THE Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) is examining the possibility of allowing the 2024 winner of the Tobago Carnival Calypso Monarch competition to qualify automatically for the finals of the national competition.
TUCO president Ainsley King made the announcement on Wednesday at the Tobago Carnival Calypso Monarch and Stars of Soca prize-giving ceremony at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
Veteran calypsonian Nicole Thomas won the $100,000 first prize in the calypso monarch competition with her tune Carnival Is We.
Roston Simon, who sang Strong Rum, claimed the top spot in the Tobago Stars of Soca competition. He got $50,000.
King said the plan to have the Tobago Calypso Monarch in the national finals is being discussed by the organisation’s executive.
“We just have to do a little ratifying, because these things have to go to the membership and it should be clear, because we have right-thinking people, and the outstanding performances of the calypsonians have cemented respect in the minds of all those who witnessed that event,” he said.
King said many people commented favourably on the October 23 calypso competition on social media.
As a result, he said, a man who is not from Tobago was so impressed by Thomas’ winning performance, he decided to do a painting of her. The painting was presented to her during the event.
“That is because of the shift of that competition away from the February competition that clashes with Trinidad's.”
King believes Tobago performers would not have received such attention if they were aligned to the national competition.
He also urged performers to market themselves on social media as opposed to depending on others to promote their offerings.
“The world has changed, and it is right here on your devices, You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, whatever, and if you are not there, you put yourself at a disadvantage. Everybody knows that if you want to be recognised. If you want to allow your value to be recognised by the world, you have to be on social media. This is something that we have to take very seriously.”
He said the world wants to hear quality music.
“Once this is accomplished, it puts you in a very positive position, because then you would bypass some of what you see as challenges now because once the material reaches people they will respond.
“The records are there, because there are so many people from different parts of the Caribbean and all over – their breakthrough was social media. They didn’t have to go through no radio station, they didn’t have to go through some of the major areas that people might be looking for a breakthrough. So we need to start to restructure how we look at things.
"Hard work always brings positive results.”
Acknowledging there were “a lot of sore points” in the inaugural Tobago Carnival, notably the decision of some promoters to go with “familiar names” for certain events, King said, “Some of us feel that we should have been there because we are from Tobago.”
But he added, “The promoters would have gravitated to you if the pulling power was there, because they need to make money. That is the harsh reality.”
He urged the performers to turn those negatives into positives.
“All the experiences, the good, the bad, the indifferent – as one people we need to move forward in a very positive way.”