Special to Black Star News: Calypso Spectacular

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Brooklyn, NY -- For the past 12 years the Sesame Flyers International (SFI) Calypso Tent has furnished a stage for local calypsonians who would otherwise be without a home. The Calypso Tent was established in 2000 and is the brainchild of SFI Board Member Janet Cummings. On Friday, July 5, the tent will open its doors for the start of this year’s season with an all-star show at Tropical Paradise Ballroom located at 1367 Utica Avenue  in Brooklyn. Among them are five past calypso Monarch winners including defending champion Mervyn “Dr. Witty” Carter. The cast include: Gene Toney, QP, Lady Tantalizer, Poison Dart, Mr. Lonesome, Lord Kent and De Culture.

The calypso tent is a showcase of the best calypsonians based in New York City.  Their compositions run the gamut of calypso genres. It ranges from the humorous offerings of Dr. Witty who has truly earned his sobriquet by always finding a funny take even on serious issues, to the hard-hitting social/political commentary of Poison Dart and Gene Toney, both of whom have held the Monarch title in the past.

Among the locals, Cummings is considered their “musical matriarch” having provided them with both a home and a platform for their music.  The efforts paid off this year with Dr. Witty having the first big breakthrough for the tent when he was selected to the nightly rotation at the Calypso Revue in Trinidad and Tobago during the carnival season and Lloyd “QP” Cupido who made his tent debut at Classic Russo.

“Witty’s and QP’s successful carnival season this year is a testament to the importance of our tent here in New York City,”  says Cummings. “From the onset, I knew that this was possible and with adequate exposure, our local guys will be able to compete with the best calypsonians anywhere in the world. Their success has fueled our enthusiasm and strengthened our resolve to keep the doors of the Sesame Flyers Calypso Tent open. We believe that in due course, we will realize a lot more success stories to write in our history books,” she adds.    

On opening night, organizers and artists will pay tribute to Singing Francine (Francine Edwards); Brown Boy (Knolly Brown); Poser (Sylvester Lockhart) and Tunapuna Scanty (Michael Scanterbury)three veteran performers who have been the standard bearers of the tent since its inception. The show ushers in eight weeks of Friday night calypso at the Sesame Flyers Culture Center located at 3510 Church Avenue. It will culminate in the 2013 Calypso Monarch finals on Friday August 23.

The hosts for the opening night gala are the comedy duo of Susan “Alize Hennessy” Kennedy and Christine “Remy Red’ Andrews.  Sharing duties as Master of Ceremonies are Rickford Dalgetty and Wassy. Showtime is at 10:00 p.m. For further information call 718-693-5503; or send e-mail to[email protected]


Founded in 1983 by Joseph Charles, Sesame FIyers International is a multi service agency catering to the needs of youth and adults. The agency provides a comprehensive, holistic strategy to youth and community development with culture at its core. Recognized as one of the top eight youth community programs in New York City, Sesame Flyers International schedule of programs includes academic support,  recreational programs, counseling services, cultural events, summer youth employment, computer literacy and job readiness.

Over the past 30 years the organization has enriched its name and recognition in the New York cultural community by winning the “Band of The Year” title in the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade for 11 consecutive years. Their steelband orchestra has also been a force in the annual Panorama competition and has performed at some of the most prestigious concert venues in New York City.





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