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Sparks of calypso Dynamites ignite in New York

Sparks of calypso  Dynamites ignite  in New York

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by Maxwell Haywood Fri June 7, 2013

Seventeen calypsonians of the New York based Vincentian Dynamite Calypso Tent performed in the preliminary judging for the SVG National Calypso Monarch competition for Vincy Mas 2013.{{more}}

It all happened on a warm Friday night, May 31, 2013, at Café Omar in Brooklyn, New York, in front of a large and responsive audience and the three judges (Earl Paynter, Daniel Hall and Roddy Dowers) who had travelled from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

After the national anthems of the United States and St Vincent and the Grenadines were rendered by Verna Arthur, greetings were delivered by Ainsley Primus, president of the Dynamite Calypso Tent, Ann Miller, president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Calypsonians Association, and Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Hon Cecil McKie.

The calypsonians then made their appearances, adding more life to the idea that calypsonians are indeed messengers. In a display of mostly social commentary and a few party songs, the Dynamites showed why they are strong contenders for the National Calypso Monarch title.

First to deliver was Tyronne “Fabulous T” Pierre. With exquisite personality on stage, he set a quick pace and high standard for the other calypsonians to follow. He emphasized in his song that “Carnival is my thing”. He showed that carnival means a lot to him, because of the joy he feels during the festive season. This is why when carnival comes he loves to put on a show.

Energetically following Fabulous T was former Calypso Monarch, Carlos “Rejector” Providence, who in his song “Push the Pan,” related the importance of the steel band by using his childhood experience of following a band during carnival. It was like a rites of passage to participate in these bands. This made him feel like a man, because he got to jump in a steel band during carnival. He described his interaction with the older men in the band, who instructed him to push the pan if he wanted to enjoy jumping in the band. Pushing the pan well contributed to the steel band’s performance and made it more attractive.

Then the much anticipated former Calypso Monarch “Errol “De Man Age” Rose surprised the audience when he did not deliver his expected controversial song “Dirty Character”. Instead he performed his song “Calypsonians MIA” (missing in action), in which he kept asking where has all the political commentary gone? Where are the prominent calypsonians who will light the spiritual fire under the political leaders when they do wrong? Who are the calypsonians who are going to expose the leaders when they stray from genuinely representing the national interest? He queried if calypsonians have lost their integrity? Even though he experienced technical difficulties with the band and had to start over, he delivered his song with clarity and conviction.

With the heat in Café Omar rising, it was time for the hard hitting Paul “I-Madd” Scrubb. With a commanding stage performance and good audience response, he crafted a satire in which he related a story given to him by a Vincentian lady from Clare Valley, who wanted him to do something about the problem of “Jumbie squeezing we” night and day in SVG. She did everything to get the jumbie out. She even called Zion I, who was not answering and when she called Abijahit was the same thing. She wanted I-Madd to write a song to help get the jumbie out.

Kenroy “Jakie” Jack increased the musical pace by celebrating SVG’s national cultural festival in his fast paced song called “Is Carnival”. He accepted the fact that he has a hard time waiting for carnival to come. He loves the carnival bands. He is so much in love with carnival that he was unable to leave carnival activities before daylight. According to him, carnival has his whole body in heat.

As if that pace was not enough, David “Chang I” Morgan, who had travelled from Canada, increased the heat with his bouncy song called “100% Vincy”. With good stage craft, he highlighted the social and natural resources and heritage of SVG and appealed to Vincentians that no matter where they go, they must be proud to be Vincentians and stand up and be counted.

In her second year performing with the Dynamite Calypso Tent, Delahanty “Singing Della” Isles, the only female to perform and daughter of the outstanding calypsonian Earl “Exposer” Isles, continued the strong social and political commentary tradition of the Dynamites Calypso Tent. She emphatically called on the Prime Minister of SVG to “Pay Attention”. Dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and red tie, she appealed to the PM to pay attention when people say you are doing wrong, so don’t be arrogant. She wanted the PM to pay close attention to the firing of people from their jobs, boldly deceiving people, and violence against women. She called on the PM to pay more attention to calypsonians who are the eyes of the land.

Then it was time for John “The Truth” Dougan, winner of the recently held Best Song Competition of the New York launch of Vincy Mas 2013, held May 4, in Brooklyn. In a forceful and mournful rendition, The Truth cried “Betrayal” against the financial institution in SVG called Building and Loan Association. With characteristic command of his art form, he got the audience’s attention and appreciation by lamenting the fact that Building and Loan was the pride of all Vincies, but it all came tumbling down due to highly questionable actions. He cried “We give them our trust and look what they have done to us.”

Philip “Phil Patch” Baptiste’s “What’s up with you” was delivered with much pace. He was having a good time dancing in the party.

With the audience now wanting more, Ramon “Jose Juan” Diaz did not disappoint with his offering titled “International Airport”. With added emotions, he described the agony and travel woes that Vincentians go through to get to SVG. He is tired and cannot take it anymore. He is fed up with the constant island hopping just to get to SVG. He wailed in his performance that Vincentians are being told to go through St Lucia, go through Barbados, go through Grenada or there will be no entry into SVG. The audience showed their appreciation with a positive response.

Dynamite sparks continued to ignite when Dennis Bowman confidently stepped up to the microphone and delivered his offering titled “Way he dey”. He expressed frustration with his attempts to find tangible reflections and display of SVG’s National Hero Chief Joseph Chatoyer, but his efforts were not successful. No matter where he looked he could not find Chief Joseph Chatoyer. He militantly kept asking “wey he dey, tell me wey he dey”. Bowman boldly declared that he feel ashamed when he can’t find Chatoyer. He said a friend told him to stop all the fuss because if he wants to find Chatoyer, he will have to travel all the way to Honduras, where Chatoyer is proudly displayed as a hero. He then demanded that the Argyle international airport be named after Chief Joseph Chatoyer.

Without easing up on the lyrical fire, Delano “Detector” Joseph rendered his song “I will be happy,” in which he was in conversation with his critics and the leadership of the country, highlighting the realities that will make him happy. He will be happy when the nation unites, when political tribalism ends, and when crime and violence end. The audience showed their approval by responding positively to him.

Ronald “Pufty” McDowald, who had also traveled from Canada, had the audience in a party mood, and extolled the power of love. In his song, he paid tribute to a woman named “Wendy,” who makes his heart go “vroom vroom vroom.”

The audience in Café Omar got another performance, which they appreciated, by Anthony “Ras X” Soleyn with his song “My navel string down in Vincy land”. He sang about the beautiful things in SVG, and urged Vincentians to remember they are one people, regardless of political party affiliation. Then Marvin “Bob MC” Bobb paid tribute to “Mammy and Daddy,” who worked hard so he could have a good life.

Following Bob MC was Franklyn “Super Dex” Richards, who sang “Things I will like to see,” such as a revolution in morality, young people living in peace and unity, end to poverty, end to misery, end to political victimization, and end to ignorance.

The last performer was Gregory “Brother Dan” Oliver, who delivered “When is lie is lie, when is truth is truth,” in which he appealed for us not to sell our souls to the devil.

The show ended with outstanding performances by Scorcher and Winston Soso.

The calypsonians are now hoping that they have persuaded the judges to select them for the National Calypso Semi-Finals of Vincy Mas, to take place on Fantastic Friday, June 21, 2013.

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