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The Ultimate in fetes
Having survived the most hectic C2K13 weekend thus far, I am still here and looking forward to even more to come. The weekend actually began as early as Thursday night when Chocolate City launched its J’Ouvert presentation—Total Recall—at its Stone Street camp.
Guests partied late into the night to the music of DJ The Communicator while enjoying bake and shark by Patsy from Maracas, and corn soup from Nellie. Of course, chocolate-bathed models showed off skimpy costumes, with chocolate-dipped sweets being served.
On Friday night, depressed and saddened by the news of my colleague Junior Valentine being murdered that morning outside his Laventille home, it took a real effort for me to make it to Port-of-Spain City Hall for the premiere of the Klassic Ruso tent.
Attended by a large crowd, the tent, led by TUCO North Zone’s Contender (Mark John), presented a commendable production. With special guests Community Minister Winston “Gypsy” Peters and NCC chairman Alison Demas in attendance, Ruso offered a well-balanced programme.
Making me sit up and take notice was young Sergio Francisco, facially a stunning photocopy of his father, Calypso King of the World Sparrow. Young Francisco impressed with one of his compositions, titled When you take a life.
With entertaining performances by the Hendrickson family (All Rounder and daughters Shirlaine and Lady Wonder), Versatile, Typher, Helon Francis and Hercules, Klassic Ruso is well worth a visit this season.
Aside from having a well rehearsed band, it also has possibly the most eye-pleasing chorus group of the 11 calypso tents in operation this year.
On the topic of calypso tents, having attended the opening of Kaiso House, based in the Queen’s Park Savannah, on Tuesday night, with a little tweaking and programme adjustment, TUCO’s flagship tent can be one of the better ones this year.
With intermission not taken as late as 11 pm, I left early but must say that in the first half, veterans Bro Valentino and Mudada are on top of their game and ought to make the monarch competition judges sit up and take notice.
I shall return to Kaiso House next Thursday night. I was unable to make it to the Queen’s Park Savannah on Friday night for the National Panorama Single Pan preliminary or to the opening Kalypso Revue in Arima.
Saturday opened early for me as I attended a “soup lime” in the west. The chef seemed to have included every type and meat and provision in his delicious concoction and, having consumed the fare, and imbibing a few drinks, going out later that evening was really a challenge.
But, bad mind placed me early on the precincts of Bishop Anstey High School for the annual Old Hilarians all-inclusive party.
With the sun yet to set, Anslem Douglas opened the performances. He was followed by a much energised Dil-e-Nadan, fuelled by vocalists Raymond Ramnarine, Dr Seales, General Imran Khan and vivacious Candy Hoyte. This quartet combined well to offer a non stop slew of past and current hits.
Dil-e-Nadan continues to be one of our most entertaining bands in Carnival, and patrons showed their appreciation at the end of an energetic perfomance.
Destra and her band upped the tempo just after dusk but I found her set was thrown offtrack with the inclusion of guest performers, as the flow of her vibes seemed to get derailed.
Destra, however, won new fans and was applauded when, having invited sight-impaired James Morris to join her on stage for a wine, she stated, “He is blind, not an invalid,” as people stage side rushed to assist him off.
Iwer George had himself a ball at Bishops and didn’t hold back for his entire performance—and he seems to have improved his wining skills.
“Mashing up fete” is a well deserved tag for Iwer, regardless of what he sings. Roy Cape All Stars provided Old Hilarians’ do with an ecstatic climax, complimenting the fact that the ‘girls’ delivered on their promise of excellent music and ambience, and great cuisine.
Though just a few footsteps away in the Savannah, I was unable to mosey on over to Fire Services’ Blaze It Up fete, opting instead to view the Caribbean T20 match, in progress in the Oval between Guyana and T&T.
To say the atmosphere was electric would be an understatement as the power of the Red Force was on and off the field. Team T&T gave the packed venue a cricket match to remember as it completely decimated Guyana.
I also couldn’t get to Ultimate Events’ ONE Fete at Jean Pierre Complex, but my representative, the much younger and certainly more energetic Kalifa Clyne did, and reported that the organisers were successful in giving patrons their money’s worth, especially in terms of service, food and drink.
Party organiser Dennis Ramdeen needs to market his template on how to properly stage a successful all-inclusive fete after his outstanding showing on Sunday for the UWI Fete(“Yalla!......Let's Go!”).
Held in aid of the UWI Development & Endowment Fund, this fete was off the chain, attended by what seemed to be thousands.
The floor map of the principal’s residence and adjoining greenery was dotted with an exhaustive variety of Arabic cuisine, interspersed by Indian, Creole and other ethnic fare.
Stalls were festooned with the branding pennants of a dizzying array of liquor providers, and patrons also enjoyed the luxury of a massage parlour, make up experts, skin enhancement advisors and other attractions.
Yalla was not short on live entertainment and performing from two stages simultaneously were Roy Cape All Stars, featuring Blaxx; Kes the Band, featuring Kees Dieffenthaller; JMC 3Veni, featuring KI; Dil-e-Nadan, featuring Raymond Ramnarine; David Rudder; Black Stalin; Oscar B; Chucky; and, DJ Crosby.
Rudder, accompanied by the All Stars, turned in a rivetting and infectious performance, rendering at least a dozen of his past hits. Stalin also showed that age is just a number and people really enjoy the vintage stuff.
Having attended many all-inclusive parties last weekend, I have somes words of advice for some of our soca artistes: Oh gorm, please try and limit the talking between songs. Patrons didn’t spend good money to hear about your family life, who doesn’t like you, or who you think you are better than.
Also, singing over sampled music is a big no no, unless you are trying to be the Milli Vanelli of soca. One more thing, one verse of your tune doth not a song make. Teasers are for electronic media ads.
The big do this weekend is Sunday’s International Soca Monarch semi-finals, scheduled for The Velodrome in Arima. Thirty hopefuls, in the categories of Groovy and Power Soca, have qualified to face the judging panel.