Teach kaiso in school, says Machel

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Machel Montano kisses his trophy after he won the 2024 Calypso Monarch finals at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on February 11. – Photo by Jeff K Mayers

CALYPSO Monarch 2024 Machel Montano called for calypso composing to be taught to pupils as young as primary school.

He made the suggestion while speaking to reporters in the wee hours of Monday morning after winning Calypso Monarch crown at Dimanche Gras at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

He said despite being an artiste for 40 years, he was learning new things about calypso due his current enrolment in Carnival Studies at UTT.

“I feel this should be taught at primary school. This is our indigenous culture. Why didn’t we learn about this? But it is never too late.”

Regarding his winning song, Soul of Calypso, Montano said, “The main message of this story is that all of we is one.”

Montano said he would seek to defend his calypso crown next year.

“You must defend your crown. Honour!”

Asked if he would encourage other soca artistes to enter the calypso arena, he replied, “Yes.”

“I will be here. I encourage all to get involved. Come for me! I ready for it!”

He sang to reporters what he said was an impromptu extempo calypso.

“I am a great extemporaneous calypsonian. Gypsy, watch out!”

Montano said the children from Belmont-based schools who had performed with him on-stage had been “the absolute joy of my life.”

“I spent every day with them. They did not want to go home. They wanted to practice whole night. They wanted to sing calypso.” He said his practice sessions had been filled with magical moments.”

Reflecting on his life-long music journey, he said, “Soca is calypso, so I never left calypso. It is a full circle.

“The important thing is that I let go of Carnival to focus on my studies. To know where I want to go next, I have to know where I am coming from.”

Montano used the occasion to thank his various UTT lecturers, including one who had helped him with the craft of calypso writing. He thanked his wife and mother for their support for his studies. He thanked several calypsonians with whom he had been in touch to prepare for the show including Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins.

Asked what was next for him, he replied, “I have a thesis to write, and it is about pan.”

He said people were erroneously claiming this was his first time at Calypso Monarch finals.

“I have been here in 1986. It was the first time I was here and I came fifth.

“The second time I was here was 1991 and I came third. The third time I am here, God bless!”

He said his efforts preparing for the night had been hard work but enjoyable. He thanked mas man Peter Minshall and singer Wendell Manwarren for helping his production.