By Stephen Weir
A new release and theme song by the president of the The Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA), Henry Gomez, is going to be launched to commemorate the 55th or Emerald Anniversary of Caribana/Toronto Caribbean Carnival. The gem that the Caribbean people created when called upon to contribute to Canada’s Centennial celebrations back in 1967.
The song, written and sung by King Cosmos (aka Henry Gomez) and backed by Toronto musician Ossie Gurley is a fun piece that tells the history of Canadian Calypso, Pan, Caribana and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Louis Saldenah, Michael Williams, The Eustice family, Dick Lochan, Macro Ma Fifi, Wendy Jones and everyone else who helped make the annual summer carnival the success that is.
“The calypso is upbeat to capture the vibrant pulse of carnival culture,” said the King. “It is educational, as it tells something about some of the artists, organizations and stakeholders who created and nurtured the festival.
I did this for our 55th anniversary – Carnival’s Emerald year in Toronto – I feel the piece captures the essence of the 55 milestone and it brings all the parts – Calypso, Pan and Mas into an inclusivity that makes Toronto iconic.”
Henry Gomez, was born and raised in Princes Town, Trinidad, where he was exposed to music at an early age. Since moving to the city he has excelled as a musician, composer, and movie extra! He is a former teacher and recently earned his MA at York University, and is recognized as one of Canada’s best known performers of Calypso music. He is an indie recording artist and is most known for his hit single Island Girl until now.
Always busy, Gomez is currently the driving force and president of OCPA and works closely with the Festival Management Committee in planning this year’s carnival. He knows the business of the Festival having been part of it dating back to the early days of Caribana.
The song has gotten a soft launch online. Gomez was shocked by the response. “I didn’t think anyone had heard it, but then the e-mails, the texts, the phone calls and the postings came pouring in. I decided we should have an official drop launch to take the pressure off.’
In the next week the 55 Still Alive will be releasing information about the song, how to hear it and maybe even list all of the names that Gomez has worked into the lyrics. As well as the president of OCPA he will be releasing the list of events and the performers that will be bringing Canadian Calypso music during the festival season.