THA launches virtual vintage calypso competition

Assistant Secretary, Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Shomari Hector paid homage to the pioneers of calypso. PHOTO COURTESY THA -
Assistant Secretary, Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation, Shomari Hector paid homage to the pioneers of calypso. PHOTO COURTESY THA -

To celebrate Calypso History Month, the THA Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation is hosting a virtual vintage calypso impersonation competition.

The competition, open to all residents of Tobago, was launched on Monday with $26,500 in prize money on offer. The winner will receive $5,000 while second and third place will take home $4,000 and $3,500 respectively. Placed fourth to tenth will receive $2,000.

Calypsonians are encouraged to assume the character and appearance of the person being impersonated and film their performance using the highest quality video possible. Only songs pre-dating 1980 are eligible. The calypsoes must be 3-5 minutes long in MP4 format and filmed horizontally/landscape orientation.

Entries can be e-mailed to dotct.comp@gmail on or before October 24. All entries should include the name and sobriquet of participants, address and contact info, the name of the song and name of the calypsonian being impersonated.

Assistant Secretary in the Division of Tourism, Culture and Transportation Shomari Hector, in a statement on Monday, said calypso is an important aspect of TT's culture and paid homage to the pioneers.

"Calypso music reflects who we are as a people. With roots that trace back to African and creole traditions of impromptu songs that have traditionally incited very useful and ruminating discussions, our calypsoes are melodic reflections of this country's history, the pulse of our socio-political climate, and a glue of pride and patriotism amongst our citizens."

Hector said calypso has offered a medium for TT to show its talents to the work and helped citizens "appreciate who we are as a people."

He added, "I must therefore commend the fore-runners who have contributed to the development and visibility of the art form; writers, musicians, producers, promoters and of course the calypsonians, several of whom are immortalised through their works."

The assistant secretary said McCartha Linda Lewis (Calypso Rose), Winston "Shadow" Bailey, Robert " Lord Nelson" Nelson and others are among Tobago's calypso icons.

Hector said it is important amid the covid19 pandemic to preserve and promote the culture, while observing the health restrictions.

"Changes in the entertainment environment and indeed the world have beckoned us to be innovative as we strive to preserve a genre which, for centuries, has been one of the best gems of our nation's culture.

"The time has come for us to expand our thoughts beyond boundaries and borders. Ingenuity is required as we are now compelled to re-imagine the delivery of our cultural offerings. It is in this vein that I wish to express my commendation to TUCO for its persistence and tenacity in ensuring that the month is still recognised through the various virtual platforms."

For more info call 639-2125 ext 2112.


"THA launches virtual vintage calypso competition"

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