By Colville Mounsey
Big crowd witnessing big performances on a big night, this was the embodiment of Pic-O-De-Crop judging night for De Big Show Calypso Tent, which was held last night at the Sea Rocks Dome, Barbados Beach Club, Maxwell, Christ Church.
The air was so thick with anticipation that one could slice it with a knife and rightly so, as this tent housed the who’s who of former kings and perennial finalists.
While all of the performances were in keeping with the expected high standard of penned lyrics, delivery and melody, there were a few which raised goose bumps as those listening got the feeling that they were witnessing something special in the making.
One such act was seasoned artiste TC who was in top vocal form while rendering two lyrically potent songs.
Anderson ‘Blood’ Armstrong in one of his calypso offerings for 2016 noted that it was fitting that Barbados has a calypso queen to mark the 50th Independence Anniversary and it seems that TC is determined to oblige his wish. Her first song, Golden Age, marries the reminiscent mode as Barbados approaches the 50-year milestone and a call for introspection on personal goals when people reach their own half-century milestone.
She even interjected a few jabs at issues affecting the country at the moment. However it was her second song entitled, Tek Wha Yuh Get that really set the place on fire. In her rendition she bluntly told the Barbadian public not to expect calypsonians to fight their battles on stage after they made the same choice in two consecutive elections. Her song, though a night and day difference in lyrics and melody, was conceptually similar to that of Bear Yo Grind by 1993 Vincentian Calypso monarch Black Ebu.
The vocal range of Jamal Slocombe was another impressive feature on the night as he did justice to two brilliantly penned numbers Be A Politician and New Normal.
As expected two-time calypso monarch Ian Webster maintained his high standard of social commentary and his unique packaging of the issues affecting the country was well delivered and equally well received. Webster performed Rights in the first round and Big Up in the second round, however one could not help but notice that full Webster flare was yet to be unleashed, albeit enough was done to merit consideration for the next round.
Adrian Clarke’s two respective performances of 49 not out and What Is A Politician did not quite have the ‘one-two’ knockout combination that fans have come to expect over the years. His first number personified Barbados as a cricket team and paid homage to great leaders who have kept it in the game and kept the metaphorical scoreboard ticking despite the trials and tribulation the country faces, personified by a venomous pace attack.
Chrystal Cummings Beckles did not betray the class for which she is renowned in her performance of That’s What Barbados Means To Me and Hall of Fame. However, she found herself in a bit of difficulty in the first round. One could not discern if it was a technical issue with the sound or whether her voice failed at intervals, however, during at least two stages of her performances, some of her lines were inaudible.
Calypso stalwart Adonijah gave a good account of himself, the conceptualization of the second song, Bashment Commentary was quite creative. The song’s hook line was also among the more infectious that one would have heard for the 2016 season. However it must be said that more could have been done with regards to the substantive component of the song.
But fans left the Dome fully sated by an overall package from the performers that others would have struggled to match.
Not only were they regaled by those who faced the judges, but the likes of Biggie Irie, Damian Marvay, Nathalee, Mikey, Pompey, Mister Dale and the evergreen Grynner made last night’s experience an unforgettable one.