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Calypso Fiesta to draw thousands to Skinner Park
Music, especially pan music, continues to be the balm to curb crime and violence. Last weekend’s National Panorama semi-finals, held at Victoria Square (Small Bands) and at the Queen’s Park Savannah (Large / Medium Bands) was proof of this. While 58 steelbands entertained thousands, there was nary a report of serious crime or violence in or around the nation’s capital.
The eastern end of Ariapita Avenue into western Park Street was blocked to vehicular traffic on Saturday night and was dotted from Colville Street to Victoria Square by 30 small steelbands. Topping the competition was Laventille Serenaders. Down south, at Skinner Park, San Fernando, Nishard M and Neval Chatelal and ran away with the 2018 Chutney Soca Monarch title.
On Sunday the masses made the annual ritualistic trek to the Savannah to hear 28 medium and large steelbands for approximately nine hours and behaviour at all three major events was exemplary.
As I wrote in an earlier article, this year’s Panorama competition isn’t about which band sounds good but about which arranger best interprets a band’s tune of choice and which drill master succeeded in getting the musicians to perfectly execute the piece. It will all come down to these two constants regardless of how much gimmickry some bands try to utilise like shouting Sparta-type outbursts (300 movie), singing lyrics to songs, using moko jumbies and sexy dancers, or pannists standing on bass racks while performing. The proof of the pudding will be in the music and the men behind the music next week Saturday night.
As far as arrangers go, Arddin Herbert, Duvonne Stewart, Carlton Zanda Alexander and Len “Boogsie” Sharpe are the main musicians in main contention for next week Saturday’s epic pan finale in The Big Yard.
2018 music Sweet Fuh Days
This year, soca music is the winner in carnival. Despite the short season, I must compliment our producers and artistes for coming up with some truly beautiful melodies and arrangements, a few of them being top of the line in terms of innovation and creativity.
Right off the top of my head, in terms of creativity, I think of former Soca Monarch Olatunji for coming up with the most unique Bodyline. Inspired by Swing music of the ‘40s, way before Olatunji was even conceived, this single, as well as its video, are ina class by themselves.
Another single that has caught my fancy is Hulk, recorded and performed by Blaxx. I am eager to see how he will perform this song at next Friday’s International Soca Monarch final.
It’s been a while since a young composer/artistes has impressed me as Aaron “Voice” St Louis has. The two-time International Soca Monarch seems set to prove that not only can lightning strike twice by can hit a third time with his infectious Year For Love, on the Upendo Rhythm. In fact, I love all the songs on the Upendo Rhythm by the likes of M1, Machel Montano and Turner.
As far as there being a social commentary in soca, in similar vein to Year For Love, it is Blue Soap, featuring Yankee Boy, Olatunji, Orlando Octave, Asten Isaac and Rikki Jai. These two songs have good lyrics.
I must admit that although I also love Iwer George’s Savannah, Kees Dieffenthaller’s Hello, Shal Marshall’s Splinters, Marzville’s Give It To Ya, and the releases by MX Prime & Ultimate Rejects, I have a particular fondness for Patrice Roberts’ Start the Party (Sweat Fuh Days). This ditty has managed to capture the feel and sound of calypso music of years gone by while fusing with the soca of recent times.
Other soca songs that have moved me thus far have been Full of Vibes (Voice & Marge Blackman); Rough Wine (Machel); World’s Bend (Salty & Travis); Family (Destra); Party til we Drop (Shurwayne Winchester); Feelin’ Good (Claudette Peters); Party Start (Skinny Fabulous); and, Overdue (Erphann Alves).
No rest forthe wicked
James Brown was hailed as “the hardest working man in show business” but I have got to be the wickedest man in entertainment if one is to go be that old adage “no rest for the wicked.”
My weekend is bursting at the seams with carnival events to cover beginning tonight with the repeat of Spektakula Promotions’ Calypso Through the Years, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain. This show is repeated because of public demand following last weekend’s bumper premiere at the same venue.
The very popular Kees Dieffenthaller with Hello and Patrice Roberts, whose Start the Party is a hot Road March favourite, are to be added to the cast that also includes David Rudder, Chalkdust, Gypsy, Baron, 3 Canal, Trinidad Rio, Funny, Luta, Relator, Rikki Jai, Iwer, Ronnie Mc Intosh, Tony Prescott, Rupee, Edwin Yearwood and Tommy Joseph.
Early in the morning I head to Skinner Park, San Fernando for Kaiso Fiesta, the 2018 National Calypso Monarch semi-final, and after that, at around 8 pm, I head to Fatima College on Mucurapo Road, St James for its annual fund-raising all-inclusive fete.
Among the many events I am forced to miss out is Saturday night’s Mendez Drive Cooler Fete Carnival Edition being held at 2 Mendez Drive Diego Martin from 10 pm. Again the cast is led by Voice, and includes Nailah Blackman, Marzville and up and coming soca star Keturah. Popular DJs in the mix are Howie T, Duane & Penny, Elon from South and Selector Jr.
Sleep seems unlikely on Saturday night as I promised former Road March champion Shurwayne Winchester that this year I will attend his Addiction breakfast party being held at his residence at 1 Darceuil Lane, Mausica Street, Arima on Sunday morning from 4 am.
Sunday afternoon into Monday morning is nothing short of madness, beginning with the beautiful women of the Defence Force Reserves having their semi-inclusive fete at the Reserves Headquarters, Mail Road, Macqueripe, Chaguaramas. Transport for this party leaves RBC, Independence Square, Port-of-Spain between 3-5 pm, and music will be by Orlando Octave, Snakey, Preedy, Impulse, The Prison Band, Defence Force Single Pan Steelband, plus DJs Have a Time, Gabby Kabuki and Chris Boynes.
On my return from Chaguaramas it’s straight to the Government Campus Plaza on Richmond Street for what promises to be one of the festival’s best fetes—Epic Events & Marketing Solutions’ Paninclusive—Pan Lime in D City, defending National Panorama champion Massy Trinidad All Stars, Shell Invaders, Woodbrook Playboyz, D’ All Starz featuring Blaxx, Ricardo Drue, Tizzy and Teddyson John, Chutney-Soca band Dil-e-Nadan, featuring Raymond Ramnarine and a very special full band performance by the legend himself, King David Rudder backed by Wayne Bruno & Rapid Response.
Unfortunately, I will also be missing this year’s Oneness party in 2018, hosted by the St Ann’s RC Church on Sunday afternoon at the Queen’s Hall Carpark in St Ann’s. Keeping the theme of a food-inclusive family affair, Oneness will again provide good, clean family fun and top-notch entertainment with the fast-rising Brass 2 D World, Oscar B & Vibes, SuperBlue, Ronnie McIntosh, and many more. There will be food galore, a well-stocked bar and lots of fun for children at this family event.
Organisers are promising that your family will feel safe with the professional security team and secure parking will be available at the St Ann’s RC Church compound and the Scouts Association of T&T with free shuttles to and from the venue.
Admission is a steal, pegged at $375 for adults; $175 for teens; and, $75 for Tweens 12 & under, guaranteeing the best value for money anywhere this season. so, get your tickets at the Church or Queen’s Hall Box Office now and remember all proceeds go toward the restoration of this historic church and national heritage site.
For more information, call 624-1284, 624-1426, 497-4104, 497-4116 or 764-8800 or email [email protected]
If this weekend is just a taste of what to expcted the ensuing weekend, Jah help me. Notice I have not mentioned Monday’s Monachel Monday Soca Kingdom. That actually is the start of the Carnival weekend, one which will last seven days and nights.
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