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Elvis "Abijah" Abbey, leader of On Tour calypso tent.
Elvis “Abijah” Abbey, leader of On Tour calypso tent.
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On Tour Calypso Tent is coming with “a new energy; different focus” for Vincymas 2024, tent leader Elvis “Abijah” Abbey says.

“We have started early and we did auditions to up the quality of the Calypso and we have an additional entertainment besides just calypso,” he told iWitness News.

He said that this year the tent’s calypsonians sang their songs before two adjudicators, who gave feedback on the compositions and the tent has selected two members out of that process.

Abijah said the tent also wanted to streamline its cast, presenting an 18 members rather than the high of 24 some years ago.

This year’s cast includes Alvin “Zion-I’ Dennie, the “Bad John Calypsonian”, whose rendition of his 2023 song “Raperman” resulted in his expulsion from the tent last year and its then leader Grantley “Ipa” Constance writing a letter of apology to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.

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Ipa, who was president of the tent for over two decades before Abijah took over leadership, is not among the cast this year.

“Well, he resigned as the leader and he has opted to sit out this year. He said he is taking a rest from the whole calypso scene and so on. He wants to be ringside this year watching,” Abijah told iWitness News.

“He’s a member of the tent. I think he has the tent’s best interests at heart.”

Abijah explained the reasoning behind the auditions.

“… we are auditioning a song and we are selecting a song for the programme. So, if anybody needs to make an adjustment to the song, we ought to know. We ought to be privy to the song if you are going to make it a different song.”

Abijah said that On Tour is known for the calibre of its calypsonians.

“We have some calypsonians that you can expect a certain level and a certain quality and a certain consistency. And from what I’ve heard from the additions, we definitely would be right up there,” he said, adding that each calypsonian has his or her “own little vein”.

“For instance, Kojah, you would find Kojah in his kind of thing. Rasta Man I with his volumes would still be in his volume. I mean, it’s a different number of the volume. Ninja would have his kind of hard-hitting kind of thing,” Abijah told iWitness News.

“Man Sick, he had nothing to show last year and he has something around that kind of social commentary sort of things. Marvo has a nice social commentary. Patches is sweet music, nice melody and hard-hitting, as usual. I have a song that is the usual Abijah.”

Abijha said his song, “Pirates of the Caribbean” is about “the Francis Drakes and these old Buccaneers and pirates and bringing it to fit our local political kind of setting. I think it will be a big number.”

Abijah said that tent members would each decide when to release their songs but the tent will have shows on May 30 and June 5, ahead of the preliminaries on June 13.

He said the limited number of shows has to do with the availability of finance.

“There are a lot of constraints why we are limited,” Abijah said.