VETERAN ADONIJAH AND DIJAH TAKE de BIG SHOW JUDGING NIGHT HONOURS
by Wade Gibbons
Adonijah and Dijah led the way as De ADC/Digicel Big Show turned in an impressive showing before the Pic-O-De-Crop and Party Monarch judges at the Plantation Theatre last night.
Adonijah was flawless in his delivery of Congratulations and Something Left In The Bottle. The veteran performer will more often than not start with a plus as the metrical structure of his writing always lends to the subsequent creation of good melodies and sets an easy platform for clarity of diction. Added to that, unlike many other calypsonians, his selections are frequently witty.
In Congratulations, Adonijah praised the National Cultural Foundation for their appreciation and good treatment of those with disabilities. He noted the NCF had shown this by including the deaf and the blind on its kaiso judging panel. Hopefully those judges present saw the hilarity of the lyrics.
But that was not all.
The song’s arrangements are outstanding with what appears to be a very jazzy riff incorporated in the overall melody and brought out to sweet effect by the brass section. It was the first time this writer was hearing the song and the melody lingered long after the show.
His second selection which has been burning up the airwaves completed a great night for a certain semi-finalist.
Dijah performs like a veteran. And once again was in impressive form with Out Of Control and Fakes And Phonies. Her diction stood out in both songs which were both medium tempo with pleasing melodies, the latter in particular. Both were songs that looked at social issues, and while they were both lyrically “direct writing”, were still strong enough to interest the judges.
Victor Gittens, better known as Kinky Star, was in terrific form but might have a slight hiccup. He gave two sizzling performances in Olympian and Recognition with both songs having lovely melodies and lyrics leaning towards that concept of nation-building. But in terms of diction Gittens got lost somewhere between performing as someone appearing before judges and an entertainer simply performing for an audience. He did the latter splendidly, but whether the occasional lack of lyrical clarity will be sacrificed on the altar of popularity by the judges is left to be seen. His inclusion in the semis would not meet with much objection as he was entertainment personified.
Miguel has much promise and this was clear in his delivery of Suffering and Boycott. His diction was great, voice projection adequate and the melodies of both songs were passable. But he came over as stylized, perhaps adhering overly to art. He needs some humour in his social commentary and the message of Boycott demonstrated a degree of lyrical naivet?. The exhortation to boycott general elections because of frustration showed little appreciation for events leading to adult suffrage and the power of the vote itself.
Gabby was solid but not special. He will always score heavily on rendition and he was on top of that game last night. But in Popsicle I Coming For You and CBC Pornography, he has two adequate, but unspectacular songs, to, as he put it, seek to wrest “his” crown from the reigning monarch. Perhaps, the strength of the songs is their simplicity. But, he is Gabby, and this is Bim, he is a sure semi-finalist. He entered the latter song in the Party Monarch and should make that competition on merit.
TC is a class act and was in top form in Lower Your Expectations which, as the song suggested, was a safe way of avoiding some of life’s disappointment. Her second number All Of We is One was lyrically okay but structurally too wordy. This is a malaise that affects too many local writers; they have a lot to say but must say a lot to say it. Nevertheless, TC came through her Pic-O-De-Crop outing more on the plus side than negative.
However, her party selection It Is Time Again exemplified over-writing and it came over as a cacophony of irreverent noise, too fast and too furious, even for the movies. That she rendered every note and breathed at the same time was a credit to some exceptional lungs.
National treasure Serenader oozed class in Promise Land which he rendered without major mishap. The veteran’s penchant for producing his best material in a particular political climate is well known and this offering fits that bill. His Trouble might not have moved many looking for traditional Pic-O-De-Crop material, but as a party piece and melodic tour de force, it was up there with Adonijah’s Something Left In The Bottle.
Red Plastic Bag’s Royal Visit and Feting were among the most melodic numbers on the night, with the former exhorting Queen Elizabeth to visit Barbados, and the latter showing how St. Philip’s pride loves to fete women. He has had better material than this in previous years but lyrics is only one judging category, and he would have impressed with melody, in particular, and there were no hitches with his rendition.
Mac Fingal had a solid night before the judges and hopefully was seen as a serious contender and not just a comedian/emcee. His White Collar Man and Barbados Belong To We were creditable efforts, lyrically adequate, and thankfully, not too wordy to make the melodies seem contrived. His party selection appeared a certainty to advance.
Others facing the judges were Pompey, who once again, ate too many of his lyrics, Leah, Mighty Sweetness and Margaret Bovell; and Mr. Dale and Nathalee in the Party Monarch category.
The Uwe Harris backing band was outstanding.††[email protected]