House of Soca calypso tent is promising a season of “extreme excitement” as its calypsonians get ready to “hit the competition for six” this year, says tent manager Sharon Carew-White.
The Williams Construction-sponsored tent did its 2017 launch last Saturday with a cricket match at Bridgefield, St Thomas. Patrons, calypso lovers and fans had the opportunity to meet and interact with the artistes and get a sneak peek of what they have in store for this Crop Over season.
Carew-White told Bajan Vibes that with a line-up of former Junior Monarchs Sir Ruel and Sammy G, as well as Jimmy Dan, Franswaa, AC, Vince, Sir Gallon, Mr Jay, Billboard, Gorg, Linskee and Stinger, patrons can expect a bit of everything this year.
“We have brought in some new ones and we have brought in some old ones,” she said, pointing out that Observer, after a lengthy break from the calypso scene, was back and part of the House of Soca line-up.
“We have a packed season and House of Soca, you know, we are traditionally social commentary but you could come in and see . . . sweet soca [and] a little bit of bashment,” Carew-White continued.
While different nights will have different themes, the overall theme for the tent is Hit for Six.
“This year we are here to hit it for six,” she said. “As my mother would say, you go into everything to win it. And we are looking that we can win again Party Monarch and to win the Bashment
. . . and we want to win Pic-O-De-Crop, which we are known for. It could be any of the cast, it is better to have a cast that is all good.”
In addition to its opening night on June 10 with “biting social commentary” and judging night on Wednesday, July 12, there will be a “kaiso vs comedy” and “night with Malik”, as well as a “group night”, which will see an in-house competition and performances from various community groups.
Carew-White said the group night was open to all community groups, and she was especially excited about involving the disabled community.
Some of the artistes gave a sneak peek of some of their 2017 offerings as they shared the excitement.
Sammy G, who made it to the Pic-O-De-Crop semi-finals last year and will be celebrating her 10th anniversary in calypso this year, told Bajan Vibes she will be coming with two songs – My story, which is about prostitution and Naked Departure.
She is confident that an improved performance should propel her into the finals this year. “I got the voice already. So it is the voice plus performance, so once performance syncs, we should be good,” she said.
Franswaa has been with House of Soca since 2012. He has five songs lined up for this year and will be competing in the Sweet Soca, Party Monarch and Pic-O-De-Crop competitions. He is particularly excited about his Domestic Abuse social commentary, which addresses the issue of men being abused by women.
After a break last year, AC said she is back with “a bang” with two songs. Ghetto Cry is based on a personal experience and stories from friends. The other is called Malicious People.
“The material is better than I thought it would be and my voice is even better,” she told Bajan Vibes.
Former Junior Monarch Sir Ruel said he has been hard at work preparing for the season. His plan, he said, was to “go all the way to finals and just do well”.
Not wanting to let too much out the bag, Sir Ruel, who is celebrating 12 years in the calypso business, said he would be coming with “a political song” Run For Cover.
Sir Ruel believes calypso has a future in Barbados.
“We have a lot of calypso juniors and that is the only way the festival can grow. People have been saying social commentary needs new blood and when you are talking about new blood, you speak about talent out of House of Soca,” he said.
Also excited about his year’s festival is Vince, who has been in and out of the art form since he started in 1998. This is his first time with House of Soca and he will be coming with two social commentaries.
“I plan to go all the way. I am going to do my best. House of Soca has very good songs. Come out and hear What’s Going on in Bim,” he said, in reference to one of his songs for this year.
Noting that House of Soca is one of the island’s oldest calypso tents, Gorg who will be working closely with Linskee and Stinger this year, said he was happy to be back “home”.