Jomo ‘Rubber Waist‘ Primo yesterday morning walked away with the 2012 Carib Soca Monarch crown, following a series of pulsating performances by the soca artistes on Saturday night.
Primo, of ‘X-2’ fame, rocked the audience as he belted out his ‘One People, One Nation, One Destiny’ hit. This year’s competition has been billed as the best the country has seen in recent times and the 13 artistes did not disappoint the hundreds of diehard soca fans who filled the National Park tarmac.
While Primo took the $1.5M top prize, newcomer George Anthony Abrahams of Linden copped the second prize of $500,000. Adrian Dutchin, the other half of ‘X-2’, collected the $250 000 third prize. Abrahams, a schoolboy who has been impressive since entering the competition, also won the highest placed newcomer prize of $100 000.
Other performances on Saturday night came from Roger Hassell and Compton Babb, the ‘Tropical &Mysterious’ duo; Rudolph ‘Sweet Kendingo’ Kendall; Wilbur ‘B52’ Levans; Melissa ‘Vanilla’ Roberts; Roger ‘Young Bill Rogers’ Hinds; Ivelaw ‘Granny Ivelaw’ Campbell; Roger ‘Roger B’ Bowen; Dwayne ‘King Shepherd’ Semple; Beverly ‘Little B’ Smith; and wild card entry, Jonathan ‘Lil Red’ King.
The competition got off to a late start but as soon as the night’s line-up took to the stage, a party atmosphere enveloped the National Park. Backed by the rhythmic Heat Wave band, ‘Tropical and Mysterious‘ entered the arena via an ambulance and ‘Regardless’ of their condition, the duo spiced up the atmosphere as their fans gyrated to the song.
Minutes after the duo left the stage, Dutchin and his dancers overcame a few boos from the crowd as the patriotic crooner sang his popular ‘I am a Guyanese‘ hit. He sang lustily as fans later forgot their initial jeering and sang along while he brought his Golden Jaguar lookalikes on stage.
Granny Ivelaw then entered the fray with his popular, ‘African Moods’ hit which further energized the growing crowd as his stage movements impressed those in attendance.
B52, another product of the Kross Kolor studios then introduced the first of two fire tenders as the artiste arrived at the stage standing overhead at the end of the machine’s ladder. Fans stood with their hands down as the artiste took a while before he was lowered off the machine to the stage area. His ‘Highly Flammable’ hit ignited somewhat and appealed to his fans in the crowd.
Policewoman ‘Little B’ was impressive, and gave a clean performance as she and her crew paraded around the stage to ‘Go down de road.’ Grandfather Kendingo then had his fans gyrating as the experienced campaigner belted out ‘We going till morning.’ This year’s national Calypso monarch, Young Bill Rogers, who had won that crown the night before, tried hard to convince the crowd to join him ‘Behind a Band,’ as decked out in the colours of the Golden Arrowhead he took the competition to a 15 minute break.
And when MCs Chow Pow and Leslyn announced the commencement of the second segment of the show, Primo raised the bar for the night to another level as the artiste swivelled on the stage, mesmerizing his numerous fans many of whom tried to get a close-up view of the famous Byron Lee and the Dragonaires front man. The Plaisance resident had the ladies on their toes as he and his stage posse raised the tempo and fans waved banners and flags in the air.
Soon after, reigning monarch and 2010 winner Orlando ‘Bonesman’ Johashen performed ‘On Republic Day.’ The singer may have spent too much time talking to the audience during his performance but nevertheless, his music had the crowd flowing as the bar was kept at an optimum level.
And as his name was being announced, shouts of ‘lime ..tomato ..celery ..seasoning’ were heard when Linden teenager George Abrahams entered the fray. Following a truncated start owing to a dysfunctional mic, Abrahams treated the audience to an impressive stage display as his dancers complemented his music. The young man, whose roots stretch all the way to the Philippines, energized the crowd as he performed ‘Wine Attack’ during which he left the stage briefly to interact with fans before ending his stint.
Roger B then entered the stage via the fire tender and the police officer heated up the night even further as he climbed on top of the machine’s ladder and sang as the equipment was raised above the roof. Much attention was focused on his safety at this point as he held on and sang his tune.
Lil Red then took to the stage but started his performance by talking to the soca fans, most of whom stood and gazed as the young man then sang ‘Hold me tight and don’t let go.’ His stage dancers were clearly out of line and a middle aged woman blurted out, “They too vulgar.“ But as he sang, stage assistants were busy setting up a makeshift stage with pyrotechnics and lighting attached.
Then, the loud sounds of African drums were heard as Vanilla walked out and started her ‘Rage’ tune. The artiste, a former road march queen and the only other woman in the competition this year, was her impressive self as she sang to a responsive audience. Keeping her timing intact, Vanilla leapt onto her customized stage as she energized the crowd.
As 3am neared, the fans were now ready to sizzle as Barbados-based King Shepherd stepped out to his throne. The artiste had been impressive since entering the competition and his hit ‘Wuk-up pon it’ has been heating up the airwaves here within recent weeks. However, on stage night, the dreadlocked, long-sleeved regional artiste tried desperately to carry through with his performance which initially drew the crowds closer to the stage. He sang little during his stint on stage and spent most of the time passing instructions to his dancers. The looks on the faces of many who turned out just to see him, told a story as his performance dragged on.
At 3 am the crowd began to disperse as the judges tallied their marks. Soon after, the MCs announced the winners of the third (Dutchin) and second (Abrahams) spots, and then Jomo was announced the winner.