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BARBADOS - National Cultural Foundation

Crop Over 2004 - Cave Shepherd All Stars calypso tent

Tuesday 22, June-2004 by Wade Gibbons

The Cave Shepherd All Stars calypso tent got its 2004 programme off to a night of mainly solid performances and a few stutters at the Plantation Garden Theatre, Sunday.

Tara immediately caught the eye as much for her appearance as for her two commendable renditions of Fuh Truth and Bajan Woman.

The former dealt with parents who are often blind to the telltale signs that their children might be involved in illegal or immoral activities. She received a well deserved encore for her efforts.

Her second number was a reaffirmation of the quality of Bajan women, in response to criticism from a letter writer to a newnewspaper. Former monarch Adrian Clarke delighted fans with Big Life; a medium-tempo number with a really sweet brass line that told about persons who lived above their means to their own detriment. The song, like some he has done in the past, gave him the chance to express the excellent vocals with which he has been blessed.

However, the same could not be said for his second selection, Deadline. This dealt with the National Cultural Foundation’s May 16 deadline for artistes to submit their lyrics.

Clarke said the deadline would have prevented fans hearing about issues such as the spat in Parliament between colleagues Trevor Prescod and Liz Thompson, and the land acquisition fiasco at Speightstown, St Peter, among others.

It is true he got an encore for this slow-paced number, but he never flowed during the performance, and if anything, the melody was somewhat disjointed. One got the impression Clarke was still working with the song and should improve as he gets more comfortable with it.

Adonijah gave two creditable performances in Bombs And Bullets and Body Bag. In the former, the veteran calypsonian exposed America’s quest to promote peace in Iraq as one really motivated by a desire to get her hands on oil.

He brought home the dangers of duplicitous diplomacy by casting the minds of his audience back to the “Eagle’s” invasion of Grenada. His second number was an exhortation to the youth to stay away from violence.

Tassa’s time on stage was somewhat peculiar. She received an encore for her weaker song War and less acclaim for what was one of the better songs of the night in Stop The Abuse.

She tried to make a point about violence in Barbados in War, but the juxtaposition with events in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Israel, fell flat on its face.

To compare a few minor skirmishes in the Cheapside Bus Stand, Bayland and Deacons Farm, as she did, with the horror of what is happening in the Middle East, simply trivialised the latter. The song was melodic, she delivered it well, but the lyrics were a no-no.

Pompey was simply sweet in the uptempo De Dentist, giving evidence of how effective one can be by keeping it simple – “dis is de dentist, open wide, dis is de dentist, going inside” – and with a brass section to die for.

He was on his way to a perfect night with the witty Tales when he was struck by memory failure. He did conclude the song but mumbled through some of his lyrics afterwards. He is going to be a crowd-pleaser this year.

Troy Special’s Letter To Calypso was a classic example of a writer using ungainly prose rather than verse to get a message over. The lines of the song were so lengthy, it was like listening to someone singing a long-winded thesis. Troy had to race to keep in time with the band and the song’s melody was simply askew. Barbados was his other, and far better, selection.

Alfred The Doc Sparman brought proceedings to a rousing climax with the East Coast-bound Salt Fish, and along with his selection preaching Live In Unity, had a generally excellent night.

Also performing were De Gun who gave a worthy showing with Progress and I Feeling Nice, and lyricist par excellence but forgetful calypsonian, Anthony The Chairman Waldron with I Swear.

Compliments of the Nation news


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