Title Page

Title: Calypso & carnival of long ago and today
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00078298/00001
 Material Information
Title: Calypso & carnival of long ago and today
Physical Description: 71 p. : illus., ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Jones, Charles
Publisher: printed by the Port-of-Spain Gazette Ltd.
Place of Publication: Port-of-Spain Trinidad
Publication Date: 1947
Subject: Description and travel -- Trinidad   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00078298
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000143649
oclc - 22970530
notis - AAQ9837

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Main 25
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
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        Page 48
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        Page 51
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Full Text


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One of Trinidad's Oldest Calypsonians.

felicatimt :

This Book is dedicated to the lovers of Calypso and

Carnival of Trinidad, particularly those who were
fortunate enough to know of the Old Days,
hoping the present day player would take
good note of its Contents, and try to
bring back some of the beauty and
grandeur of Carnival.
6, Dundonald Street,


srame %n


Residence of the Governors of Trinidad. Built in 1875.

6 /C~*.lc:,'c/ /:;lj'.)

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In order to understand the following chapters one must throw their
minds back to many years ago, and must also be acquainted in some way,
no matter how small, to the Calypso and Carnival of long ago, and that of
the present day. Though it has often been said that there are few Historians
in Trinidad, due no doubt to the changing of our time, there are still alive
many people who can contradict that statement. There are interesting
incidents of the past, still fresh iti the minds of many Trinidadians. So great
is the contrast, it seems almost unbelievable that such change can take
place in our little Island, for Calypso and Carnival are the traditional fete
of La Belle Trinidad. It is the time when almost the entire population turns
out to greet King Carnival with his rhythm, and carefree they go on for two
days, some nicely dressed, others in any old pants or robe, keeping to the
real Creole spirit, making Trinidad famous as the Land of the Calypso.

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Imagine yourself surrounded by all the beauty nature offers, in a
tropical setting, lovely landscapes, blue skies, radiant flowers in bloom
everywhere. And to top it all, beautiful brunettes, for which Trinidad,
as the gem of the Caribbean is famous. Such is the scene as you go on to
visit the Tent of long ago. Built of bamboo, with coconut palms for a roof, v
lovely lace curtains, with ribbons to hold them in place and in the centre
of the Tent, on a table set there for that purpose, a lovely bowl of Roses
or other Flowers. For seats there were benches made of bamboo set
around the Tent or a few chairs. There were no electric lights. In place
of that lamps made of tin or large bottles called Flambeaux were placed
all around the tent, giving a lovely soft glow to the surroundings. The
Tents of long ago were built from donations of certain prominent people
in the city who were lovers of the Calypso. There was no stipulated price,
and persons desirous of entering, paid whatever they could afford at the
collection made during the night's show. The Tent was built by the
Organiser of a Band for carrying on their meetings, learning their songs or
to discuss all and sundry, the affairs of the band. -The Calypso is the
means of giving expression to one's feelings, and started in the time of
slavery, when the slaves after a hard days' work, would gather round their
huts, and to the strumming of a banjo or guitar and the humming of
another member or two, they sang their worries away. There is quite a
lot of contradiction in the naming of the Calypso for it has been given
many different titles. Originally it was never sung in English-most of
the slaves singing in broken French or Patois, As time went on, these
same people, though adhering to the traditions of their forefathers made
their home here. With the abolition of slavery, their freedom afforded
them the means of mixing with other folk, enlightening them on all
topics; and from them we got the now famous Calypso.

When the Tent was all set up, and the leaders in the Carnival spirit,
there came on the scene, Chantrels as they were then called, the words
meaning Singer, as we have today. Every band had their Chantrel who
would take up any topic, make out his song and at the night's practice,
the women members of the band would be the choristers, when the chant-
reLsang out his refrain, they in turn would take it up, and gave a wonder-
ful display of real good singing. For music, the Clarionet, Flute, Bass,
Quatro, Guitar, and Violin. In those days Calypso held more meaning
than today, and one of the best features was the giving of Picongs.

The Tent of today is built with a galvanised roof, and in place of the
seats of long ago, there are rows and rows of chairs. There is also a stage
decorated with flags, Theatre posters, other advertisements like Coco V
(Continued on Page 17)

For .


Consult .





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I've found out a new philosophy
How to live with women happily
What Leno, and Pluto, and Socrates dind't know
I'll relate to you in Calypso
Every now and then cuff them down
They love you long and they love you strong
Black up the eye and bruise the knee
And then they love you eternally

I had a pretty little mopsy and
She left me for a robust man
I followed her and said Darling I care a lot
What this fellow has that I have'nt got

She said to me Atilla confidentially
He does things that you never did to me
Every now and then, look he turn me down
Thats why I love him long and I love him strong

Some people may say that I'm wrong
Others may criticise my song
But this is a question of deep psychology
I know the married men must agree with me
Every now and then cuff them down etc., etc.

Look around the streets and you will see
Faces radiating virginal purity
But boys please don't misunderstand
Dont play the fool and act like no gentleman
Dont let the aura of their sweet docility
Paralyze your judgment or invoke your sympathy
Every now and then etc., etc.

Even in the bridal chamber
Teach them yes who is the master
Dont be swayed by sentimentality
Or they'll tell their friends you're a Sissy
These are the things you must never forget
The ethics of your bedroom etiquette
Every now and then etc., etc.

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F.S.M.C. and S.N.A.O.

'Phone 6424

. I -I


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Cola, the latest model truck or car, in short anything that would add a
bit of colour to the rather drab surroundings. There is an almost empty
feeling on entering a Tent today, whereas long ago the beauty and set-up
of the tent was in itself an attractive inducement to go in. For music they
now have trumpet, drums, saxophones, guitar, bass ; in short a complete
orchestra, and on the stage the singers go up night after night till the season
is over to sing to an ever enthusiastic audience. People of every walk of
life visit the tent of today, Dortors, Lawyers, Judges and other prominent
persons in our community, and for two or three hours they sit and listen
to the singer doing his best to please with his song.

Among some of the Chantrels of long ago there were King Pharaoh,
a man of very sound judgment, good manners and above all a very good
singer; Black Prince another singer of note hailing from the southern
part of the island, has left on the minds of his hearers some very amusing
verses; Freerick Julien whose singing name was the the Iron Duke was
the master brain of Calypso ; Duke of Marlborough, another singer of
high stan idig gave some wonderful songs to us in his day ; Norman Le
BlagI nt onent in the Calypso world was responsible for
itstra nrom onPatEfigltsr; Duke of Normandy, another mas-
ter in his way of singing wit all the characteristics of a great artist,
capable of setting his colours off in the best light; Nightingale, another
great singer ; The Duke of Albany who for many years held his own with
a powerful note of rendition; Lord Executor termed the grandfather of
Calypso, great in the art of extemporising. Calypso was then o-ifa~igher
scale than at present, for there being many tents around the city, the
chantrels had to give of their best and in the event of anyone hearing of
another with much fame, he in turn would go to that tent and do his best
to give out a better song in order to prove he could sing. Calypso not being
commercialised as it is today, there was a greater feeling of enjoyment on
the whole, and so for the few weeks preceding Carnival, folks had the
pleasure of listening to real intellectual singing, so great and wonderful
was their rendition of songs, and as the songs were all sung in Patois,
there was a single tome and other minors that are now lacking. Another
item in the Calypso practice was the War. When their show was almost
over, the singers would call for War, and if there was anything personal or
otherwise that would hurt the other fellow, that was when the chance
came to let the cat out of the bag and for twenty or thirty minutes they
carried on a duel in song, each man doing his best to criticise the other
fellow or rubbing it in, as the case of Pharaoh who for some time had to
sleep in an oven at (La Cou Harpe) Harpe Place, this provoking verse was
made: Not a window, not a door, but we can't find Pharaoh." Many
persons went to the tent to hear the War, for it was amusing to hear these
men extemporising their verses, not even stopping to think the words
seemed to come to them without any effort on their part, so great was their
method of setting in song anything they desired. But as time went on,
Calypso took a different form, and in place of the band leaders getting
together to build their tent, the venture today is on a high commercial



