One of the revelations (to me, at least) coming out of a recent court case in Trinbago is of quite some interest to kaiso lovers in Barbados.
In a matter between the Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO) and two calypsonians over the question of membership of the organisation, Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh listed 35 points in favour of the claimants, who were each awarded costs of TT$14 000.
Among them was: “Whereby as citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, the calypso art form is important to all of us. It was started here and it is here it has been nurtured, grown and spread into many different forms and directions. It is important, therefore, that there is proper regulation of the artistes who perform it by legislation and by the governing rules of the organisation.”
Artistes have charged that Benjai, rendering Ah Is A Trini in 2011, sang two verses although he knew that TUCO’s rules demanded three verses, and TUCO, despite this, signed a contract with him qualifying him to perform in the calypso semifinal round at Skinner Park.
TUCO have now changed their calypso rules in 2012, stating that anyone who flouted the rules of the competition like Benjai did shall have ten points deducted from his/her overall score.
The whole thing makes me think of the local scene. As far as I know, there is no stipulation regarding the number of verses that must be sung in the Pic-o-de-Crop competition. There is an unwritten convention that a calypso should be at least three verses; some kaisonians sing four.
We have had two instances, including this year, when two-verse songs have done exceedingly well in our competition. There has also been another occasion in which a two-verse song was very popular but did not do well, allegedly because it only had two verses.
With that in mind, perhaps it would serve us well to follow Trinidad in this instance and put some things in writing when it comes to our calypso competition. Then again, it was in writing in Trinidad, wasn’t it?