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Kalypso Revue celebrates 50
Michael Osuna (Sugar Aloes) and Carlos James (Skatie) succeeded in staging a northern opening of Kalypso Revue befitting the calypso tent’s 50th anniversary on Thursday night, at SWWTU Hall, Port-of-Spain. The milestone event was attended by many specially invited guests, including Minister of Community Development Winston “Gypsy” Peters, retired Brigadier Carl Alfonso, and former Commissioner of Police Everald Snaggs.
At the top of the four-hour programme, speeches and an invocation were given by Canon Dean Knolly Clarke, Tuco president Lutalo Masimba (Bro Resistance) and Peters. The occasion was also celebrated with door prizes of a large flat-screen television set, and complimentary accommodation to Salybia’s Playa del Este Resort being given away.
Plaudits are well deserved by Osuna and James for the tight and compact, and well produced programme offered, hosted by Sprangalang and CT Vibe 105.1FM disc jockey CG. With a much improved sound system this year at the venue, when compared to that of previous years, performers were well accompanied by an orchestra led by JD Walcott.
Maze opened the night’s show on a celebratory mood, his Celebration Time commemorating the tent’s 50-year lifespan. He was followed by Independence Chutney Soca Best Nation Building Song awardee Falco, Immortal and M’ba. The night’s first encore was won by Dr Witty with an amusing double entendre titled Doh Go For Crown With That. The first female performer, Sexy Suzie, came next, performed the provocative Nothing Down Dey, winning an encore as well.
Next came Flashy Dan singing the very wordy Fighting Crime. I was particularly impressed by the offerings of the next two performers—Ninja and Marlon Edwards. Ninja’s thought-provoking Ah Buying is one of the most original compositions in any tent this year, while Edwards sang the well penned but racy Blind Man Hope.
One of my favourites on the programme was petite police officer Michele Henry, singing Blind Man Bluff, a song which comments on the Section 34 issue, embellished with references to Play Whe marks. This little lady packs a powerful voice and her diction and delivery are flawless.
Prophet Without Honour was Skatie’s ditty and its profound and thought-inspiring message was delivered with clarity.
Also with another very good composition came from Alicia Synette singing Moral Authority. She was the only singer to get two encores.
Another Guardian Media Limited employee, Andre Williams, borrowed from stick fighting lore for Bad Man Anand, complete with appropriate costuming and bois.
Consistent TSTT employee Devon Seale didn’t disappoint with the well crafted Game Show Politics and got a well deserved encore. One good song and performance deserves another and, resplendent in all white and lots of gold, Sugar Aloes followed, opening with Not The Land I Used To Know. From the audience’s response it seems that Aloes’ My Response has been sufficiently adequate to soothe the concerns of those who questioned his loyalty to the PNM after he sang She’s Royal to the Prime Minister on a People’s Partnership platform last year. He was warmly encored.
Rex East, introduced by CG as “the Road March King of Taiwan,” singing Eat Ah Food, rounded off the first half of the programme. I feel that this zany ditty would be better received if the sound engineer lessens the band’s sound to allow whatever lyrics there might be in the song to be discernible.
As is now traditional at the Revue, the show resumed with tribute being made to the tent’s founder, late Grandmaster Lord Kitchener, by Mr Starr singing Sugar Bum Bum.
Nicole Greaves then rendered Hammer Time, the Panorama selection of Witco Desperadoes.
Pink Panther was very clever with Travelling Woes, stating his distress to locate a ship to take him abroad, despite seeing a plethora of vessels berthed along the country’s entire coastline. Matching Panther in this area of wit was Bally, singing Clauses. Both were encored.
Also stoutly encored was Chalkdust for Prodigal Crook and Virginia, both ingeniously penned compositions.
Rounding off the programme were Baron and Impulse.
The Revue has a very entertaining programme. This is a tent in which its producers seem to have taken particular care to select singers with good diction who could render a calypso properly, one of the main criteria in years of yore by Kitchener, and deceased managers Carl “Jazzy” Pantin and Sonny Woodley.