New Dimanche Gras format flop or not?
By SEAN DOUGLAS Tuesday, February 12 2013
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FIRE BLOWER: A young man blows a fireball into the air at Sunday night's Dimanche Gras at the Queen's Park Savannah. ...
BIG flop or the future of Carnival? The jury was still out after the new-format Dimanche Gras Show last Sunday at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, that saw a showcase of talent replace the traditional Calypso Monarch and King and Queen of Carnival competitions. Fewer persons attended, with the Grandstand only 75 percent full, compared to its usual 100 percent attendance.
The show finished at 1.15 am, a bit earlier than usual, but still later than the originally planned end-time of midnight. The printed programme outlined the schedule of events — namely a Pre-Show of kaiso and soca/chutney soca alternating — and then the show consisting of four movements — Spirit of Carnival, Pan, Calypso, Mas and Dance — and then the finale.
However, patrons had some difficulty in following what point the show had reached, and where it was going.
Further, many acts were not properly credited, especially the performance artistes in dance and drama. The show had some dazzling renditions of vocals and pan, but was also unnecessarily dragged out by some of the drama/dance items. It seemed that the MC’s (masters of ceremonies) Errol Fabien, Wendell Etienne and Rachel Price, plus their supporting act of Nikki “Hot mouth Granny” Crosby and Pennelope Spencer, might have had to stretch out their hilarious jokes to fill in the gaps between the various performers.
The “Pre-Show” featured junior calypsonian Gerard Griffith, calypsonian Heather Mc Intosh, soca diva Patrice Roberts, vintage kaisonan David Beareaux, chutney star Rikki Jai, former kaiso monarch Sugar Aloes, calypsonian Marva “Marvellous Marva” Joseph plus the evergreen Robert “Lord Nelson” Nelson, 81.
All were excellent.
“The Show” was opened by a choreography of dancers (including ballet), Claxton Bay Tamboo Bamboo group, and the Kaisokah Moko Jumbies from San Fernando.
The Pan segment was opened by Desperados playing a Lord Kitchener tune, as fancy sailors and dames lorraine danced around in tribute to the Carnival of yesteryear.
The audience was thrilled by the group, “Pan Fusion”, whose ten pannists and four vocalists really gelled together beautifully to render Lord Nelson’s “Disco Daddy”, Bunji Garlin’s “We Ready”, Machel Montano’s “Fog” and Superblue’s “Fantastic Friday”.
Ace pannists, Dale Gulston and Johann Chuckareee mesmerised all with Kitchener’s “Pan in A minor.” Exodus Steel Orchestra played next, while sailors and flag-women and flag-men danced along.
However a lengthy video about pan shown on a large screen went on too long in the eyes of many who began to clap, whistle and jeer, for the live performances to proceed apace.
The audience was soon won over by David Rudder as the “Calypso” segment began. He came off the stage and down into the audience whom he soon had waving their hands from side to side as he sang his recent hit, “Live your life like you’re playing mas.”
Drupatee, Shadow and Stalin all gave well-received performances, but it was 2013 soca monarch, Superblue, who stole the show.
He sang Soca Baptist and Ethel of yesteryear, telling the audience, “Of, it’s really good to be here! Memories!”.