By Nicosia Smith
Its Carnival season again.
And like the Caribbean community loves to note, the twin island republic of Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is the high point of them all.
Not that the other island states do not put on a performance, it is just that T&T takes it to another level. The country literally comes to a halt for the final days of carnival. Carnival activities begins this month in T&T and ends with the road march on March 3rd and 4th.
And as the season heats up, awards and honors for musicians that makes the season so special becomes the rage. Apart from the Soca and Calypso Monarch titles, those legends from the past are honored. This carnival season Lord Nelson born Robert Nelson will be awarded, for his decades of contribution to Calypso. Calypso, West Indian music (made popular by T&T) are songs in syncopated African rhythm expressing topical issues or themes. The singers even make the songs hilarious. Caribbean politicians sometimes bear the brunt of their humor.
I met Lord Nelson at JFK International Airport recently on his way to Tobago with T&T national carrier Caribbean Airlines.
Lord Nelson told me that he still performs and the music he recorded decades ago are now being discovered. This, he told me was due to the fact that the singles released from some albums got more play than the other songs on the album – not released as singles. Now Lord Nelson is being discovered by a new generation of Calypso lovers. He made popular “La La” and “King Liar,” Caribbean favorites. Lord Nelson moved to the United States in 1972 and continued his music career, and at 82 he still has the fire in him for the art.
This legend has sung with equals like Mighty Sparrow (born Slinger Francisco), recovering in a Queens rehabilitation center after health troubles and Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts), now deceased. A close friend of Sparrow, he told me the calypsonian crooner was doing much better.
And off goes the race to March, the road march that is.