BY MICHAEL MONDEZIE
REIGNING International Soca Monarch (ISM) Voice (Aaron St Louis) endured a baptism by fire yesterday afternoon at Calypso Fiesta, Skinner Park, San Fernando.
Almost everything went wrong on stage for the San Juanborn soca crooner at the National Calypso Monarch semi-final round.
The backing Errol Ince band dragged the melody of his popular ‘Year for Love’.
He then sang in the wrong key after having difficulties with the stage monitors.
And his backing Bishop Anstey High School choir chorus looked like mimes on the song’s chorus as their voices never came through the Balroop house sound system.
Standing in the midst of an animated Skinner Park crowd, however, you would have never noticed.
The South calypso faithful sang along verbatim with the talented 25-year-old, giving him another notch on his accolade-laden belt–a passing grade at their infamous acid test.
‘The technical difficulties is one thing. I’m accustomed to that by now, it’s not a problem we just pull through and got an amazing crowd response. Thanks to everyone who loved the song and made it their own. Thanks to Skinner Park, thanks to the Southland for coming out and support,’ an optimistic sounding but visibly disappointed Voice said following his calypso debut.
The back-to-back ISM winner said he was wary of the South crowd coming into the competition, but is determined to gain new experiences.
‘Yeah there was nerves, somewhat. A lot of people tell me this is a very notorious crowd, they are known for saying things straightforward, as it is, but I mean I felt like we passed the test and I’m just hoping for the best from now,’ he said.
Skinner Park venom
Picong flowed freely from the crowd to the stage all afternoon as the Skinner Park audience lived up to their venomous reputation.
‘Allyuh look nice but the wedding is tomorrow,’ shouted one woman as Giselle Frazer-Washington’s well-dressed backing chorus line took their places when she appeared on stage in ninth position.
‘How much points for friendship?’ another woman shouted when the emcee detailed the competition’s score criteria.
They saved all their cheers for The Incredible Myron B (Myron Bruce) with his melodic nation building ditty entitled ‘President of a Great Nation’.
Myron B called for political unity and patience from the people understanding that ‘it takes more than 55 years to build a great nation’.
Ronaldo London, Stacey Sobers and Helon Francis also had good showings during the first half of the show.
London, younger brother of fellow contestant Brian London, warned that fixing problems today is the only way to ensure a bright future tomorrow.
Francis, meanwhile, focused on the need for greater appreciation for the cultural gifts of this land.
Sobers got the packed stands off their seats with a jam session entitled ‘Skinner Park’ singing: ‘This is the Olympics of Calypso.’