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basis, and merchants or other capitalists take the responsibility of getting
the tent in good shape for the season. In the old days, on the last night's
show Shloe-Suday called" .Dimaneheras there was the Dame
Lorraine, this was really t- e beginning of Carnival, from midnight till
morning the playing would go on, men dressed in some of the gaudiest
costumes imaginable, there was the Master of Ceremonies or rather
"Teacher" with his long switch also very much dressed up, and to the
playing of a violin or two, flute, qutro and guitar, he would call on the
players to form up, each individual answering to his name, the Master
reading them from a large book, among many others these are some of
the names: Madam Chien meaning "Mrs. Dog ", Compere Tigre
meaning "Mister Tiger, Musieur Bull, meaning "Mr. Bull", Gros
Boudin, meaning "Big Belly-", and at the sound of each name, the
character would dance his way into the Ring, while his brother and
sister player, anxious not to annoy the Master, tried to do the same. When
they were all around him he commanded them to dance calling in a loud
voice the various movements they were expected to make, all the while
dancing with his troupe and at the least wrong move would inflict a
beating on the culprit with his switch, the music playing, they go on
dancing all around the Ring to these words of instruction from the
Master : Asou Couta meaning' at the side ", Dos pas Dos meaning
" back to back ", "Pas a Pas meaning step by step to the amusement
of the audience, the play go on for the entire programme, the Master
himself usually being the best dancer among the lot. And what with the
shaking up of the dancers, the various movements of the entire set, it
reminded one of the Herodian dances spoken of in ancient Biblical his-
tory. Though the Dame Lorraine was not very much on the moral side,
most people found great pleasure in seeing it. At one time it was the
ideal form bf starting the Carnival, crowds of young men of the better
class found the tent on the Dame Lorraine night's show to join in the
Fete and all through the night right on to morning these players went on
and were among the first to be on the road.
As the bells struck six on Monday morning one would hear the band
of Old Mask called "Jour Ouvert" dressed as the proverbial witch.
These players wore tall hats, long black robes, and carried long sticks to
lean on. They were all shivering, apparently feeling the chill of the early
morning, and as Lthe mask they wore were mostly depicting old people,
they made a lovely picture with thirty or forty to their band, they came
along the streets with this refrain : Jour Ouvert, Jour porceur Ouvert "
meaning it's day break or it's not day break ", they played on, very much
admired. This band was called the Jour Ouvert, so early did they come
out to play, not able no doubt to resist the joyful feeling of being once
more on the road, this was one of the bands we knew as Old Mask. Gone
are the ones who knew those beautiful forms of Original Masquerade,
and in place of the well organised and lovely bands we see bands of odd
looking and badly behaved people not parading and dancing, but all the
while running and shouting, not one detail in their dress or conduct to
keep us in touch with the old time Carnival.

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Another feature of the old days were the Fishermen. These players
ere dressed like the fishermen of those days when we had lots of foreigners V/
the fishing trade. With their big boots, pants turned up, and with a
t or cap on, they had their nets all ready and waiting for their first
watch. Quite unconcerned one would be on their way to work, when
without any notice whatever that individual would be wrapped up in a
shing net and would only be able to continue on his way after paying
he fee charged for being set free-that was usually "2" meaning
pennies. With this refrain they played on for the morning : Siene
iene, por siene yoa meaning net, net to catch them; that manner of
laying Old Mask, was in a high class, many prominent persons taking
art, and as they all wore mask even their best friends were not allowed
to know who the player was. That also is out of the picture, save the
memory of it. Then there was the band called Pisse-en-lit; they also were
among the early players being unable no doubt to resist the feeling of
anxious exuberance found in that form of enjoyment. This band was
dressed in their night clothes, and gave an impression of very many
people on their way to sleep. They also wore mask, and for the morning
this band paraded the streets to the strains of sweet music, with their
various members all singing and dancing, they, like all the players of old,
carried on in an admirable way. Then there were the Sweepers, an old
mask armed with a broom would enter into a yard or office and start a
brisk sweeping, putting things in order and setting all to shape, he would
leave when he received his fee. It was rather amusing to be surprised by
these sweepers, not asking any questions, they came to do their work in
such a serious and honest manner-those too are gone. All through the
morning among the various bands of Old Mask, there were the Bajan
cooks, in their costumes of white dresses complete with apron, basket,
their heads tied in a manner similar to that of the head tie worn by the
Martiniquan women. These cooks left nothing out to make their outfit
as real as the circumstances permitted. Imagine your cook coming in to
work dressed in pure white and her basket filled with the vegetables and
fruits you ordered the day before This was a sight you could never forget;
they danced and played to their hearts' content, all the while taking great
care of the vegetables and fruits in their basket. Some of them had their
basket filled with freshly laid eggs, all through the morning these players
greeted your eye with their rather picturesque and original way of playing
Carnival, like all the other players, they too wore masks and there was
not one face bare in the band of thirty or forty players-gone too, like
the other beautiful bands of old mask. Another item in the old times we
knew, was the Prisoner's band. This band first started playing in the year
1904 and year by year they carried on, dressed in the flour bag suit of
pants and jumper their tin cups hanging at their side, the life-timers with
their bad behaviour marks, the warder complete with gun and whistle,
his suit made of khaki with his helmet of the same material, baton in
hand he walks along with his men. This band looked so real, had it not
been for the music and the dancing-and singing of the players, it could
easily be mistaken for a band of prisoners on their way to or from work


in one of the stone quarries around Port-of-Spain, it being the custom
in those days to walk the prisoners down the street, nearest to the place
where they worked. Occasionally a prisoner will try to run off, and then
the others will all try to get him back while the Warder manouevres
around the band all the while, giving the runaway a chance to make it
look like a real prison escape. With the passing of the years, this is
another of the old bands gone forever and with it went some of the best
players of old time Carnival.

Among the other players of early morning mask, we had the sur-
veyor with his assistant, armed with their necessary implements, they
would choose some person walking down the street on their way to work,
no doubt, and to his surprise make him t.eir target and in order to be
allowed to continue on his way he pays a penny or two to the Surveyor
and goes along. That continues for the morning all through the streets
these players go, sometimes a fruitseller is the target, and there they
receive some of the fruits on sale, then on they go in search of more land
to survey. This was an amusing form of enjoying one's self. The player
having the laugh all along, for having a mask on, he can hold up even his
own brother and will not be recagaised ; they too are no more ; gone with
the old-timers. All through the morning these various bands would
play around the city till around midday, when they disappeared one by
one, to come out later in the beautiful costumes. Some of the bands
holding, sway in the old days were : Standard, Artillery, Evening Belles,
Calvary, Brigade from Newtown, Green Lion from St. James, White
Rose, Rose of England and many others. These were called fancy bands,
and unlike the players of today, they represented a particular incident in
history, some great personality or event. They carried a uniform colour
for their band and there were no confusion or mixing up as we now see.

Their leader or King choose a colour to dress in and the entire band
used it giving a beautiful effect. Imagine a lovely day with bright sunshine
and a band of these players w;th thiir costumes of self colour made of the
finest silk, with the braids, -ibbons, and various other decorations to
assist in making a scene fit for any artist. The workmanship of getting
those costumes together were wonderful, determined to stick to the original
these players left nothing to be desired in their make up of the characters
they represented.

The band called Standard had Plummer as their Chantrel. They had
a king and queen, ladies in waiting, maids of honour and other members
of the band some forty or fifty in all. The beauty and grandeur of their
costumes were wonderful. The king and queen riding in state on a horse-
drawn chariot, beautifully decorated with all the items of fancy, used in
the costume of the players, with a canopy over them, the king with his
crown, sword and all the various decorations befitting his high office. The
queen having a costume of gold cloth, draped and held in place by gold
pins and other jewellery. The king in the costume of the reigning monarch


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of his day, and with their crowns glittering they rode on, leaving in the
minds of those who saw them the feeling of having witnessed a ceremonial
parade of the monarchs of old. With the members of the band following,
the chantrel leads his band, dressed in a suit of velvet of the same colour
with that of the others, sword in hand, with his gloves on, and his hat
turned up at one side imitating Sir Walter Raleigh, with a lovely plume
at the top, he walks at the head of the band with an air of dignity, all the
while singing out his refrain to be picked up by the members of the band.
That was one of the fine displays they were able to give in those days
which we now miss. On meeting another band, the chantrel would
advance and give out his challenge like this at the instance of meeting the
band called Artillery at the corner of Duke and Charlotte Streets, he sang :
Tell the Artillery to meet me by the grocery.
Tell the Artillery to meet me by the grocery
Some of us may be wounded
Some of us may be slain
The balance remain will fight for victory.

