speaking at the launch of the 2019 Friends of the Youths of TT National Junior Extempo Monarch competition, at the VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Peters told students extempo is the actual root of calypso.

The art form requires a special ability, only possessed by a few, he said.

Peters is himself a former extempo monarch and intends to take part in this year's contest.

“In order to be a great extempo person," he told them, "first of all you must have a great vocabulary.

"How do you do that? You do that by reading, reading, reading, and reading. You do that by learning, learning, and learning.

“Then you must have the ability of something I call a ‘quick recall.’ You must be able to recall the things that you have learnt very quickly, and basically in any scenario.

"Once you possess these abilities you are well on your way.”

Peters congratulated the schools who have decided over the years to participate in what he called a great art form, especially three-time winner Kevan Calliste, who will be entering the senior extempo competition for 2019.

“I want to thank Mr Kevan Calliste for being here, you have graduated now. This means you will be taking part in the big competition. Well I am looking forward to seeing you. That is my protege, as in the man who beat me last year, Mr Myron B.

“I want to make this clear, I do not mind being beaten by anybody in the extempo competition. My reasons for going in the extempo competition is not because I need the money. But I want to say to you that is not my objective in being in the competition. “

Peters said his objective was to see there was honesty and fairness in the competition, and claimed, “I have stayed out of the competition for a number of years and every year I stayed out the competition you could have seen the deterioration. So I subject myself to this because I want people to win, but there must be fairness in anything that you do.

“You have seen they had no target to go at. It is not because I am who I am that I must go in any competition. People must have aspiration, and if I am the goal of your aspiration to defeat, you must defeat me fairly.”

Peters urged the students to be honest and fair not only in competition but throughout their entire life.

“As young people you must learn to be honest and learn to be fair in life and you would prosper, because if you are dishonest, dishonest prosperity is only for a little while. But honest prosperity will take you through your life.”

He thanked those responsible for allowing students the time and the freedom of cultural expression.

The winner will receive $12,000, the runner-up receive $8,000 and $6,000 and $4,000 will go to the third and fourth-placed contestants respectively. Others will receive $1,500 each.

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