ASHTON “Mighty Tiger” MOORE, 1940 – 2017
Ashton “Mighty Tiger” Moore was the President and one of the founding members of the Association of British Calypsonians (ABC), the only body in the UK and Europe that promotes the art, culture and ethos of Calypso music. On his arrival in the UK from Trinidad & Tobago in 1971, he was already a seasoned professional Calypsonian, having “cut his teeth” in the Southern Brigade as the “Young Tiger”. From there he moved on to Lord Kitchener’s Calypso Review Tent and then decamped to the Victory Tent singing with all the Calypso Greats. He toured the UK with The Mighty Sparrow and Paul Keens Douglas before getting involved with the Notting Hill Carnival.
Despite the paucity of opportunity in London in the early 1970s he remained devoted to his craft, and by 1974 he had proved himself to be more than capable of flying the flag for Trinidad & Tobago culture, performing whenever and wherever possible.
In 1975 he won his first British Calypso Monarch title in Hammersmith and went on to win the crown a further nine times, retiring from competition as the undefeated UK Calypso Monarch. His enthusiasm and devotion to Calypso resulted in him getting together with like-minded fellow Calypsonians in 1991 to form the Association of British Calypsonians (ABC) in an effort to promote the art form and to protect vulnerable Calypsonians from unreliable promoters and various forms of exploitation in the music industry, and then to launch the London Calypso Tent in 1992. The ABC’s overall aim is to create and provide Calypso music of the very highest standards and “Mighty Tiger” worked tirelessly to produce the annual London Calypso Tent in an effort to educate the young and all lovers of music with the aim of increasing the popularity of one of the greatest Carnival art forms.
As the ABC grew in strength and stature, the Mighty Tiger continued to work unstintingly to ensure that Calypso is recognised, appreciated and enjoyed by as diverse an audience as possible. Perhaps one of his greatest triumphs was to approach the Trinidad & Tobago government almost 20 years ago to form the Calypso Youth Exchange Programme. In essence, he saw that to encourage British youths to sing and enjoy Calypso he had to prove it was a young people’s music and over the years he organised workshops with children all over the UK. In conjunction with the T&T Ministry of Culture, the winner of the T&T Junior Monarch Calypso Competition came to London to perform and it is now fair to say that the impact of this Calypso Youth Exchange Programme is greatly responsible for the growth and popularity of Calypso in the UK today. “Mighty Tiger” founded the Black History Junior Calypso Monarch Competition in order to encourage children of Caribbean parentage to sing about their Black heroes. He also forged links with the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) enabling UK Calypsonians to perform in Tents in T&T and reciprocally in the UK.
“Mighty Tiger” became the Calypsonian’s representative on the Board of the then Notting Hill Carnival Limited and held the distinction of being the longest serving member on that Carnival body, always remaining fervent about his duty to promote Carnival and Calypso in London and throughout Europe. He was also very actively involved in the Yaa Asantewaa Arts and Community Centre, London’s leading centre for Black Cultural Arts and was a founding member of the innovative Carnival Village Project, playing an instrumental fundraising role in the creation of an appreciative space for the cultural art forms of Carnival in the UK.
Ashton “Mighty Tiger” Moore was honoured over the years for his work both in Trinidad and the UK and awards received included:
- 1986 (UK) The Notting Hill Carnival Award for work in Calypso and Carnival
- 1998 (UK) Barber Green Committee for Contribution to Calypso and Soca
- 2001 (UK) The ABC Award at their 10th Anniversary
- 2001 (T&T) The ABC Trinidad & Tobago Award for service to Calypso in the UK
- 2002 (UK) Hackney Mardi Gras Award for Calypso Music
- 2004 (UK) G & H Promotion Community Award for Calypso
- 2004 (UK) Trinidad & Tobago High Commission Cultural Award
- 2005 (UK) British Association of Steel bands Award for Carnival and Calypso
- 2006 (UK) Yaa Assanteewaa Achievement Award
- 2007 (UK) Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Mayors Award for Culture,
- Calypso and Carnival
- 2008 (T&T) – The Fyzabad Improvement Committee 1983 in collaboration withPetroTrin Oilfields Tubal Uriah ‘Buzz’ Butler Par Excellence Award for Culture, Local and International.