Monday, January 22, 2018

Jeers then cheers for Aloes


Encores: Calypsonian Michael Osuna ("Sugar Aloes") during his performance at the opening of Kalypso Revue at the Arima Velodrome on Friday night. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

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By the time calypsonian Sugar Aloes ended his second song, the same people who booed and jeered as MC Derek "CG" Silman introduced him were cheering and calling for an encore.

This was at last Friday's opening of the Kalypso Revue tent at the Arima Velodrome, where several hundred people came out to hear what the featured calypsonians have to offer this season.

The initial aggression against Aloes may have been fallout from him appearing at the People's Partnership second anniversary celebrations in May last year and performing the reggae song, "She's Royal", while holding the hand of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

People's National Movement supporters were upset over this and the public at large surprised that Aloes, perceived as a diehard supporter of the party, had seemingly crossed the floor.

As Aloes took the stage, more than half the audience applauded, while the rest booed and made signals for him to leave the stage.

Some waved tissue paper and one man even approached the stage with toilet paper.

Aloes performed his first song, "This Is Not The Land I Used To Know", as though nothing was happening and by midway through the song those making noise had, for the most part, quieted down.

They began to boo again at the end of that song and continued as Aloes began to sing "My Response", which is about his Partnership performance.

As Aloes sang that people had the right to express their feelings about him performing at the event, but that he as an entertainer had the right to accept any gig, his fans cheered him on.

Interestingly, those who had been booing also started to cheer at certain lines Aloes sang. In the end, Aloes received four encores and eventually left the stage to hearty applause from almost everyone in the audience.

The Revue this year again offers a nicely balanced mix of social and political commentary along with humour and the zany stand-up comedy of Silman and Sprangalang.

Almost every calypsonian received at least one encore and with some 25 artistes lined up to perform, it made for a long night.

Among the notable performances was that of Michelle Henry, who performed a scathing political commentary titled, "Blind Man's Bluff". Henry accuses the Government of pulling the wool over people's eyes as officials engaged in immoral and corrupt practices. Henry sang that the Government sees the people as "donkeys" and there will be no more, "Blind man's bluff, enough is enough, no more shady stuff."

Marlon Edwards also incorporating a theme of insight in his calypso titled, "A Blind Man's Hope", sang that while many see only gloom and doom for the nation, this blind man he encounters says there is much hope and prosperity for Trinbago once the people have faith in God and be obedient.

Ninja addressed issues of crime using some humour in his calypso, "Ah Buying", in which he sang that since criminals have no value for life, he is looking to buy their lives from them so in case he gets in an accident, he will use a life he bought and so the criminal will die and he will live.

Skatie addressed the lack of respect for the calypso art form these days in, "Prophet Without Honour". He paints the scenario of his encountering kaiso at the airport, awaiting a flight to Canada, to where the art form is migrating because no one in Trinidad seems to respect or appreciate it any more. Skatie sang that like David Rudder, kaiso was heading to Toronto, where it preferred to be rather than stay in Trinidad and be made a "pappyshow".

Devon Seales also addressed the political landscape in an interesting way, through his calypso titled, "Game Show Politics".

With some people jumping out of their seats to wave, Seales sang that the politicians were treating the nation as though it were a giant game show and using their respective offices to milk the people's financial resources.

Also performing at the

Revue this season are:

• Maze – "Celebrate"

• Teniel Cooper – "Quality Investment"

• Emmortel – "Ah Fraid"

• Witty – "Going For Crown"

• Sexy Suzie – "Nothing Down There"

• Xposer – "Fresh Comess"

• Flashy Dan – "Ah Fighting Crime"

• Alana Sinette – "No Moral Authority"

• M'Ba – "Jharray"

• Andre Williams – "Badman"

• Rex East – "Eat Ah Food"

• Pink Panther – "Travel Woes"

• Bally – "Clauses"

• Chalkdust – "Prodigal Son, Virginia's Alzheimer"

• Baron – "Pan Tuner, We Having A Party"

• Impulse – "Section 34"