Super Gladiators Calypso Tent was the second tent to be judged by the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) to select the finalist to face defending monarch Mr Blood at the Pic-O-De-Crop competition on August 2, 2019.
The show had a packed house of Kaiso lovers such as Wife of the Former Governor of the Central Bank Monica Drayton-Worrell, Tony Grazette and his wife Andrea Grazette, Smokey Burke as well as representatives of the House of Soca Calypso Tent, First Citizens De Big Show and Cave Shepherd All Stars Calypso Tent.
The first contestant to be judged was a new entrant to the Pic-O-De-Crop Big J who sang Sparrow’s Tribute which pays homage to veteran calypsonian The Mighty Sparrow.
Sweet D gave a commendable rendition of Respect Due. She was in fine voice as she sang about how respect is due in every facet of society.
Gregory G was also in fine voice as he sang the Beggars Plight, in which he spoke about the plight that ‘beggers’ have on the island. He repeated the refrain “Begger man, begger man, change up your plan”, where he encouraged the ‘beggers’ to aspire to achieve greatness.
Blank gave a creditable rendition of Wanted Blood which speaks about the last election where the Barbados Labour Party won 30-0. He emphasized the line “Bajans wanted blood, blood was all that I am hearing…”
Veteran entertainer Chairman explained why kaiso cannot be one song as it stemmed from persons singing for Massa. Despite forgetting a line at the beginning of his song he recovered to complete his song. He sang the line “Crop Over was never a one song,” he said.
Receiving the first encore of the night was Longfellow who delivered biting lyrics in his song Not A Fact. The song which covers many social issues of the day became sweeter in the encore as he sang a verse about embattled former Member of Parliament Donville Inniss who is facing money laundering charges. Should he receive the nod from the judges he will be one to watch in the finals.
Back from an over two-decade hiatus Ranking Moss was before the judges singing Hope. The nation-building song spoke about his hope for Barbados as it seeks to develop.
Papa Cloud tackled the current spate of gun violence on the island with his song De Gunz. He emphasized what is happening on the island with a recorded 32 murders thus far, with the majority of them being gun related when he sang, “Move the guns, run the guns, fear the guns, bullets can done.”
Colleen received an encore for her nation-building song Renew Your Vows. A member of the audience stood while other members blew a horn and waved their Barbadian flags as she sang her song in fine voice. Colleen was dressed in her national ensemble added to her patriotic message.
If the judges were looking for creativity, then Mike Thompson would have received a nod. His Spouge-influenced song Tell Jackie Opel was catchy and the most melodic song of the night. No stranger to the stage having travelled the world with Troubadours International he entertained the audience as he did a full split almost at the end of his performance.
Apollo received two encores from members of the audience who could not get enough of his performance of De Gospel Truth. The song which speaks about the social ills in the country repeats the refrain, “ It is the gospel truth, I ain’t telling lies, no lies!”. In his first encore, he sang a stanza about the fact the Minister of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports John King has neglected the restoration of the National Stadium but is supportive of sports. He also spoke about the establishment of Joseph Atherley’s party and that he may be following money instead of God.
Rocky gave a passionate performance of Beat Dem Daddy. In the song, he shared with the audience the advice his daughter gave him when he entered the competition as she is counting on him to be victorious.
Newcomer does not describe Frank White although it is his first year in competition. He was pure class as he performed his song Nothing Ain’t Change. Armed with props such as his stack of bills and his pay package, he addressed the issue of nothing in Barbados changing despite the country having a new administration. He received two encores and each time the audience called him back up he had more biting lyrics to render to the audience, one of which was how David Commisong has not been arguing about Hyatt since he received his Ambassador position. He also sang despite the NCF making a change to the competition which has seen the return of veteran calypsonians still some calypsonians complain. Should he receive a nod from the judges he will be one to watch.
De Hammer performed his self-penned song Take It out of We culture. The song which was well written by the calypsonian who had formerly received an award for his songwriting skills. The song speaks about topical issues such as wandering and the rape culture and he said, “ Take it out of we culture!”.
The final calypsonian to be judged was veteran calypsonian Prince Yellow who performed his up-tempo song Sophie. He was full of energy as he pranced around the stage dancing to the beat of his song.
Veteran entertainer PJ who has a cleverly written song entitled Transparen C did not go before the judges this year but delivered his song to the audiences listening pleasure.
Closing the night was Mike Thompson who performed his uptempo release Ah Fed Up which made it to the Soca Monarch finals.(LG)