yuh tink it easy to be ah kaisoman in dis country, eh. Well
lemme tell all yuh someting, is de wussest occupation ah man
could takeup. Wuss yet in Carnival season , it does get wusser.
remember since ah small, all ah wanted to be, was ah kaisoman.
Day in, day out, all ah hearin is dem C, G, G7 and all dem minor
chord beatin' in mih brain. When ah did win fus prize on Antie
Kay programme, dat make me a big star. After dat, every weekend
ah was in some kinda show, singing foh icecream an' cake. It
was good den 'cause yuh didn't have to wuk for a livin'. If
ah did only take mih mudder advice an' take up dat apprentice
job wid Shell ah woudda be sittin pretty, all now. But is ah
blessin' an' ah curse to born wid a gif'.
Dat is wat I tink....I born wid ah gif' to sing kaiso. Even
Antie Kay did tell mih so! Ah remember de fus' kaiso ah make
up ater ah did leave school... was ah tune call, 'Ram Popo',
was 'bout a real cheap Indian fella who uses to live not far
from we. It was a real hit in we village. Ram Popo get so mad,
he even treaten to bun dong we house. Ah had was to promise
mih mudder to stop singin' de tune. Buh yuh know wat happen?
Anodder Kaisoman hear de tune, like it and sing it in de tent...and
next ting yuh know, it make Road March!
Life hard, oui! Dem days, didn't have nutten like copyrite an'
ting.....dey used to do tings vie-key-vie. So de nex'
year, ah decide ah joinin' ah Tent. Boy mih whole family
nearly divorce me. Mih mudder used to quarrel day an' nite.....'bout
how she sen' me to school all dem years, how she scrub so much
khaki an' make so much sacrifice, and how ah turn out nutten
but a vagabon'....hangin' out wid dem calypso piong. Dem days
was real hard 'cause it had so much fellas wanting to be de
Ah remember wen ah went foh audition de fus time, boy ah nearly
shit mih pants. Ah did have a tune call, 'Red Ants, Bite she!'.
Ah real good tune an' de words an' dem was hot!
Guess wat? It had a lot ah people and dey larf at so much odder
people tune, ah get cole feet wen wa my turn to sing. Yuh ever
get cole feet? It ent a nice ting, nah! Yuh does feel real small.
Is ah good ting Sparrow self was dey, is he who tell dem to
kool dong an' give mih a chance. Everybody clap mih after. So
dey tell mih to wait. I tort dat dey was givin' mih a contrack
to sing, was why dey tell mih to wait.
After tree hours, dey call mih to tell mih dey go use mih as
a fill-in singer, wenever ah regular singer didn't turn up.
Is ah good ting ah follow mih mind an' ah didn't cuss de man,
cause dat was de break ah wanted. Dat fus year ah sing almos'
every nite an' sometimes after de show, we used to go to de
nite clubs an' sing too. Dem days is only in de tent and nite
club yuh coud hear Kaiso. Only black, picky head people singin'
kaiso....it didn't have no Indian singin kaiso eider!
After Carnival season de only place yuh coud hear kaiso is in
ah fete or in ah niteclub. People was real racial 'bout kaiso.
Yuh tink yuh coudda visit ah girl house an' tell she fadder
yuh is ah kaisoman? Man, he kick out yuh tail before yuh reach
de doorstep! So after Carnival, was real corn season for all
kaisomen. Is a good ting ah good wid mih hands...ah used to
pickup ah lil work here an' dere. Now an' den wen ah big touris'
boat come, de Touris' Board used to call we to put on
ah show for dem. Odderwise, it was hard.
Is not until after we get Independence, tings start to really
pickup for kaisomen. Yuh know why? Black people is dey own wuss
enemy! Dey cyar unite! Look at de Chinee...de Indian an'dem......
Potogee!.....Syrian!....... all ah dem does stick togedder.....an'
help one anodder too! It take one half deaf, little piece ah
man to show we, how to get togedder an' have a little pride
foh wat is we own. Yuh know wen yuh tink about it, it was ah
good ting he was half deaf....If he did listen to all de people
who criticise him, maybe it woudda be ah different story. An'
know what? De same black people pull him dong. Yuh know is de
same Kaisomen he help, turn aroun' an' start to sing agains'
he. Dat is why Kaiso under so much pressure today......and Kaisomen
ketchin' dey tail.
Wen las' yuh hear ah good Kaiso? Wid good lyrics? To bring yuh
up to date wid wat goin' on in de country? Or to make
yuh larf? Every time yuh turn on de radio or de TV, all yuh
hearin' is some kinda ragga/chutney music passin' for kaiso.
Even dem Bajan jump in de brew....... long time den Bajan used
to dance outta time. In de meantime, we true, true kaisomen
sufferin'. Nowadays, yuh need a godfarder to get yuh tune play
on de radio; yuh cyar even sing wat yuh used to sing, 'cause
yuh mite offend some political or religious group. All dem outside
group getting better opportunity dan we own.
Even to go out wid ah chick now, is ah problem. Last nite ah
arkse Evelyn to go out wid me an' she turn arong an' tell mih,
no, because she 'fraid ah make a calypso on she! Yuh cyar win
in dis game, maybe ah should change mih name from MIGHTY BIG
Alloy, 7 February, 1999