Amala's View

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Take Over Tent is 25!

“25 years ago rasta couldn’t go in no tent, so they get together and formed Take Over Tent.” That was the opening line from MC Natty as TOT celebrated their 25th anniversary at Gaiety on August 25th, 2007. Well thank goodness it’s been all up from there, certainly not without the struggles associated with running a tent and keeping calypsonians focused in the first instance.
Get Thru, the tent leader started the ball rolling with the tent’s first road march – What De People Chanting. One of the more impressive songs of the night came from Joker, it was called Mad Mad Mad. The song was a brand new song to me but it was engaging and he delivered it with such fervour that I had to enquire about it. Turns out it was released “in either ’84 or ’85 and should have won road march”. I have also concluded that Mr Pringles did not invent madness, he just went ahead and perfected it!
It was great to see Maguilla, Simplicity and Messenger on stage again. Herb Black was certainly a crowd favourite and promised to return to the stage for the 2008 season.
Like Maguilla, XMan and Twop Chans came dressed the part of the songs they performed. They did not go unnoticed by Gilroy ‘Isi’ Hall who shared the MC duties. Former Calypso Monarch Walleigh delivered with his usual animation and was well received. In my opinion the night belonged to Alpha, when he hit the stage in the second round, he certainly took it up a notch. While people were very appreciative of Ashanti and encored him several times, Alpha pulled them into his performance. Looking sharp as always in his black and white fedora and even swankier shoes, he started off slowly with Dancing and went through a string of hits that ended with Down De Road, which for the greater part was performed in the audience. While the crown may have eluded him this year, he has the charisma and talent that will ensure he continues to be elevated.
While Black I, Marie Anne and back to back Road March King Ricky T were noticeably absent. Floopsy, Struggler, Ronald Darius, Paulinus and Black Pearl completed the cast.
The guest artiste was Sir Mclean Emmanuel. Who? Yeah I know, Short Shirt! I remember several months ago when I called Antigua to get his number for this show, I was surprised to hear that the man is knighted and we go around calling him Short Shirt! The power of the arts is something else!
In my opinion the order of his songs could have been different to keep the crowd engaged but he was greatly appreciated and his final track was the most popular – Jouvert Morning. Incidentally, he was crowned Caribbean Calypso Monarch during Antigua’s 50th carnival celebrations this year.
The accompaniment for the night was provided by the tent’s resident band, the Reasons Orchestra under the directorship of Supt. Gregory Piper who also played alto sax and is currently the longest serving member of the Royal St Lucia Police Force. It was great to see Hilary Lewis on trombone again, he’s still in fine form!
Even though the show’s attendance left a lot to be desired, the quality was certainly befitting of the occasion and we wish them well for the next 25 years! Happy anniversary TOT!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sweet-Singing Title-Winning Almond Resort Staff

This has been a great year for Almond Resorts in both St Lucia and Barbados. Almond Smugglers Cove was first on winners row when Teddyson ‘TJ’ John an entertainer with the resident band walked away with the first ever Groovy Soca Monarch title. His Coming Down The Road came out very early in the season and kept ahead of the pack.
TJ a veteran entertainer who plays drums and sings has been in the business a while now and while his preferred genre is the much more mellow R&B, he decided to do an offering for Carnival and what a good decision that turned out to be.
Over in Barbados, Dale Rudder, more popularly known as Mr Dale did a double of his own! He too is employed as an entertainer. His infectious Soka Junkie was a huge favourite and took him to the top of both the People’s Monarch and Road March competitions. I have no doubt that Almond Beach Club is overjoyed.
Mr Dale plays the guitar as well and has been a member of the Headliners Tent (that’s Headliners Peter Boyce! Headliners!!!!) for several years now, he opted not to sing calypso this year and focus on soka, another good decision it appears!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Certified Soka Junkie

Well it’s all over now. Crop Over 2007 that is, though the music and the memories will live on! This was a great year (do I say that every year?) Lil Rick won the Party Monarch with Can’t Wait and he was immensely popular with both that and Conch, apparently conch eating is on the rise and he felt the need to sing about it, much to the delight of the party going public. Mr Dale was second to Lil Rick with his addictive Soka Junkie, that melody is so sweet! He managed to win the Starcom Network’s People’s Monarch and clear the road on a wet Kadooment Day to take Road March too. All hail Dale!!!!!
10 to 10 was for those with stamina and most of the artistes who sang this year were on. Dominica’s WCK opened up the live segment and gave a great account of themselves much to the delight of the Dominicans and St Lucians present. Great performances were had from Jabae with Barry and Omar doing the lead and Bruce Wayne doing a cameo just for his song, he’s so dapper these days!! Much to my delight, Bunji and the Asylum Band were present. Bunji was accompanied by Devon Smith the pan ‘bad man’ who had the crowd reeling, Scarface and The Boss (formerly known as Iwer George). Garlin’s performance was reminiscent of his dancehall days and it really hit the spot, he’s a rapid-fire lyricist extraordinaire. The inimitable krosfyah led by Edwin Yearwood and ably supported by Khiomal Nurse and Adrian Dutchin had their turn in the spotlight and shone with their supporting acts who were all tuned to FYAH 200.7 what a great concept! The likes of Statement, Mr Dale, Lil Rick, Nard, John Mohameed, Mikey, Lorenzo and Peter Ram were the supporting acts.
This year I love the concepts portrayed by John Mohameed and Nard, both seemingly clowns but crowd favourites.
Euphoria was on Sunday night and not without the pre-show controversy but Peter Boyce was involved! Lucky for him, it was a success. Happening on the same night as Cohobblopot, Euphoria managed to have a packed gymnasium. They showcased the Bacchanal Time talent, krosfyah and their supporting acts and Alison Hinds who gave her only performance for the season. In my opinion Alison’s performance was a bit lackluster but she gave of her best. Her all-Trinidadian band was easy on the eyes but the music was not as tight. The patrons were well entertained though and I think people were happy enough to want to go back next year…dah is it dey!
Anyhow, so now I am officially certified as a Soka Junkie, self-certified by the way, simply because everywhere I heard Soka Junkie playing I had to stop and wuk-up!! The live performances just took it to another level, the krosfyah-Mr Dale combination is fiery!! It ranks right up there with Edwin-Bunji. Go figure General!