Pannist Enjoys Grenada, Grandfather's Homeland


Featured Article - by Lincoln Depradine
June 5th, 2011
About the Author:
Lincoln Depradine, a communications and marketing professional, is author of “White Frock & Coals Dust: The Story Of A Community Called The Wharf.’’ It’s available at bookstores and online at
www.grenadamarket.com

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Trinidadian Keina Calliste is the daughter of one of the Caribbean's greatest calypsonians and she has familial ties to Grenada.

Calliste has just completed her first visit to Grenada and felt right at home.

"I like it. It's not that much different from Trinidad. We have a lot of similarities,'' said Calliste, daughter of Leroy Calliste who is popularly known as Black Stalin.

A five-time winner of the Calypso Monarch competition of Trinidad & Tobago, as well as the I999 Calypso King of the World, Black Stalin was born 1941 in San Fernando to George and Elcina Calliste. His father was Grenadian.

Black Stalin became Dr. Leroy Calliste in 2008 after the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, recognized his contribution to calypso music and culture by awarding him an honourary doctorate.

Among his well known hits are "Black Man Feeling to Party,'' "The Caribbean Man,'' "Wait Dorothy Wait,'' and "Bun Dem.''

Black Stalin was a limbo dancer before turning his attention and energy to calypso singing. His daughter chose to pursue neither singing nor dancing the limbo.

She became a pannist almost accidently, and now performs with her hometown steel orchestra, TCL Skiffle Bunch of San Fernando.

It started 19 years when Keina Calliste was still a young school student. Initially, Calliste admitted, she "really didn't like pan much.'' However, all that was soon to change.

"We had a school band so I decided to just fool around after school and I liked it and I stuck with it,'' she said in an interview. "I was still going to school when I joined Skiffle Bunch and I never left since then.''

Skiffle Bunch, who gave two public performances in Grenada on the weekend, visited under an arrangement involving the Grenada Carnival Committee, the Grenada Steelbands' Association and George F. Huggins Grenada Ltd.

Calliste, who holds a degree in business management from the School of Business and Computer Science in Trinidad, has toured places such as Antigua and Barbados with Skiffle Bunch.

"The standard here and the passion are very high..."

She is impressed with the performance of Grenadian pannists, as well as their knowledge of the pan movement in T&T.

"The standard here and the passion are very high,'' Calliste said. "It was really amazing also that people here know so much about pan in Trinidad. People in Grenada really keep up to date on the pan movement.''

Skiffle Bunch has never won a national panorama championship in Trinidad. But Calliste believes it's only a matter of time.

"We have everything that it takes. Every year we just seem to the missing one element. I think we're going to get it,'' a confident Calliste said.