On a night when local calypso was mostly lacklustre, the Professor’s gripping, witty lecture on politics, crime and living conditions in Guyana stood out and propelled him to a convincing win over dethroned monarch Young Bill Rogers.
Lester Charles, better known as the Professor, could have easily been the only performer on stage judging from the lack of interest that flowed throughout the Mash Adult Calypso competition on Saturday night at Thirst Park after he performed his piece, ‘Save de land’.
With the exception of Young Bill Rogers, who finished second and to some extent Calypso Stella, performers failed to connect with the massive crowd in attendance, reducing the night to a string of colourless entrances and exits on stage.
The Professor was a breath of fresh air, injecting life into a competition that got off to a late start and was unfortunately scheduled for a night filled with scattered showers. When Young Bill Rogers took to the stage just before 1 am yesterday morning to defend his title a depleted audience greeted him. The rain had earlier chased the crowd away.
But the showers came after the Professor gave his lecture. He opened the show performing in the first slot and instantly looked like he has snatched the monarchy. Calls for “de dread, de dread” repeatedly rang out as others took the stage, the audience openly declaring its love for the dreadlocked singer.
Though his message was about ‘saving de land’ the focus was particularly on what has gone wrong in the country and why. He blamed the politicians in government and the opposition for “de mess we in” and condemned the high cost of living and racial division in the country among other things.
The Professor sang:
“Ah cry shame on you de government fuh what you have done
Three massacres whap whap whap under your administration
One at Bartica, one at Lindo Creek, one at Lusignan
And up to day like today not a proper investigation
Ya just planting evidence fuh blind we Guyanese eye
Forgetting we get common sense so we nah fall fuh ya alibi
We country bless but we got to stop all this stupid race hate
We country bless but let me stop fuh the new generation sake
We country bless but law and order is running down
We country bless but we mek we sugar and look de price fuh a pound”
The crowd was on its feet from the first verse and as the Professor lectured enthused attendees responded with answers of their own. He sang, they spoke, and the entire performance was like a question and answer segment.
“Nah just de price ah sugar, rice to”, a man shouted at the top of his voice and shortly after him another chimed in, “We importing sugar to”.
By the time he was through Thirst Park was on fire. People were out of their seats dancing and singing along with him “save de land, save de land”.
Just last year the Professor made a surprise return to the calypso scene and edged within one point of the monarchy at the finals in his hometown of Linden. Young Bill Rogers managed to grab the title after what many had described as the closest battle in over a decade.
Young Bill Rogers came out blazing and delivered a rousing performance with a song called, ‘As king ah defending we sweet country”, but failed to move ahead of the Professor. Rogers did walk away with a victory; he won the HIV/AIDS leg of the competition with ‘Put it on’. The song told an amusing but serious story of the disease and preached no-discrimination.