Friday 28th July, 2006

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Food and soca weekend

Last weekend’s entertainment opened on an explosive note from as early as Friday when The Caribbean Shoppe produced The SuperBlue Road Show. Both the ambience and music at the St James showplace were exceptional with performances by calypsonians Dirty Curty, Cardinal, Cro Cro and the eight-time Road March champion. However, the night’s most applauded artiste was Bubble Man, a novel entertainer whose forte is retro ballads.

Dressed in a shimmering all red outfit, his eyes obscured by dark sunglasses, and his voice a mix between that of Jackie Wonder, Sylan Charles and Junior Byron from the ’70s, Bubble Man brightened the small, cozy, dimly-lit performing den with some popular past hits like Swamp Cooke’s Sam Stone and Clarence Carter’s Patches.

Another memorable vignette on the night was SuperBlue’s rhythmic soca version of Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean.

The folks at Caribbean Shoppe say their Friday night shows will definitely be a weekly event, including tonight’s which assumes the tone of Emancipation.

On Saturday night I attended one of the most enjoyable parties I’ve been to for a long time. I Love the ’90s—The Upper Level Reunion, held at YWCA’s St Clair courtyard, brought together many of the familiar faces once seen frequenting the West Mall party centre, as well as directors, promoters, DJs and entertainers.

Making the night a success was the hard-working committee of Michelle Foster, Sean Burkett, Ted Maundy and Richard Simply Smooth.

Some of the party people seen at the “Y” were Alvin Dorset and Percy Parker-Williams of the Red Post Posse fame; directors Hollis Kam, Lindsay Ward, Irwin Mohammed and Roxanne Brown; DJs Jus’ Jase, King International, and Joy Juice; performers Nikki Crosby, Alicia Wellington, Beverly Guevera and H2O Phlo; and, promoters Island People, Mona Lisa and La Flor.

Upper Level veterans also seen having fun at the “Y” were the deliciously beautiful Salandy sisters from Diego Martin, Natalia Ramjohn, Charlene Awai, “Big Mike” Antoine and Juliet de la Bastide, Hasely Crawford, Nicole Simmons, Michelle des Vignes, Karen and Allan Hackett, Kendall and Karen Lowhar, Karlene Fabien, Marlene and Michelle dos Santos, and Joanne Lewis.

Apart from the countless friendly faces, the real hook on Saturday night was the music. Successfully capturing the same allure and charm of Upper Level back in the day were DJs Chris from Joy Juice, who opened proceedings, Darryl, Richard Simply Smooth and Ishmael D’Demolition Man. So enjoyable was the party that attendance was hardly reduced by the time the final note was played at 4 am with most departing patrons concurring, “we’ll be back next year for part two of the Upper Level Reunion.”

This holiday weekend’s big party is Gentleman’s Ball Gold, hosted by LaFlor & George Bros at the T&T Hospitality Institute in Chaguaramas, on Monday night. This week, La Flor’s David George said: “GMB Gold is the ultimate drinks inclusive event, with tequila shots, wine bar, cocktail bar and three other main bars for patrons to choose from.

“We just want to remind folks that GMB is about style and class and dress on Monday night is ‘elegant in royal gold, sophisticated black or golden traditional African wear’.”

Last Sunday’s entertainment menu was a welcome one as it served as the weekend’s sobering period, with the main event being the finale of Taste T&T: A Festival of Flavours, hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Development Company, at Hasely Crawford Stadium. This culinary nirvana offered the best in food from 16 of the Caribbean’s best chefs, as well as a dizzying array of indigenous morsels from across the nation, inclusive of Tobago curry crab and dumplings, Maracas shark and bake, doubles and an assortment of sweets and condiments.

Official figures estimate that over 5,000 visitors came to the stadium on Sunday evening and they were treated to some fine live entertainment from a star-studded cast that included elan parle, Nalini Akal and N9 Dancers, Ken “Professor” Philmore, Noel La Pierre, St Augustine Chamber Orchestra, Jeunes Agape and Pantasy Steel Ensemble, plus popular traditional Carnival characters.

A special word of praise must be given to Brian Mac Farlane whose Design Studios did the very impressive design and construction of the complete transformation of the venue into a virtual theme park, complete with erupting volcanoes, bridges, illuminated sculptures by Louise Kimme and lit lanterns.

The firebreather was a popular attraction at Sunday’s Taste T&T: A Festival of Flavours.

Photos: David Wears

Legacy bandleader “Big Mike” Antoine and his fair lady, Juliet de la Bastide.

Popular comedienne Nikki Crosby, left, hangs out with her sister Sabrina Prigeon

Tourism Minister Howard Chin Lee welcomes Miss Universe 1977 Janelle “Penny” Commissiong-Chow.

Pirates of the calypso

Two major record producers/distributors in New York and London are about to be sued to thy kingdom come for piracy by calypsonian Crazy. Contacting me from his California home in the USA, the lovable lunatic was breathing fire when he related his tale about discovering the crime while surfing the Web.

An irate Crazy said: “I surfin’ the web and just so come up on this German company selling my records on the web and in stores in Germany. I called the company and they told me they were given authorisation to sell my work by a big shot distributor in New York, and another one in London.

“I intend getting a private lawyer in the US to look into this and seek my interests, and those of the other calypsonians whose works are being illegally sold around the world by these thieves and bandits. This crime must stop. I wish all of them burn in hell.”

He added: “The Germans told me they have been selling my work and that of other calypsonians, like Kitchener and SuperBlue, for years now.

Imagine I work my tail off, spend real money to produce hits like Nani Wine, Parangsoca and Cash It, and these people making a killing selling my labour for at least 18 years, without giving me a black cent.”

Providing the names of all parties concerned, Crazy urged Pulse to implore Cott to investigate his allegations as he’s of the belief that calypsonians have been ripped off millions of dollars by these unscrupulous pirates.



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