Licks for UNC as Kaiso Showkase opens

Alicia Richards performs De Crush on the opening night of Kaiso Showkase, Palms Club, San Fernando on Friday. - Ayanna Kinsale
Alicia Richards performs De Crush on the opening night of Kaiso Showkase, Palms Club, San Fernando on Friday. - Ayanna Kinsale

PICONG and political commentary dominated the opening night of Kaiso Showkase calypso tent at Palms Club, San Fernando on Friday night, with the usual bashing for the opposition and praise for the ruling party.

The lone UNC alderman Colin Lezama on the San Fernando City Corporation, sat in silence, with a smile and sometimes a smirk, among his cheering PNM colleagues who raised their hands and applauded as the calypsonians pounded his party and leader.

Dressed in yellow dress and shoes, the UNC’s party colour, Alicia Richards got the most encores for her satire called De Crush, in which she explored the “real relationship” between Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and former AG Faris Al-Rawi.

There was raucous laughter from the time the diminutive and plump calypsonian hit the stage, telling the story of the "lady from Siparia" who sat opposite Faris when he was AG, always on his case blaming him for every situation in the country.

Richards, intimating she was really masquerading a crush, batted her eye lashes as she sang, “Everything is Faris, Faris, Faris, Ah wonder how Gregory does feel,” – a reference to Persad-Bissessar's husband.

Rolling out new verses as she was called back, she suggested that having “finished with Faris she now attack Foster, he name she began to slander, saying he is a land grabber, madam Siparia crying Foster, Foster, how Gregory does feel,” ending with “Rowley, Rowley, Rowley," – adding government minister Foster Cummings and the Prime Minister to song.

Enjoying multiple encores also was Tameika Darius for stage presence, in costume as an African queen, and a song which dealt with the name-calling spat between government minister Camille Robinson-Regis over Persad-Bissessar’s Indian middle name and Persad-Bissessar's comeback about her "slave" name.

Keon Calliste pays tribute to his grandfather, Leroy "Black Stalin" Calliste at Kaiso Showkase, Palms Club, San Fernando on Friday night. - Ayanna Kinsale

As a woman of African descent, Darius said she was insulted by the reference, as she had no choice in choosing a name, saying that was no "jahaji bai" as Brother Marvin once sang, but Jahaji Bash – the title of her 2023 contribution.

The trend continued with Queen Victoria (Victoria Cooper Rahim), dressed in a red one-piece, who referred to the Prime Minister as a “hard working man” congratulating him for the gas deal with Venezuela before delving into her song Good Advice.

Mr Mack (Victor Mc Donald) also had the packed house in stitches with his humorous rendition and matching antics of Go Outside and Play, threatening as the captain to open the door of the plane and send questionable lawyers, opposition politicians, some public servants and union leaders outside to play.

El Drago (Ainsley Myers), wearing dark shades, almost knocked down a huge painting of the late Black Stalin, as he made his way on stage to perform Party Stop, Party Start. Quick reflex action by MC Damien Melville, saved the painting from ruin.

The show was dedicated to Stalin who passed away last December. A moment of silence was observed in his memory and tributes were paid by his grandson Kevan Calliste in the first half, while the second half ended with two more tributes from Ras Kommanda and a promise to always love and take care of his widow, Patsy.

Lady Gypsy (Lynette Steel) did not perform her anticipated Political Cemetery, choosing instead to question why calypsonians and other artistes have to die before they get that One Moment of Glory, the name of her song.

Victor "Mr Mack" McDonald dressed as a pilot for his performance of Go Outside and Play at Kaiso Showkase, Palms Club, San Fernando. - Ayanna Kinsale

One of the emerging stars of the night was Rivaldo London, who delivered a very sobering social commentary – What If – about what the choices and moments which define our lives could have been in hindsight.

Brilliantly written by Selvon “Mistah Shak” Noel, London wondered in one of the verses, if just one of the young men involved in the deadly Pennywise heist could have been the lone voice of reason for his misguided accomplices, their families and the families of the dead guards would not be grieving today.

Patrons, which included San Fernando mayor Junia Regrello, his wife Kamla and former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams, were also treated to a bit of gospel from Leon Gray (Frisco) who gave a personal testimony of his battle and survival of covid 19 in a song – God and God Alone Saved My Dying Soul.

Tameika Darius sings Jahaji Bash during her performance at Kaiso Showkase, Palms Club, San Fernando. - Ayanna Kinsale

There were many outstanding performances from Nicholas Lucas, the reigning South Monarch who has chosen as his 2023 offering, A Dancer’s Advice, reigning Young King Banjela, performing a Maria Bhola composition – No Pressure, Daniella Roxanne "Roxy Singh" Singh, who introduced a bit of chutney/soca with her rendition of Under the Red, White and Black, as well as from Curlissa Charles Mapp who lamented the devaluing of the dollar with R.I.P Shilling.

Where some artistes fell short, the interactive audience strengthened, singing verse and chorus to win prizes.

Many opted for a Stalin song, some adding their own drunken lyrics and melody.

Crystal "Sexy C" Mitcham rocks back on a patron as she sings Take ah Wine at Kaiso Showkase, Palms Club, San Fernando - Ayanna Kinsale

MC Melville also kept up an interactive banter with the audience, even going so far to turn the nuts man’s lamentation of “Buy my nuts nah” into a chutney chant and melody, backed up by the band Oral Rodriguez and Razor Sharpe.

One of the highlights of the night as well was Crystal Mitcham who as Sexy C dressed to match her stage persona, challenging patron to Take A Wine as she made her way into the audience to “back-back” on him.


"Licks for UNC as Kaiso Showkase opens"

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