The House of Soca Calypso Tent was the fourth 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.
There was a full house of kaiso lovers and dignitaries such as Minister of the Environment and National Beautification Trevor Prescod; Minister of Maritime Affairs and the blue economy Kirk Humphrey; Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn; Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment Adrian Forde; Chief Justice Sir Marston Gibson; former Consul General of Barbados at New York Dr Donna Hunte-Cox; wife of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Barbados Delisle Worrell, Monica Drayton-Worrell as well as representatives from Cave Shepherd All-Stars, De Big Show, writer Cheyne Jones, veteran entertainer Smokey Burke, among others.
The show started promptly at 8 p.m. and the first performer before the judges was veteran calypsonian Sir Gallon with Night Tickler. The song, a play on the word ‘tickling’, describes his encounter with a woman who liked to be tickled. Thus, he found various items to tickle her with. The song, with its cleverly written lines, had the audience in stitches.
Following him was former Pic-O-De-Crop king, Popsicle, with his up-tempo arrangement When We Pray. His song explained how something happens when we go on our knees and ask the Lord for assistance. He was joined on stage by three female performers who danced at the refrain, “Something going on up there, something something.”
At just 16 years old, Ranaan is the youngest competitor in this year’s Pic-O-De-Crop competition. But do not let the age fool you, as his voice is pleasing to the ear and shows he can go toe to toe with some of the veteran performers. His song, Mr Sir Don pays tribute to his late godfather, Don Marshall, and examines what topics he could write if he and Marshall came together to write a song as it would be “twice as strong.”
There was also a break for a bit of humour as Sharky, who was not before the judges, performed an entertaining routine of Wickedest Wine.
Sammy G was pure class as she delivered Write Me A Song. Her lyrical delivery was excellent even as she enjoyed herself on stage. She received an encore. Her song examines the way she has been criticized over the years and asks those critics to write her a song that would ensure she is remembered in Crop Over.
Mr Deejay may be visually impaired but in his song, I Can See More, he describes the issues in the society which he ‘can see’ and how he has the solutions but no one wants to have a discussion with him. He explained that Barbadians cannot see that they must help their neighbours and work in unity as selfishness is wrong. He received raving applause for his rendition.
Janine White and Angelo Lascelles left the audience in stitches as they did their version of the popular song by Alison Hinds and Peter Ram, Top Class Bubbler. The antics they shared on the stage filled the auditorium at the Derrick Smith Auditorium with laughter.
The judging continued with Jamoo who performed Jail Tale. Dressed as a shackled prisoner, he discussed the life that he lived selling drugs, committing murder and having sex with underage girls which led to him being incarcerated. He advises the youth, “The bad life is a lie, don’t you give it a try!”
Keisha Christian was passionate as she delivered Time and Tide. The song explains the limited amount of time we all have on earth and advises that it must be used wisely. Her props included a glowing hourglass with sand to represent how time waits on no one.
Billboard was also before the judges with At’tax. The song examines how heavy taxation has been implemented and the attacks on the island with 32 murders recorded so far this year.
Sir Ruel must be commended for his performance of T’is One Song which describes the benefits of having one song in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition. Now, he only has to wear “one shirt, one hat, one pant, one tie, a pair of socks and one pair of shoes.”
Veteran calypsonian, Malik, also provided a bit of humour as he sang Snitching in which he says he is snitching on everything that people are doing which range from infidelity to snitching to the police officers.
Rameses was the last act before the judges in the first half with Doan Like Rameses. The song has garnered a lot of support following his viral video and he received an encore from patrons who could not get enough of his biting lyrics. Back on stage, Rameses told veteran entertainer AC to take him off his Facebook page and warned fellow competitors that he is going to win the $100,000 cash prize this year.
In the second half, Lady Essence showcased her flexibility with her controversial song I Robbing Tonight. Clothed in a shimmery dress, Essence did a full split on stage which left the audience bewildered.
The first contestant of the second half was fourteen-time semifinalist Amazing Dre who performed His Pen, a sombre tribute to the late Don Sir Don Marshall.
Keerah also had a commendable performance of I Care in which she personifies Prime Minister Mia Mottley and states the things she cares about while highlighting what has been happening since the administration came into office.
Back in the competition after 13 years is defending Sweet Soca Champion Lil Rick who was before the judges with Mama. The song is a tribute to mothers who make a lot of sacrifices for their children.
Quon, the reigning Junior Monarch, gave the audience a glimpse of what they can expect in the competition as he performed Smart. The song explains how technology has taken over society and, in many ways, has become smarter than humans.
The next calypsonian to be judged was Doyenne who sang Hangman’s Cemetery which recounts the life of an inmate at the now defunct Glendairy Prison before being hanged. The man who committed murder gives a passionate appeal saying he is frightened to face the noose and is begging for the hangman’s mercy. Doyenne received an encore from the audience.
Jimmy Dan gave a creditable performance of De Sink Clear which speaks of the ways in which the proverbial sink in Barbados is now clear after the Barbados Labour Party has come into office.
Newcomer to the Pic-O-De-Crop, Faith was in fine voice as she delivered Build It, a nation-building song which encourages all Barbadians to come together to rebuild Barbados.
Reserve in the Junior Monarch competition, Dynamo, performed his song Doan Marry She in which he advises his friend of the dangers of marijuana usage.
Back in the Pic-O-De-Crop competition after a hiatus is Peter Ram who was before the judges with De Gathering. It speaks to the We Gathering 2020 event by the Minister Mia Mottley administration and he encourages Barbadians to get ready for the gathering. He was the final contestant amongst the 18 to be judged.
There was also a special guest performance from Soca Monarch finalist, Shaquille, who got the audience to sing along to Darlin’. Lil Rick and Mole sang Dey Wid Um as the show came to a close just after midnight. (LG)