The band would take up the chorus and sing it out, giving a wonder-
ful tone to the accompaniment of the music. With all their grandeur
these players of long ago, played around the city streets for the two
days Carnival carrying on with the discipline and respect always ap-
preciated by the lovers of clean enjoyment. Where is the Carnival we
knew ? Gone-save for the memory.

The band called Artillery had as their Chantrel, Henry Forbes, his
singing name was "The Inventor ", another band of well organised
players. Like the other bands, they also had their King and Queen and
all the other members of their royal household, this band having the same
principle of dress similar to that of the other fancy bands, with their
costumes made of the best silk obtainable, in a beautiful self colour, year
after year keeping to their colour, this band had a cannon drawn by
horses in place of the chariot, with their King in his fine and beautiful
display of artful masquerade, sitting by his side, his Queen majestically
dresses, with their crowns glittering at every move they make, for there
were five stones and other bits of jewellery giving them the appearance of
real crowns. With his velvet cape, his sword, gloves on, the King looks on
at the other members of his band with an air of pride and pleasure. The
chantrel also in a lovely costume of velvet, with his sword, gloves on,
cape thrown over his right shoulder, and like the other chantrels a lovely
plume in his hat, he strutted on ahead of his band like a peacock in a
farmyard, so proud was he of his high office. On meeting Standard, he
gave out his command like this:
Charge one on them Artillery
Charge one on them Artillery
Artillery charge another volley to make men surrender.

OF 1947

'~9~41~aaT`~;I"~x~'T;: ~


On hearing the command from their Chantrel, the band gave out a
volley, for they used a real cannon, and the practice only stopped when a
woman member of the band got hurt as a result of being too near the
cannon. What great and marvellous works of Art were the costumes of
these bands-a contrast so great as to seem unbelievable. That is another
beautiful memory from the pages of our old time Carnival gone.

There was a band called White Rose with Frederick Julien as their
Chantrel, his singing name was the Iron Duke, a singer of the most
intellectual songs. He also was the organiser of this band, one of the
loveliest that ever walked the streets of Port-of-Spain. They wore white
costumes made of the best silks and satins, with gold braid, lace, ribbons,
spangles, swansdown and many other decorations, lovely costumes
draped and held in place by small white roses, the King with a lovely
white coat half way down his back, the Queen with a long train similar
to that of the real Queens, on a chariot drawn by horses, with their
band following on they made a picture never to be forgotten. There was
dignity and glamour combined to make the onlookers think that this was
not real, rather that they were in a strange and beautiful land of fairies,
such an abundance of make up, and added to that the impression left on
the minds of the public of the behaviour of these players out to enjoy to
its fullest the privilege of two days Carnival, they sang and danced to the
music of their band, and the sweet refrains from their chantrel, dressed in
like manner to the other chantrels in white velvet costume, his lovely
white cape, gloves, his sword in hand and in short all the routine of outfit
befitting his office, always at the head of his band with the proud appear-
ance of a General leading his troops, he went on. For many years this
band held sway, so great was their fame, that at one of the downtown
competitions held at the "Almond Walk which we now know as
Broadway, the merchant called Papa Bodi" always, so it was alleged,
favoured this particular band causing this verse to be referred to him:
Down on the Almond Walk Papa Bodi
Di moun La Verite
meaning down on the Almond Walk Papa Bodi tell me the truth, and for
many years this band continued to play though losing some of its mem-
bers, new ones took their places and fell in line with the others who knew
all about the manner of carrying on their band worthy of the highest
praise, another feature of the old time Carnival, forever gone. Another
lovely band was the one called Rose of England with Marlborough as their
Chantrel, also a very good and intelligent singer, he carried on for many
years with this band. In place of the canopy used by the other fancy
bands, they carried a banner with a beautiful rose, they choose red and
white as their colours and also had a King and Queen, Prince, ladies in
waiting and the other followers similar to that of the various other bands.
With sweet music this band of players paraded the streets for the two
Carnival days, and lovely was the word that came to one's lips on behold-
ing such marvellous display of good taste. At the Coronation of King
Edward and Queen Alexandra, this band had their King and Queen


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.- -


sed up to imitate those great personalities. It was wonderful to see
g Edward and his Queen so real looking, stately and dignified, walking
the poise and stature of a real King, the Queen a complete replica of
Royal Highness, they also had in their Court the Prince of Wales
ed exactly like the-real Prince in a-costume of the most beautiful
with his cape, gloves, and all the other items of decoration to his
t, to convey the impression of high class workmanship. With the
e dignified air as that of his Father, the Prince was admired wherever
band went, and with their*costumes of rare silks and brocades, these
ers received prizes at every competition they attended. The conduct
ese players left nothing to be desired, in a manner similar to all the
r bands, their Chantrel led the band also in a suit of the finest silk,
Shis cape thrown over one shoulder, gloves on, sword in his right hand,
a lovely plume in his hat, he gives out his refrain to be taken up by
their members of the band, each individual wearing a mask, for that
od of playing was strictly observed in the old days, the band go on
ing and dancing all the while being careful of their behaviour and won
h praise for their display of original make-up. Another beautiful
gone the way of all our old time Carnival.

And yet another band of original players was the one called Gordon
landers, in their costumes of plaid skirts, caps, sash, ribbons and all
her various items of decorations, they succeeded in looking as real
ones they imitated, even to the bagpipes, they rode on horseback
yed Scottish tunes and made one feel like being very far away from
ores, so complete was their outfit, not one single flaw in the set-up.
fusion of colours, no need to have a picture held high, at the sight
band there was no guessing, year after year they continued to play
beautiful manner of the players of long ago and it is indeed sad to
at the only pictures left are in the minds of those fortunate enough
e had the pleasure of seeing those bands in the days of long ago.

e band called Brigade had their tent at Picton Street, New Town,
aalso a very lovely band. Like the others, they too, choose a
colour to dress in and had Nightingale as their Chantrel, another
ood singer, he sang for many years with this band. With their King
ueen, ladies in waiting and the other followers, they made a lovely
in their costumes of blue and white, with braids, laces, ribbons,
s, swansdowns and other decorations, the King and Queen in the
ul costumes made of the finest silk, their lovely crowns glittering as
walked along, their Chantrel leading his band in a suit of the finest
with other decorations, gloves, sword, a beautiful plume in his hat,
top it all the dignity of his manner as he sang out his refrain to
er members of the band, they in turn giving out their chorus, all the
dancing along to the strains of sweet music, there was no rushing
thing in these bands. In an orderly manner they paraded the streets
t any interference from the onlookers or non-players for there was
sphere of real comradeship in the Carnival of long ago, all through

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Popular bathing resort.




the streets there were the beautiful costumes, the dazzling head-dress
worn by the Kings and Queens, the lovely skirts, capes, and coats of the
various members of the bands, they made our city streets a real fairyland
for the two Carnival days with their dancing in time to the music of their
band, they played without the least bit of difficulty or embarrassment.
Bring us back the bands of old, the original masquerade of which we
once-boasted. Where has it gone ?

