…as Asche, Gordon and Black Sage shine
ByY Michael Mondezie
Mical Teja (Mical Williams) seems to have all but booked his spot in next Sunday’s National Calypso Monarch final. Teja’s Road March front-runner ‘DNA’ lifted a Skinner Park crowd out of their folding chairs, further raising temperatures on an already sticky, humid afternoon in San Fernando, yesterday.
The performance will go down as a classic Calypso Fiesta moment.
‘That was electrifying. Is blessings, boy, for me to really showcase my ability,’ an amped Teja told the Sunday Express moments after his performance.
Singing in position four of 40 semi-finalists, the newly crowned Young King would have been surprised to be greeted by an already halffilled, noisy Skinner Park crowd.
And while that was partly down to a 30-minute late start by the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO), it was mostly a testament to Teja’s drawing power this Carnival.
‘This is what we came for!’ one middle-aged woman shouted over the music as she gleefully jumped among an all-woman crew, with the letters ‘DNA’ on the back of their navy blue polos.
Up in the venue’s newly built stands, fans waved in unison with those on the field. Even police and fire officials were seen tapping feet, snapping fingers and performing a little jig to Teja’s empathic call ‘to run in town again’.
‘These platforms are a place for me to showcase myself outside of justa fete. Yes, is a competition, but for me is about showcasing my ability outside of what you accustomed seeing-a guy with a big song performing in a fete.
‘And, really, just relating the message of the song a lil bit differently and showing how it could transition in different spaces,’ Teja continued over extended cheers.
Starting with a bang
Earlier, Karene Asche made full use of her opening position to set a high bar in the competition with her title-contending, anti-crime anthem, ‘No Excuse’.
The former monarch (2011) was at her sublime best, her perfect pitch and diction undoubtedly scoring high points on every judge’s scoresheet. ‘I felt amazing. The crowd was really exceptional, and I’m happy for that because I think this message was really needed,’ Asche told the Sunday Express backstage.
The Laventille-born singer said the late start played right in her favour.
‘Even I was number one, there was a big crowd so I was happy for that, to be honest. I see more crowd. I know my message was well received and that’s most important. So now I’m going to watch and wait, ’cause yuh know de results coming out at the end,’ she blurted, making a nervous face at the end.
Chuck Gordon (Roderick Gordon), Calypso Nite (Myron Bruce) and Black Sage (Phillip Murray) were the other standout acts on the afternoon.
Gordon’s demand of reparations from a heavily made up King Charles in ‘Charlsie’ drew immediate rousing cheers from the calypso faithful.
Calypso Nite meanwhile was more of a slow burn.
The Maraval-born singer gradually drew the listening crowd into his grasps with a hauntingly melodic, well-written social commentary on the ongoing Trinibad-musicfuelled gang violence, aptly titled ‘Gunsmoke in the Dancehall’.
Black Sage turned thoughtful grimaces into allout laughter with his comical ‘Stone’.
The song examined the use of stone through time as a medium of documentation and communication, and unexpectedly contrasted that importance with the late ‘Michael Jackson grabbing his stone during his performance’.
Debutant Chromatics (Richard Raj-kumar), with the political satire ‘2Party’, and Young King runner-up Caston Cupid with ‘Straight From the Heart’ completed a strong first half of the competition.
The lines outside Skinner Park remained long yesterday evening as hundreds of calypso fans continued to stream into the venue.
With half the field yet to perform, including multiple international soca monarch and road march winner Machel Montano making his Skinner Park kaiso debut, they appeared to be in for a treat.