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Lingo brings extempo alive at Christmas
He was christened Joseph Vautor La Placeliere, but in the calypso arena, this versatile extempo artiste is known as Lingo. The 39-year-old began singing as a child, while attending the School for Blind Children in Santa Cruz, but it was about ten years ago that he started to professionally pursue the extempo art form.
His commitment continues to pay off. Last year, he scored a hat-trick when he got the judges nod to take home the Chaguanas Carnival Committee’s Extempo and Amateur Chutney titles. And while he lost his crown to Arts and Multiculturalism Minister, Winston Gypsy Peters, this year, the visually-impaired Barataria resident remains dedicated to perfecting his craft and keeping the extempo tradition alive.
Q: What do you think of when you hear the word Christmas?
A: I think of ginger beer, sorrel, pastel and all the goodies that go with the season. The whole goodwill aspect of it also, the sharing and merry making.
How early do you start your Christmas preparations?
Not very early. Because of my Carnival commitments, I have to delay the Christmas preparations until those commitments are out of the way.
Do you have a family Christmas tradition?
My ability to extempo really came from a family Christmas tradition you know. We are a closely knit family in my area of Barataria, almost everyone is related. Every year on Christmas morning, we go from house to house singing and paranging by family. We would take a look around the house and say what preparations the other person did, as compared with other family members, and I would proceed to sing about how the person prepared his/her house or their meals.
Have your views on Christmas changed from when you were a child?
Yes it has, because whereas as a child I would receive gifts, now I have to give the gifts.
Who does the Christmas cooking in your family?
Mommy! But I help her make the pastelles.
What is your ‘must have’ Christmas dish?
Pastelle, ginger-beer, a piece of ham and turkey.
What would be your ideal 2010 Christmas present?
It would be to get a house from the Housing Development Corporation!
What is your Christmas wish for T&T?
To see a crime-free nation and one where people have respect for each other.
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