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International Calypso/Soca Week starts today
By Adanna Asson
Trinidad & Tobago
Tuesday 12 July 2011 : 12:15 GMT

International Calypso/Soca Week (ICSW) is scheduled to run from the 12-19 July 2011. This week of celebration encourages media activity across the world to highlight calypso and soca music and the contribution made by those involved. The week of celebration is a collaborative effort between the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism; Winston 'Gypsy' Peters, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), Dennis 'Sprngalang' Hall and Andre Williams.

The twelfth day of July is a significant day in Calypso and Soca history as it marks the eleventh anniversary on the passing of the creator of soca music, the great Garfield 'Ras Shorty-I' Blackman.

International Public Relations & Media Specialist to The Hon. Winston 'Gypsy' Peters, Rolph Warner is spearheading the initiative, he explained that "The project is geared towards achieveing numerous objectives among them being to locate and identify Calypso administrative bodies around the world. These bodies will then all be invited to function with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation as the World Governing Body for Calypso and Soca."

The first ICSW was established as an annual commemoration in 2001 with the purpose initiating support and awareness for the both genres and the history. Along with recognising the late Ras Shorty-I the media is being asked to salute and celebrate Calypso King, Dr. Slinger Franciso (Sparrow) who turned 76 on the 9 July and Antigua & Barbuda’s Calypso pioneer the King Swallow who recently celebrated 50 years as a calypsonian.

Warner went on to explain that there are no actual events planned during this week but said "This iniatitive is really to mobilise Caribbean people wherever they are in the world, to share the wonderful news about the week-long celebration of what we deem to be the happiest music on the planet." He added "We want the millions of Caribbean people who comprise the Diaspora to share our music and information about it, with at least one non-Caribbean working colleague, neighbour or friend. That way we would have doubled the number of people of millions of people who are familiar with calypso and soca and all the attendant products like our steelbands, our carnival, our dance, our food and so much more."

Celebrations are carded to take place in various parts of the world including, Australia, Belgium, Botswana, the Caribbean, Dubai, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, London, Nigeria, Toronto, Uganda, United States of America, Paris, Trinidad & Tobago and Zimbabwe. The ICSW are encouraging everyone to play Calypso and Soca music on their radio stations.

2012 will mark the 100th anniversary of the first recorded Calypso done by Lovey's String Band entitled Mango Vert, this year will be used to prelude the worlwide celebrations. Extensive Calypso and Soca celebrations are scheduled to take place next year to mark Trinidad and Tobago's 50th anniversary of Independence.

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