Surpriser interview


Surpriser interview


Actual name: Clevin Romero
Other sobriquets/nicknames: D. Surpriser, Mighty Surpriser, Scorpion (early)
Date of birth: February 24, 1931
Place of birth: Gran Lagun community, Mayaro, Trinidad and Tobago
Awards (as of March 2018): South Calypso King, 1971, National Calypso King Semi-Finals, 1970, 1971, Chaguanas Calypso King, four years (beginning in 1960’s), Couva Calypso King, three years
Best songs/best-known songs: “Old Age is a Disaster,” “De Lazy Villager,” “Leave D Salt”
Individuals heard during the interview:
S: Surpriser
HM: Hunter Moore
CM: Carmsen Merrique (Surpriser’s daughter)
OM: Ozy Merrique (Supriser’s grandson)
RT: Ruth Telfer, a friend
ER: Elizabeth Ryan, a friend
Trinidad and Tobago terms and expressions as used in the interview:
Ah: I, I’m, a, or as an interjection: “ah!”
Dey: they
Doh: don’t
Eh: ain’t
Extempo: a form of calypso in which two singers take turns insulting each other via extemporized verse set to an established melody, known traditionally as picong or “war”
Mihself: myself
TUCO: Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation, promotes calypso and calypsonians




J. Hunter Moore


Surpriser (Clevin Romero)


Home of Carmsen Merrique, Surpriser’s daughter, Mount Lambert, Trinidad and Tobago



Time Summary

Subject sings: 7:49, 9:50, 17:07, 24:50, 33:48
Notes about interview: the interview took place on an outside porch. A neighbor’s electric drill is heard intermittently. Two minutes (approx.) near the end of the recording, during which sound equipment was being set up, has not been included. As of December 1, 2017, Surpriser was said to be the oldest performing calypsonian in Trinidad and Tobago.

The lyric for “Old Age is a Disaster” matches the version that is played during the interview, but the dialect I use in the transcription is taken from Surpriser’s handwritten lyric of the song. Surpriser presented me with a handwritten lyric and said that he knew the standard spelling but had intentionally used creole for his handwritten version.