Friday 23rd February, 2007

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Outta body, back to yourself

Patrons who made the long trip to Salybia on Carnival Thursday have themselves a ball at the Escape to Playa del Este all-inclusive fete.

SPECIAL thanks to Dean Ackin and Kristy Ramnarine for giving me one of the most enjoyable carnivals I’ve had for years. These two afforded me every hospitality and courtesy while playing mas in Tribe that I feared that I had lost with the disbanding of Poison last year.

Young people have fun at Witco ONE all-inclusive fete at the Queen’s Park Oval on January 21.

My first Tribe experience was an unforgettable one and, having played mas since childhood, rarely have I experienced such efficient management and emphasis on the security and safety of masqueraders. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to see, as the band completed its final jump to base, the security detail still present and vigilant on Tuesday night.

While I am relieved that it’s all over, I am missing the madness of C2K7. In fact, I’d exchange today in a New York-minute to be doing the same thing I was doing last week Thursday, being out of the office, far away from Port-of-Spain, in Salybia at the annual Escape to Playa del Este all-inclusive fete.

Although having not gone to every all-inclusive fete this year, but attending more than my usual share, Escape to Playa del Este must be in the running for being the best of them all. A foreign patron at this Carnival Thursday Salybia fete best summed it up when I overheard her telling a friend: “If I was given $700 when I came to Trinidad and told to spend it on anything for Carnival, including purchasing a costume, I’d spend it on this fete.”

This has been one of the most enjoyable Carnivals I’ve had, despite having probably the most work to do as well, and the good memories are many.

Because space restricts me from going into detail these experiences I’ll just mention some of the best. Among the fetes were Escape to Playa del Este, Dancing in the Sanctuary, bpTT, Old Hilarians, Newtown Boys’ RC School afterwork lime, Yorke Inc, Port-of-Spain Lions’ Class is Class and Witco One.

At the Lions’ Class is Class fete, the music was outstanding, especially the selections played by DJ Scoobie. This party, despite referred to by many as “a geriatric fete,” possessed some of the highest level of energetic intensity I felt at any fete for C2K7. Ensuring this was Roy Cape All Stars, led by Blaxx, Olatunji and Trini Jacob.

At Sunday’s Sanctuary fete in Valsayn, Alison Hinds showed why Barbadian artistes put their local counterparts under some heavy manners at a show in Guaracara Park last week. The Bajan soca diva was sensational as she performed for a full hour with her band of musicians. Not to be left out though was special guest Sanell Dempster, and soca elder, Blue Ventures veteran vocalist Sidney Wellington.

The best produced shows I attended were bmobile International Groovy and Power Soca Monarch Finals and the 3Canal Bacchanal Show.

As must be obvious from my opening, my two days of playing mas were thoroughly satisfying, but I did manage to retain some of my more pleasant observations. First off, I think that the general public must be lauded for its exemplary behaviour, with few reports of criminal or deviant acts reported. I hope that this is a sign that we are finally maturing as a disciplined people.

Just a taste of masqueraders having fun on Carnival Tuesday in Tribe’s C2K7 presentation of Ole Time Something…Come Back Again.

Just one of the several beautiful women that graced the Yorke Inc back-a-yard all-inclusive party in Valsayn on January 28.
Barbadian soca diva Alison Hinds dares a patron to join her on stage before a mammoth turnout at Carnival Thursday’s Escape to Playa del Este, in Salybia.Patrons who made the long trip to Salybia on Carnival Thursday have themselves a ball at the Escape to Playa del Este all-inclusive fete. Photos: Davis wears

Just what the doctor ordered

With the faces of several northerners visible, these pan lovers enjoy the National Panorama Final, staged for the first time at a venue outside of Port-of-Spain. Photos: Tony Howell

A petite and courteous woman of Asian features helped restore my faith in the good nature of Trinis when on Carnival Monday, she and her family opened up her home in St Clair to total strangers during the Tribe lunch break. Thank you Flo for being a most affable and gracious host.

