Friday, February 23, 2018

Dimanche Gras heats up tonight


Title grab: Dimanche Gras finalist Mistah Shak (Selvon Noel) during his winning performance of “Bois” in the political commentary category at Kaisorama 2014 at the Lord Kitchener Auditorium of the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain, on Thursday night. —Photo: DEXTER PHILIP

Mark Fraser

Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) president Brother Resistance (Lutalo Masimba), says tonight’s Dimanche Gras show is expected to cost about $3 million, with the calypso monarch taking home a prize of $1 million.

The event will focus on celebrating 100 years of recorded calypso music.

Masimba said by phone yesterday: “One hundred years of recording does not come so often.  TUCO feels it is  important to celebrate that feat. If after 100 years, the State still has not supported the recording industry, then we have more work to do.  In addition, if after 100 years we don’t have a broadcast licence dedicated to calypso music, we have more work to do. We can’t cry. We have to be motivated and energised to effect change and a generate respect for calypso.” 

He added: “The TUCO mission is not to beg. We don’t come crying cap in hand. After 100 years, we have to be tough and focused and committed to making sure we  are going to record victory. TUCO has put together a  souvenir booklet documenting the 100 years of recorded calypso which will be given to all patrons to mark the occasion.”

As the night unfolds at Dimanche Gras in Port of Spain, veteran arranger Carl “Beaver” Henderson will function as artistic director. 

The presenters are former Miss Universe Janelle Commissiong-Chow and former Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon. 

Masimba added: “The central focus is an opening segment which celebrates 100 years of open calypso. Then we will have the first round of competition. We have found novel ways to introduce the contestants. At the end of each scene, we have focused on lighting scenes. We have introduced a digital approach to the Carnival Monarch finals.”

He gave calypso connoisseurs the assurance: “Dimanche Gras will have a redemptive nature. 

“We feel good to know TUCO is leading that kind of change.  It will be one of the best shows. It will be a sort of  redemption for the Dimanche Gras which people were so concerned about.” 

Among the special guests are veteran artiste The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) and Natasha Wilson. Chutney Soca Monarch KI (Kris  Persad) and Aaron Duncan will be among the guest performers. 

Sharing his sentiments on $1 million for the king, Masimba said: “I feel ashamed for the Government and the nation. We know we are going to put everything in place for 2015. At this moment, we were trying to ensure there was equality. There is a way to do for it. But we felt if it was $2 million for Chutney/Soca monarch, then there should be equality for the calypso monarch.” 

National calypso monarch Pink Panther (Eric Taylor), will attempt to retain his crown during the finals of Dimanche Gras, scheduled for Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, tonight.   

He is pinning his hopes on “Not Tonight” and “The Richest Man”. 

Meanwhile, 11 other competitors and one reserve, are polishing their performances for tonight. 

They are:

Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool)

Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins ) 

Queen Victoria (Victoria  Cooper) 

Mistah Shak (Selvon  Noel) 

Bodyguard (Roger  Mohammed)

Chucky (Roderick  Gordon) 

Myron Bruce     

Kurt Allen 

Skatie (Carlos  James)

Brian London 

Alana Sinnette 

Luta (Morel  Peters)—reserve