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The opening of Kaiso Bards Tent

10 times Calypso Monarch Scholar

Today Friday marks the grand opening of the Kaiso Bards Tent at the Deluxe Cinema in the Town of Grenville, St. Andrew, promising an “explosion of Calypso talent” as part of an early Father’s Day celebration.

Scholar, a ten-time Calypso Monarch, and one of the tent’s key figures, highlighted the tent’s 31-year legacy of nurturing new talent and assured that this year would be no different.

Since its inception, Kaiso Bards has been instrumental in introducing and promoting fresh voices in the Calypso scene.

This year, the tent welcomes four newcomers, including “Tiny,” the niece of the legendary Squeezy, who is making a comeback, and Area Code, transitioning from the Soca genre.

The seasoned lineup this year features Scholar himself, along with notable names like Cox, Big J, Teacher Eddie, Randy Isaac, and Lakay. Additionally, I am G and Pecos, both finalists from last year, will be performing.

The female presence is strong with Shanda, Monique Williams, and The Messenger, who was previously with the Kingdom Calypso tent.

Scholar proudly stated, “We are about 26 strong and counting and I envisage that by the time judging comes around we will be about 30 strong.”

However, the tent has seen the departure of four members, including reigning Calypso Monarch Rootsman Kelly, former monarch Sour Serpent, Small Axe, and Top Cat, who have all chosen to explore new opportunities.

Scholar confirmed receiving resignation letters from Rootsman and Sour Serpent , which outlined their decision “to explore their horizons and form their own tent in St. David’s.

“Top Cat said he wanted a change of fortune, whatever that means I don’t know but I think maybe he was lured by the new tent and Small Axe just said he wanted to go, I don’t know why. I am not going to read anything into it,” added Scholar, who noted that there is no animosity with the departing members.

“One thing anyone cannot say is that they have had any falling out with the tent, or that the tent treated them badly,” he remarked.

He also teased his fans with a preview of his upcoming releases, including a political piece titled “Mash it up” and a groovy song called “Who am I.”

This season, Kaiso Bards is planning to host four or five shows leading up to the judging night, and they are exploring opportunities to perform at various celebrations, including the Fisherman’s Birthday and the 50th Independence anniversary in Gouyave, as well as at Carnival City.

Scholar has called on the government to ensure Calypso’s vitality within Grenadian culture, advocating for legislation to mandate airplay quotas for Calypso music, especially during the Carnival season.

“The Calypsonians are already doing their share. I, for the last eight or nine years have carried calypso organisation-wise on my back…Calypso by its very nature is not simple – it’s like the test cricket of the artform where you have two rounds of competition, groovy and soca is one round of competition. So, it’s difficult… so it needs attention from the powers-that-be,” he said.

The decorated Chantimelle calypsonian is calling for measures to be put in place to preserve and promote this integral part of Grenada’s cultural heritage for future generations.

“While things evolve, and you let them evolve, there has to be a way to hold onto those traditions that make the thing what it is and ensure that we do not lose them and they keep growing for generations and generations to come,” Scholar said.

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