Helon Francis: Rebrand calypso for it to move forward
A former Calypso Monarch, who is also a semi-finalist in the Calypso Monarch competition at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on February 11, says calypso, as an element of Trinidad and Tobago’s culture, must be rebranded.
It is something Helon Francis believes will save the artform. In his calypso called Mighty, which he wrote, he is honestly expressing his innermost feelings, a media release said.
In 2018, Francis won the Calypso Monarch with a song titled Change. He won the Young Kings title in 2016.
His latest release is an anthem of patriotic assertion with a powerfully interwoven string of words, bound by simple melodies and rhythms. His passionate plea for a return to the brotherhood and patriotism that once were part of TT's lifestyle , offers a glimmer of hope this Carnival, the release said.
"It is safe to say that in the traditional calypso arena, scathing political attacks and insensitive innuendo are usually the components that bind chorus and verse, taking many to the finals on Dimanche Gras (night). Francis says, this time around, he chose to highlight beauty, potential and desire for better," the release said.
“This song describes our people. We are now at a point where we must re-evaluate ourselves and our situation, especially coming out of what was a global depression. It is important that I remind our people of who we are because sometimes hard times can bring you to a point where you forget your abilities,” Francis said in the release.
He says he prefers to focus his energy and music on enlightening the people at this time. Francis understands music well and also holds a bachelor of arts degree in music. Armed with a deep-rooted desire to direct change in his way, he is pushing a positive agenda, with high hopes of breathing new life into calypso and country.
The well-experienced calypso composer and performer anticipated his return to Skinner Park this year.
He believes the future of the industry must be left to the youth, even those who are younger than him.
“Youth drives the popularity of any music. Without a young crop of budding calypsonians, we are not going to go forward the way we need to,” he said.
He suggested efforts be made to rebrand the genre, in terms of the global picture. “If we don’t make the right changes, when it comes to branding, theme, variety, calypsonians and calypso itself, we’re not going to move forward. We have to take risks,” he said.
Francis hopes to see a new era of calypsonians in the 18-25 age range become involved in what some may call the heartbeat of Carnival, calypso music. For now, he is presenting positive music with purpose. It is through that effort he feels the best result will emerge.
"Helon Francis: Rebrand calypso for it to move forward"