I must also congratulate designer Patrick Roberts and the folk of Image Nation for producing a very beautiful band as debutantes in the mas arena. I hope that Roberts will be inspired by the success of his Jungle presentation and, though the band might have been smaller than he anticipated, would remain in the fray of things.

Other first timers who deserve praise are Meg and Dana Cheekes and her Pulse 8 team. Their presentation, Cocktails—You Shake, We Stir, was a beautiful one and well organised as well, and DJs Switch and Richard Simply Smooth were flawless. Hats off also to Good Times Mas Inc and Angostura Woodbrook Playboyz for jumping into the ms production business with A Sailor is a Sailor.

I also wish to thank Road March winner Machel MontanoHD for the music of C2K7. Jumbie, Higher than I, and Light it up were just what the doctor ordered for the road. Thanks as well Jesus (Machel’s middle name) for the bona fide, made-in-T&T “jumbie dance,” as last year I really wasn’t lucky with the “willy bounce.”

Pulse congratulates newcomer Blazer Dan for a remarkably sweet song in Hold Me Tight, one which must have been a favourite with every woman who played mas.

If the Road March was judged along the streets and not at competition points only, Dan’s song would surely have been second only to Jumbie.

Other selections that kept my adrenelain pumping over the two days on the road were My Land (Nadia & Kes); Dutty Crew (Blaxx); Spread the Love (Mr Slaughter); Open de Gate (Shurwayne); Cold Sweat (Crazy); and, Sugar Boy (Patrice).

Mr Vegas’ Genuwine and Hot Walk were also among my favourite picks.

No lamentation can be seen on the face of this beautifully masked pannist of 2007 National Panorama champion Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars.

lamentation no more

LAMENTATION has been the last emotion being expressed at Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars panyard since Carnival Sunday morning, hours after the band created double history at Skinner Park. All Stars became the first steel orchestras to ever win a million dollar prize at a National Panorama Final, and the first top cop the coveted title at a southern venue.

Playing De Fosto’s Pan Lamentation, the legendary Duke Street narrowly defeated arch rival Phase II Pan Groove, denying the Woodbrook band a hat-trick on the title.

Despite not having one steelband from south in the National Panorama Final, held for the first time in San Fernando, southerners fared rather well in other C2K7 competitions, winning some major ones.

Portraying The Incandescence of Beatrice Love has brought me Thence, for south’s We People International presentation of Dante’s Inferno...The Divine Comedy, Peola Marchan copped her first Queen of Carnival title; son of Point Fortin Iwer George won the bmobile International Power Soca Monarch title; and, south’s pride in pan Ken “Professor” Philmore took Courts Sound Specialists of Laventille to Panorama glory in the Medium Bands category.

Not to be left out, Weston Rawlins (Cro Cro) won himself yet another National Calypso Monarch title with what I’ve previously said is one of the best composed ditties this year, Because of Greed.

It wouldn’t be either Carnival or calypso if it didn’t have bacchanal. Not surprisingly, both the national monarch and groovy soca monarch are being accused of being less than honest with their winning selections. People are saying that Cro Cro’s song is an old composition, while many are accusing Biggie Irie of piracy at its finest with Nah Going Home, allegedly lifted from a past U2 hit single named I Still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

In all fairness to its organisers, and taking all things into consideration, vindication must be what the organisers of C2K7 are feeling at present as all the haphazard plans, with the blessing of God and Mother Nature, worked relatively well.

Feeling strongly that the soon to be constructed cultural edifice at the Queen’s Park Savannah will not be completed or available for C2K8, one can only imagine that come next Carnival all shows/competitions by the NCC and its SIGs would remain at the same venues as this year. One can only hope that the powers-that-be, cognisant that Carnival Monday and Tuesday next year is much earlier, on February 4-5, would initiate plans for the festival as soon as possible.


With the hurly burly frenzy of Carnival, a number of popular cultural passed away with few realising it. Among those who passed were Cmd Jack Williams who led the once popular Mavericks mas band to glory during the ’70s; and, dancer extraordinaire Jonah Regis.

Pulse extends condolences to their families and loved ones.

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