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Review: London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011

James Fryer 29 Aug 11 - 05:24 AM
Gibb Sahib 29 Aug 11 - 01:54 PM
James Fryer 30 Aug 11 - 04:27 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Aug 11 - 04:53 AM
James Fryer 30 Aug 11 - 05:33 AM
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Subject: Review: London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011
From: James Fryer
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 05:24 AM

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 opinion 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 "Foriegners". This was about how the British are dismissive of foriegners, but when they need someone to work on a building site, clean up, etc. -- "Foriegners" 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".

G-String

De Admiral with "Time", a good song and performance but not outstanding I felt.

Helena B

Lord Cloak 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 "Woman in Pan", 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! You can listen to this song here.

Brown Sugar

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 was made about him before he died.

There is also a video featuring some of the calypsonians here


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Subject: RE: Review: London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 01:54 PM

Very interesting, thanks!

Just wondering if (a tangent) Peace and Love might have been the person whose sound-bite is heard on The Clash's "Sandinista" album. Here's the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N4LU7xFw08


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Subject: RE: Review: London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011
From: James Fryer
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:27 AM

I think that is very plausible, thanks for spotting it!

I also remembered Helena B's song was "CON DEM" about the current UK government.


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Subject: RE: Review: London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 04:53 AM

Hi Jmmes! I found it interesting reading your review of the London competition final! Also, are extempo competitions a part of the London calypso scene?


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Subject: RE: Review: London Calypso Tent Final, 25 Aug 2011
From: James Fryer
Date: 30 Aug 11 - 05:33 AM

They held an extempo event last year (which unfortunately I couldn't attend) but they don't seem to be a regular feature.


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