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Stinging Headliners

Leigh-Ann Worrell

Stinging Headliners

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Some who formerly stood in solidarity unleashed the heaviest artillery from the Old Fort last Saturday evening.
Armoured to the teeth with stinging wit, sharp puns and perhaps a few chips on the shoulder, it would have been no work of dark forces if one staple on the calypso scene woke up with several pains about the body on Sunday morning, from lyrics which seemed to have the explicit purpose of causing disquiet in Harmony Hall.
 . . . And they claim there was no bad blood.
Under many if not all stars, and with little threat of rain, the Headliners Tent was off to a searing start with its rebranding of sorts, shifting its focus more on serious social commentary and less on the “fent” (fete + tent) atmosphere it was known for in recent years.
Fiery shots were made to explain headline-making moves and to express opinions of Government layoffs, swinging Lowe and of course the “sage” advice from Minister of Education, Technology and Innovation Ronald Jones, among other topics.
Reigning Pic-O-De-Crop monarch Ian Webster had the modestly-sized audience – which included a few calypsonians, the chief executive officer of the National Cultural Foundation, Cranston Browne and Minister of Social Care Steve Blackett – in stitches and begging for more with his Karaoke Song in the second half.
Dressed in a plaid suit, afro atop his head with sunglasses to complete the look, he sang of the increasing popularity of karaoke as a pasttime on the island.
He also made a few suggestions as to the songs some prominent members of society might be singing to each other, ably assisted by Jackie Opel and Bob Marley hits. Still My Home was his first-half delivery, which was well executed.
Colin Spencer also garnered an encore in the first half. He pointed to the fact that there was “bullying” was nothing new to the island been occurring for quite some time: from CBC to VOB and even here on Fontabelle. His second song defended the current Government – perhaps not the most popular sentiment right now, with a tune called Government From Mars.
Enough Is Enough, Chrystal Cummins-Beckles cried. Lifted by the strains of a moving Roger Gittens arrangement, the self-penned message of intimate partner violence was well received. The biting Another View presented the “opinions” of some notable people in the spotlight.
Smokey Burke was another hit among the crowd – and not only for his comedy skills. His offerings, Crop Over Done and God Is A Bajan were backed by great arrangements as well. Before the end of God Is A Bajan, scattered refrain of “If God is a Bajan/Tell me who or what is Satan?” could be heard.
Adrian Clarke also brought two solid songs – Constituency Of Calypso and I Apologise. Both were chock-full of puns and intelligent jabs which should serve him well, once the band is able to deliver.
Blood’s aspirations of a Pic-O-De-Crop crown weighed heavily on his mind. How To Win may get him a little closer, but the nation-building Hold On Together was not as strong.
Other members of the strong cast included Mandisa who channelled Olivia Pope to speak to local Scandal and Christal Austin who sang Fire One with sound lyrics and good stage presence. And in true rarity, a calypsonian sided with the media. It was Fabee, who presented Can’t Stop The News.
True to form, Headliners ended with some music to groove to, starting off with Lorenzo’s Stick and moving onto Blood’s Foreday Morning Jam and his collaboration with Faith Callender, Soca Therapy. The three-hour show was emceed by Adrian Boo Husbands.