Calypsonian Leslie-Ann Ellis: 'I miss holding a mic'

Leslie Ann Ellis performs at the National Women's Action Committee (NWAC) National Calypso Queen Competition at the Queen's Hall in 2017. -
Leslie Ann Ellis performs at the National Women's Action Committee (NWAC) National Calypso Queen Competition at the Queen's Hall in 2017. -

Calypsonian Leslie-Ann Ellis has Carnival tabanca.

“Right now, I miss holding my mic (microphone),” Ellis, who performs at the roving Masters Calypso Tent in Tobago told Newsday.

She is hoping Tobago will at least be able to have a scaled-down calypso show “to keep the culture moving.”

Ellis said: “I am very envious of what is happening in Trinidad because you seeing all the tents in Trinidad having shows.

“So, you wondering if is Trinidad and Tobago, why aren’t we, in Tobago, having shows?”

She observed the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation has organised calypso competitions in Trinidad.

Ellis said the Masters’ Calypso Tent, which is managed by Sherwin Cunningham, has requested assistance from the Tobago House of Assembly to host shows.

“But with this six-six (deadlock in the THA), hands up in the air. We don’t know if we are going to get through.”

The calypsonian, who has won several competitions, is disappointed.

“Regardless of what the situation is, I find the culture should still be moving around in my opinion.

“And I am affected in more ways than one because I also announce (at Carnival events).”

Ellis, who has been singing calypsos for the past 25 years, said a plan should have been put in place so that calypso tents in Tobago could have a show.

She said the Masters’ Calypso Tent has been consistent.

Ellis added the tent, which was established in 2013, had put on a show for calypso history month and Christmas.

“We are in their face so they could have said ‘ Masters have been consistent, let us at least put something into the mas so they could put forward a show for the Carnival.’ So, we are just hoping the THA will come through for us.’”

Ellis said owing to covid19 the tent did not bother to ask non-governmental organisations for assistance.

“With covid19, businesses not making as they used to. Personally, I don’t think it would be fair to approach them.”

Tobago Festivals Commission CEO John Arnold announced recently that the island will not host any full-scale Carnival events over the weekend and on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

He added all major Carnival events will be held in March or early April.

Arnold said all major events were postponed mainly because the commission did not get a timely executive approval from the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

He said this was because of the six-six deadlock in the THA.

Arnold said $2 million has already been approved to cover five aspects of Carnival – calypso, pan, mas, new Tobago Soca and mud mas documentary.


"Calypsonian Leslie-Ann Ellis: ‘I miss holding a mic’"

More in this section