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A hot start to the Big Fete season

Friday, January 24, 2014
Soca star Fay-Ann Lyons, is about to drop a cheeky freestyle verse for her husband Bunji Garlin during their energetic performance at Soka In Moka at Trinity College on Sunday evening. PHOTO: DARREN RAMPERSAD

Which fete really starts Carnival? Around the T&T Guardian newsroom the argument is between Tribe ICE cooler fete and Trinity College’s Soka in Moka.


They are two very different events. Tribe brings the cooler action, costs less and had great performances from among others, Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin while Soka in Moka is the first in demand all-inclusive event for the season.


They were both great events that signalled to different demographics that Carnival has started.


Tribe Ice was packed with cooler-toting fete-goers from as early as 11 pm. Inside the fete, DJs blasted soca songs from 2013 and the new music for this Carnival season, with Machel and Bunji on heavy rotation. Both artistes received the thumbs-up from patrons, who were trying to guage the temperature—albeit a bit early—for what song might dominate the road. 


This year, Soka in Moka drew its largest ever crowd. Priced at $700, it is one of the more reasonably priced all-inclusive fetes and it certainly lived up to its reputation as a well-organised event with fantastic entertainment. 


If you went to the party with your “belly in your hand”, there was a wide range of culinary options from which to choose. As usual, the big hits were the Chinese food and the roast pig. There was a change in the musical lineup this year, with Bunji, Fay-Ann and the Asylum Vikings replacing Kes the Band as headliners. And what a change it was. Bunji and Fay-Ann electrified the crowd, with Bunji delivering the hits like So And So, Irregular, Snake Oil, last year’s classic Differentology and this year’s Truck on D Road and All O’Dem. But it was Fay-Ann who literally got the crowd on the move with her 2014 hit Done De Party. Expect this tune to “mash up” lots of fetes this year. 


Also we hit the first concert in the Eye Slam Concert Series sponsored by Slam 100.5fm and Kes the Band delivered an energetic and entertaining performance, though we will admit that they got more love for last year’s hits as compared to their newer work, with the exception of the song Never See Come See which seemed to be a hit.


Akil Borneo (5 Star Akil) hit the ball for six with his performance of Partier and this year’s hit To My Heart. Crowd reaction was at 100 per cent.


There seems to be more soca than radio stations can keep up with and the typical heap of bacchanal and over 150 fetes and Carnival events over the next six weekends, culminating on Carnival Friday night at the International Soca Monarch Finals.


There is a longer season and fetes are plentiful. The last weekend before Carnival Monday and Tuesday will see 21 events taking place, most of which are being held in Port-of-Spain. We have a long way though, before we get there.



The Bacchanal



The National Carnival Commission (NCC) has changed the route for the Parade of the bands. This means that bands that usually follow the parade route will be heading East across the Savannah stage, instead of West.


Prepare for protests, boycott’s etc. If it’s anything like last season, no decision will actually be made until days before our beloved national festival anyway.


Farmer Nappy also found himself in a bit of a bacchanal early on, when it was discovered that his song Big People Party, an ode to all-inclusive events, had a doppleganger in the form of another similar tune from St Lucian artist Teddyson John released in 2012, also called Big People Party. It turns out that Farmer didn’t actually write the song but purchased it from Ghostwriters. Ghostwriters claim they wrote the song way before Teddyson sang his version and apparently, the two artists reached some sort of settlement. That’s the story we got from Farmer Nappy anyway. We’re glad he didn’t dance around the issue.


As we are on the topic of dancing, Machel Montano has hired a group of foreign dancers to accompany him on stage during performances.


Nobody seems to be overly concerned about where his old dancers have crawled off to, but after Montano’s performance at Tribe, social media came alive with criticisms on the new girls’ nationalities.


Umm, Hello! Montano is not the only soca artist to use dancers that weren’t local to support his act. Does anybody remember Destra in 2010? Cool it? She too had foreign dancers so let’s all calm down. It’s not a first but it is Machel and he makes such a perfect target for criticism so we won’t harp on it too much. As far as we are concerned the dancers are great, though we will miss Britney Dookie’s antics if he performs his hit Bend Over.



The Music




We have a long season and six whole weeks, during which time more music will be released, but so far, out of the hundreds of songs released to radio stations, only a handful seem notable. Or maybe only a handful are getting airplay. Either way, where is all the good soca? Carnival 2013 was vibes, this year seems a bit lacklustre but it’s still early yet.


What we do have is one “big, bad, stink truck” on the road. Bunji Garlin had a fantastic season last year with Differentology. The song surpassed itself even after Carnival, copping Garlin a Soul train award last year. And this year’ he is already at the top of the tier, with his songs Truck on D Road and Red Light District. Shal Marshall has a great jump-up tune with Feel 2 Wuk and Mr Nutron delivered a sweet Groovy tune with Bubblin.


We are also very excited about Erphaan Alves’ new power track, Hearing Ah Talk. A promo video was released earlier this week and the song is catchy and fun to listen to. If you haven’t heard it, check Youtube now.


We have a lot of the regular stuff from Machel Montano but the big question is, what is Super Blue going to bring forward to defend his shared Soca Monarch crown. So far he has two songs, Spankin, which pan men are going to have fun with this season and a song called Champion Daddy that is…well…not that great, according to popular opinion. 


There are a lot of songs that aren’t getting much airplay.



Trend of the week.




The Rolly Polly. The definition of a Rolly Polly is, to be perfectly clear, a fat woman. The term has been made popular by Grenada’s soca sensation Mr Killa, with his song Rolly Polly and the plus size women in local society have taken ownership of the term. It seems Mr Killa has given plus size women a reason to be proud of their size. While views on the song may range from full out adoration to contempt, it remains one of the most popular songs for the season so far.


Weekend Fete Schedule




8:30 am: Flavorite Supreme Ice Cream National Schools Soca Monarch Semi Finals. City Hall, Port-of-Spain


10 pm: OUT Cooler Fete. South Academy of Performing Arts (SAPA) compound, San Fernando. 



5 pm: Evolve All Inclusive. Evolution Park, Chaguanas. 


5 pm: Fete Royale (Queen’s Royal College), QRC Courtyard, St Clair. 


8 pm: Lydians Limers Inc.’s Handle It! Fundraising Cooler Cruise. Harbour Master, Port-of-Spain 


9 pm: 1 Fete All-Inclusive. Queen Park Oval, Port of Spain


10 pm: Heatwave (Fire Fete 2013). Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain.



5 am: In Full View Breakfast Party. Gulf View, San Fernando.


10 am: Carnival Hunters 2.0 - Police Academy Training Grounds, St. James


3 pm: Tobago Love the Xperience All Inclusive. Bishop’s High School compound, Scarborough, Tobago. 


3 pm: Set It Off Cooler Cruise. Harbour Master, Port-of-Spain 


3 pm: Jour De Fete. Canboulay Restaurant and Lounge. 


4 pm: The Kooler Inclusive. Anchorage, Chaguaramas


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