And yet another band of distinction was the one called Calvary, who
had as their Chantrel, Moro the Rebeller, a singer of clean songs, keeping
always in the manner of the other singers of his day, he also carried on
with this band for many years. They choose for their colours blue and
white, and with costumes of the best silks and brocades, with braids,
ribbons, laces and other items of decorations, they made a fine sight.
With their King in a beautiful costume, his crown, coat, gloves, and all
the lovely bits of jewellery for which a King is famous, he walks along
with the Queen, also in her lovely costume of the finest silks and satins,
with her crown and a beautiful set of pearls for her neck and arms, they
also had a Prince, ladies in waiting and the many other members of the
band as followers. This band did not use a chariot, they walked and
danced to the strains of the music, and the orderly manner of the players
added to the dignified manner of their King and Queen, which gave one
the impression that they were rehearsing for many weeks. There was the
Chantrel as in all the other fancy bands, leading his band in his costume
made of blue and white velvet, with his sword in hand, plume in his hat
gloves on and with his coat thrown over one shoulder, he parades before
the band, all the while giving out his refrain to be taken up by the other
members in time with the music. The beauty of these players, their be-
haviour and the sweet singing, was in reality a wonderful combination,
giving a display of clean and harmless enjoyment, no doubt looking at
the hands of the clock with dread, for well they knew that at midnight
on Tuesday, it would all come to an end till another year when they
would again don their beautiful costumes to once more join in the rare
feeling of pleasure at the sight of King Carnival, gone again with all
those beautiful features of long ago-bring us back the old time Carnival.

Another feature in the long ago Carnival, was the stick playing.
About the same time the calypso tent was set up, there was the practice
of playing stick in certain yards around Port-of-Spain, men gathered
every evening and to the playing of goat-skin drums and the humming of
the other players, they fought each other to gain the fame of being a
champion. These men had their different bands from various districts and
one of the places noted for the best stickplayers was Freeport, a little
village in South Trinidad. There were also many bands from Newtown,
Belmont, Woodbrook and Dry River, and among the champions of those
days, ready at all times to meet any other player, were Lie, a master in
the art of stick-playing who knew very few defeats, and held to his laurels
for many years ; Blood, another player of note also defeated many other


La Brea : : : : Trinidad.

champions, and was one of the outstanding players of his day. Fitzy
Banry once king of his band was acclaimed the fastest stick-player in
history and was able to hold his own for many a year, until his defeat
which was a terrible disappointment to his admirers ; Moscobie ", a
player of great distinction was a giant in size, big and burly, he usually -
wore a red 'kerchief tied around his neck and with his stick under his
arm, he seemed to be the peaceful citizen, until he got an opponent, then
he gave of his best and many were the fights he won ; Moro from Belmont,
another barefoot player, whose favourite mode of dress was similar to
that of the other players, the only difference being that instead of the red
'kerchief he wore a blue one, and one of his peculiarities was not to have
much say before going in a fight ; Myler, another king, also a great stick-
player carried on with his band for many years and had a very great
reputation for clean playing, and was one of the stick-players in the time
of the late Captain Baker; Matthew a big dark-skinned negre, also a
player of note, kept to the band called Nigre Jardin or Garden Nigger;
Chintambie, another player from the band mentioned above, and Dunbar
who played as their King. This band of stick-players were nicely dressed
in beautiful suits of velvet, with a breastplate similar to that of the fighters
of old. On Carnival days in their suits nicely decorated with odd bits of
glass, spangles, swansdown and other items, their King wearing a crown,
these various players would come out in search of other rival players, and
when they met would form up at a corner to give a display of their art.
It was indeed a very fine sight; the two champions of their respective
bands, each poised and waiting, each trying his best to take off the others'
crown, the main attraction being the losing of a crown, and one man
having to nurse a head wound as a result of the conflict. When on the
march for a fight among other tunes this was their favourite : Mama Mama
si ou tay moun moun par pleure meaning Mama, Mama, if you hear
I die, don't cry for me." The practice of stick-playing went on for many
years during Carnival, sometimes causing onlookers to scamper, for at the
defeat of their champion, some of the other members would then have a.
free fight. One of the outstanding bands in those days was the Typin
band, with Fitzy Banry as their King, they held sway for many years, and
were put out of play, at the stick-playing riot to take place at the corner of
Park and St. Vincent Streets in the year 1894 when Myler from Belmont
defeated their King, causing an uproar, so unexpected was the blow called
"One Bois" meaning one stick. In the following years the authorities
put a stop to this form of amusement, bringing to an end one of the
attractions of old time Carnival. Among my readers there are still some
of the old players, who take pleasure no doubt, in relating their experiences
to their children and grandchildren, also gone with our Carnival of old.

Among others there were the Dragon bands dressed to represent the
Dragon, the band missing out nothing even to the beast he held by a
stout chain, with the costume and appliance of a great monster, there
were the Imps or other devils, and all together they made a beautiful
sight. One of the main features of this band, was the dancing and move-

*I |

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ments they made, this band also had their King and Queen, with their
ladies in waiting, etc. There was nothing to surpass the beauty of the
Red Dragon. Originally Red Dragons started playing in the year 1900
and to the present day, there is still a band called Red Dragon. There
was the Imp dressed in a skinfit suit of red with a tail, and a pair of small
wings and a monstrous looking head-mask on and axe in hand, the King
beautifully dressed, the Queen and other women members in costumes of
red satin, beautifully pleated and embroidered or otherwise hand painted
in gold and silver, there was the other members of the band, the Carrier
of the Book of Laws, the Tempter, the Reckoner with long nails and a
pair of dice in his right hand and in the midst of the band the monster
held by four Imps, while the Tempter does his best to tease him and the
King, fork in hand, waiting to defend himself from the monster. In place
of the Chantrel leading the band, the Imps led the way, and complete
with tail, wings and beast they gave the appearance of the meeting of St.
George and the Dragon. After a few years other Dragon bands came on
the scene; there were Sons of Evil from Woodbrook, Demonites from
Nelson Street, Children from Limbo, Navy Dock, Demons from the sea,
Tempting Satan and many other Dragon bands, and these have all gone
from our minds-eye with the exception of the Red Dragon who though
losing the greater part of its founders still carries on, sole memento from
our old time Carnival.

Going back still we found the Wild Indians. These players were
dressed like the real Indian we have read or heard of, they had beads of
various colours adorning their neck and arms some with a boat-shaped
hat, or a lovely bird for a head dress, there were the Red Indians, Blue
Indians, and the loveliest of all the White Indians, their backs bare and
with a shield, axe, bag of arrows slung over on shoulder, they wore long
haif'made of rope, painted to suit the caste or colour they represented.
For many months they would gather the wild seeds around our forests,
paint them and have them in readiness for the Carnival. They had many
-bracelets made of these beads, and rows' on rows of the same beads
falling on their chest as an adornment. They were beautiful to see
-bands of these players with their King and Queen often having a Prince
or two in their band, they had no music, for they did not sing but had a
chant when on the march, and what with the yelling, gestures and general
behaviour of the players, they left nothing to make their band as real as
ever. On meeting a rival band, it was lovely to see the way they carried on,
with the impression of real wild people they would run up one way,
down the same way, all the while yelling and gesticulating, then as the
band drew near, the Kings would advance to exchange greetings, the
other players then looking with an appearance of great fright. There
would be an interlude of speech, they in reality imitating the dialect or
whatever the Indians use, the two Kings would pass the sword, and after
mixing a little the two bands would separate, each going his way chanting
in their strange jargon. There was nothing left out, even to the Squaw
with her baby on her back; some carried the Wigwam along, showing

... .-... .. .



Built in 1816; opened to service on April 1832. "




1st Verse.
New Years eve this wake me from sleeping
When I heard a steel band was beating
Everybody there they was jumping
You like to hear the chorus the band was singing

Brown skin gal, stay home and mind baby
Brown skin gal, stay home and mind baby
I'm going away in a sailing boat
And if I don't come back
Stay home and mind baby

The Americans made an invasion
Which was a help to this Island
But they leave the girls on probation
Its our native boys have to mind their children

Now I'll give you a story of Milly
She made a nice blue eye baby
Today she stand as the mother
Over 4 years friends she aint see the father

The old women jump in the fashion
Through Dr. Huggins injection put their body in action
They come back young again
They start making children

Long ago they were under cover
But today they making they tower
If they bounce you up as a stranger
They tell you come and mix you gold
With me bunch of silver

Everybody was to their pleasure
While the music played to their leisure
I heard an accent was louder
When I look outside was a yankee soldier saying

Brown skin gal, stay home and mind baby
I'm going away in a sailing boat
And if I don't come back
Throw away the dam baby

~JL~Z~SP;L~I.-: I~lfJ

'-la.IB i 'If *" -- -- .E
-^*,, ^ ..-r- .-? ..,. .--. -,. ----- .


