From Soca artiste to Ambassador

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 9:33 AM

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ST. GEORGE'S, GRENADA, MONDAY, JULY 11TH, 2011 – One of Grenada's foremost soca artistes, Wilt Cambridge, can add another accolade to his list of accomplishments.

The Vendome resident, whose stage name is Tallpree, is now a cultural ambassador. Tallpree, known internationally for his mega hits, "Old Woman Alone," and "Wicked Jab," is one of eight Grenadians honoured by the Ministry of Culture under its newly launched Cultural Ambassador Programme.

The programme seeks to recognise outstanding Grenadians for their "considerable contributions to the development and promotion'' of Grenada's culture.

Sen. Arley Gill, the Minister responsible for Culture, said Tallpree was selected because of his invaluable service toward the development of Soca music, and for his representation of Grenada internationally.

"Tallpree is arguably our biggest contribution to the world and one of the biggest Soca artistes in the world," Gill said.

"He is a phenomenal representation of Grenada through Soca, regionally and internationally. This makes him worthy of being a cultural ambassador."

Ambassador Tallpree learnt of his selection shortly before leaving Grenada to perform two shows – one in the United States and another in Canada.

The accolade, he said, "couldn't have come at a more fitting time."

Tallpree will be celebrating 20 years as an entertainer on August 3.

As a cultural ambassador, Tallpree is expected to represent Grenada officially at national events, both at home and abroad. "It's always good to represent Grenada; I do it from my heart," he said.

"Conferring this is just another milestone, so it makes me feel real good. I think it was overdue."

Tallpree and the other seven cultural ambassadors – David "Peck" Edwards, Findley "Scholar'' Jeffrey, Lazarus Antoine, Francis Urias Peters, Ricardo Keens- Douglas, Winston Fleary and Merle Collins – will not be receiving any financial rewards.

However, they will be granted an official Grenada passport, allowing them diplomatic courtesies here at home.

For the Soca sensation Tallpree, who spends most of his time travelling to and from Grenada, the passport and its courtesies provide the perfect ease.

"At times, coming through the airport could be a hassle," he said.

"Sometimes I'm really tired from shows and from the travelling and then I still have to deal with the airport lines. I'm really pleased to know I'll be receiving this passport,'' Tallpree admitted. "I know it will help."

Fellow ambassador, Scholar, is an icon that has been honoured for his musical versatility, including his writing and his winning renditions in competitions. He is a six-time Calypso Monarch.

"He's a Calypsonian with a wide repertoire of songs,'' said Sen. Gill, in referring to Scholar's appointment as a cultural ambassador. The Senator noted that Scholar has done "Permission To Mash Up The Place," which received a regional award.

He has represented Grenada at CARIFESTA and has been a prolific writer for the better part of 20 years. We believe his contribution to the development of Calypso is worthy of commemoration." Newly appointed ambassador, David Edwards, is recognised for his contribution to the development of the steelpan movement.

Antoine is acknowledged for his leading and consistent role in carnival masquerading; Peters and Keens-Douglas for their contribution to theatre and the dramatic arts; Fleary for his continuation of the historic Big Drum Dancing in Carriacou; and Collins for her literary accomplishments as an author and poet.

The eight appointed cultural ambassadors do not form an exhausted list, Sen. Gill explained.

"Next year and the year after, government will name other ambassadors.The fact of the matter is that we cannot name everyone in the same year," he said. "The idea is that over the next couple of years we will emulate people as we go along."

The cultural ambassadors will retain their titles for life, granted they maintain their good character.





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