THE premier south calypso tent Kaiso Showkase will throw open its doors on February 1, at Palms Club, San Fernando.
Tent manager Steve Pascall who sings under the sobriquet Ras Kommanda said calypso lovers can expect many surprises this year.
However, he could not say how long the tent will remain open or whether it can afford to embark on its outreach tents in rural communities as finances are scarce.
Pascall said they are still in the planning stages but is trying to factor in a night out at Mayaro on their agenda.
“Hundreds of letters were sent to potential sponsors, but we received no positive responses because its kaiso.
“The few who replied said they are sorry they cannot afford to assist at this point in time, but wish us well in our venture.”
In terms of government sponsorship, he replied, “I don’t think this present regime really understands the role of Carnival in our society.
“If they have to take money from the national offering for anything they would go into culture because we not important.”
In spite of the difficult times, Pascall boasted that Kaiso Showkase has paid all its debts for 2019.
He said he is excited about the cast which has a nice mix of veterans and new talent this year.
“We have about seven or eight young stars this year along with one elder who is Kenny Phillips.”
Phillips, a veteran producer, is among the cast of 24 which will include a number of debutantes including Kevan Calliste, grandson of the legendary Leroy “Stalin” Calliste. Kevan has already carved a niche in the extempo arena, winning junior titles and last year made his debut on the big extempo stage.
Roxanne Singh, who has moved from the chorus line to centre stage, and Daddy Chinee are among the new faces adding to the social, political and humorous commentaries the tent is known for.
Accompanied by resident band Temperature, led by Oral Rodriguez, the newcomers will perform alongside veterans such as El Drago, Protector, Mister Mark, Count Robin and Allan Nicholas.
“The theme this year is where stars are born. We are hoping the youths will rise to the occasion again and we can retain the formula for the monarch and bring it (title) back to the south,” Pascall said.
In 2019, cast member Ronaldo London took home the Calypso Monarch crown in his debut year at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain. London is among the frontline cast again for 2020 and hopes to successfully defend his title. This year, competitors will sing two songs in a return to the traditional format.