There might not have been high-flying sparks on opening night of the Headliners Calypso Tent on Sunday, however the intimate gathering at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre gained some insight into the quality of social commentary on offer for the 2016 Crop Over season.
Though one acknowledged that things were only beginning to move into stride for the tent this season, one could not help but notice the scarcity of hard-hitting topics from one of the premier calypso tents.
Prior to the start, the air was filled with expectations of potent lyrics lashing out at the numerous social and economic ills plaguing the country. Instead, one got mostly platitudes to the art form.
The notable exception to this trend on the night came from Fabee. After a two-year sabbatical, Fabee gave a fantastic comeback performance, especially during his first-half rendition of Freundel Speaks.
His was a song performed with puns and several other literary devices, encapsulated in a sweet melody and infectious hook line, so much so that even the most rigid listener would find himself or herself involuntarily shaking a leg.
While some may consider the term “smart gambler” an oxymoron, one would not have many sleepless nights if they wagered that Fabee would merit serious consideration for the semi-final cut.
However, this is not to say the rest of the night was void of good music, as it was clear that the usual due diligence and hard work were put into the production of the music belted out for public consumption. Smokey Burke certainly came out of the gates swinging with two numbers –– King Kaiso and All The Way To De Bank. Both songs highlighted the contributions and longevity of calypso, despite being undervalued by many.
Mr Blood also made an interesting contribution to the social commentary arena in his performance of Independence Calypso Queen, during which he called for the recognition of women in the art form as part of the hallmark of the Barbados’ 50th Independence Celebrations. Albeit not any agenda pushed by a male artiste, the seasoned campaigner seemed to possess what it takes to pull off Independence Calypso Queen.
There were only three Party Monarch offerings on the night, with Mr Blood leading that charge with his uptempo song Mr Bacchanal.