by Donna Sealy
They promised good wholesome calypso and they delivered and at the end of the show, Billboard stood tall above his tent mates when The Experience tent faced the judges last night.
It was hard to tell it was his first time performing on stage in front of an audience. Billboard delivered two solid songs and even though the topics have been sung about ad nauseum, they were different.
In the first half he performed Culture Must Die in which he criticised the negative aspects of Barbadian culture calling for them to not only die but be killed. Highlighting things such as perversion and fighting, he noted that a spirit of rebellion was taking over Barbados.
In the other one simply called Life he pleaded with people to live their life to the fullest and not to waste it.
The music in both was sweet and he deserved the two encores he got from the appreciative audience.
De Messenger had a message to bring and she delivered it in both her songs. In Hush, she sang about a father abusing his daughter and urging her to keep it a secret.
She dressed like a girl with bobbles and ribbons and with her voiced filled with emotion at some parts of the song, she brought across the subject which some people would rather not talk about, without forcing it down people’s throats.
In the second half she did a song call Flip Flopping. In this one she encouraged young girls to love and respect themselves and stop bed-hopping looking for love. Her suggestion was to wait for a husband to love them.
There were five encores during the show that lasted a little more three hours and if it was possible that the other performers could make the semifinals on the strength of one song, then De Black Eagle, De Original Clarke Dan, Sammijane, and Slim Jim, would have a chance.
De Black Eagle’s song Just A Humble Man is a good one. Wearing a Foundation School tie and a suit, he told the audience that while his critics were calling on him to act, say something and get the country out of the economic crisis, he was busy doing work which include building schools and houses. His other Pic-O-De-Crop song – Times Always Hard – had too many words in each line and he sounded as though he was rushing to get them all in. He sang Sugarlene for Party Monarch.
De Orginal Clarke Dan had the audience in stitches in the second half when he appeared on stage in women’s earrings and bangles and eyeliner and started to sing that he was Coming Out.
It spoke about homosexuality and likening himself to a bird he said no matter how people try to take them down forcibly, “I’m a bird and I will fly” and he flew off the stage. In the first half when he sang an upbeat number entitled, God, God, God, God, God, he went flat at some points during the song.
Sammijane said she does not want to be Normal if it means sleeping with three different men for money, as she noted that prostitution is on the rise. It seems as though she forgot a few words in this song. In the second half she sang Lift Up Kaiso in which she called on calypsonians to stop with the smutty lyrics and pay attention to them instead of trying to make a hit. It was a catchy song and she had members of the audience singing along.
Slim Jim was good vocally. He sang Who Is To Blame and Not in My Land which he also judged with for the Party Monarch.
The others who faced the judges were De Evolutionist, who bolted off the stage at the end of both her songs which carried serious messages (Where Do They Go and Hobby Class), Steddy-T (Crop-Over and Lift Up High Praises) Apache who judged with Get Away for Party Monarch, and Lyrical the Delivered with Born Again who brought an end to the show at the Plantation Garden Theatre.
Lyrical, who was the MC, was engaging and witty. [email protected]