Top acts at Big Show
The Big Show Calypso Tent’s line-up faced the Pic-O-De-Crop judges last night at the Sea Rocks Dome of the Barbados Beach Club, Maxwell, Christ Church and several artistes left a most favourable impression.
But not all of them.
Mikey,Adonijah,Mister Dale,Biggie Irie and Classic all did their chances of making the semifinals no harm and their fate is now with the men of the long table.
Mister Dale made a welcome return to the Pic-O-De-Crop competition. In the first half he impressed with a number entitled Kaiso, though he had a fleeting hiccup with his cue that seemed more the fault of the keyboardist’s timing than his. He made up for it in a massive way in the second half with the simply sweet Wrap Yourself
Around The Flag. The imagery that he presented in the song, and his almost emotional delivery, were the highlights of the piece.
Adonijah had a ball on stage with his infectious Marching Song, with many in the audience tapping their feet and nodding their heads as they got caught in the rhythm. Of course, those of a particular political persuasion sang along
in agreement with the marching order for our country’s leader to “left, right, left, right, left, right now.”
Experimentation was the order of the day with Blues, done in memory of a civilian who lost his life to a policeman’s bullet earlier in the year. In keeping with the theme, the tempo had a plaintive flavour with a touch of ‘Deep South’ blues. Yet it was unmistakably rooted in calypso. To the credit of the arrangers, some were overheard humming the chorus long after the veteran’s performance that is always complimentary of any artiste’s work.
Mikey had an excellent overall night before the judges. Fans – man and woman – loved his Fronts. A highly melodic selection, the song looked at those people steeped in pretence whose actions did not always reflect their true feelings or situation. The pun on the song’s title, especially as it related to what he often saw in the party setting, added to the fun of the piece. He was equally refreshing and in good melodic space with Some Things Never Change.
Gabby, on his return to competition, was a major disappointment. He will perhaps depend on his illustrious name, Barbados’ calypso politics and maybe even emcee Mac Fingall’s introduction, to get him into the semi-finals. If his offerings last night get him there it would be a travesty for other performers and an indictment on the judging panel.
The singing ability of the nine-time monarch cannot be disputed but in Reparation and Jack Warner, the latter in particular, Gabby simply failed to impress. The latter song about Trinidad and Tobago’s beleaguered former CONCACAF and FIFA boss was a lyrically lazy effort that, if he wanted to, he could have possibly ad-libbed.
So much more could have been done with the theme. Anyone without the knowledge that music for the competition has to be arranged could have been excused if they had assumed Gabby had hurriedly written it during last night’s intermission. Along with the repetition of “Jack Warner” is a this, and “Jack Warner” is a that, the rest of the lyrics were utterly forgettable.
Reparation’s lyrics will appeal to Pan-Africanists for its call on Britain to pay for the rewards it reaped for years of slavery and colonial exploitation. But calypso should not simply be a regurgitation of straight prose. Some attention should also be given to imaginative treatment of subject matter in verse.
Alas, the song’s treatment lacked imagination and was a mere rehash of a call that has been made since the mid-19th century.
Biggie Irie’s Singing Competition about the importance of being able to sing to be considered worthy of entering the Pic-O-De-Crop, was one of the best rendered songs for the night. It is a beautifully arranged number, and though the message should not be taken in the strictest of manner, his point was adequately made. His second song was the melodic Sweet Kind of Way.
Classic rocked the dome with In Bed Together that highlighted some of the unholy relationships in Barbados which often work to the detriment of John Public. He mentioned insurance men and politicians and immediately evoked memories of CLICO. His Something
Fishy completed a creditable night for the veteran.
Youngster Jamal Slocombe looks a definite prospect for the future and was truly impressive with his rendition, stage craft and message in Wuh Yuh Gine Left Fuh We. His is a name to jot down for future reference.
Pompey added to the night’s high quality entertainment with a tribute to mothers as well as a warning that those who didn’t move out the way would get “Wine Pon”.
Also in the star-studded cast but not facing the judges were Grynner, Serenader, Nathalee, Edwin Yearwood,
Marvay, TC and RPB who provided some sizzling party music.