“Killa. Killa. Killa!”
That repeated, boisterous chant from a demanding mud-covered audience, so far, is the standout image of Tobago Carnival.
Trinidad Killa (Kern Joseph) is the artiste they were calling on. The place was the Mud is Life Jouvert party in Crown Point at midday yesterday. Hundreds of revellers poured into the venue following the official Jouvert parade.
An emotional Killa lifted both hands victoriously towards his fans on the sister isle. The Arima-born entertainer shed tears on social media last week after not securing one booking for Tobago Carnival, and blamed a cabal of entertainers for “squeezing him out”.
Yesterday, a composed, confident and boastful Killa said he was just getting started and had a lot more to offer the Carnival.
“I eh start to perform yet because they say time is of the essence, so ah just do meh thing in de space of five minutes. Yuh cyah stop greatness, yuh know. Who God bless no man curse,” Killa told the Sunday Express following his performance.
Coincidentally, he was introduced by DJ Akeem (Akeem Newton)—one of the same people he had accused of not wanting him in the Carnival. Newton, who plays for soca star Voice (Aaron St Louis), made sure to give Killa an elaborate introduction, calling him “the greatest artiste in the world”.
An unfazed Trinidad Killa said no matter the intro, it is the people who spoke loudest to secure his appearance.
“The people want meh, de people is de voice, and the voice of the people is the voice of God. As I say, yuh cyah stop greatness, so I just continue doing my thing because I know my heart clean and pure,” Killa said.
Pan & Powder
The action started in earnest on Friday night in Scarborough with Pan Trinbago’s Pan & Powder parade, featuring Massy Trinidad All Stars, BP Renegades, Hadco Phase II Pan Groove, Desperadoes, NGC Couva Joylanders, FC Supernovas and Nutrien Silver Stars, among others.
Pan lovers on the island joined their visiting counterparts from Trinidad in supporting their favourite bands, turning out in branded tees of the respective bands, lining the route and looking out from elevated positions in bars and residential balconies.
Pan Trinbago President Beverly Ramsey-Moore called the scene “a movie”, and commended the Tobago arm of the band body on producing a high-quality and well-organised production.
Tourism, Culture and the Arts Minister Randall Mitchell was among the hundreds chipping through powder clouds to vintage calypso and groovy soca on sweet steel.
“It was a movie. We held it (Pan & Powder) in Trinidad for pan month (August), and it was a good opportunity for the Tobago region to execute the talent and music for Tobago Carnival. It was a pleasure to have our line Minister, Randall Mitchell, in the parade, along with several NCC officials,” Ramsey-Moore noted when she spoke with the Sunday Express yesterday evening.
There were concerns over officials from both islands having to work together to put on the show, Ramsey Moore admitted. Though they may not always agree on the way forward, she said the success of the event is a testament to the “unifying force” of pan.
The pan boss says she plans to channel that momentum into the launch of Panorama on November 6 and the start of the Single Pan competition on November 11.
“It’s the first time we had so many officials in a pan parade and it proves pan is a unifying force. There were concerns over the Trinidad, Tobago relationship having to do this show, but we saw the unifying forces of our leaders coming together and celebrating the panman; long live Tobago Carnival,” Ramsey Moore added.
Voice causing good trouble
A stone’s throw away at the nearby Shaw Park Cultural Complex, three-time International Soca Monarch (ISM) Voice staged the Tobago Carnival edition of his popular Vibes with Voicey concert series.
Voice wisely moved the show from its originally advertised Pigeon Point venue over weather concerns after witnessing the scene that occurred on Thursday night at the Burna Boy concert in Plymouth.
Concert-goers were soaked to the bone after being made to stand in the open during a three-hour downpour that delayed the start of the concert. Footage of the waterlogged Pigeon Point venue, shared on social media on Friday evening, proved the decision right.
When Voice took the stage just after midnight to an almighty cheer, the change of venue was the last thing on anyone’s mind. The San Juan youth took his audience on an euphoric journey through his growing catalogue of hits that include “Peace of Mind”, “Far From Finished” and “Year For Love (Fire Go Bun Dem)”.
“Anybody from Trinidad? Leh meh ask a dotish question, anybody from Tobago?” A coy Voice asked, inspiring another ear-splitting scream from the audience.
When Voice switched tempos to his Taste of Carnival 2022 anthem, “Out and Bad”, pure pandemonium broke out. The Lord Kitchener-sampled melody did what it has been doing all year, creating a ruckus and declaring the Carnival open.
Young Tobago is coming out to the Carnival. Most of the adult faces however are Trinis, but as a taxi-driver noted yesterday morning on route to Jouvert in Crown Point, the youth of Tobago, many of whom would not have had an opportunity to come to Trinidad for Carnival before, are making full use of a full-fledged Carnival experience on their home island.
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