As part of its sustained efforts to develop the Calypso art form locally, and more specifically, Female Calypso, the St. Kitts Nevis National Carnival Committee has partnered with the Legends Band, to host what is being branded as the Female Calypso Jamboree: Private Sessions. The monthly Event opened on Sunday January 29th at Sweet Lime, on Port Zante. In speaking to Noah Mills, the National Carnival Chairman, he underscored the importance of Partnerships, which have been a modus operandus of his Committee since its inception in September, 2015.
Mills noted that the SKNNCC financially supported the initiative, which is the brainchild of Sylvester “King Socrates” Hodge. However, other corporate entities that partnered with the organizer include S. L Horsfords, St. Kitts Nevis Carib Brewery, OOJJ’s Group of Companies, Sweet Lime, and White Oak, through its local Agents, C & C Group of Companies.
Although small, the intimate crowd that gathered on Sunday saw performances from Lady B, Queen Kibie, Queen Diva, Little Miss Attitude, Singing Jenny, and yet another female newcomer, Brown Sugar. For a sense of variety, there were also performances by Mighty J, Jungle Lion, and King Socrates. Artists presented songs that were done from the recently completed Sugar Mas 45, plus other hits from their portfolio. One unique element of the Event was the opportunity for the audience to interact directly with the Artistes. For example, they were able to request songs; ask the Artistes to explain the origin of certain compositions; question the meanings of specific words, lyrics and/or the entire song; and even render their own performances at times. For example, the gathering was pleasantly entertained by Chris “Mighty Short Pants” Roberts, Representative for C & C Group of Companies and Angostura, who sang a witty calypso, which can be titled “White Oak RUM”.
When asked to give comments, Mills praised the Organizer, as well as, all Sponsors. He then emphasized that the Project’s focus was the holistic development of Female Calypso, and praised Queen Kibie’s after she performed her song “Nothing For Me”. Queen Kibie, Mills noted, sings with the Proud Sounds Tent, but her presence and performance was evidence of the unifying DNA of the Project. The Carnival Chairman then commended Socrates for his continued contribution to Female Calypso. Notably, from Sugar Mas 45, four females made it to the Senior Calypso Finals, with Lady Diva and Lil Miss Attitude coming from the Legends Tent. Lil Miss Attitude, under the Stage Name, Lil Miss, who made her debut in Sugar Mas 45, also made it to the Finals of the Soca Monarch competition. Lady Diva went on to win the Female Calypso Show. Lady B, also a first timer, hails from the Legends Band and made it to the Semi Finals in the Senior Calypso competition. Further, Brown Sugar, actually made her grand entry to the Calypso Sorority on Sunday last. She filled the air with her sweet voice and song-appropriate gesticulation, as she answered Jungle Lion’s song “Weather for Leather,” insinuating that while Jungle Lion was busy coming, a male neigbour hearing of her plight, may have actually come and quenched her yearning. Poor Jungle Lion! Mills advised that we all take a listen.
In responding, Socrates explained that one of his models is transitional progress. That is, he recruits backup singers who then move from “behind the mike” onto center stage. He mentioned that this is the path that Lady Diva, Lady B, and now Brown Sugar walked. And for Sugar Mas 46, we may even be seeing more females travel this route. He then lauded the SKNNCC for its support for female Calypso despite the pressure to discontinue this competition.
The next Private Session will be held on Sunday February 26th at Sweet Lime, Port Zante.