Ainsley King: Calypso is for everyone

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) Ainsley King. – File photo by Sureash Cholai

BEFORE delivering the Road March results yesterday, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) president Ainsley King thanked the public for what the organisation considered to be a very supportive and successful calypso season.

King was speaking during a press conference on February 14 at the VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

“Our execution this year was very effective and I want to thank the team that worked towards the plan. San Fernando was our major event (Calypso Fiesta) and we had some challenges and I can say, this year we were able to overcome a lot of the challenges.”

King said this is a positive sign because calypso is about inclusivity.

“And all people, all ethnic backgrounds in Trinidad and Tobago, across the world, calypso is for everybody and we continue to promote that because where national unity is concerned it is the only way that we see that we can bring some strength and contribute to changing the landscape of calypso, the attendance at our tents and all events.”

He said the organisation is working towards unifying and uniting Trinidad and Tobago.

Asked about criticisms of Machel Montano winning the Calypso Monarch crown, King said there were rumours that TUCO had some arrangement with Montano and Montano would have claimed that it was through his teachers that he was encouraged to enter the competition.

He said many people are now beginning to understand the value of calypso but his executive continued to remind people of what calypso is and the history of the genre.

“And as Machel said – well we have been preaching that, way before, from the time this executive started, we started to announce that there is no difference between soca and calypso,” King said.

King said the message has reached and many people are seeing things differently now.

“We are open, there is no separation between soca and calypso,” he said.

He said to some extent, Montano has brought some renewed interest to calypso.

“Machel has done a lot of work and we have seen him being able to have the capacity to draw large audiences to his institution, his events and so on. So I will say yes,” he said when asked if Montano brought renewed interest to calypso. He began by saying he had to be careful how he answered that.

He said Skinner Park was always an institution as it was a lime people looked for.

King said East Indians were at tents this year, which was an A plus for him. He said drawing East Indians to the tents was a challenge for several years.

“We came in and met some challenges and people will say all kinds of things and jump and choose to bash us. He said it was important to keep the metaphors and craftiness in political calypsoes.