St. Augustine. : : : : Trinidad.

' -
It'J. .1


by their playing, the art of real and artful masquerade. Such great exhi-
bitions are gone with the old days, the player of today is not even able to
copy half-way from those of long ago, just a bit of Carnival spirit help
them go on with their puzzling costumes.

When one looked around from the fancy bands and various others,
there were the comedians whose band comprised both men and women
with their costumes of Stars and Stripes, their faces painted black with an
occasional stripe or two of white, giving them the appearance of real
southern negroes, the men in the costume of the proverbial Uncle Sam,
complete with topper, their music being the banjo and guitar, they came
along the street strumming their instruments with the songs of the Old
South, reminding one of the plantation days of Old Uncle Joe. They
sang the songs of the negroes of long ago and was really a wonderful
sight to see. They kept in step with their singing and gave a grand display
on both Carnival days. Some of the players dressed with a big white
bow tie, the end of it often reaching over each shoulder. They did not
go on ordinarily in their dress clothes they had costumes made for the
purpose, not forgetting the long tails to their coats, and it was really
worth while listening to an imitation of a people about whom we knew
so little. The good old Coons, those comedians, are also gone.

There were also very many Clown bands, in the long ago.
The Honey Boys, Mystery, Mavis, lere, Dandy and many others. These
various bands chose lovely colours to dress in; Mavis in old gold and
black, with beautiful work of accordion pleating, deltex, hand embroidery,
ribbon worked in roses and other flowers on their costumes with gold
beads, spangles, swansdown, and their shoes shaped to look like a bird
or boat they made a fine sight, they had umbrellas dressed up with
flowers, ribbons and other articles of decoration. There were twenty or
thirty to their band, and with their sweet music, and the beauty of their
costumes,they left nothing to be desired. The King, always beautifully
dressed, often set one to wonder at the marvellous display of good taste.
That is also gone with the good old days for there are no clowns now, a
few of the players from the old bands play as individuals, they have a set-
up of work on their costumes, which, though showing the handiwork of
the makers, are in reality too confusing to compare with a clown. There
never was, or never would be a real Clown with a costume to represent
the House of Parliament or the World's Fair, in the hope of catching
the eye of the public. These present day players go too far. Even in the
pattern book costumes of days gone by, when one had just to look up
the pages of the various Weldons or Mc Calls, there was never a clown
with the abundance of baffling make-up like those we now see, there
should be a name for this type of player, he is too dressed up and full
of beads, bells, colours, and all that goes to remind one of a beautiful
piece of classical music played by an amateur, just a vain effort to do
something they know very little about. Bring back the Clown bands of
old, and cling to originality.










-- AT

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'. -'- -


Oh, there are the Robber bands: The Midnight Robber, Lady
Chasers, Mysterious Trailers, and many others. These players were
dressed in their semi-skirt of fringed bag, with the broad hat, his belt
lined with pieces of wood and painted to look like real bullets, they had
daggers, revolvers, and some even had swords. Their leader rode on a
horse and made a fine picture with his cape on, giving the appearance
of one from the stories of the Wild West. They had paintings of various
designs on their cape and shirt, some with a skull and crossbones, others
with the painting of a house showing a robber in the act of entering, and
so these players left one thinking of Jesse James or other bandit kings
of long ago as in the case of all the other features of old time Carnival,
as the years rolled on, these players have also left and all we now see is
just a few of the Robbers trying to imitate the players of long ago who
go around blowing a whistle, frightening children and demanding money
from onlookers. The real Robbers had a way of carrying on'that was
amusing to the listener. They learned the verses they meant to rehearse
on Carnival days, when, on meeting another robber, he would start
giving a speech, telling of his exploits, of the various battles won, the
wealth they had stolen and in all making a fine picture. There is nothing
to compare with the Robbers of old.

There was the band-of Robinson Crusoe the players of which dressed
in sheep skin pants, knee length, with a waist-coat of the same material,
black shirt, boots and hat made of sheepskin, sack of the same, gun
slung over his back with their King having all the animals, cats, dog,
goat, parrot on his shoulder, with their music they played for both days
and had a large following, usually about twenty-five or thirty members,
they used rope on either side of the band to keep off non-players and there
was never the pushing or fighting we now see. For quite a few years,
their King continued to play singly and in the year 1925 came out with
a cart, having a cave built on it, he also had his complete outfit. In the
following year, he rode on a horse, the other members had long disbanded
joining the band of Robbers called Mysterious Trailers. With the passing
of the King, that form of Carnival is also gone.

Coming through the years, we saw the Sailor bands. There were
the Hit the Deck, Bad Behaviour, and others. These players had the
entire personnel from the ship. -There was the Admiral with his bars,
stripes, gold braid, in short all the decorations to suit him ; the Doctor
with his stethoscope, Nurses in their lovely uniforms of white, the Chap-
lain, the Wireless Operator with his set, the Carrier of the log, they used
a miniature ship for their mascot, bedecked with flags and carried shoulder
high, their music was mostly brass instruments with drums and to the
beautiful tunes of the marches they played. These players marched along,
their fireman complete with his shovel, leading the way, the bands also
used rope to keep their members together so great was the crowd that
followed that there never was the chance of a rope getting slack, they
took it by turns to hold the rope, the officers gave their command occasion-


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ally, and what a lovely sight it was to see this band round off a corner.
These players made one feel that they had real military training, so
accurate and dignified did they go along in time to tunes like Tipperary,
Star Spangled Banner and others. There are some imitations of Sailors
now, but they are not worth while looking at.

Coming on to later years, with the modernising of Carnival, there were
a few of the old time players who organised some very pretty bands.
In the year 1927 there was a band of Zulu Warriors whose players were
dressed in skin-fit suits of black merino with a semi-apron of red, they
wore arm bands, and with a head piece of black cloth with matted hair
to look like the real curly hair of the Zulus, they carried a life-size lion
on a trailer pulled along by four men, and with their spears, oblong-
shaped shield, painted with figures to show the office they held, some with
a feather stuck in his hair, they wore ear and nose rings and were indeed
a band of real looking Zulu warriors. As their leader, they had a Hunter
dressed in khaki, gun slung over his back, with his helmet of khaki and
boots knee-length, he walked ahead of the band. This band used instru-
ments of music to substitute the drums used by this tribe, and since then,
that band has never played-another beautiful piece of artful masquerade
Still half-way in the old time and modern, we saw the band called
Millionaires, there was the Railroad Millionaires with Douglas as their
Chantrel who was also the organiser of the band, dressed in cream flannel
pants, fawn-coloured shirts, Panama hats, the women dressed in flannel
skirts, with shirts and hats similar to those worn by the men, they had
a handbag with a long strap slung over one shoulder some with notes
representing real money pinned on the front of their clothes looking all
the while like some of the tourists who visit our shores occasionally. They
had sweet music and it was also a great enjoyment to sit at a competition
-and apart from the beauty of their costumes-to hear these Chantrels
singing, each man doing his best to beat the other. The present day
competition is in truth and fact just a display of their costumes and no
doubt setting the judges to sit and wonder. Imagine a competition with
three or four bands, each with Chantrel and having-to sing to gain his
laurels persons who did not care to go to the tents then had the oppor-
tunity of listening to the Calypso and oftimes helping to judge. In order
to be discerned as regards their costumes, the players today have to carry
a picture along for there is such a rotten confusion of Biblical History
the player himself oftimes not knowing what he or she represents-gone
are the real methods of Carnival.

As individual players there was the "Pierrot Grenade" meaning
Grenadian player. These men dressed themselves in a long robe made of
bag with lots of playing cards pasted all over their costume, old tin cups,
old bits of string, a few scraps of coloured cloth, in fact, they did their
best to make the costume as fancy as the conditions permitted, they


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Phone 4471. J. F. de FREITAS.

IN -

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and Corer DUKE and PEMBROKE Streets.


carried a book and long switch and on meeting another player they
would ask each other to spell words or to answer some question relating
to history, they tried to make the question a difficult one so as to embarass
the other fellow for in the event of being unable to give the correct answer,
the player would put on a lash or two with his switch. This was no
make-believe, the blows were real hard and so they would part to go
further on in search of other players. That form of Carnival is gone
with the old days. The real thrill of witnessing the meeting between these
.players, was that the questions were mostly asked in English whereas the
answers were given half English and half Patois and that mixture of speech
'made it really worth listening to.

