Calypsonian, Fitzroy “Bingo” Leon, is confident in his ability to top this year’s calypso’s competition.
While the St. Lucia native is a newcomer to the Dominican calypso arena, he is no stranger to the stage. In an exclusive interview with Dominica News Online Leon explained that his experience and collaborative ability will benefit him in the competition.
“I think I have a song that is pretty unique in the competition, and I am going to bring all my experience with that… I like to collaborate, so as much as I did the writing, the song didn’t just come out of me… so it’s a situation where I work with a lot of persons to ensure the final product that you see on stage…” he said. “I think my experience will give me a little edge in terms of presenting…”
Leon, an engineer by profession, is also an experienced producer, musician, and vocalist, who began his musical journey in 1982.
“I used to partake in a lot of talent shows, and that sort of thing, and while at St. Mary’s college, I was part of the drama class, and it so happened… I took part in a play, and I played the part of a calypsonian called ‘Bingo’” he stated. “…then I was approached by a teacher to take part in a calypso competition, where I placed third.”
He then went on to become a “consistent” feature in the St. Lucia calypso scene, and he later assumed leadership of the Ambassador’s Calypso Tent in 1990, as tent leader, chairman and subsequently, tent manager. He was also an executive member of the St. Lucia Calypso Association “for a number of years.”
“I’ve been in music, in calypso, for donkey years, so I’m not a rookie… I’m not a newcomer by any stretch of the imagination,” Leon revealed.
After residing in Dominica, his “second home”, for about five years, Leon decided to make his return to the stage.
Reflecting on his performance at the recently-held elimination round, he stated “The night of the eliminations, I was a little jittery; I didn’t know I was going to be received by the audience.
For me, it was a new part of the competition, because in St. Lucia, we do not have [an] elimination round; the calypso tents do their own elimination, and each tent has their own quarter finals… then we go on to the semi-finals.”
In his musical “come back”, Leon presents the song ‘Judges’ Workshop’ (full song at end of the article) in which he critically analyzes the judging criteria throughout the Caribbean.
“You look at the judging criteria and you look at what comes out of the judging criteria in terms of judges’ score sheets, and you wonder to yourself are judges really listening to what is being sang? Are judges really paying attention to what should be paid attention as per the judging criteria?” he explained.
The seasoned musician advised aspiring artistes to “figure out what niche you want to go into… And you also need to decide ‘am I a writer or a perfomer?’… and make the best out of it. You need to take some time a figure out what it is you want to do in the art form before you jump in.”
Bingo is set to compete at the quarter-finals of the 2020 Calypso Competition, which is to be held on Saturday, January 25, at the Windsor Park Stadium Forecourt.
In ‘Calypso New Blood’ DNO will be highlighting 3 new comers to this year’s calypso competition.