By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
Calypso lovers in the British Virgin Islands are told to expect hours of non-stop entertainment with hits of yesteryear mixed with new releases when 10 calypsonians hit the stage to kick off the 2018 emancipation festivities.
Dubbed the ‘Calypso Review’, the event is not being held as a competition this year but rather for the sole purpose of entertainment, Eustace ‘King Colosso’ Freeman told BVI News.
Freeman said the likes of Queen Makisha, Tino, Queen Shereen, and King Paido are among the performers at this year’s event.
“It is being held under the theme ‘Come hear the News’ because we have a lot of things to sing on … everything is going to come out in the calypso form this Saturday night. During that time, they [calypsonians] will have the chance to take you back, bring you forward. It’s going to be a great show,” he said.
He said calypsonians understood the ‘difficulties’ the country is being faced with and welcomed the idea to perform at no cost to ‘keep the culture alive’.
The show will be held 7pm at Pancake Paradise located behind the Central Administration Complex in Road Town.
Freeman said he is seeking to give the musical genre a much-needed boost by making it more popular locally.
“Calypso is obviously not the most popular thing in the BVI and it has a large part to do with our inactivity – once a year alone you hear about calypsonians. That is something we are definitely trying to change,” he said.
He said engaging the younger generation is key to making the genre more known; something he along with other calypsonians will strive to achieve.
He further said plans are afoot to implement a calypso writing camp for primary school students on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
“There were initial plans but because so many families were displaced and everything was so hectic, it was virtually impossible to get done last year. But that is going to be a number-one priority for this year.”
“As we get older, it has to have that youthful energy coming into the competition to keep it going. And that is exactly what I think is missing – new energy, new life,” he reasoned.
Freeman said most of the older local artistes in the industry have expressed the desire to retire. However, they fear the calypso culture would die in the BVI.
Freeman said he believes the youths are not interested because calypso was not ‘presented’ to them as opposed to his case, whereby he grew to love the genre because of his father.
Like other events, the Soca Monarch competition will also be scrapped for festival this year. However, Freeman, who is the event organiser, said patrons can look forward to the Soca Monarch returning in 2019.
“We are definitely taking this year off and we are going to rebuild and come back stronger next year. ”
He said the decision cut Soca Monarch from this year’s festivities was ‘difficult’ but competitors are already preparing for the next year.
Soca Monarch is a competition that targets the so-called crème de la crème of up-and-coming soca artistes across the region.
Jevaughn ‘JJ’ Parsons of the BVI has been the reigning monarch for the last two years.
A shorter much scaled-down emancipation celebration begins on July 28 and conclude on August 10.
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