CALYPSO RISES, SOCA SOARS
The calypso/Soca Artform has been a revelation for this 30th Anniversary of June-July Vncy Mas’. The record turn-out at the National Calypso Monarch Semi-Finals which opened the year of the Pearl Mas last Friday, the National Soca Monarch Semi-Finals on Sunday and Tuesday’s Junior Calypso and Soca Finals is a clear manifestation of this trend.
Our Calypsonians and Soca Artistes at both the junior and senior levels can be justly proud of their efforts and Vincentians and vistors alike eagerly look forward to the National Calypso and Soca Monarch Finals taking place this weekend.
THE CALYPSO TENTS – PRELIMS AND SEMIS
There are now five calypso tents operating during the calypso season; four are home based including Graduates, On Tour, North-South Leeward and Upstage Experience. The Dynamite Calypso Tent is based in New York.
From the Preliminaries twenty calypsonians were selected to go through to the Semi Finals with six each coming from the Upstage Experience and Dynamite Calypso Tents respectively and two each from North-South Leeward, On Tour and Graduates. In addition there were two reserves both of whom hailed from Dynamite.
Sunday’s finals on the Dimanche Gras Show will see ten calypsonians coming up against reigning Monarch Grantley `Ipa’ Constance. In the mix are four former calypso monarchs in Cornelius `Poorsah’ Williams, Kenneth `Vibrating Scakes’ Alleyne, Elvis `Abijah’ Abbey and Errol `D Man Age’ Rose. The other six include Fitzroy `Brother Ebony’ Joseph, Orande `Bomani’ Charles, Alexis `Lexi’ Joseph, Shernelle `Skarpyon’ Williams, Vincent `Groovy D’ Kennedy and Adolphus `I Come’ Miller. In reserve are Derrick `Man Syck’ Alexander and Ronald `Ron B’ Browne.
Bomani and Skarpyon are new comers to the Calypso Monarch finals while Brother Ebony, Lexi, Groovy D and I Come are all seasoned campaigners. If the semi-finals is anything to go by, Sunday night’s Dimanche Gras promises to be a most interesting encounter among the eleven bards.
SOCA MUSIC MASH UP DE PLACE
Hance “Hanz” John won the 2007 Junior Soca Monarch title with his song “Mash Up De Place”. Indeed, soca music the title song of First runner-up Faylicia `Fay Fay’ John compliments Hanz own effort while Zamfir `Man Zangy’ Adams “Action” says it all about soca and its growing contribution to Vincy Mas’.
For our Soca artistes and musicians have been getting good reviews for the music they have produced for the 2007 carnival celebrations. They can be very proud of their overall contribution.
Saturday’s Soca Monarch Finals promises to be the most keenly contested in its short decade of competition. Delroy `Fireman’ Hooper will be trying to stave off nineteen challengers including four soca ladies among them.
The Pretenders to Fireman’s Soca throne are Lively, Icon, DJ20, Mad Roy, Skinny Fabulous, Bomani, Johnny Rebel, Lanlord, Rus-T, Dennis, Squitty, `KGB’ Skarpyon, Alla G and the ladies Zolah, Lornette, Shaunelle and Dani-O.
Fireman is a five times winner of the Soca Monarch Title and the only other contender in this year’s finals to have tasted victory in the past include Orande Bomani Charles who was crowned National Soca Monarch in 2004 and went on to capture the OECS title in St. Lucia the following year. The other is Dennis Bowman who won in 1997.
Victoria Park will be jammed packed with fans out to support their favourite artiste. May the best man or woman win and please remember that the Judges decision is final and the only one that really matters.
FUTURE LOOKING UP
The fact that several young artistes have become involved in calypso competition is a good sign for the future. Upstage Experience must be commended for taking the lead in this direction and others are following suit. The process must be encouraged.
Whatever barriers imagined or real which seems to exist between both branches of the artform is being broken down or, removed slowly but surely. Ultimately, Vincy Mas will be the stronger for it.