Then there was the Pierrot with a costume made up of a lovely
white skirt having lace or embroidery trimmings, small brass bells to give
the sound of his coming a good way off, ribbons tied and hanging all
over him. These made a lovelier sight than the Pierrot Grenade. There
was a man who though not able to read or write, once made a costume
representing a book with the writing in letters of gold embroidery. On
meeting an individual he chose to question he turned up one page and
there, behold, was the lettering in beautiful gold writing, the grandeur of
workmanship and good taste combined helped to leave a picture in our
minds-eye that we will never see again for there is no chance of any
player today trying to imitate these players of old.

Another type of individual player was the Bat. These players dressed
in the colour of costume to look like the real thing. There were the
Monster Bat, the Vampire Bat, ordinary fancy Bat, and in the later years,
the Desmodus Rufus. The Monster Bat wore a skinfit suit of dark brown
with his wings sewn on to his suit from the feet right up, the wings were
strengthened by small pieces of bamboo or other plywood, on his head-
piece, made of swansdown, to give the appearance of a real Bat there
was the mask with nothing left out even to the teeth protruding. They
had a wing span of 30 or 40 feet and when standing in the middle of the
street, their wings would touch the buildings on either side. They had a
semi-jacket made of swansdown making it thick on the chest, on their
hands they wore gauntlets with long claws on their feet claws made to
fit over the front of their shoes, in short real imitation was the masterpiece
of good Carnival playing. The fancy Bat usually played with a Clown
band, they, like the other Bats wore skin-fit suits, but instead of having
swansdown, they had a bat or basket of flowers or some other lovely
design painted on the front and back of their costumes, the Bat playing
in the Mavis band would naturally choose old gold and black as that was
the colour of the band. The Vampire chose their costumes of very dark
grey or black and they also were very pretty with their wings, teeth,
claws, mask, etc. They certainly looked like a real big bat. In the year

-:. I

R -=



1922 there was a Bat who had a small electrical device attached to his
head-piece that gave his eyes the impression of glittering, his ears moved
and the teeth clicked together. For a few years this individual continued
to play, but has also disappeared. That wonderful art of magnificent
make-up is completely gone with the old time spirit of Carnival for those
of today are unable to make a proper costume as the better part of the
old players are gone too.

A beautiful feature was the individual who knew what to dress in
and how. In the history of Carnival both ancient and modern, there was
the player Nolte, who, year after year dressed to represent something
that was altogether the very best we ever saw ; he once dressed to show
off British buttons his suit being covered with buttons of various sizes,
hat covered with buttons, gloves, shoes, even the fan he used was button-
covered, another year he dressed like a big hen in the act of laying an egg,
in a later year he came out as half-bride and half-bridegroom. There
never was anything in Carnival to compare with this individual because
the players of today lack the patience of the old-timers. This is another
type of Carnival playing gone but for the memory. There have been
several attempts made to imitate this player but no one has ever suc-
ceeded in getting together the costume he wore with the dignity and poise
with which he carried on from year to year. Hats off to Nolte.

Coming still further down the years we see just a- few bands both
fancy and others, who as late as 1929 and 1930 gave us the feeling of
looking on at the masquerade we knew, but since then Carnival started
to deteriorate and we are now faced with the jangled mixture they know
as Carnival. In the years just mentioned, for weeks before, people would
gather at the corners to see the disguised bands on their way to dances
or just out for the walk, then someone thought it would be a good idea
to sing, the bands then took up the singing causing much noise so the
authorities put an end to that and it is no longer allowed to walk the
streets in bands before the days fixed for Carnival. That year also saw
the change in Calypso for the old singers fell in line with the new-comers
and very seldom gave that beautiful rendition they were noted for. Among
those still in the singing field who can lay claim to quite a few years are :
Raymond Quevedo (Atilla the Hun) who some of my readers may still
remember as having sung "The Emancipation Centenary "-what great
and wonderful words so well rendered-they left you with a lump in your
throat ; he also sang in later years a glorious ode to the late King George V
and many other clean and intellectual Calypsoes. On more than one
occasion he has been given the name Political Wizard so great is his
ability to set in song matters of importance, political and otherwise. He
also has the distinction of being the only Calypsonian in history to hold
a seat on the City Council ; yet another well known one is Norman Span
" King Radio a very great singer who is able to hold on to his laurels.
One of his best songs is the one entitled Children the time is rather
hard, don't treat your dear old mother bad "-that song was a masterpiece




Henry L. T. Hackshaw Ltd.


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When you have ANYTHING FOR SALE send to me.
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in itself-but with the change in tempo some of the old minors are gone ;
then there is the Lion also a singer of many years standing, in fact,
he too is in the group of real singers. In the year 1933 he gave us Wash
Pan Wash ", amusing and sweet to listen to, that was the road march
for that year's Carnival, he was given the name Bing Crosby so great
was his imitation of that singer in the year 1940 when he gave us A
Cavalcade of Songs ". The next in line is Bertie Moore (Beginner) with
a voice as sweet as a lark, many years ago he sang this calypso Mama
get your dancing shoes, there's no time to lose "; it was indeed a pleasure
to listen to Beginner. Again we have the "Tiger who with his Patois
accent gave us a few years ago a song on his "Marriage to Emily ",
" Take me down to Los Irois and many others. The Duke of Albany"
not being able no doubt, with the changes taking place gave up singing
for many years. Last but not least I must mention the grandfather of
Calypso Lord Executor" who has been in the field since the time of
Chantrels like Norman Le Blanc, Henry Forbes, Pharaoh and many
other old-timers. There is no singer today who can extemporize to
compete with this Grand Old Man but for the past few years he has not
been as active as the other singers due in the first place to many others
stepping in and particularly to the crave for ballads, smutty songs, and
in short Calypso having been given a re-birth, he cannot cope with the
trend it has taken, he still keeps to the singing of old times and after
much persuasion, may give out a song or two but in reality only.get the
applause of some of the lovers of good Calypso. There was a feeling of /
brotherly co-operation among the singers which is lacking today causin -
Calypso singing to be put on the same status as a theatre film and the
benefits which ought to be shared equally by the singers have to go to
the stranger who puts out his money to build the tent, whereas there
should be no others concerned but the singers, that in a big way has caused
the separation of the singers and now in the Calypso world we find new
singers who in turn are holding together and doing their best to bring
Calypso to vulgarity, and apart from being rather smutty, some of their
songs are personal a feature never before known in Calypso, for a real
Calypso singer proves his ability by taking up a topic and giving his
listeners entertainment worth listening to. Let us hope that these will be
discouraged and leave off singing to those who know all about it for
these newcomers are a contrast to the old-timers in their behaviour
generally. The old fellows carry an air of respectability, they are always
well dressed and take pleasure in coming to the tent that way. To add
insult to injury, the young ones very often have to borrow a jacket
back stage and with his shirt neck open he gets on the stage to bore his
audience with some song they can hardly understand and when the
night's show is over they congregate at one of the popular down-town
coffee shops or clubs to sing and perhaps argue over some trifle or other.
The old singers often had a car awaiting them after the show to take
them to the home of one of the respectable families around Port-of-Spain
to entertain some stranger who having heard of their singing and not
being able to visit the tent, left no stone unturned to meet the singer


/ I

THIS MEMORIAL was erected in memory of those
who died in World War I., 1914-18.

* 4- -

,I-.. '


and hear his songs. Let us hope that the future of Calypso, which the
whole world loves, will not pass on to these new-comers but rather that
they should follow the example of the old singers and stick to clean and
intellectual singing. The opportunities for publicity now at their command
was never in the old times and therefore they who would like to keep up
the tradition should do so in the best manner possible. There are very
many chances today which the singer of old never even dreamed of. Oh
for some of the old, old-timers to thrill us again with their songs.

