NATIONAL Carnival Commission (NCC) chairman and head of the Back to Basics calypso tent Winston “Gypsy” Peters says managers of tents should hire people on merit and not friendship.
Gypsy’s tent opened its Taste of Carnival season on Thursday at Queen’s Hall’s Garden Theatre at St Ann’s. The tent was supposed to open on Wednesday but this was put off by a day due to the 11-hour power outage on Wednesday.
His tent began promptly at 7.30 pm and was hosted by High court judge Malcolm “D Chairman” Holdip who was recently ordained as a RC deacon.
It began with calypsonian Pirate singing Happiness and the show flowed smoothly throughout. The first half of the show saw performances by M’Ba, Bodyguard and evergreen Chutney artiste Drupatee Ramgoonai who performed her 1992 hit Lick Down meh Nani (Careless Driver) and the immortal 1988 song, Roll Up de Tassa (Mr Bissessar).
Rex East had the crowd in stitches as he performed Barahee which was followed by Gypsy himself who performed Western Rodeo, Supply and Demand and Respect the Calypsonian.
But it was the Lyons calypso family clan that had the crowd on their feet and dancing.
Terri Lyons’ performance of Calypso and Obeah had the audience moving while her father Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons moved the audience further with his hits Soca Baptist and Ethel.
Terri reminded the audience that it was from calypso that all other indigenous musical forms came and called on them to, “Respect the spark that started the flame.”
Former junior calypso monarch Aaron Duncan also had the crowd shaking with his hits Play Soca and Back to Basics.
Many of the patrons chipped and danced out of Queen’s Hall’s Garden Theatre as SuperBlue ended the show with Ethel at 10.40 pm.
Gypsy’s tent drew a greater crowd that those previously reported on by Newsday. There was easily more than 100 people in attendance. He said, “That’s a regular thing, you know. My tent always have more people than anybody tent because I choose what I am doing very carefully.
“I hire people on merit to perform in my tent and not on friendship.” he said adding that his show could go anywhere and people would buy into it.
“Just because you are on some executive or something you have to sing and the song ain’t good. There is no commercial appeal and the people can’t perform. This is what is happening in a lot of the tents and people have to start picking performers on merit.
“Everybody who sings a calypso not supposed to sing in a calypso tent,” Gypsy said.
He said if a calypsonian’s song was good this year but not good the following year, they would not sing in his tent.
Tents should be built on songs, he said. While he added there was also personality that could not be done on a large scale as there would be a tent with people with names but no songs.
He added that he was not going to do that.
“Me and friends fall out for that,” he said.
Asked how he felt about the cancellation of the Calypso and Extempo Monarchs, Gypsy said he did not feel anyhow. He said that is what TUCO wanted to do and he was fine with it.