It took less than an hour yesterday for the Electoral College to make official the election of Justice Paula-Mae Weekes as the sixth President of the Republic of T&T.
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Party-lovers breathe fire at savannah
No one at Fire Fete could have imagined it would turn out as it did. On Saturday, scores of Carnival lovers got confirmation that soca power couple, Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons would not be participating in the International Soca Monarch competition. The reason behind the decision was not stated, but the duo, who ended the show after 4 am on Sunday, made it clear they would ensure their supporters’ enjoyment throughout the rest of the C2K12 season. It was the fete that signalled the start of the Carnival revelry in T&T. From as early as 9.30 pm patrons pranced into the venue, ready to relieve themselves of the stress of the past work-week. Nadia Batson and SASS kicked things off early on with a performance that many rated highly, and indeed the praise was worthy.
Batson and her all-female team performed their hits of the season and sexily strutted their stuff across the stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. Batson’s singles No Pressure and Making Up were lapped up with ease by the crowd, most of whom knew the lyrics and sang along comfortably. The move to the Savannah came in for high praise from many patrons who welcomed the space and utilised it well, moving around easily and enjoying the atmosphere that the much anticipated event presented. Hosts Giselle D Wassi One and Jason Benn kept the vibe high throughout the night, introducing a number of solo artistes, some of whom weren’t billed to perform but still got the opportunity to.
Upcoming acts like The Millionaire Family, K-Rich, Erphaan Alves and Kurlz showcased their various stage shows with ease. K-Rich’s single, Nothing Less, proved to be the perfect singalong Carnival song and Alves, dressed in a red shirt and white pants, rendered an energetic performance that many appreciated. Other acts included Ziggy Rankin, whose powerful vocals filled the venue, Super Jigga TC, Shal Marshall and Carnival hit-maker Kerwin Du Bois. Du Bois, dressed in three-quarter pants and a white hooded sweatshirt, started his performance with Bacchanalist, his single on the Antilles riddim. He then jumped into I Am Soca, at one point speaking about the fact that he would be competing against Kees Dieffenthaller, whose winning Groovy Soca Monarch C2K11 single Wotless had been produced by him one year earlier.
Du Bois’ vibe was perfect on Saturday night and many gave him kudos for working the stage and entertaining the crowd in his unique way. Kes the Band, billed to perform at a number of fetes this season, brought a true visual production to Fire Fete, complete with dancers and a red, white and black coloured theme. Dieffenthaller, however, failed to truly capture the crowd with his island-pop-flavoured tracks, as throughout most of his performance, the Fire Fete revelers remained calm. It was Wotless, however, that invoked some heightened energy among patrons and after approximately 45 minutes, the band made its way off the stage. In between, patrons made their way to the side of the venue where bars lined the wall. On the opposite side, many snacked on bake and shark, fried fish and other tastes of T&T.
Just about 45 minutes after Kes’ performance, the final band for the night was announced and the crowd went wild. Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons and Asylum came on with vigour, ready to invoke the true spirit of Carnival. Lyons showed off her new hairdo and donned a red dress which showed off the front of her legs. She wore heels and moved effortlessly, but she soon took them off. Together, the husband and wife duo sent the crowd in a frenzy with tracks old and new. They voiced their dissatisfaction over their delayed start, as they were billed to hit the stage at 2.15 am and hadn’t been allowed to go on until approximately one hour later.
Soon after, the news came and everyone stood in shock. The former Soca Monarch winners would not be entering the competition in 2012. Bunji said it meant that their supporters’ enjoyment was all that mattered and so this was what could be expected in the weeks that followed. The night ended on a high note for Fay Ann, as she took to the cover of a cooler, singing Miss Behave to an amped-up crowd. They later called for her when she left the stage and she responded. It was a euphoric level of energy and excitement that simply couldn’t be compared.