– Carifesta’s Island Beats Super Concert ends festival with a bang!
THE Island Beats Super concert of CARIFESTA XIV closed off the litany of cultural activities held during the 10-day festival with a big bang.
The concert was held last Saturday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, which is arguably the cultural melting pot of Trinidad and Tobago. Here, the hundreds of delegates from the participating countries came out to fête to some of the biggest artistes within the region, and even those who have established themselves outside of the region.
Getting off to a mellow start, the age-old Queen of Soca, Calypso Rose brought her undoubted charm to the stage as persons were still making their way in. She was soon followed by Ricardo Drue, the Antiguan ambassador who sought to show the crowd a bit of what they will experience next Carifesta, which will be held in Antigua and Barbuda.
By this time, the Savannah was definitely filled, and the drinks were going like hot cakes at a fair as persons who worked so hard to ‘rep’ their country during those 10 days finally made the time to fête in the Land of Soca.
The young bloods, Nailah Blackman and Voice, who are also Carifesta Ambassadors, gave short but compact performances. As a plus, the ‘Watermelon Gyal’, Nailah, who had only launched her EP, “the Reel” days before, was there to give the crowd a first-hand experience of what she would be promoting over the next few months.
And, as is the norm, the sharply dressed Aaron St. Louis (Voice) showed the crowd why he continues to be ‘Far from Finished’. But the veteran herself, Allison Hinds was the one who came out and showed that her songs and vibes will always be timeless. The Hulk himself, Blaxx, came too, delivering a mix of the new power soca with some old groovy tunes, just to cater for everyone in the crowd.
After a string of Soca performances, Chutney Soca Monarchs Neval and Nishard M took the stage and delivered a few Chutney hits before Chutney Soca veteran, Rikki Jai decided to give them a good ‘schooling’. The duo returned after Jai to perform their winning Chutney Soca song, and made way for the beloved Zouk band, Kassav.
Now, Kassav was one of the three highlight performances for the night, and while many didn’t know the French words they were saying, they truly brought effervescent vibes and crisp dance moves that made you forgot they have been around for decades.
After approximately an hour of their performances, the stage was set for the final two performances: Dr. Mashup, Machel Montano, and Mr. ‘Boombastic’, Shaggy.
Machel, without a doubt, is the most energetic performer in the Caribbean, if not in the world. On the other hand, ‘Famalay’ is a power Soca that forces you to ‘get on bad’. When you put the two together and use it as Machel’s opening act, the result is a reenergised crowd at 2AM. And, that’s the way the crowd stayed as Machel went through hit after hit. There was no time to stop and catch your breath, or even take a sip if water, unless ‘Dr. Mashup’ decided what he wanted a ‘lil fine gyaff’.
Time would show that perhaps it was not a good idea to put the Reggae star after the Soca King, because hordes of people simply walked out after Machel’s performance. That didn’t stop Shaggy from putting on a good closing performance nevertheless.
The international star went through some of his old but well-loved hits, and carried the crowd until 04:00hrs, by which time persons were walking zombies.