Sunday , March 26 2023

Calypsonians sing in voice of Saba people

The Daily Herald writes that just three days after King of Calypso Mighty Sparrow made a triumphant return to Saba, the island’s own royal court of knights and ladies will add their own chapter to the art form’s venerable legacy during Saba Summer Carnival Festival’s Local Calypso Show at Princess Juliana Sports Field in The Bottom, today, Friday, at 9:00pm. The 2014 competition will feature reigning Road March and Calypso King Cirlio “Daddy Slim” Martin, former champions Irvin “King Topo” Riley and Bob Morgan, along with first-time challenger Sislene “Lady Sisell” Matthew. In keeping with the grand traditions of Calypso, each performer has a special social message. In the wake the 10/10/10 constitutional changes and a lingering global economic malaise, most of the songs will examine topics like Topo’s “Taxes,” Morgan’s “Better Roads,” Lady Sisell’s “Confusion” and Daddy Slim’s “My Opinion.”

“I’ve got something there for the crowd to defend my crown,” Daddy Slim said. “The name of my song is “My Opinion.” Saba has a lot of things going on and they [the audience – Ed] will know my opinion on health care, pension funds, the Dutch language and things like that. “So here’s the word from the reigning king. [Tonight – Ed.] you will hear 28 minutes of Calypso. Tell the people Friday when they come that when they get the message to not leave it come in one ear and go back out the other. Keep it in your memory and put it into full effect.”

As one of Saba’s most accomplished Calypsonians, Topo has won more Calypso crowns that he can recount. However, his passion for competition will never wane, he said. “I’ve been here 38 years. When it comes to the Road March, I know that nobody can touch Slim,” he said. “But when it comes to Calypso, that’s my thing…A song is very tricky. It’s got a lot of meaning to it. If I sing about taxes and [Cirilio – Ed.] sings about opinions and Bob sings about better roads, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Not to be outdone, Lady Sisell has a very poignant message for the crowd in her first entry into the field. Her message to local Calypso fans is that, during difficult times, Sabans should come together and celebrate each other and not let the uncertainties of change destroy the island’s social fabric. “My island has had too much of bickering and backbiting instead of living together as one,” she said. “We can’t make things better as long as someone you trust is stabbing you in the back. We need to live as one, in harmony, instead of trying to belittle the other person to make yourself seem bigger.”

Morgan is a two-time Calypso champion and veteran of many competitions on Saba and abroad. He said he is hoping that the island’s leaders will listen to the voices of the people in order to build a better future for the next generation. “Basically, Calypso is all about topic. You pick a topic and you put it out there. If you listen to people like Mighty Sparrow, most of his topics are a part of his experience,” he said. “As a kid going up, we were surrounded by a lot of Calypso and a lot of reggae, but basically Calypso is listening to those hard-core guys like Sparrow, Kichener, Shadow and Marley. I enjoy participating, but I would also hope that we can contribute something to all of the young people out there. We should give them that incentive to also want to be a part of it. There are a lot of kids who don’t even think of [Calypso – Ed.]. They can do it, but they must have that motivation. We as adults have to set the standard.”


Single mother Elsa Peterson wins Carnival Queenshow 2014
Mighty Sparrow returns to Saba Carnival