Fantastic Friday: Calypso Semifinals
June 27th 2014
Friday morning found me primed and ready for a long weekend of entertainment and revelry. I only got my Semis tickets that day, the young lady working at the CDC ticket booth in Heritage Square had no idea what “Semis” were and told me they didn’t have tickets. It was only after I complained about having to get my tickets at the door later, did she correct me “Ooh you mean Fantastic Friday!” the urge to be rude was irresistible. Where do they find these people?
I’ve long stopped going to CDC shows for the competition factor. I no longer care who winds up in first place. I am happy for their accomplishments but I don’t get worked up about positions. I go to be entertained and this year’s Calypso Semifinals wasn’t bad at all.
The night began with torrents of rain. We got there on time but were stuck in the overpriced parking lot for close to an hour because I forgot my umbrella. Fortunately, or unfortunately, by the time the rain eased off enough for us to hustle over to Victoria Park, the show was just about to start. We headed to the bar to get drinks. The show was promoted as a Hairoun Brewery drinks inclusive event, an idea our Prime Minster apparently didn’t like at all, it was certainly one that didn’t work out for me. I ordered malt and it was horrible. I couldn’t even finish my tiny glass of the brown liquid they were parading as Vita Malt, Frauds!
The show was not as well attended as last year but there were a number of very good songs. Vibrating Skates, one of my least favorite calypsonians wasn’t bad at all, I must admit. Bump-I had quite the catchy number with “Sing Until Yuh Win”, this was a crowd favorite. Abijah was impressive, I think his presentation of “Invisible Man “is quite possibly the best I’ve ever heard from him. I also loved IPa’s song, the melody was refreshing and his delivery was great. Patches was another crowd favorite with his track “Ring the Bell’ a political commentary that was not only entertaining but catchy, his delivery superb with top class arrangement and melodies.
Tajoe gave the judges nuff licks in his song “Ah Shame” he was quite good too but didn’t make it to the finals, perhaps because the judges felt insulted and this was their way of getting even. Shaunell’s track “Calyspo Hard to Write” was just awesome. It was the first time many were hearing this track but they were already singing along. The woman is a powerhouse, she sounded pretty good for a singer sick and on medication. Mercy had a song we could all relate to, speaking of the woes of public transportation in “dem van drivers’. It was a very entertaining piece. Ranking Bas was also entertaining, his was one of the more upbeat calypsos and the crowd responded with much dancing and singing along.
John Dougan was pretty boring with this old nepotism argument in a song that seemed to be not properly thought out and atrocious delivery. Strong’s song wasn’t necessarily a bad one, but in my opinion it was too long and wasn’t really a song for the fans but a song for the judges. It was beyond me how Denis Bowman was even selected for the Semifinals, his song “to build the airport” was lifeless and unimaginative.
One of the highlights of the show for me was the Roses Crew Reunion, with Fireman Hooper, DJ 20 and Chain Saw. Their performance was wonderful although they had not rehearsed with the band, a testament to their chemistry. The soundtrack to some of my favorite Carnival memories includes Roses Crew songs and it was evident that they still have it. Their performance was done as a tribute to their lost member Rudy who passed away under tragic circumstances. I believe though that it would have been appreciated by a different audience perhaps Soca Swing or something of that nature.
At the end of the show the results were announced and their were tears of joy and angry shouts of dissatisfaction. I congratulate all those who made it into the Finals and to the rest I have one piece of advice, like Bump-I say, sing until you win.
On July 6th these calypsonians would be competing for the Calyspo crown at Dimanche Gras in Victoria Park;
Dennis Bowman .
Aurella ‘QueenB’ Beach .
Grantly ‘IPa’ Constance .
Kenneth ‘VibtatingSkates’ Alleyne .
Robert ‘Patches’ King .
Shaunelle Mckenzi .
Zamfir ‘ManZangie’ Adams .
Vivian ‘I-Com ‘Miller.
Lornette ‘FyaEmpress’ Nedd.
Elliot ‘Mystery’ Shallow.
Elvis “Abijah‘ Abbey.
RESERVES: Glenford ‘ Azara’ Charles