Carlos “Rejector” Providence, the newly-elected president of the Brooklyn-based Dynamite Calypso Tent, the lone Vincentian-owned calypso tent in New York, says his goal is to foster a closer bond with nationals at home and in the Diaspora.
“As president, it is my plan that the tent will be engaged in efforts to foster a closer bond and enhance the general well-being of Vincentians at home and abroad, through community outreach, via radio programs, town halls, get-togethers and personal visits,” said Providence, a co-founder of the tent, who was elected president on Nov. 10, in a Caribbean Life interview over the weekend. The other co-founder was veteran calypsonian Vincent “Groovie D” Kennedy.
Providence, another veteran Vincentian calypsonian, said he also plans to groom and urge the youths “to get involved in the calypso art form, and have the tent travel and do performances throughout the USA, Canada and the UK.
“Other plans for the tent are to hold early auditions, so we would be much better prepared and would produce shows of much higher quality; hosting of bingo games, bus rides and other fund-raising ventures,” he said.
“The Dynamites Calypso Tent, being the only foreign-based Caribbean organization of its kind, is in a very enviable situation,” he added. “Though far away from home, we remain close and thoroughly informed. So, our calypsonians bring all the happenings and entertainment in song to Vincentians living not just in New York but throughout the world.
“This, in itself, makes us, Vincentians, a unique people,” Providence continued, stating that becoming president of the Dynamite Calypso Tent is, indeed, an honor.”
“Given the reason the tent was organized and our achievements thus far, the feeling among us is clear – that there is room for advancement,” he said. And we are all willing and ready to work assiduously to make the tent be reckoned as an authority in our field.”
Providence succeeded his fellow calypsonian John “D Truth” Dougan in the election.
“This, in itself, is a great challenge since he did such a good job and set the bar high in his tenure,” said Providence, disclosing that this is his 46th year in the calypso business.
He said he started writing and performing as a student at the Kingstown Anglican school.
His major achievements include capturing the Primary School Calypso Monarch in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at 13; co-founding and leading for 10 years of “what can still be considered the best calypso tent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and a household name, the Ontour Calypso Tent”; and capturing the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Carnival and Independence Calypso Monarch titles in 1992 and 1996.
Other achievements are: Capturing the Washington, D.C. Calypso Monarch title in 2003 and 2005; capturing the Baltimore, MD Calypso Monarch title in 2005; and capturing the Second Place and People’s Choice Award in Miami in 2004.
Besides Providence, others elected to the Dynamite Calypso Tent executive for a two-year term comprise: Atiba Williams (vice president); Garnes Byron (secretary); Dougan (treasurer); Dennis Bowman (public relations officer); and Errol “D man Age” Rose, Jose Juan, Hilford Hurst and Delahanty Isles (committee members).
“The new executive is charged with reinvigorating the tent and ensuring its viability, so it increasingly becomes a force to be reckoned with,” said Bowman, another veteran calypsonian, in a statement.
He said among activities that are being considered for 2020 and beyond are a calypso symposium “to discuss the development of the art form”; and shows for the preliminary judging for Vincy Mas calypso semifinals, Independence and Christmas, and an innovative ‘Sunday Skool.’”
“The leadership highlighted the need for the Vincentian and wider Caribbean and New York Community to embrace the tent’s effort to keep this rich cultural tradition alive and to promote calypso as an important musical expression that should be embraced by everyone, especially the youth,” Bowman said.
Providence thanked “all our fans, supporters and well-wishers for being with us through the years,” adding that he looks “towards your continued support, as we endeavor to make your experiences with us more edifying, informing and entertaining.”