It's finally arrived; Carnival 2014. This weekend is chock-full with finals for calypso, soca, pan and mas.
Arguably the biggest and most elaborate event in the festival, the Digicel International Groovy Soca Monarch and Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch finals take place tonight at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Port-of-Spain at 9 o'clock.
Also on the billing are the Carib Breakout Artiste of the Year, between T&T's Erphaan Alves and Grenada's Mr Killa; and, the NLCB Tribute to the Classics, featuring Rupee of Barbados and T&T's Scrunter.
All told, there are 23 artistes contesting the two categories of the Soca Monarch competition. In addition, the event will be attended by Hollywood red carpet hit-makers Boris Kodjoe, Nicole Ari Parker, Anthony Anderson, Tahiry Jose and Damien Dante Wayans. That's not all, also stars in their own right will be guest artistes Soul Train Award winner Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons and the Asylum Vikings Band, and Kes the Band.
Tonight is also Big Friday in the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, at 7 pm. Hosted by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA), it is the finals of the King and Queen of Carnival competitions. Twenty kings and queens have qualified to face the judges on a programme which also includes a number of guest artistes.
From 7 am tomorrow, the Republic Bank Children's Parade of the Bands will be held, beginning at Adam Smith Square, Woodbrook and going to the Queen's Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. There is some controversy in this event over the change of route for the parade from the inner city to the western suburbs. Some bandleaders have stated that they will boycott the parade because of this change.
Tomorrow night sees the staging of the NationalPanorama finals for medium and large conventional steel orchestras. Among the large bands, the defending champion is Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove and it is stoutly challenged by Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars, Republic Bank Exodus, bpTT Renegades and Witco Desperadoes.
The 2014 National Calypso Monarch final has returned to Carnival Sunday, as an element of Dimanche Gras. A dozen calypsonians, each singing two songs, are all set to challenge defending monarch Pink Panther (Eric Taylor) for the million-dollar first prize.
This competition is wide open and it is extremely difficult to chose a clear-cut winner, if only because neither judges or the public knows what second song the contestants will perform.
People are saying that if Mr Shak has a second ditty that is as strong as Bois, the calypso he impressed Skinner Park with last Saturday, at the semifinals, he would be the new monarch.
Four former national monarchs–Pink Panther, Cro Cro, Kurt Allen, Chalkdust–are in the final, as well as the 50th Anniversary of Independence Monarch (Chucky) and former Young Kings monarch Brian London.
Order of appearance
Digicel International Groovy Soca finalists:
1. Ravi B Bread
2. Mr Famous Play More Local
3. Erphaan Alves Contagious
4. Skinny Fabulous Behaving the Worst
5. Denise "Saucy Wow" Belfon Chuku Chuku
6. Biggie Irie Need A Rhythm
7. Destra Garcia First Time
8. Tallpree Jab Nation
9. Farmer Nappy Big People Party
10. Cassi Man In Yuh House
11. Kerwin Du Bois Too Real
12. Machel Montano Happiest Man Alive
Play Whe International Power Soca Monarch finalists:
1. Ann-G We Love Carnival
2. Snakey Dhoti Short
3. Nadia Batson Rated R
4. Patrice Roberts Feting Di Most
5. SuperBlue Carnival YoYo
6. Iwer George Mama Oye
7. Lyrikal Lockdown
8. Devon Matthews Level It
9. Destra Garcia Mash Up
10. Mr Killa Rolly Polly
11. Machel Montano Ministry of Road
King & Queen of Carnival
1. Quars Al Sahraa Desert Sting – Wade Madray – 423
2. Zanzikil, Lord of Chaos – Curtis Eustace
3. Monkey Know What Tree to Climb – Ted Eustace
4. Nagin Saphera – The Serpent Charmer – Ravi Lakhan
5. De Tornado – Ronald Blaize
6. After Earth – Glenn Dave Lakhan
7. Madiba (The Heart of a Warrior) – Zinool Moahmmed
8. What Lies Beneath – Fareid Carvalho
9. Scorpion King – Earl Beckles
10. Poseidon Comin' – Clyde Bascombe
1. We Beat Pan Music – Gloria Dallsingh
2. High Noon on the Comanchero Sacred Grounds – Raevon Atherton
3. Indeera (Mother of India) – Denesha Jennings
4. Burrokeet Woman – Kay Mason
5. African Drum Dancer – Laura Rampersad
6. Warrior of Fire: Rise of the Mystic Phoenix – Alendra Bailey
7. Zamara, Mirage of the Oasis – Peola Marchan
8. The Unusual Beauty – Cherry-Ann Patrice Valere
9. Refraction: A Phenomenon of Light – Tamika George
10. Hera, Bonds of Unity – Tracell Frederick
National Panorama Finals
�2Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille
�2Arima Angel Harps
�2NGC La Brea
�2Neal & Massy
Trinidad All Stars
II Pan Groove
National Calypso Monarch
Incredible Myron B