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Soca trio steals the show

Thursday, January 30, 2014
Carnival Melee
This starry-eyed fan is totally captivated by Bunji Garlin at the Out Cooler Fete at Napa in San Fernando on Friday night. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL

When it comes to fete performances worth the money we pay to experience them, Bunji Garlin, Fay-ann Lyons and the Asylum Vikings are at the top of the tier, followed closely by Grenada’s Rolly Polly man Mr Killa and the sweet tones of Kerwin Dubois.


Last weekend, those three acts stood apart from the rest at the fetes we attended. 


At Queen’s Royal College’s (QRC) revamped carnival event, Fete Royale, Kerwin Dubois delivered a performance that had patrons to sing along about bumpers being “too real.”


The event, which started at 5 pm had a surplus of food—Italian, Creole, Arabic, Indian and Chinese—and drinks from Carib’s elevated beer bar to Angostura’s semi-enclosed cocktail lounge. It began with a performance from Kes the Band, who was soon followed by Dil-e-Nadan but it wasn’t until Kerwin Dubois came on stage asking for permission to “wuk” that the crowd flocked from the bars and food court to the stage. Then came Mr Killa, who promptly invited a “rolly polly” on to the stage and gyrated on her to the crowd’s delight.


Bunji and Fay-Ann were in fine form, with a performance that appealed to the diverse audience. Their oldies as well as the new songs were well-received. Initially, Carnival Melee wasn’t too keen on her dance inspired Catch Me, but her performance at QRC won us over. Fete Royale was attended by the closest thing we have to local royalty, President Anthony Carmona.


After QRC, Carnival Melee took a brisk walk in the light drizzle across to the savannah for Fire Fete. Where QRC attracted a mixed crowd, spanning several generations, Fire Fete patrons were definitely younger and more robust. 


Shortly after midnight Destra Garcia graced the stage in a short, black, cheek revealing body suit and fish-net tights, performing her new hits like A Little Bit and older songs. Destra shared the stage with her newest band member Olatunji Yearwood and her friend Jaiga, formerly known as Super Jigga TC. 


Strangely, Fire Fete patrons this year seemed somewhat subdued. A theory shared by a friend suggests that this is because there really aren’t many Power soca tunes to encourage the wild abandon and wicked joviality needed in a fete.


Dare we say, this is another year where groovy has taken over? What do we have in terms of power? Iwer George’s Mama Oi, Machel Montano’s Ministry of Road, Erphaan Alves’ Hearing Ah Talk? Are radio stations playing any other power soca tunes? We aren’t hearing them.


Speaking about Machel Montano, we also popped over to One Fete at the Oval to catch his performance. The party, like Fire fete was a bit subdued, and Montano tried his very best to bring the crowd to life. 


The crowd responded best to his older tunes and the master performer that he is, he got the hype up to the right pitch before unleashing his 2014 power jam, Ministry of Road. Ministry of Road seems to be one of the Road March frontrunners with the catchy hook, We want MOR, but the season still has some way to go and more artistes have to release their bombs. 


This year’s One Fete will be the last, according to promoters Ultimate Events. It’s one of the best organised parties in the season and lots of people will miss it. 


We didn’t go to Out in San Fernando on Friday night, Fantasy’s iUP or Fall Out’s Full View Breakfast Party in Gulf View, San Fernando on Sunday morning, but from the number of exuberant tweets about those parties, we can tell they were great. 


The International Soca Monarch went into a higher gear this week with the announcement of the semi-finalists and draw for places for that show which takes place on February 9 at the Arima Velodrome. 


There are 36 artistes scheduled to perform in the Power category and 41 in the Groovy category. 


We’re not sure if our bodies can make it through 77 performances, but where else will you find this many artistes performing without having to pay an exorbitant fee?


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