The first full moon of the new year brought out jazz and music enthusiasts to the great lawn in front of W!kked restaurant at Yacht Haven Grande, and RC and Company did not disappoint.
The trio of local musicians led by master keyboardist Roan Creque, with Tommy Pilgrim on drums and Vince Wallace on bass, led the sizeable crowd through a warm and sultry musical journey that had all who attended feeling warm and fuzzy.
Even the passing cloud which tried to dump some liquid sunshine on those sitting and laying on the grass didn’t dampen the spirits, even if some body parts got a little wet. Not a man or woman left the event until it was over.
After the first part of their set, Vince Wallace, who served as MC for the evening, invited guest artist and V.I. Idol winner Denise Hummer to join the group on stage. However, the piece de resistance for the evening was the very special guest artist and maestro drummer Dion Parsons who was home for a hot minute.
Just as the moon rose over the hills, Dion took the stage and mesmerized the audience with his amazing mastery of the drums. Talk about complex rhythms executed like he was doing a simple one-two-three-four beat. His performance was just superb … as it always is. Vince promised that there will be more jazz events scheduled soon.
This past weekend, impresario Osbert Potter gave a pre-Valentine’s gift to all lovers of calypso. This uniquely Caribbean musical art form is thought to be dying among some who see the pureness of the genre being undermined by other kinds of music. Well, not so at the King of Kings competition at the Reichhold Center.
The cash prize to the winner was 10 grand. That’s right $10,000! This was enough to attract all kinds of would-be calypsonians, but to be able to participate in this competition one had to have won calypso competitions in the past. And so Potter gathered 16 singers to fight for the right to proclaim that they are the best of the best in calypso in the Virgin Islands.
By the end of the first round of songs, one singer stood out from the pack. And by the time that he sang his second song in the final round, Louis Ible, Jr. was head and shoulders above the competition. He was simply outstanding! For those unfamiliar with Louis’ repertory of wins, he won 4 V.I. Carnival calypso king competitions in a row before he left the stage in 1997. His fans are hoping that this win will be the catalyst to bring Louis back into the arena for Carnival 2011. PUHLEEZE, Louis! We begging you!!
His first selection was “Back of the Bus,” which I confess I awoke the next morning with the chorus running through my head. In his onstage production Louis took the theme from the city bus in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat all the way to a Bureau of Corrections bus…..”We’re still at the back o’ de bus!…”
His second selection was entitled, “Mama’s Boy,” which like so much of what he produces, required the listener to pay close attention to the double entendre and the multiple social references flowing easily through the verses and chorus.
He took us from a whining college student calling on his Mama to “fix it” to President Obama being asked to “fix it” by a citizenry that is just as whiney. Can’t wait for this one to be available for purchase.
The first runner-up was Fitzroy “Figgy” Ogarro who walked away with $5,000; and the second runner-up was St. Croix’s Cedric Brookes “King Spade,” who took home $3,000.
The diehard fans of calypso sat under umbrellas even as the heavens opened and a deluge poured down on their heads and through the seats like a small river in the uncovered section of the arena. And hardly a man or woman moved. Except me!
The rain was so hard at times that even the patrons in the covered section had to open their umbrellas to seek shelter from the downpour. But the wet and chilly conditions didn’t cool the spirits of the calypso fans gathered to enjoy a rare treat.
Not often do we get the opportunity to hear this art form presented by those who are supposed to be the best in the business in the Virgin Islands. This was indeed a very special evening….although a very long one.
The show began around 8 p.m., and the results were announced around 2 a.m. Ticket holders got their money’s worth…fo’ sure! While the judges results were being tallied, the crowd was treated to a blast from the past from Willis “Wings” Pinney and a favorite cousin, Kenrick “Rick” Augustus. This coming Carnival would be so much fun if all of these performers would compete in the upcoming Calypso competition.
Next show for impresario Potter is his annual – “Buoy ah Buoy, Big Mahn ah Big Mahn” calypso competition scheduled for April 24 at Palms Court Harbor View.
Please send invitations to public and private events to [email protected] or to [email protected]