The Montserrat Arts Council successfully pulled off its first virtual event for the End of Year Celebrations on Saturday with the Calypso Eliminations but not without a bit of controversy.
Ably hosted by Sharlene Lindsay and backed with a stellar production team which kept the evening moving along, 24 calypsonians sang their hearts out to a mostly empty Cultural Centre. The council had hoped to provide limited seating in the centre for a live audience but in the weeks leading up to the event, Premier Joseph Farrell announced that all events were to be virtual.
Several local watch parties were held across the island which allowed for some communal engagement during the eliminations. A crowd favorite in Salem at Desert Storm was Robert Baker – Shortie’s Agouti and Iguana. He sang about the constant loss of his produce to the animals, a call that many local farmers have been echoing this year as they work to increase local production.
Another popular song was Desmond Brown – The Undertaker’s Social Media Lover. He seemed to suffer some wardrobe malfunctions and so did not bring his usual energy to his performance. The song, written by Justin “Hero” Cassell, which shows The Undertaker’s ability to make fun of himself, is on rotation on local radio.
Saturday’s show missed some of the regular faces such as Storm, Kandie, and Red Ride. The three female performers were mostly newcomers to the competition. The judges were not impressed enough with Samantha Inniss singing Marriage (video below), written by The Bear, Ife “I-feh” Eshe, who wrote her own song I Don’t Want No Blessing or Maxcine “Fen Yun” Osborne with Man’s Quest for Success to send them through to the finals.
Making notable first time appearances and going through to the finals are reigning soca champion Trevon “Trevvle” Pollard who called for Calypso Reform and Delroy “Delz” Joseph with Calypso Lyrics. Both have really strong songs and performed well, which could see them making top tier appearances in the finals, if their second songs are equally as strong.
COVID-19 was of course the hot topic throughout the night. Both in its direct effect on health but also how it has affected the local end of year celebrations. Clifford “Mad Max” Yearwood returned to the stage this year after a long absence with Six Foot Jouvert, James “Cruzer” Browne had a Carnival Fantasy, Herman “Cupid” Francis mourned When the World Stopped and Kenneth “Lazer” Greenaway sang that 2020 made a liar of him in Serious Times. Steve “Michigan” Watts was begging his mother to Change His Name From COVID, Michael “Sonny Money” Greenaway said we are going to have to party From a Distance this year and Elton “Chipsa” Galloway sang that we gonna have to play Mas in Your Mask.
Kelvin “Tabu” Duberry’s solid delivery of Before It’s Too Late made him an easy entry into the top 10. As expected Keithroy “The Voice” Morson’s performance of Call Daddy as the final performance for the night was worth the wait. He will be the man to beat in the finals. Do not sleep on Stevel “D Rod” Rodney who is also in the finals and executed Let the Young People Shine like a seasoned performer.
Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott, Director of the MAC announced early Monday on radio that they have taken a decision to add one more singer to the finals, slated for December 29. He said King NattE, who was one point behind Kulcha Don would be permitted to compete. Kulcha Don had began his performance then stopped abruptly, apologised and left the stage. Silcott said no reason for this had been communicated to the judges, who scored him fresh once he returned. As the judges decision was final, he would be allowed to compete although in previous years him leaving the stage would have disqualified him from the show. King NattE will bring the number to 11 who will take on the reigning monarch Steve “Ice Man” Weekes.
The finalists are Keithroy “The Voice” Morson, Trevon “Trevvle” Pollard, Heman “Cupid” Francis, Kelvin “Tabu” Duberry, Delroy “Delz” Joseph, Stevel “D Rod” Rodney, Baptiste “Baptiste” Wallace, Kenneth “Lazer” Greenaway, Brian “I Cultural” Charles, Reinford “Kulcha Don” Gibbons and Kevin “King NattE” Farrell.
The MAC head said he will continue to push the authorities to permit a socially distanced audience for the final shows later this month.
Listen here – https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/saturday-december-12-2020-montserrat-calypso-competition-elimination-round-2020/