Amala's View

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

St Lucia Carnival 2007 Opens

It’s official! St. Lucia’s Carnival 2007 has been declared open. All the elements of Carnival were present to play their part and show their readiness. The Mindoo Phillip Park in Castries was transformed into Carnival City from 3pm on Sunday June 3rd as the sweet sounds of Hanco Harmonites got the event off to a melodious start. There were addresses by sponsors and Government officials, Cable & Wireless Diamond Steel jammed for a bit then we saw the first appearance of the Carnival Queen Contestants. The four junior bands vying for the Junior Band of the Year title gave parents a glimpse of what the portrayals are. Just Us Kids is playing ‘Come Sail With Me’, Charmalions is playing ‘Rome to Egypt’, Xtreme Kiddies is playing ‘Friends of Discovery’ as in the network with cartoon characters and XS Energy does ‘Customs & Traditions’. While all the adult bands had booths with displays, they did not all participate in the on-stage portrayal. The themes this year are as follows; XS Energy – “Quest – In Search of the Infinite”; MAS Action – “Tribute to Calypso Greats…From Town Hall to Mindoo Phillip”; St Lucian Spirit – “All Ah We Is One”; Cozy Guzzlers – “All Hands on Deck”; Rituals – “O’Zana – The Rejoicing”; Red International – “Viva Las Vegas”; Just 4 Fun – “Unleashed”. A feature that has certainly grown within the bands is the addition of the VIP section, it was initiated by Just 4 Fun three years ago and has caught on like wildfire.
Of course for some persons carnival is about calypso and the stories that form a part of the calypsonian’s tale. All the tents were represented in the persons of Pelay, Minel, Paulinus, Cee Cee and Invader. Invader seems to have thrown his hat in the ring immediately with his ‘Chinese or Taiwanese’ offering. A medium tempo number that highlights the political associations St Lucia had to choose between after elections. He divided the crowd into Chinese and Taiwanese and a waving match ensued.
The MCs were Ezi Hall and Mr Pringles who have come to be the standard now, individually they are hard to beat but the combination is unstoppable. The crowd lives for their routines. The highlight of the proceedings, however, was the soca segment that saw the performances rise to another level and some included props consistent with competition!
Papa Pops opened with his Talk A Lot track. He got the mammoth crowd off to a fine start. Teddy J was next with his groovy number Coming Down De Road. He is certainly a welcome addition this year. While he’s new to the carnival scene, he is an accomplished musician, playing drums and doing vocals in the jazz and R&B genres. His composure on stage obviously came from that. Teddy J has one of the sweet voices this year.
Nicole David was up next, she did a medley of old and new tracks including some real crowd favourites like Jabal and Maté. Dressed in a really flattering black and white ensemble, she had the crowd precisely where she wanted them, showing why she’s St Lucia’s queen of soca. During this year’s Jamette, she invited a woman on stage who showed the crowd the dance to the song. Mantius was up next and slowed down the tempo a bit with No Feelings, he was a bit long and drawn out and the crowd was merciless, at the end of his set he did his roadmarch contender a double entendre number entitled Position, complete with his scantily-clad position dancers! Platinum George has gone Spanish this year, well for a little bit anyway! He is also a sheriff in another track. The crowd loves him and he does not disappoint. Kakal has been enjoying a fair amount of airplay with his Lang Kaka. He’s noted for being able to blend the patois and English and his songs almost always have two meanings. The second track fell flat because he explained the song and showed the action that was supposed to be the double meaning. Kakal has been known for spending too much time on stage too.
Q-pid was ably backed up by her dancers for Fire Waist, they did some limbo dancing with fire to really emphasise the fire waist, she did last year’s Water and ended with Indian Cry.
Ricky T who perhaps has the most favoured song for the road so far needs to step up his performance, the crowd already loves the track but he adds nothing to it. From the first strains of his My Pressure both men and women start gyrating like crazy. His love for dancehall like Lil Rick and Bunji Garlin comes to the fore in almost all his performances because he freestyles with ease.
Ninja Dan gets better every time we see him and Sunday was no different, clad in a white suit with St Lucia emblazoned on the pocket and with a flag in hand, he encouraged the crowd to Rise, it is clearly a track that would do extremely well in competition if he rises to it. He did a medley as well and ended with Brown Skin, a track that the ladies love and with good reason too, we have never heard Ninja Dan in that singing vein and he does it with such passion, what’s not to love! His live performance certainly brought his tracks to life.
The soca artistes segment ended with Alpha, the reigning soca monarch. His entrance was heralded by pyro-technics and they were consistent throughout his performance. His medley included Down de Road, Happy Birthday Carnival and this year’s Insane. He left the stage and got an obvious encore for the much anticipated Tic Toc. There was so much hype about the tic toc dancers and the presentation backed it up, literally! The girls appeared in barely-there brazilian-styled tangas and two were perched atop bikes. The crowd loved it. We do wonder now though what is going to happen for competition or is Alpha really not defending like he hinted earlier in the season? Time will tell!
The jamband for the night was last year’s co-roadmarch winner VertX, lead by Derek Yarde. They took the crowd down memory lane with some old favourites and brought them right back to last year ending with Woy My Pressure Up. The event ended at 10:30pm.
Of note this year, is the production assistance from the St Lucia Tourist Board, the show was run tightly by stage manager Lyndale James. The Tourist Board also ensured that St Lucia Carnival now has it’s own logo.
Based on Sunday’s opening, St Lucia Carnival 2007 will certainly be a fantastic one! Stay tuned…


Post a Comment

<< Home