Thursday 11th May, 2006


Rapso women sing against crime

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Shakilah, accompanied by a guitarist, gestures during her performance, calling on the audience to take back T&T from the criminals.
Photo: Sean Nero


Women of rapso protested the nation’s growing social decay and spiralling crime rate, in song, last Thursday, and called for a return to strong family values and respect for mankind.

Their crusade complemented similar ongoing efforts by rapso stalwarts Bro Resistance and Karega Mandela.

Both artistes tackle these issues in their musical works each time they take the spotlight.

At a musical showcase titled Woman in Rapso, held at the AV Room, National Library, Port-of-Spain, female entertainers heightened the campaign for the citizens to take back their lives and ultimately save T&T.

Sister Ava, Denise Charles, Gillian Moor, Shakilah, Linda Byron, Rachel Kennedy, Sister Sonja, Terry-Ann Broomes and MC Tamara Williams all voiced concerns relating to the high level of deviant behaviour prevalent in T&T and made a clarion call for a return to better days.

Denise Charles opened the show with a hard-hitting piece titled Greatest Sin, in which she asked: “Did you know the devil created an entire new wing in hell for crooked politicians in T&T? Politicians are the greatest sin in T&T.”

Shakilah directed her cannons at critics who challenge her credibility as a rapso artiste, saying: “A lot of people want to categorise me, but rapso is my foundation. I stand on my foundation, whether I dance in jazz or blues.”

Then, she called on citizens to fight for the betterment of T&T, as well as the common man since victory “is our own.”

“I want to hear God, because crime is hurting the country,” was the cry from Sister Sonja.

She continued: “Blood flows like water and each day we hurt another. The nation is mourning. Children are dying. This land of mines is in trouble and pain.”

Recent attacks on the rapso art form by Tuco president Michael Legerton, who said this genre of music was not calypso, did not escape the attention of Sister Ava.

“There are people who feel that rapso has no place in this land, but God will deal with that. God is not only a father, but a Godfather.”

Moving on with her performance, she offered the popular number titled Shake the Tree and Let the Manna Fall.

The celebration of womanhood and sisterhood were heartfelt from a cast full of conviction.

Delivering an item called Wo-man, Rachel Kennedy addressed the issue of waning respect for women, saying that without them there would be no new life, while Linda Byron offered a three-song medley in which she celebrated the country’s strides, condemned the bad boy culture and pointed to a return to spiritual values.

Entertainer Gillian Moor took the audience back to the days of Government’s crime initiative called Anaconda, in which she related the attacks on the urban rude-boy by the joint army and police patrols.

She sang: “They would storm the so-called ghetto, a PR pappy-show in broad daylight, taking away our human rights. A police state—a big snake in town.”

No one assembled could escape the energy that filled the AV room, neither could they misconstrue the messages conveyed.

The events on stage moved hostess Tamara Williams to say: “I call on fathers to bond with their sons and give their children love. Fathers need to be more visible. Mothers have their faults and will make mistakes too, but fathers must be visible in a positive way and return balance in the homes.”

Terry-Ann Broomes gave the audience reason to laugh with a piece titled Never to Love Again.

“I speaking about getting a horn—getting a tabanca,” she declared.

The audience laughed hysterically.

Additionally, Broomes took patrons back to her childhood days, sharing pleasurable experiences she had in the company of her mother and grandmother—the people who taught her about developing family values, which are said to be almost non-existent in today’s society.

A guest performance from Carol Jacobs ended the evening’s programme.

Jacobs had no rapso item to offer, but her infectious soca rhythms were welcomed.

She related her family’s decision to migrate to the United States of America, the pain it caused, the adjustments they had to undergo and their love for sweet T&T.

Hush Yuh Mouth was the first selection on her three-song repertoire, followed by Carnival Deficiency Syndrome, before culminating the evening’s playbill with A Tribute to Kitch.

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