Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) president Ainsley King said honouring the late Denyse Plummer’s legacy will form part of a larger project of promoting calypso to the public.
He made the comment in response to statements by Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell following the musical send-off for former calypsonian and national awardee Denyse Plummer on Wednesday. Mitchell said he was looking forward to TUCO and the National Carnival Commission (NCC) honouring Plummer’s legacy.
In response, King told Newsday on Thursday, “We appreciate and respect her contribution, and we intend to try to preserve kaiso generally, because enough work hasn’t been going into that. We need to get our people to look through the window and see the value of this thing.
He shared some of the organisation's plans to promote the genre.
“Yes, we intend to preserve and Denyse will be included in it, but it won’t be her alone. We have some work doing now where we’re looking at using Stalin’s grandson, Shadow’s son, Kitchener’s son, and putting them in concert to sing the songs, and reliving the spirit in the physical through them, and having them singing the songs. We know the significance in doing that is assisting people to appreciate the music and to see where it could continue through the next generation.”
King said it was past time that calypso became part of the school curriculum.
“The impression I get is that people weren’t doing the work to preserve kaiso. I think it’s time for the work to be done and to get the results. It’s time for us to relive the magic of kaiso. It’s a very powerful artform and it’s time for the magic to come back.”
King said TUCO’s theme for 2024 is Reliving the Magic of Calypso.
“We want to get it back into the fetes and get people to see the value and the relevance and enjoy, and see the beauty of kaiso.”
He said many people in the calypso and soca industries stray from the original concept of kaiso and not in a good way.
“The base is there but they’re ignoring it and trying to absorb from all different cultures and genres. When you look at soca music today, you could hardly identify what soca is, because it come like dub, reggae, R&B, everything is soca now.
“The only thing that really identifies us, that people could really identify outside of the drifting vessel of soca, that came from Africa and developed with the full African elements, from the drum to the field, is kaiso. Kaiso is the only genre that holds an identity that connects back to the roots in Africa. When you go down to Africa, the music is the same.”
Attempts to contact NCC chairman Winston “Gypsy” Peters were unsuccessful.