Cave Shepherd All Stars Calypso Tent was the first to be judged by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to select finalists to face defending monarch Mr Blood at the Pic-O-De-Crop competition on August 2, 2019.
The show had a full house of kaiso lovers and dignitaries such as the Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King; Minister of the Blue Economy Kirk Humphrey; Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Trade Sandra Husbands; Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment Adrian Forde; Cultural Ambassador to Barbados The Mighty Gabby and Acting Public Relations Officer Rodney Inniss. Fellow calypsonians from the House of Soca Calypso Tent, De Big Show, Shining Stars Calypso Show, Super Gladiators and Stray Cats Calypso Tent also came out in support.
The first contestant to be judged was a new entrant to the Pic-O-De-Crop, Lyric who performed Nuttin. Dressed in an all blue and yellow ensemble, she drew reference to the former administration and how they have ‘nuttin’. It appears she still has to learn about performing with the band as they were not in sync and at some points, it seemed as though she was just reciting the song.
Franswa, dressed in a red shirt and white pants, performed Amor in which he made blatant reference to Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s statement that she is trying to bring the country back on its feet. He was in fine voice to get a nod from the judges for the final 18.
Jael’s I Blame Weed spoke about the issues surrounding the legalization of medicinal marijuana.
De Slayah, who made the semifinals last year, is back this year with his song R.I.P. It examines the current state of gun violence on the island and instructs criminals to repent for their wrongdoings.
Teri is showing that she is no longer a junior and can compete with the veterans in the Pic-O-De-Crop. She was flawless with Bajan Up In Arms. The song speaks to gun violence and repeats the line “If you live by the gun, trust me, I say you will die by the gun.” In her encore performance, she received applause from the audience which included wife of the former Governor of the Central Bank Monica Drayton-Worrell. Some audience members also stood up in approval. She will be one to watch should she receive the nod from the judges.
Colin Spencer, one of the oldest competitors in the tent, was in fine voice with Good Will Ambassadors. He offers advice to the Democratic Labour Party that they need to have goodwill ambassadors such as Jeremy Stephens, Akanni McDowall, and Toni Moore, just to name a few.
Niqa was beautifully dressed as she performed Time for Introspection. The song speaks about how women must value themselves and break away from the stereotypical view that they are too soft.
Back in the competition after almost a 20 year hiatus is Sammy Dello who performed Elected To Serve. It reminds politicians they have a duty to ensure they serve the best interests of Barbadians since they have come to their positions of power through the vote. In his encore, the audience sang along and waved their hands to his commentary.
Eric Lewis provided some much-needed humour and truth with his song Bring Back The Old Time Days. He was dressed as a grandmother and highlighted how things have changed in Barbados over the years. In his encore, he sang of young men accused of murder who waved at their friends as they head into trial. He also lamented that people no longer fear prison but welcome it as though it is a much-needed vacation.
Ras Iley has also returned to the competition this year with Legalize Marijuana in which he describes the many ways medicinal marijuana could be used. He also explained the history of marijuana and alluded that it had been influential in curing Barbados from its cholera outbreak.
In the second half, Charisma, a former Junior Monarch contestant, faced the judges with Bring It Back. The song speaks about how calypsonians need to bring back traditional calypso to address the major issues of the day. Some patrons waved in concert with her delivery.
Ishaka McNeil who is going by Mr Shak this year is back with a bang as he performed Only One Song which highlights issues such as President Trump, crime, gun violence, the rise in bus fare and the BERT programme. He received an encore and came back on stage to delight the audience with his biting lyrics. He is definitely one to watch if he is chosen.
Shawnical did not perform his popular song Cradle, Milkshake for the judges but delivered De Victim. It’s well written and highlights many cases in the judicial system where the victims have been forgotten. He spoke of the shocking shooting death which occurred in Sheraton Mall a few months ago and called fore a return of the death penalty, “Bring back the hangman, let us have peace in our nation.”
Returning to the competition this year is the five-time Canadian Kiaso King Structure who performed Barbados Is Still My Home. He addressed the concern some Barbadians have about him competing as he is not a Barbadian. He stated that Barbados is still his home and so he has to speak about the social ills happening in his place of birth.
Jude Clarke gave a commendable performance of Before We Pray. In fine voice and with a flawless rendition he advised people to ensure they have their heart in order before they pray. Patrons were on their feet enjoying the message brought forth by Clarke.
Donella also delivered a commendable performance of De Ship, a nation-building song. With three different change keys, she showcased her vocal range. She also received a standing ovation and an encore.
Raheem performed Wait and See. He was in fine voice and should the judges be impressed, he is one to watch in the finals.
Kid Site performed No Sense in which he spoke about social ills which did not make sense. He even poked fun at the Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Carol Roberts-Reifer.
The standout performer of the night was De Announcer with Reading For Pleasure which has been banned from popular radio stations Starcom and CBC. In his song, the veteran calypsonian held no bars as he explained why Barbadians read for pleasure instead of scholarly material. In the encore, he touched on the fact that his songs were banned, threw his hat and copy of the popular book ‘Eric Jerome Dickey’ on the floor and delivered biting lyrics stating that the three persons who came together to ban his song should have a conversation about Eric Jerome Dickey. The members of the audience could not get enough of his performance as they stood, clapping and cheering.
Closing the night was Altuh Ego who sang Drunk or Sober. (LG)