April 24, 2006 — Fans of calypso music who came to Lionel Roberts Stadium for this year's Heineken Calypso Revue Saturday were presented with an array of sounds and sights. Revue goers heard the latest chapter in a famous political marriage and a tuneful lesson on men's health and also watched versatility in motion as a singer wove his way through the house band, playing riffs in honor of a road march king.
There were a dozen ways to say "kaiso" Saturday night as 12 performers lit up the stage for close to six hours. But St. Thomians can be a tough audience — quick to cheer the things they like and hard to rouse when they are not impressed. "The support for the show is not like it used to be. Before, you could come to one of these shows, you couldn't walk around, there were so many people," said local calypsonian Myrel Tonge, also known as Super T.
But those who came to the show, filling hundreds of seats set out on the stadium field, didn't move, except to stretch for intermission. Dozens of others held their seats in the bleachers which were not as full. Hosts Irvin "Brownie" Brown and Tommy Joseph from Trinidad kept the pace with jokes and banter.
"I think I see Start Over," he said, spotting Sen. Celestino White Sr. "How're you doing? I hear you divorced. Don't give yourself horrors. Bury that!" he said to the laughter of the crowd. "Bury" being a wordplay on the name of Senate President Lorraine Berry.
The up-and-down political marriage between Berry and White was song fodder for Dr. Hollis Liverpool, known as the Mighty Chalkdust, who sang:
"At the wedding spree, everybody there did see
When Start Over hug his Frenchie
and pledged love, eternally…
Turnbull mad, Turnbull mad…
He gave Berry his whole heart
and pledged 'till death they wouldn't part
Then he tell his friend, Shawn Malone
'I love Miss Berry to the bone…'
Turnbull mad, Turnbull mad…
But as they settled down
Berry's eyes grew long, long, long …
She wanted more than Start Over had
so she gave the poor man a card…
Turnbull glad… Turnbull glad…"
Chalkdust then promised his audience he would soon produce a CD with an earlier song about the political marriage of White and Berry on one side and the apparent divorce on the other.
But political satire was not the only item on the musical menu. Trinidad's Edwin Ayoung, also known as Crazy, packed his shirt with paper to chastise the "big belly" men in the audience, dedicating his song to a friend who told him he'd just seen a doctor for the first time in 45 years.
"I see too many big belly men in here. All you women, tell your man, 'Come, let we go see a doctor," he said.
Robert "Lord" Nelson wasn't ashamed of his big belly. When he stripped off his lime green cap and suit jacket, he rubbed his belly and pushed out his rump as he sang the popular "Garrot Bounce."
Deryck St Rose, called "Hunter" back home in Dominica, had no such problem. Trim and energetic, he wove a suggestive lyric about one girl's love for Tiger Woods while a group of his fans cheered and waved their country's flag on the field.
Antigua's Claudette Peters showed her admiration for the chiseled male physique, calling on a man from the audience to peel off his shirt and gyrate to the ground behind and then beside her. The crowd's approval started to fade. Some applauded her performance; others sat unstirred in their seats. Later some would say they wanted more song and less antics from the sexy lady with the spangled halter and the dynamic voice.
"To me, the show is not that lively this year. Something is lacking. I'm not feeling it," said a man who only gave his first name, Andy.
But other spectators found they liked the variety, and a little spice was not a bad thing. "I enjoyed it," said Geneppa Stephens. "The music was good. It could have been better. I like the guy from St. Kitts."
That was Konris Maynard, singing under the name, Konris. He sang a song called "Strange Land," with word of longing for a bygone day when neighbors were more neighborly and children could enjoy some youthful innocence.
One of the highlights of the night was Grenada's Ajamu (Edson Mitchell), who offered a tribute to the late soca king Nicholas "Nick Daddy" Friday, who died last year after leading St. Thomas' Jam Band to numerous titles as road march winners. Mitchell wove his way through the house band, playing Jam Band-style riffs on the keyboard, guitar, bass and drums.
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