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CALYPSO IS ALIVE AND WELL – GARY CORDNER

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Every Carnival we hear soca stories of how lust blossoms in fetes, with almost all artistes depending on their musical accompaniment, or some near nude dancer to carry them because their stories contain little or no sensible lyrics.
This year, however, calypsonian Gary Cordner has given groovy soca lovers two for the price of one—good melody and sensible lyrics.
He has skilfully turned an experience in which he was hit on by a waitress into his inspiration for Seduction, a release that has been getting lots of airplay. According to Cordner, he was minding his own business at a restaurant, when one of the waitresses slipped him her phone number. “I fit it into a party situation, put sensible lyrics and a beautiful melody to it, and that was it.”
Based on the lyrics of Seduction, Cordner went to the party “to wine,” but instead of just “taking a wine,” he does the gentlemanly thing and asks for a dance. He uses the soca jargon, which has all the elements of lust, but it is so tastefully done that it sounds pretty decent. And the musical accompaniment is just as contagious.
Cordner has been in the business for the past 18 years, and has graced the stages of all the calypso tents. He currently does the closing act for Icons calypso tent, led by Cro Cro. However, despite almost two decades of composing and performing experience, he has deliberately shied away from competition. “I am not an in-your-face type of person. I give a tremendous performance and then I disappear.”
The calypso stalwart sees ole-time calypso as a dying art form, but believes soca is a beautiful alternative. “Some of the most popular music have soca music as its base. A good example is Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie. If you listen well you will definitely pick up the soca in it.” Cordner laments the fact that some talented artistes don’t get the recognition they deserve because they are ignored by the broadcast and print media. “The radio and print media promote one set of artistes. They don’t pay attention to music but to individuals. They refuse to acknowledge that some individuals are not as talented they think.”
This lack of support, he said, exists not only in music but in several areas of the society. “We in T&T have to believe in and support each other, be it in music or sports. That is why everything is falling apart, because we don’t support each other. All I am asking is for T&T to love ourselves.”

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