Voice a favourite at Calypso Fiesta

Reigning Soca Monarch Aaron "Voice" St Louis ignited a fire of love which resonated through Skinner Park yesterday, sending the crowd into a frenzy during his performance at the Calypso Fiesta in San Fernando.

Dressed in a black suit, St Louis, accompanied by a choir of back-up singers as well as dancers, performed for the first time at the calypso monarch semifinals, but his song "Year For Love" was definitely a crowd favourite. He started off his performance with a man speaking on a podium calling on citizens to take back the country from criminals and corrupt individuals. He was one of 40 contestants hoping to be among 15 people to qualify for the finals at the Dimanche Gras on Sunday. Although there was a smaller crowd than last year, the contestants did not fail to deliver great performances singing about corruption, crime and other social ills.

And unlike previous years when artistes were assaulted with toilet paper and boos for anti-People's National Movement (PNM) songs, calypsonian Winston "Cro Cro" Rawlins' rendition was greeted with cheers and applause. Dressed in all blue, Rawlins' rendition "Belated", was lapped up by patrons who were waving and even singing the lyrics which criticises Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and other ministers for not answering his calls after he supported them.

Even accused fraudster Vicky Boodram's daring escape from prison made its way onto the stage.

Calypsonian Maria Bhola left the crowd in stitches with her performance "Let Her Go", which was based on Boodram's escape. Dressed in a male police uniform, Bhola sang about her love for Boodram which was rejected because Boodram only loved "ship".

Devon Seales, another favourite, kicked off the competition at 12.50 pm with his rendition "Not Red or Yellow" under overcast conditions. Armed with their umbrellas, the crowd did not disperse during a heavy downpour around 2.30 pm and many were seen sitting and swaying in the rain.

Delivering a passionate performance, former calypso monarch Karene Asche, in her rendition "Song of Inspiration", was hopeful that her song would bring a tidal wave of peace. Also delivering an enjoyable performance was Helon Francis with his song "Change", while Terry Lyons, in her song "Unnatural causes", bemoaned that people are no longer dying of natural causes, but through violence.

During the first half intermission, guest artiste Nailah Blackman kept the crowd entertained and hyped up the crowd for the second half line-up of artistes, which included Singing Sandra, Winston "The Original de Fosto" Scarborough, Kurt Allen and Brian London. The successful candidates will compete against reigning 2017 Calypso Monarch Dr Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool, who has won the title nine times.

Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Sascha Wilson)

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