In addition to the other singers just referred to, I must certainly
include Rupert Grant, known as Invader, also a singer of a few years
standing and closely associated to Radio, Atilla, Lion and others. He
hardly needs any introduction to the reader for his melodious voice has
been on the Network all over the world with his Rum and Cocq Cola ".
Through the instrumentality of his manager, Mr. Haroid (Johnny) Khan,
he is now in the United States of America having just won a lawsuit in
connection with the same song. We in Trinidad are pleased at his success
and must long for his return in order to give us some more songs like the
"Old time cat-o'nine ", "Small Island" and many others. Again
another old-timer to prove to the newcomers their inability to keep up
the reputation held for so long by these singers. Hats off to Invader.

All along the years after the abolishing of the goat-skin drums in
certain ways of accompaniment to the singing of the bands, stick playing
etc., there came on the scene bits of bamboo being knocked together and
on the ground to keep up the tempo and give out the sound' boom boom '
similar to that of the drums. The Jour Ouvert or early morning bands
carried this sort of bamboo tamboo' satisfied with same until the
year 1937 when the Coronati6n'of King George VI was being celebrated,
and not having the chance to cut their bamboo, the celebrants held on to
pans, cooking utensils, bits of steel, dust-bins and other pieces of iron, to
give them the tempo for their singing and to keep up their revelry. In
the following years' Carnival, there appeared a few biscuit drums, dust-
bins and other pieces of iron beating in much the same manner, and since
then, the bamboo has been thrown away and left us with what is now
known as the Steel Band. These lads get together in the various backyards
all during the year to practice the beating of these strange instruments,
and at Carnival they are all ready with their biscuit drums painted and
bearing the name of the orchestra.of which they are members so as to
distinguish them from other bands. There is the 'Red Army', 'Casa-
blanca ', 'Sun Valley', 'All Star', Rising Sun' and a few others. It
is pleasing to some people to hear the Steel Band-and to be candid,
these boys are rather clever-for on these odd bits of fragments they
produce sweet music, some playing even classics such as Gounoud's
Ave Maria and many other pieces, but with the inauguration of these
various Steel Bands, there is a feeling, of rivalry and in the event of one
band being superior to another the members disagree, on the other hand
if they could try to better understand each other and try to improve their

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general behaviour, it would eventually end in a move for their good.
There has been quite a lot of publicity given to these bands, and one can
never-know they may have the privilege of being recognized by the lovers
of drum-playing. Let us hope that their leaders would try to regulate
them in the best manner possible. The beating of drums as an accompani-
ment to any form of singing or dancing is a very ancient custom and comes
from way back in the days of our old African fathers, the keeping up
of this beautiful manner of playing can be of much use in Carnival but
the present members of the Steel Band must definitely change their ways.

All during the late years coming on right to this present year, Carnival
continued to take the downward trend and for the duration of the war
it was stopped and for a while all was quiet. It was quite a shock to some
players who had their costumes all made and ready when the Govern-
ment set out the Proclamation forbidding it. So for five years and a few
months the Carnival lover was deprived of his pleasure till the victory
when once again the whole world rang their bells, and while other parts
of the globe celebrated in their way, Trinidad once more went on the
road to sing and dance with a joy maddening and wonderful, then again
the Steel Band held its sway and became more popular than ever. At the
fall of Japan the lights again went on, and for three days and nights the
Steel bands led thousands of Carnival loving people dressed up in gowns,
coats, old jackets and anything they could put their hands on, with
flags, banners, buntings and other decorations they swung and swayed
to the rhythm. In the year 1946 Carnival was once more on the march. with
just an apology of what we once knew when the beautiful bands were
seen-in place of that we see something we can hardly describe. Where
are the bands? What has become of the Carnival of which Trinidad
once boasted? This traditional fete enticed people from other West
Indian Islands to long for and v8ry often leave their home for that brief
period to go back satisfied and humming some of the songs they heard.
In place of the Jour Ouvert we now have a very ugly looking band of
men and women led by the Steel Band, some of its players bare-backed
with a pair of short pants, En old hat torn in several places, the women
just as awful looking as the men, dressed in old clothes, some turned
inside out, running, shouting, or dancing some of the immoral dances
they know, none of them wearing a mask because they are too bold and
don't need to hide their faces, rather, they are proud to show off their
ugly and indecent behaviour and all through the morning these bands
parade the streets, sometimes we see a man dressed in just a pair of bathing
trunks, another half nude going along with him, and, but for the inter-
vention of the Police they might have gone still further. There are no
more Bajan cooks, no more doctors, no more sweepers, in place of those
we see a walking advertisement for some product and later in the day
there is a band or two of warriors who are the most original band in the
present day Carnival, dressed in skirts of fringed bag, backs bare, with
their faces painted black and weird looking they carry long spears in
place of the bow and arrow. There are some 40 or 50 in the band and




'. .... -. Y.:; ^

with their King and Queen they play along; there is no music save a
drum or two from the Steel Band, very often having a snake slung around
the neck of one of the players, they have skull and cross bone signs
painted all over their costumes and there is the scalp man with hi" bag
to show how many victims he killed. These bands are the only ones with
the original set-up of the old time Zulu Warriors.

Oh There is a band coming down the street dressed in gay colours
with a mixture looking more confused than ever, with skirts some two or
three to one costume set in tiers, the coat and cape each made of a dif-
ferent colour, there is the red, blue, green and black. In an effort to blend
these, the players get confused and eventually end up by making a grand
display of wasted time and money. These band leaders or organizers
set out to bring out a band chiefly for mercenary reasons. They choose
an incident in Biblical history and start to work on that point Without
having the knowledge they ought to on the subject they will represent and
when they have decided on the type of mask they will play the various
band members are informed of the cost of their costume and the post
each and every individual will hold. For many weeks before Carnival,
they hold meetings, get in touch with the orchestra they havq engaged
for the two days, then set about making up the costumes and at the end
of the festival the only person really having a grand time is the organiser,
the players of course, boasting how nice they looked, thus far for their
knowledge and no further. There are too many Davids and Goliaths,
too many Sauls, and the most technical point of today's Carnival is that
the players all have to carry a picture to show what the- represent, all
they can say is I'm playing historical. What beautiful colours set off to
confuse the eye with all the pleats, frills, paintings and what not. There
has been no account in history te' how that these players really are dres-
sing like the characters they try to represent for there are some bands
with their High Priest dressed prettier than the King and one can imagine
how the judges of today are puzzled with so much glamour, and nothing
more. In the old days there was a down town competition which at-
tracted large crowds and with their lovely bands and their singers, it was
worth going to. The various bands paraded before the judges in much
the same manner as the bands today, and the main feature was the calypso
singing the singer would give out his chorus and the band would answer;
that is now completely out of the picture for the present day bands
parade before the judges giving a display of their costumes, turning
around and strutting like a peacock all the while. There is no song just
the colours to blind and baffle the public and with his picture held high
the player passes on to let another take his place which leaves one to
wonder what they got the prizes for

In the year 1938 there was a band called the Hospital Band. These
players left nothing to make complete the costumes they meant to imitate.
There was the various patients from their respective wards, the doctors,
nurses, wardsmen, matron, sisters, wardsmaids, cooks, ambulance,

