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Calypsonians at Ryan's Pub
Trinidad and Tobago Carnival

Chatting with Calypsonians at Ryan's Pub

'Organiser', 'King Austin' and 'Sexy Suzy' Reporters
Interview Recorded: January 13, 2006
Posted: February 09, 2006

We are interviewing calypsonians at Ryan's Pub on Prince Street Port of Spain where John Absalom aka 'D Sideways' is launching his new CD.

Leydon Joseph aka 'Organiser'

Leydon Joseph aka 'Organiser'
Leydon Joseph aka 'Organiser'

TRINISOCA: With me here is one of the more experienced calypsonians and he goes by the name 'Organiser'. Good day sir, could you give us your full name and the name of the song you will be performing here today?

ORGANIZSER: My name is Leydon Joseph, also known as 'Organiser'. I will be performing two new songs today. This is the first time for the season anybody will be hearing me. The two songs are entitled 'Trinbago Yankee' and 'Granny Ah Cyar Breathe'.

TRINISOCA: Could you give us a little history about your involvement in Calypso? How long have you been singing Calypso?

ORGANIZSER: I have been singing Calypso for about thirty years now. I made my first debut in The Revue back in 1967 when I was an Aunty Kay student. I even got an award in The Revue. I left The Revue because I was sick, but I might go back to perform. I am not sure as yet, I will know for sure by this weekend.

TRINISOCA: What are your Calypsos about this year?

ORGANIZSER: One is about a 'Trinbago Yankee'. The song is about a Trini who left and went away to New York. He spent some time there and came back for vacation by his friend who is also a Trini. His friend treats him very nice and he takes him around to different places. When he was leaving to go back to New York, he told his friend he must come up to New York. When the Trini leaves and go up to New York, horrors start. You will hear about the horrors in the Calypso (smiles). The other song, 'Granny Ah Cyar Breathe' is about the incident that happened with the guy down Point Fortin and the old lady (granny). The guy was going to shoot her grandson and granny dived on him and snatched him. I will sing all about what happened in the song.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any words of advice to people coming into Calypso?

ORGANIZSER: Yes, they should come in with a story. We are not hearing any stories like how we used to do it before with calypsonians like myself, Sparrow, Melody and Relator. You are just not getting any story. For instance, look at the story in my song 'Look de Bandit'. I gave a whole story with a tune and I am putting you to dance. That is how you have to set up Calypso. That is the way you tell a story. You do not only give a lot rhythm, music, jam and whine...that is not Calypso. Right now the art form with the Calypso as far as I see, has been pushed aside. This kind of modern thing they are calling Soca, is holding out now, but it is not Soca. I wouldn't call it Soca, I would call it a provocation to the soul with a mad rhythm. People could jump up and get a heart attack. Real Soca is tunes like what 'Ras Shorty I' was doing, and what even 'Kitchener' did with the song 'Sugar Bum'. That is really Soca, that is the rhythm. I am going to give you a story and I will give you a tune so you could dance and you would understand what I am saying.

TRINISOCA: Could you give us a verse from the song 'Dats De Bandit'?

ORGANIZSER: This bandit war, affecting the rich and poor
I this bandit world, frustrating the boys and girls
You don't have to be a capitalist to be on the wanted list
The operations is well uptight
And they mugging black is white
A hundred million missing in ECO
Who thief we money, we want to know
Dats ah Bandit, look de Bandit
A police constable who should act more seriously
Thief 15 thousand in CID
Dats ah Bandit, look de Bandit
Last week ah making market in town
As ah put down meh basket, is gone it gone
Dats ah Bandit, look de Bandit
Well look he dey, look he dey, look he dey, look he dey
Hold him doh let him get away
Woi woi woi...hai hai hai

That's the way I do it. I give you perfect tune and perfect rhyming. That is what we are looking for in Calypso or else we are in trouble. On Carnival Day you have no steelband on the road because they have nothing to beat. The singers are not coming with any tunes, only with chorus. That will kill the standards in Carnival and once the Carnival Standards drop dead, we are in trouble. I am asking that we raise the standards with nice chants in tunes, nice melodies and nice stories. Let's get back to those things. Before getting into the game, you should come with those things. The people who do not understand these things just rush into it any old how and killing the culture. That is all I have to say for now, 2006.

TRINISOCA: Thank you sir.

Austin Lewis aka 'King Austin'

Austin Lewis aka 'King Austin'
Austin Lewis aka 'King Austin'

TRINISOCA: A real veteran in the Calypso business is 'King Austin', and he is here with me to chat about his performance at Ryan's Pub today. Most will be familiar with his very popular tunes 'The Price of Progress is High', 'Who's Guarding the Guards' and 'The World Today is a Ball of Confusion'. What is your full name sir?

