Gilbert O’Connor (Happy) a finalist in tonight’s New Tobago Soca Monarch, says his only expectation is make the audience at Club Nutts (formerly Shade nightclub) happy with his rendition of Weh Me Sandals.
“I’m an artiste, the stage is my gallery. I find inspiration to show my work on the stage. When I’m singing calypso, I want people to stop and listen to my message but when I’m performing Soca I want to see the audience dancing along,” he said in an interview.
O’Connor, 60, described his song as a groovy Soca with a message.
“It’s a play on the fact that the Sandals resort is not coming to Tobago anymore. After the news broke that Sandals came out of the deal, I found my guitar, did some minor chords because the minor chords brings out a sad melody. It was a sad moment for me, and I started to sing, that’s when the song came along.
“I just put in some playful feeling into to it to give it a Soca feeling and then the tune came alive,” he said.
“Instead of the traditional waving of hands, I want the audience to raise their foot because as the song says, ‘barefooted and on No Man’s Land/ barefooted and we building a castle in the sand/ but wey me sandals gone. I ready to put it on/ weh me sandals/raise your foot let me see it/ weh me sandals gone.”
“I know it might hit some people’s nerves but I want the majority off the audience to enjoy it while getting the message of the loss of a five star hotel brand that was expected to bring growth and development to the island,” he said.
Also singing at tonight’s competition will be Pernell Winchester (Kabasi), who will be the first competition stage. He will sing his composition, Straight, which he says is about keeping the Carnival celebrations free of violence.
“I won’t be holding back, I want the audience to deal with Jouvert, mud and pretty mas ‘straight,’ without fighting, stabbing or brawl,” he said.
Winchester, 46, who is also a reggae artiste with such hits to his name as What is the Reason, Book and Pen, Cook and Skankin, said he has a love for Soca though, and that tonight’s show will be the third time he will be singing in the competition.
“I feel I have a pretty good chance because my song is good, I believe in it,” he said.
O’Connor and Winchester will be among finalists, including defending champion Jhevon Jackson (Royal) at tonight’s show.