THE calypso season is riding a high wave of impressive reviews this year, thanks to quality music that has drawn bumper crowds to opening shows and this week’s quarterfinal round at the National Cultural Centre (NCC).
Since the first tent show on May 31, all the right dynamics seem to be working well for a genre that has for many years now taken a back seat to its sister genre, soca. Poor marketing and logistical issues, poor sound and internal rancour seem to have given way to calypso making an impressionable mark on patrons.
This year, three calypso tents – Take Over Tent/Soca Village, Ambassadors and South – have produced great music and stellar performances from both seasoned artists and newcomers, the latter proving that the art form is definitely in great hands.
This week, the calypsonians got into competitive mode as three quarterfinals to determine the pick of the crop for the semifinals produced a few surprises. Among the surprises were calypsonians — such as Pep, Chocolate, Black Pearl and TiCarro – who did not perform in the opening shows registering highly on the fans’ list of favourites.
On Wednesday evening at the National Cultural Centre (NCC), Ambassadors held their quarterfinals, featuring thirteen artists: Ready, Blaze, Ashanti, Phantom, Robbie, Educator, Sizzler, Realist, Alley Cat, TC Brown, Solange, Jackson and Pep.
At the same venue on Thursday evening, thirteen calypsonians from Take Over Tent/Soca Village were also featured: TK Da Boss, Achiever, Black Pearl, Lil Nick, Bruno, Trish, Weatherman, TiCarro, Walleigh, Chocolate, Morgie, Invader and Herb Black.
This evening, South Calypso Tent calypsonians will take to the same stage in an attempt to prove that the monarchy returns to the south following Menell’s big win for the “South” camp last year.
Expect to see Nintus, DycerFontelio, Ginger Snap, Crown, Teddy Boy, Tino, Hitty, Journalist, Jn. Charles, Dr. G and sensational newcomer Oshun delivering another round of great music in the final quarterfinal round.
With Menell reportedly foregoing the defense of her title, it means that a new monarch is imminent and every calypsonian wants to prove that despite Menell’s absence, they will not let down their guard.
With increased funding from central government this year being pumped into carnival, the appetite is certainly there, especially for artists who have complained over the years that other music festivals take precedence over calypso despite the latter being a forerunner. The calypsonians, too, have jumped at the bait, taking on many social issues that have emerged over the past few months, many of which have been controversial.
With nearly a dozen former monarchs in this year’s competition, the judges undoubtedly have a difficult task determining the field advancing to the semifinal round let alone the finals. However, don’t risk good money betting against especially the newcomers who have thus far shown that they are in the game to raise the standards.
Generally, though, calypsonians can sing their own praises for a classic season that has not only demonstrated that calypso still has the power to attract great crowds to a show but also a genre that can be the soundtrack for the carnival season.
As such, whomever wins this year’s title, wins big.