Tassa not like chutney soca

 - Chequana Wheeler
- Chequana Wheeler

THE EDITOR: The steelpan and calypso remain unique to TT. Over the years calypso morphed into soca, which is also unique to TT. Then along came the very infectious chutney soca out of the mouths of Trinidadians/Tobagonians of Indian descent. Both soca and chutney soca are part of our lives. An indelible year-round money earner for these singers, not just at Carnival time.

The important words are "unique to Trinidadians/Tobagonians as valuable expressions of their musical talent."

Tassa drums are beautiful but not invented in TT by citizens. It was born centuries ago – and beautiful does not mean born in TT.

Could TT citizens argue that the violin, the piano or the guitar should be treated/equated as the steel drums made into the steelpan? Were these instruments invented by Trinidadians/Tobagonians centuries ago? Please, let us get real.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with appealing for funding for tassa players but please do not expect a tassa show to lure thousands of visitors to the North Stand or to have patrons paying thousands of dollars to go to a Carnival fete with only tassa drumming. Tassa is not Carnival. Can you dance to it? Can you sing with it all night long?

In my mind I associate tassa drums with religious observances. Not Carnival wining-down-to-the-ground behaviour. Tassa is beautiful but limited in Carnival appeal. There is impressive sound – crescendo but no musical toning.

The steelpan is a unique new musical instrument invented in TT. It is the very existence of who we are at Carnival time and, indeed, all year round.

Calypso, soca, chutney soca and the unique steelbands are in full control of Carnival event-planning in TT. It is up to these singers to wish to include tassa as part of their material.

I cannot say "end of story." Life in TT is not that easy.


Diego Martin


"Tassa not like chutney soca"

More in this section