TWO of TT’s top artistes Neil “Iwer” George and Edwin "Crazy" Ayoung will go head to head in a concert series entitled Tune for Tune on Wack Radio 90.1 FM on Saturday evening.
The artistes have promised to dig deep into their bag of gems to give fans the performance of a lifetime, albeit virtually.
“Crazy coming to mash up Iwer and teach him how to sing the classics,” the loveable lunatic promised.
“I am an Iwer fan but he is not a lyrics man. He good at the jump-up thing but I am an all-rounder. I can sing all genres of music. If you want chutney I have Nani Wine. I also have a road march, Suck me Socouyant which I won with in 1985, the classics, parang soca and the biggest calypso ever which is, In Time to Come.”
Covid19 has distanced performing artistes from their lifeline which is the stage, but being as creative as they are, artistes are not letting the virus beat them.
One such entertainment executive, Kenny Phillips has created a premier platform for artiste to survive the pandemic through his series of live benefit concerts including Icons, Up Close and Personal, Generation – a clash of the old and new artistes.
The concerts are streamed from his San Fernando based radio station Wack on YouTube, Facebook and other social media platforms. Phillips said he has seen growth on these platforms with his YouTube page garnering 12,000 subscribers, up from 8,000 pre-pandemic, with around 40,000 on Facebook, over 30-40,000 downloading the app and between 50-60,000 followers on tune in radio. The show will be streamed simultaneously on Wack and Iwer’s Stage on Saturday night.
Around the world listeners and viewers to the live have been asked to donate through GoFundmeTNT to the cause and many have risen to the occasion. Funds generated are split two ways between the artiste and studio after expenses.
Phillips said it is mainly his foreign-based fan club contributing, but he is in the process of making local arrangements where people can text money from their phones.
“We are testing it right now, so anybody can text Wack 1 all the way to 4 for donations ranging from $5, to$10, $20 and $50.” He said 20 per cent of the amount donated will go towards the service provider which is TSTT.
“We are coming along,” Phillips said, pointing out since April when he first featured Calypso Monarch Terri Lyons, he has done 70 such concerts such as Ronnie McIntosh vs SuperBlue, Brother Valentino, Sugar Aloes, Carl and Carol Jacobs, Baron, comedian Damion Melville, music bands, Pan Trinbago telethon and TUCO.
Last Thursday, Republic Day a benefit concert was held for recovering artiste Leroy “Black Stalin” Calliste who also celebrated his 79th birthday.
On Saturday fans can look forward to a face-off between Iwer and Crazy in another one of Wack’s innovative Tune for Tune concerts.
From September 27, a five-day local film festival starting with Bacchanal Time will be featured on the platform, with concerts featuring Scrunter versus Baron and Marcia Miranda vs Eddie Charles later on.
Saturday’s concert is expected to begin at 7 pm and Iwer has promised, “It’s going to be a beautiful show.”
Asked what can be expected from the two singers, Iwer said he will be singing songs fans have always loved but have not seen him perform for some years.
“I have to go very deep in order to do a song for song battle with an artiste like Crazy,” the 2020 Road March king said.
He said the concert is more than just a platform for artistes at this time.
“This is preparation for the new era. We are preparing people for what is yet to come.”
Iwer has said in the past the TT stage is too small for artiste’s survival and advocated the need to capture audiences around the world.
“We have to get the world of soca, the people who defend soca worldwide and calypso and everything good from TT to get accustomed to having it online.”
“This is the new normal and the quicker the artistes and all the players in the business understand that and play their part, it is the faster we would have a re-correction of the income for artistes.”
Like Phillips, Iwer has created a stage for artistes online with gospel every Wednesday, pan on a Thursday, and for the "zesser" movement on Sundays.
“The way we do song for song, fellas have all kinds of tricks up their sleeves you know. I don’t know who he will come with, but I not letting out my secret. All I want to say is, I have friends. Stay tuned, it is going to be a beautiful show, ” said Iwer.
Phillips said the original clash was scheduled between Iwer and Shurwayne Winchester, but the latter “ducked out” he joked explaining Winchester who is in Tobago had some challenges getting here.
“It was hard getting an artiste up to the challenge of Iwer but we found Crazy who has as much hits,” said Phillips
Crazy said, “I coming to put on a good show because I was not supposed to be here. I not bringing no guest because I could match up Iwer song for song.”