by Latoya Burnham
Who is this Fuhnominon and where did he come from?
It’s probably the question on many lips after the first-timer scored a spot at the finals of the Party Monarch at Bushy Park on July 28, and then traded his last performance spot for position number one.
The truth of the matter is, Pedro Fuhnominon Arthur has been around the Party Monarch arena for years – it’s just that he’s always been the one in the background dancing or performing on stilts.
After attending a few fetes last year and finding himself disappointed with the performances there, Fuhnominon decided to throw his hat into the ring, and came away with a bounty up to the brim.
“I went to a couple fetes… and I was disappointed because everything looked samey-samey. Everybody was doing de same thing and I said one of these years I should really come out and take things up a bit and do something different, something on de performance side of the music. Everybody has good songs in general, but you don’t really see de dancing. I said with my training in dancing and stiltwalking it would have been really nice. I just wanted to add a different performance element to what we have to offer in terms of soca performers,” he said.
And what he brought to the Celebration Time Circus Calypso Tent on judging night was an energetic performance of his Soca Army, complete with “soldier” dancers and himself decked out as a general. When he backed his shirt and proceeded into the audience to entertain the women, the females in the crowd went wild.
While Fuhnominon said entering the soca arena had been on his mind for about 12 years, he noted that he wanted to have material not just to dance to but that had substance.
So while he had ideas about material, he sought the assistance of the lyrical Gabby who helped him pen his song, and then DJ Bubbles and Darien Bailey to help him produce it.
He said while he hoped to make the cut for the finals, he was not surprised because he really was not expecting anything.
“I wasn’t surprised, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it wasn’t called either. I hoped it was good enough to get in… but I did not see any other performances, so I can’t tell you who sang what, but I knew that my performance was a strong performance and the song was a strong song,” he stated.
In fact, he has decided to try performing it on stilts for Bacchanal Time vs The Best of Crop-Over, which he said he expects will be another grand show, and he is looking at this season as a chance to get his feet wet.
A stiltwalker from the age of eight, Fuhnominon said a scholarship to the Barbados Dance Theatre helped prepare him for the entertainment part of his performance. It would lead him as well to being a back-up dancer for many a Party Monarch winner over the years.
“I was one of the dancers with Dance Machine and we would perform for Edwin. So for many years I was a backing dancer for winners of the Party Monarch.
“I just expect to go up there and put on a good show. Whether I come first or last, I don’t see it as losing because before a few weeks ago I would never have taken up a mic… but performing is a part of my soul.”
He said as well that he was not looking at it as a competition, but as a performance, an entertainment for the people at Bushy Park. After years of being part of the dance cast backstage, he said he believed the idea of competing carried pressure that led to bickering and other negative feelings he would rather not take on as part of what he was about.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons he said too that it did not matter where he fell in the line-up to perform. So it had to be asked however, about his giving up the chance to perform at position number 10 to take the stage first, after the draw for positions yesterday. He gave up the opportunity to appear last in the show to the Soka Kartel combination of Mikey and Blood.
It’s a question he takes easily as he explained that Mikey was one of the people he held in high esteem and who throughout the season had helped him improve his own act.
“I’m a fan of Mikey, I’m a fan of Blood, I’m a fan of most of the people there, so it is an honour to be there performing along with them. Whatever position I’m at, I good.
“You have to give and take because Mikey helped me some with my song. I felt there was something missing from my song when I was performing it and he listened to me and critiqued it and I listened and certain things I put in the song. If you have an artist that does that for you, I feel no way about doing something that will help him too. You need to spread some love in this thing to make it grow.
“At the end of the day I want to see all the performers come and give of their best for the show… I care about production, I care about quality, I care about other artists doing well… I have a lot of respect for Mikey, so I know that space would help them, cause it is really Soka Kartel I give it to, but I know they have a lot invested in this and he is always willing to help someone else. In fact I love their song and I will be back there probably partying and wukking up to that song,” he said of Soka Kartel’s popular Roll It. [email protected]