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Bunji, Superblue biggest stars for 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013
LEFT: 2013 saw a more dapper, suave Bunji Garlin than in the past. With MTV Iggy and Soul Train Awards in 2013, his fans are eagerly looking for great things from him in 2014. RIGHT: Austin “Superblue” Lyons performs on stage at the Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch finals at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain. Photo: Abraham Diaz

Compared to years gone by, 2013 can be defined as a quiet year in terms of entertainment. This year’s Carnival season being short, there was a flurry of pre-festival activity, with all-inclusive fetes being the pick of entertainment activity. Fantastic Friday, staged at Hasely Crawford Stadium by Caribbean Prestige Foundation (CPF), was certainly the blue-riband event of the Carnival. Held on Carnival Friday, February 8, the finals were graced by the attendance of “royalty” guest stars Vivica Fox, Tatiana Ali, Damien Dante Wayans, Darrin Benson, Baby Cham and Popcaan.
The programme, opened by 2012 National Panorama champion Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, also included the NLCB Tribute to the Classics segment, featuring David Rudder, Lord Laro and Ronnie McIntosh. At the end of a long night of performances, Machel Montano was named winner of the Digicel International Groovy Monarch.


At the end of probably the best final of the Play Whe International Power Monarch, the competition saw the return of former Road March champion and Soca Monarch SuperBlue, performing his phenomenal song Fantastic Friday. However, the judges were also most impressed by Montano’s performance of Float, so much so they named Montano and SuperBlue joint champions. Maybe it was the power of Superblue’s Fantastic Friday on Carnival Friday night which jetted him to yet another Road March win, his song breaking all previous records. Most expressed shock over the news that the National Carnival Commission (NCC) would dismember Dimanche Gras on Carnival Sunday night at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, staging the National Calypso Monarch final on the previous Thursday, and the finals of the King and Queen of Carnival on Carnival Friday night. The change was a failure, as a small audience attended the Friday-night contests and the retooled Dimanche Gras, dubbed I Am Carnival, fared no better.


Pan Trinbago kept the national instrument alive through 2013 with its Pan in D Countryside series of concerts nationwide, including Speyside, Tobago, the final edition held this month in Siparia. Pan icon and living legend Neville Jules was celebrated in March by his equally famous steel orchestra  Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars. Other significant pan events in 2013 included Pan on D Avenue, staged by the Woodbrook Community Association, along Ariapita Avenue in Woodbrook; Len “Boogsie” Sharpe’s concert in July, also in Woodbrook, at Little Carib Theatre; the Laventille Steelband Festival; and Pan Trinbago’s staging of Pan is Beautiful XII at the Queen’s Park Savannah and NAPA, Port-of-Spain. Among the steelbands participating in Pan on D Avenue were PCS Silver Stars, Witco Desperadoes, Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, bpTT Renegades, CAL Invaders, Starlift, Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille, Humming Bird Pan Groove, Harvard Harps, St James Tripolians, Woodbrook Modernaires, Tokyo, and Trinidad Pan Connoisseurs.


The parade also included the first King and Queen of Carnival Colin Edghill and Kay Christopher, crowned in 1963, the first Carnival of T&T’s nationhood. The year 2013 also had some memorable moments for some popular artistes. Destra launched her new band Bakanal and rebranded herself at a gala birthday bash at Club Zen. Denise Belfon did the same for her birthday celebration, at the same Port-of-Spain venue. The year also saw the relaunch of Caribbean Traffik Jam, and coming out Oscar B’s new band, Vibes. David Rudder, marking his 60th birthday, gave a remarkable concert, Rudder 6.0, in the Queen’s Park Savannah, and Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) sustained a hectic year, doing concerts nationwide. The organisation’s regional arms, as well as those of Pan Trinbago, hosted several lively and enjoyable events. TUCO also held its overdue general elections and Lutalo “Bro Resistance” was legitimised as the organisation’s president.


Touring extensively, taking the music of T&T worldwide were the Chutney Soca Monarch KI and his band JMC 3Veni, Karma, Kes the Band, Blaxx and Roy Cape All Stars, Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann & Asylum Viking Band, Montano, Rudder and Nadia Batson. However, the crowning glory in local entertainment was the nomination of Bunji Garlin and Montano in the 2013 Soul Train Awards, in the International Performer of the Year category. Garlin won the award for his 2013 smash single Differentology. Garlin also shared the award for Song of the Year in a poll by MTV Iggy.