KING AUSTIN: My name is Austin Lewis, also known as 'King Austin'. I am the man that sang the greatest Calypsos 'The Price of Progress is High', 'Who's Guarding the Guards', 'The World Today is a Ball of Confusion' and many more.

TRINISOCA: How long have you been in Calypso?

KING AUSTIN: I have been in Calypso from since in 1976. I started with the CDC Calypso Tent and the following year I went across with The Mighty Chalkdust and them. The year after that I went across with Lord Melody, Lord Nelson and all those fellas. I also went across by Sparrow and I kept going all the time.

TRINISOCA: If it is ok with you, I would like to share a little experience I had when I was a little child going to school. My father bought your record and when he put it on to play, he said to me, "Listen to this Calypso and you will understand about lyrics." It was your song 'The Price of Progress is High'. After that, I opened my eyes to see a little more about Calypso. That was the first Calypso that introduced me to lyrics and things like that. That was a good Calypso. Do you mind singing a little verse and chorus?

KING AUSTIN: I will do anything for you. The song goes like this:

Today, when I look around, in the world
What do I see
I see, footprints that man, has left on the sand lord
While walking through times
I see fruits of our ambitions
Figments of our imagination
And I ask myself
When will it end, when will it end
It is plain to see
Universally this planet is not bountiful as it was
Simply because, in excess for success
Nothing must stand in man's way
World Rivers run dry
Soon the birds won't fly and the mountain will be no longer high
And when I relating to meh lord I does wonder why

That song is the number one calypso of the century, then 'Who Guarding the Guards' and 'The World Today is a Ball of Confusion'. The tracks I have on my CD are 'Special Loving', 'The World Today', 'Time is Not Easy in the City', 'Soca Taking Over', 'Changes of Man', 'You Can't Please The People', 'Billy Jean', 'Keep It Coming' and 'Progress'.

TRINISOCA: What do you think about the directions that Calypso is going?

KING AUSTIN: Well, I have my style and the youths have their style, some of which are very good. Some fellas can sing and some rap. My son right now is a champion because he can sing. They call him Mr. King.

TRINISOCA: What do you have for this year?

KING AUSTIN: I will be going to the studio tomorrow to sing 'The Man Who Invent Money' and 'We Could Make It Better If We Want'.

TRINISOCA: Do you have any thoughts you would like to share with the nation or the world?

KING AUSTIN: Well, as an entertainer I love every human being very much. It doesn't matter where you are from. I love all the people and I want to tell them, God bless and have a happy new year.

TRINISOCA: Thank you sir.

Natasha Nurse aka 'Sexy Suzy'

Natasha Nurse aka 'Sexy Suzy'
Natasha Nurse aka 'Sexy Suzy'

TRINISOCA: My first female calypsonian for the evening is the popular 'Sexy Suzy'. What is your full name and how long have you been singing calypso?

SEXY SUZY: My name is Natasha Nurse, aka 'Sexy Suzy' and I have been singing Calypso since 1991.

TRINISOCA: What songs do you have for us this year?

SEXY SUZY: A song entitled 'The Cat', 'A Message from Super Granny' and 'Turn Me On'.

TRINISOCA: How did you get into Calypso?

SEXY SUZY: Well I am a person who always liked singing. I went to the Calypso Revue where I met Mr. Bomber and he told me, "You have a nice voice, would you like me to show you what you can do with your voice?" I told him no problem. I went up by him and I started to do vocal training. Luckily for me, the following year I was selected to sing at Kitchener's Revue.

TRINISOCA: We did an interview with Mr. Bomber a little while back. He is an excellent calypsonian. Do you have any advice for the young calypsonians?

SEXY SUZY: Yes, the ones who are going with the faster songs, I would like to hear one or two of them slow down. And, instead of getting involved with drugs and so on, it is easier to get a pen and start to write Calypsos because it pays of.

TRINISOCA: Where do you see your career in Calypso heading?

SEXY SUZY: I am hoping to reach the big yard like the Mas' Grache one day and also to be as great as The Mighty Sparrow. As a younger person I know there are a lot of things I have to learn from him and Mr. Bomber.

TRINISOCA: What do you think about women in Calypso, and what has your experience been like as a woman in Calypso?

SEXY SUZY: Well I think it is time for us to take it over (smiles). For me personally it was fairly rough in the beginning. People only started recognizing who I am over the last five years. All the people who would normally look at you one way when they see you are a woman started to respect me as a calypsonian in terms of my Calypsos. They started to pay attention to the Calypso and not the physique.

TRINISOCA: Thank you.