London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011
Monday, August 29 2011 @ 10:25 AM UTC
Contributed by: jim
I was at this very well attended event at the Tabernacle in Powis Square, London.
Calypso finals are fabulous: the calypsonians know this is their moment and put everything into their performance. Each gets one song. The judges' decision is final, although usually much derided.
Due to the recent riots, political developments in the UK, and the threat to Notting Hill Carnival, this was a more political event than we have seen for some time. This can only be a good thing I feel.
These were the performers. Unfortunately I didn't get a copy of the running order (it seemed they only had one copy) or take notes so this is from memory.
Cleopatra, singing a song along the lines of "give us back the right to beat our children".
Rev B, with his song "Foreigners". This was about how the British are dismissive of foreigners, but when they need someone to work on a building site, clean up, etc. -- "Foreigners" do it. I thought this was the best song of the night.
Sheldon Skeet sang "King of the Tent", about the internal politics of the London Calypso Tent, saying that people should stop criticising the founder (Mighty Tiger) or he should "kick them out of the tent".
De Admiral with "Time", a good song and performance but not outstanding I felt.
Helena B sang "CON DEM", about the coalition government.
Lord Cloak (pictured) played his "One God", a song about Christianity. I didn't agree with the song at all, but Cloak is a very strong performer (he's won 13 times) and as ever this song was a great sing-along calypso.
Alexander D Great with "Trials of a Pan Woman", a good song although the performance was not great. He was accompanied on pan by Debra Romain. As soon as pan gets involved it becomes harder to follow the lyrics as it's so loud!
Giselle played a very fast song, a soca really, again with pan accompaniment, it was hard to follow the lyrics which is disappointing for a calypso.
The winner was Alexander D Great (for the second year running), runners up Helena B and Rev B.
Guest artistes were the Trinidad junior calypso monarch, a very young lady whose name I didn't catch but whose song was more R&B than calypso; the excellent Macomere Fifi (Toronto calypso monarch); and Trinidad calypso monarch Karene Asche. Fifi was excellent and I kick myself for not buying her CD after the show.
One sad piece of news was that the calypsonian Peace and Love passed away earlier this year. He was an amazing performer, although 70 he had more energy than many of the younger men. He would bound on stage dressed in his dark suit and wooly hat and leap up and down to his song, always on the laudable theme of "peace and love". Luckily a short film about calypsonian Peace and Love was made before he died.
There is also a video featuring some of the calypsonians