Seven visually impaired calypsonians will take to the stage on Saturday, vying for top honours in the annual National United Society of the Blind Calypso Competition.
As the show grows in popularity, for the first time, it will be staged at the Barbados Workers’ Union’s Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St Michael headquarters, after previous performances at the smaller Prince Cave Hall.
And even though the competition has grown in interest among patrons, event coordinator Peter Brito admitted it was a challenge securing more competitors for the October 28 calypso event which started in 2010.
Seven participants will go head-to-head, one less than last year. However, the show’s coordinator expressed confidence the competition would attract more disabled Barbadians in coming years.
“The trouble is the talent pool is very small. Some people who normally compete weren’t feeling it this year, so it’s only seven who came forward. We are looking to [reach out] to others in the disable community so by next year, we will have a much bigger pool,” Brito added.
“The competition has [become more popular]. Last year, we were in a different location but it has got so big we [were forced to find larger accommodation].
“It is a one-song competition [and] all the competitors are visually impaired. In the first half they will perform their song and after you will have guest artistes,” Brito pointed out.
Three-time monarch and reigning champion Granville Mr DJ Carter will be the second contender to take to the stage, performing Make Barbados Safe Again. He told Barbados TODAY he was sure he would secure a fourth win.
“I feel very confident. I’m not unbeatable but I am defending my crown which I have been holding for the past three years. I am going to see if I can maintain it again,” he said.
Mr DJ said his song, written by local calypso legend the Mighty Gabby, was based on the recent spate in gun violence on the island.
“Because of the climate in Barbados, in relation to all the gun violence and persons being scared to leave their homes, I am coming with a song named Make Barbados Safe Again.”
Another competitor who is no stranger to the local entertainment arena is former Richard Stoute Teen Talent Contest winner Anna B Beckles. She won the talent competition in 1999.
Anna B is optimistic about holding her own in the calypso arena, though she is more known as a balladeer.
“I like to be versatile so I said let me just try it. In 2004 I was in the Super Gladiators Tent, so I feel good. I feel my chances are as good as anyone else. The only difference is this is calypso. I have been in competitions before so I am not very new,” she told Barbados TODAY.
The order of the show is as follows:
1. Errol Greenidge – Redd Man
2. Granville Carter – Mr DJ
3. Anna Beckles – Anna B
4. Elviston Maloney – Size 2
5. Errol Hurley – De Phantom
6. Roger Vaughan – Biggie Bear
7. Richard Daisley – Mr Daze
Prominent soca artistes Biggie Irie, Donella and Marzville will provide other entertainment as well as Trinidad and Tobago’s visually impaired calypso king Nyol Mansuel.