Upstage Xperience aiming to revitalize calypso art form
May 5, 2017

Upstage Xperience aiming to revitalize calypso art form

Stakeholders in the calypso industry have to work together to uplift calypso or we might very well see the demise of the art form.

This sentiment was expressed by Bentley Browne of the Upstage Xperience, during an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday.

“…All the calypso tents and all the stakeholders have to work together because at this point in time I think we have to make calypso uplifting, if not we could very well see the demise.”

Browne stated that in order to prevent the demise of this art form the Calypso Association has been working with the Carnival Development Corporation to enhance governance in the industry, get financing to sustain the art form, train more persons and build capacity to be better able to manage and organize shows.

He stated that over the years the attendance for the calypso shows has been on the decline for a number of reasons, including the inefficient organization of activities.

Browne also noted that they have to improve the quality of the calypso by paying attention to the lyrical and musical content.

He stated that the Upstage Xperience this year is aiming to revitalize the calypso art form, improve and enhance the level of professionalism in the organization.

“Over the years the calypso tents have not been efficient in terms of organization, starting on time etc. So, we want to enhance the product and we want to make sure that our patrons are well entertained,” he said.

Browne explained that in order to attain this goal, they would be bringing a wider cross-section of the community into the art form.

“For too long it has been Kingstown based and we feel there is need to go wider nationally and more importantly to pull in a lot of the young people, because the calypso tents have been, over the years, something where you have a lot of senior and elderly people going,” he pointed out.

Browne said that they have a ‘fairly good’ number of youth, as well as gender balance, with eight female calypsonians singing in the tent.

“So, with the increased variety, we think we will be able to not only perform well, but we will get a chance to expose a lot of the young talent and bring a lot of young people to the art form,” Browne noted.

He added that for this tent season, they are trying not to be confined to the Russell’s Auditorium in Kingstown.

So, they will be hosting their launch at the Calliaqua hard court on May 13, as part of the festivities for St George Carnival.

The first show to be held in Kingstown will be on May 17, where, according to Browne, the whole cast should be presented.

“They will see a good mix of all the genres – calypso, soca and ragga soca.”

And, according to Browne, members of the tent have already

completed one month of rehearsals and each of the 24 artistes on the cast have already had three rehearsals.