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On the home stretch
Posted By: News
Date: Friday, 28 February 2003, at 2:49 a.m.
by Peter Blood
For the 20th occasion, I am putting my neck on the line predicting which soca hit will win the Road March title. Having done so successfully on 18 previous occasions, I am hoping that I get it right once more.
Scrunter who broke out at the starting eventually slipped out of contention. If Carnival Tuesday was on Boxing Day, "Jumbie" would have been an odds-on Road March winner.
Some, including myself, also saw Militant's "Passion" and the Rudder-Jacobs "Trini to the Bone" also as early contenders. But, with the finishing line just mere days off, there's no denying that the most likely winner will come from among "Ah Home" (Iwer George); "Display" (Fay-Ann Lyons); or, the fast galloping "Is Carnival", by Machel and Destra.
The NLCB International Soca Monarch is on tonight with joint 2002 champion Iwer and Bunji Garlin expected to pull out all stops to become a solo champion.
I feel that by 6 am tomorrow, however, Iwer would have done enough to be crowned the 2003 International Soca Monarch, with Bunji, Maximus Dan and Fay-Ann in close contention.
THE ROAD MARCH DERBY
1. Ah Home — Iwer George
2. Display — Fay-Ann Lyons
3. Is Carnival — Destra and Machel Montano
4. Rags — KMC
5. Kick It Way — Maximus Dan
6. Mash Up — Sean Caruth
7. Mad Man — Machel Montano
8. Trini to the Bone — David Rudder and Carl Jacob
9. Passion — Militant
10.Jumbie — Scrunter
Band meet band
No result was reached following last week's Band Meet Band "contest" at Jean Pierre Complex.
One of the most innovative productions staged for Carnival 2003, and produced by Spektakula Promotions International, the event attracted a large crowd, no doubt an incentive for its producers to establish it as an annual event.
Band Meet Band featured three top local soca bands and El A Crew of Antigua, in what was supposed to be a winner-take-all $25,000 blow out. The local bands were Traffik, Invazion and Roy Cape All Stars. Each band was required to perform for one hour, not repeating any selection played by another.
Unlike all soca fetes, participants stuck to the rules, treating patrons to fresh and exciting repertoires, including some retro items and non-soca selections.
When the smoke cleared, shortly after 1 am, it was obvious that Roy Cape All Stars had done enough to be announced as the winner. But, the announcement of a winner is still pending.
Notwithstanding this mystery, I strongly recommend that Spektakula makes Band Meet Band a permanent fixture on its annual Carnival itinerary.
Carnival is dying
At one point in time, I would have been the last person to even whisper that Trinidad and Tobago Carnival could ever be dying. Sadly, I am left with no choice but to admit this.
The evidence to support this prognosis is based on solid fact and unless those in authority do something real quick, the level of participation in the annual festival will soon diminish to nothing and no one.
For instance, I wasted hours of valuable night rest last week Thursday by attending the preliminaries of the King and Queen of Carnival competitions. I have attended this competition each year since 1963 and I can tell you this year was the pits.
It is like our mas designers have gone brain dead, producing regurgitated costumes, while relying on cheap, tacky gimmicks like pyrotechnics and coloured lighting to make any impression on judges and audience.
For the judges, it must have been a greater challenge trying to select the worse from among the worst, than looking for the best 16 semi-finalists from among the year's best designs.
If those in charge are unable to increase the incentives and rewards to designer and masquerader in these contests, they should just scrap them altogether.
The other symptom of a dying Carnival is the low patronage to calypso tents this year. Tent managers and financiers will probably have to take all of 2003 to repay creditors for the losses suffered this Carnival.
Several factors have caused the lack of interest in the calypso tent this year, and I am not prepared to buy into the high incidence of crime theory.
I feel that too many calypso composers and artistes simply didn't do enough homework this past year, not to mention the public being denied hearing the few outstanding compositions by radio stations which prefer the party stuff.
Carnival 2003 will be remembered as the one for sampling and copying of old melodies; duplication of old mas ideas; and the damblaying of old arrangements for Panorama. In short, this year's festival has been bereft of creativity, originality or innovation in every aspect.
Until we become more serious about our Carnival and its components, and appreciate that besides its expressions being legitimate art and business, we will continue to see more people opting to go to Maracas beach or Barbados for Carnival, instead of going to the tents or being bored to death at the shows.
Before ending I wish to thank Mayor Murchison Brown and the members of the Port-of-Spain City Corporation for recognising and rewarding the contribution I have made to indigenous culture through the media for the past 23 years. I was humbled by being honoured last week along with more renowned Carnival personalities Syl Dopson and Alvin Daniell.
Thanks also to Tony Chow Lin On and Link Up Productions for the music. Like that pretty actress in the old Tatil TV ad, "Yuh know wha' I mean."
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