Politicians, both government and opposition, and criminals received heavy licks from many calypsonians who competed in Calypso Fiesta yesterday.
While the contestants performed social, humorous and political commentaries as well as nation-building songs, the issue of crime was at the forefront.
Thousands of patrons gathered at Skinner Park, San Fernando, to cheer on the 40 semi-finalists who vied for the 15 spots in Sunday’s Calypso Monarch final at Dimanche Gras.
Newcomer Aaron St Louis, known as Voice, had the crowd singing along to his hit Year for Love (Upendo Riddim). Some backup singers held placards one of which read: God is More Powerful than the Gun, Put it down and pick Him up.
Louis, a two-time International Soca Monarch, encouraged youths to away from crime and questioned why people are fighting and killing each other. To the criminals, he said ‘fire go bun dem’, an expression denouncing criminals.
Ronaldo London in his song Tomorrow called for the criminals to put down the guns. Before people think about tomorrow, he urged that they shape today so their tomorrow will be okay.
Devon Seale, the first performer and a former calypso monarch, in his song Not Red or Yellow pleaded with citizens to put their political biases aside. Accompanied by actors who displayed suitcases of $100 bills, Seale said that politicians’ favourite colour is blue.
Veteran Weston Rawlins, better known as Cro Cro and the Mighty Midget, had the crowd swaying to his hard-hitting lyrics to politicians in his song Belated. Known for composing many pro-PNM songs, in Belated he accused Prime Minister and other Cabinet members of not taking his calls. With a Christmas tree on stage, Cro Cro, a four-time calypso monarch, said he was calling them simply because he wanted to wish them a belated Merry Christmas.
Performing in position 20, Carlos James, also called Skatie, said that Government is “cutting back on everything except the high prices”. Therefore, the calypsonian in his song All Cutback said he decided to cut down on the verses in his calypsoes. Like Cro Cro, he too threw picong at the Government. The only thing raising up “is we pressure”.
In response, patrons raised their placards some of which read, Kaiso Kaiso Kaiso, Big Yard Song and Dat is Kaiso.
Performing Plenty Talk, Giselle Fraser Washington said rather than confronting issues plaguing the country, politicians keep talking.
Unlike previous years, patrons (in the first-half of the competition) neither waved toilet paper nor displayed anti-government placards to show their dissatisfaction.
Dressed in white, Terri Lyons raised her concerns about crime in Un Natural Causes. “It seems that no one is dying of natural causes anymore as men rather knock on the Devil’s door,” she sang. Going on her knees, the singer said the same hands once used to offer prayers are taking away lives.
Also singing about crime were Stephen Marcelle and Wendy Garrick with What About Us and Savage Tomorrow respectively. Carlton Louison in Glorified Gangster sang about the behaviour of criminals.
The rainy weather did not stop patrons from cheering on. There were many groups from places throughout the country. Some posses and crews included: Permission to Wine on Meh Granted, The Ste Margaret’s Posse, the Sobers Posse, Los Tocadores Posses and the Female Body Inspector Crew.
In a melodious voice, Helon Francis in his song Change explained that “change starts with you”.
Candice Robinson in The Struggle is Real dedicated the song all abused children. Dressed like a schoolgirl, with a school bag, uniform and even clips in her hairstyle, Robinson called on citizens to join forces to save the children of the nation.
Dexter Parsons, the Stinger, poked fun at the pronunciation of English words by Chinese speakers in his song Chinese Tuition.
Dressed in white, former monarch Karene Asche performed Song of Inspiration while Myron Bruce, better known as Myron B, sang The Great Nation. Both songs addressed social issues facing the country.
Kerine Williams-Figaro, also called Tiny, sang Reparation in which she called for compensation for the torture Africans endured during slavery.
Maria La Caille, also called Maria Bhola, dressed as a policeman had a humourous take on the prison escape of accused fraudster Vicky Boodram.
Curlissa Charles Mapp sang D Circus while Ezekiel Yorke, A Cash Less Society. Stacey Sobers sang Calypso Capital referring to Calypso Fiesta.
The finalists will challenge Dr Hollis Liverpool, the Mighty Chalkdust, the reigning Calypso Monarch.