The calypso quarterfinals held on the evening of January 25th at Carnival City was an unforgettable night of calypso for one major reason, we saw the historic rise of Sour-Sour, a long time calypsonian who more times than not, gets stuck at eliminations. The competition featured 31 calypsonians, including newcomers like Bingo, a St. Lucian national, and Nadur, the reigning cadencelypso monarch. Other newcomers to the calypso arena were Abiyah, known mostly for her contributions as a gospel artist, Mighty D, the 19-year-old grandson of the Superior Picky.
The first half of the night progressed without much excitement, except from Jaydee, who rocked the crowd with his popular song “Mama, that is Mas.” Jaydee is known for writing his own songs, and this year he has penned a piece which is riddled with both wit and humor. On stage dressed in short pants, tee-shirt, and a camel pack on his back, he perfectly portrayed a young man playing mas. The audience was tickled by his imagery as he sang of seeing a “fouchette trying to enter a cabinet.” Definitely a forerunner in the competition this year, the crowd seemed pleased with Jaydee’s rendition on that night.
The second half of the competition was where all the drama lay. Comical calypsonian, Inciter, rocked the crowd with his song “Poulette in cabinet” actually bringing on stage a live rooster as part of his on-stage props. The crowd roared with laughter as Inciter flapped his arms and legs like a “poulette” desperately trying to find its way into the cabinet. Nothing could prepare us though for the undisputed king, Sour Sour. Known for his ability to capture road march titles due to his bouncy and simple tunes, Sour Sour is one that not many take as a serious contender for the calypso crown. But this quarterfinals competition was a different cup of tea. Sour Sour blazed through his hit “I enjoy my life” dressed in a regal red robe and sporting a calypso crown. He managed a wardrobe change during the performance and was seen defending his crown in his presentation. He kept the tempo up, and with the crowd singing loudly along with him, he forged his way on to be one of the 20 chosen for the semi-finals round of this year’s competition. 1994 with his hit song “Cool pipe” was the last time Sour advanced anywhere past eliminations in the calypso competition.
Another notable performance was that of Karessah, the 4-time calypso king recently turned politician. Known for his satirical and witty pieces, often against some ill in society or in government, Karessah came to us this year as an Honorable Minister. His lyrics didn’t have their usual sting; however, his performance was vintage Karessah, and he was dressed to suit in a sequined jacket and all. He told the audience that his head was ready for a 7-2, indicating he is taking a serious aim at calypso crown number 5 this season. Whether or not he can outperform reigning king, King Dice, remains to be seen.
De Healer is another force to be reckoned with, belting out his tune “World Gone Mad” almost flawlessly with an execution that is likely to send him all the way to the finals. One time calypso monarch, and only female to ever accomplish that feat, Tasha P, also performed very well with her up-tempo song, “Treadmill.” Whether or not the lyrics of this one are strong enough to secure a repeat of her 2011 victory remains to be seen. Mighty Omee also deserves favourable mention as his hit tune “Not Singing For Chris” definitely was felt to be a strong contender to move to the next round, but the judges didn’t see it that way.
Speaking about judges, the calypso die-hards would have noticed a familiar face missing from the judges’ booth. Long-serving chief judge Patrick Pemberton seems to have given up the tedious task of steering the judging panel and taking the blows for their decisions and passed on the baton to Marlon Marie. Several new faces were also seen in the panel, meaning that the pool is expanding, and possibly results may be taking different trends in the upcoming show. Let’s wait and see!
After all was said and done, close to 3am on Sunday morning, 20 were announced to move through to the semi-final round and 11 were left to eat concrete in the Stadium forecourt. The 20 moving on are Bingo, Karessah, Checker, Checko, King Bobb, Jamma B, Jaydee, Lady S, Tasha P, King Hunter, Nadur, King Observer, Shadow Flow, Sour Sour, De Healer, Trendsetter, De Webb, Inciter, Soul Puss, Superior Picky.
Written by: Trudy Christian