DEPOT for ......
Osborns Rheumatic Compound
Osborns Paynequilla
Pomade Rachel


I ,. 11


stretchers and all the hospital outfit; there were the children from the
Gordon Ward, the T.B. patients, and every player dressed in the same
manner as the hospital dress their patients and for two days they played
and danced around the streets admired wherever they passed by the
lovers of original Carnival. But alas, they too did not bother to continue
to play, no doubt falling prey to the craze for historical Carnival.
In 1939 we saw another band that reminded us of the originality of
lohg ago, that was the band called Mental Hospital. They had the various
workers of that Institution similar to that of the Hospital Band of the
previous year when some of the patients acted like real lunatics for which
they were much admired, but in the following year they too disappeared
another feature of the old times gone.
The war seemed to impress the players of Carnival for in 1940, that
being the last war year which gave us Carnival, there came on the scene
some of the Generals, Marshals, Diplomats and others closely associated
with the War movement. There were a few bands which tried to fall in
line with the other years, there was a prisoner band very much the kind
of band we saw long ago, with their Warders complete with baton, tin
cups at their'side; life-timers, those with their bad behaviour stripes. It
was a very good- band well organised and carried out but as the saying
goes, just for a day. Then for five years we had no Carnival. In 1946
Trinidad gave out the pent-up feeling of joy at the privilege of once more
being on the road when again we saw bands dressed to represent all the
prophets and patriarchs we read of, and the chief attraction of our present
day is the advertisements; we see lorries all dressed up in the colours of
some product they deal in, with a band of pretty faces, an orchestra, and
very often a male individual or two. These lorries parade the streets for
two days; there are bands for every form of product both foreign and
local, dressed in very short skirts of blue or red sometimes with a bodice
cut very low at the neck, no sleeves, reminding one of the chorus girls of
Hollywood or the ballet dancers in fact, not much clothes on, these
beautiful girls jump and twist all the time shouting out the chorus from
the year's calypso tunes each having in their hands a tin of powder, a
bar of soap, and in most cases a bottle of rum. Imagine the lovers of
old time Carnival getting cold feet at the sight of these children-for the
players are not grown-ups-they seem to long for the two Carnival days
to show what they can do. It is nothing short of being ridiculous, the way
these youngsters carry on some of them lifting their skirts occasionally
to show still further their lovely well-set limbs. With all the Carnival
Improvement of nowadays there still remains much to be desired. This
year also saw a feature of Carnival unknown to us here in Trinidad,
the American Navy, having its Base at Chagaramas, some of its workers
got together and painted leaves of the coconut tree in silver and decorated
one of their big lorries. It was indeed a beautiful sight with seats all
around and the Navy band playing they paraded the streets for the
entire day, the vehicle was also used to convey the Carnival Queen to
the various competitions and other entertainments held in her honour,

.* ; **-.. .9<-



There were also a few other individual players representing charac-
ters like our Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden, etc. There was an abun-
dance of Hitlers and Mussolinis,--too many I think-and all through
this year's Carnival there has not been a band of players in the original
costumes we know, just a mockery, these players doing their best to
keep in our minds' eye the terrible atrocities of war. Where are all the
merry masqueraders of long ago? The Kings and Queens, the clowns,
the fancy bats, the beautiful bands parading the streets to the strains of
sweet music; all we see is the downward trend Carnival has taken which
is drawing the youth of this country further and further to perdition.
Already inclined to take on an attitude of boldness, these children are
given the opportunity to show it off in the present day style of dressing
to play mask. In this manner, they continue for the entire two Carnival
days. Again more than ever, we see all the marks of good business in
the playing of Carnival. There are lorries dressed and having the~jcb of
advertising all the shops, radios, rums, cigarettes, hotels, restaurants,
garages, filling stations, beer and many of the business houses in and
around our city. Like the year before, there were lovely girls, sweet,
innocent looking little faces with very much powder and make-up also
very little clothes. With no sense of propriety they carry on all the while
twisting and jumping to the music on the lorry and shouting Pharaoh,
Pharaoh, that being bits of one of this year's current Calypsoes. In the
Carnival parade of lorries for this year, there was just one band of players
original in their costumes and so beautifully set up as to put one in mind
of the Kings and Queens of old and also to show the moral side of Car-

To end it all with the Carnival of 1947 we see the same set of Steel
Band players followed by a large crowd of men and women with a larger
percentage of children ranging from the ages of 5 and 6 to 12 and 14.
There is the funny looking leader of the band with an old bugle or trumpet,
an old hat on and wearing bathing trunks, with an old house-coat or
kimono open at the front, dancing and sometimes running, the others
following closely on his heels, the noise of the drums, the beating of the
other fragments of dustbins and bits of old motor parts, altogether too
noisy and confusing. These bands parade the streets for the morning with
a flock of non-players jumping and shouting ; there are no mask for the
present day players do not wear masks. They continue their playing in
this manner in direct contrast to the players of the old days ; gone is the
clean and orderly band of old mask we once knew when it gave one a
feeling of pleasure to witness the parade of those bands. A little on in the
day we see many bands of warriors, they seem to monopolise everything
for wherever one turns in an effort for something new to greet the eye,
all we can see is Zulu, Ju Ju and other warriors. They are armed with
spears, their faces painted black with streaks of white here and there,
their costumes of bag-fringed skirts, bare-backed, even to their headman
and snake, they really give one the creeps. They have a Steel Band of
course. Later on in the day we see bands of nicely made costumes of


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beautiful colours of satins, brocades, silks, tapestry and any other piece
of material that catches the makers fancy. They represent ancient bibli-
cal characters of which the wearer himself has little or no knowledge
This has been the most remarkable year in the history of what we
can safely term, modern Carnival. Wherever you turn there is a band of
confusingly made costumes to show what King Solomon was expected
to look like; there is a David six feet tall, and a Goliath looking more
like a midget; there are the Babylonian Kings dressed in whatever the
almost overtaxed brain of the maker of his costume can produce-a rare
display of good workmanship. These bands all have a complete orchestra
and for the two Carnival days, they, like the players from the other bands,
jump and shout all the while showing off their costumes with this remark :
You see mask They have no banner, no singer, no leader. In place of
that there are two or three children dressed up like the other various
other kings, they are put in front of the band, some of these children mere
babies of five or six years, and like the grown ups they do their best to
keep in touch with the music and shouting, taken care of, and a little
right thinking, we can have as lovely a Carnival as that which we once
knew. The band I ani referring to is one of Persians. They choose lovely
girls and had their costumes made exactly like the ones they were imitating,
with their beautiful long dresses made in like manner to that of the
Persians. Complete with the various items of dress and jewellery, these
players were a wonderful sight. Let us hope that these players will con-
tinue to give to a Carnival-loving public, a little balm each year for the
rather hurt feelings, they have to see how Carnival has gone to the wind.
Keep it up, you band of Persians.

As individuals this year, there has been one or two good ones.
There was a gentleman who dressed up like Winston Churchill, even to
the big cigar. That was a very good imitation and that player must be
complimented. Then we had another individual dressed to imitate Lord
Harris, and as most of my readers may know we have a life-size statue
of Lord Harris in one of our City squares. That player must have spent
many hours looking at every detail in order to bring out such a master-
piece of disguise causing him to be very much admired wherever he went
and also to receive the greater part of the prizes offered at the various
competitions he attended. So much for the individual player of today.
Few and far between among my readers, there may be some who in their
minds' eye can visualize the glamour and beauty of our old time Carnival.
Oh gone, gone is Carnival. Will there ever be again Carnival like that
of long ago when the players gave of their best in dress and behaviour,
setting to the future generation a beautiful pattern by which they too
could continue to give a display of art similar to that of the Kings, Queens,
Princes, and all the other players of old time Carnival who made Trinidad
famous as the Land of Calypso and Carnival ?

Where has Carnival gone !

For . .
General Funeral

Phone: 5375.



1st Verse.
A gossip and scandal, I heard that the Governor gave Carnival
Although he gone back to England
The Island still in confusion

Let the man go, we don't want him no more
Fete and bacanal, who the devil
Can stopCreole Carnival

The strike situation is what cause the confusion
Some came from Point Fortin, San Fernando and Tamboo Lata
You can put me in jail for the Carnival
My mother and my wife in the Hospital

Not Buson the terror, Butler or the 2-gun Mister
You going to your country
Every night is a freeness party
You eating in the Hotels round the savannah
Goat, Roti, and Parata

The Legislators give that man too much power
So he slim and meagre, he got an appetite like a river
After enjoying our hospitality, he wipe he mouth like a keskidee

This thing get me fretful
I hate to see.a big man ungrateful
Not because you leaving the whole Island
The man confusing
He declare a stateof emergency
And leave the poor workers in poverty

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: 1





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PHONE: 5651.


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While we await the Filling of our Prescription:
1. We can have Breakfast, Lunch or Chinese Supper in the
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2. We can have a Haircut in the Barber Saloon,
3. We can have Table Tennis in the Bec. Dept.
4. We can have a Bath in the Sanitary Lavatory,
5. We can have an Ice Cream from the Soda Fountain Dept.
6. We can have our Films Developed-Printed-Enlarged.
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'PHONE: 8346.

, Ort, II
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Where You Will Always



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