April 24, 2005 — It's stadium time on St. Thomas, with hundreds of fans filling the stands for a sport of a different sort. The event — the annual Heineken Calypso Revue where the activities include lyrical jousting, hip swinging, knee slapping and lots of hand and flag waving.
And the slippery fields of the previously rain-drenched Lionel Roberts Stadium had hardened into a reassuring clay by Saturday night, suitable for continuing the Carnival 2005 celebration.
The calypso revue is not so much a national pastime at Carnival as it is an international pastime. Throngs of Dominicans danced on the once-muddy field, waving flags as King Dice from their homeland belted out "the Puppet master," a commentary on who really runs things politically back home.
Claudette Peters from Antigua tried to fire up similar sentiments by calling on the crowd to wave their hands as she called out their home islands. Super P from St. Vincent found a tipsy beauty from the neighboring Grenadines to come up on stage and dance as he sang "Wine Up on Me Curry." He then invited a dark-haired Dominican in low rise jeans to offer up some friendly competition.
In all there were more than a dozen performers representing the Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Grenada, Antigua, St. Vincent, Tortola and Barbados. They were joined by five-time former St. Thomas Calypso Monarch Whadablee and Carnival Committee Chairman Kenneth Blake, who in his calypso days was known as the Lord Blakie.
Saturday night's house band was a composite of local musicians that called themselves Mosquito and the All Stars.
The show was hosted by Trinidadian comedian Tommy Joseph, and St. Thomas deejay Irvin "Brownie" Brown. Brown had the task of warming up the crowd at the start of the show, while Joseph brought them around a little towards intermission with some of his risqué repertoire:
A woman came into a drug store and told the pharmacist she wanted to poison her husband because he was cheating on her. The pharmacist said no, until she pulled out a picture of her husband sleeping with the pharmacist' s wife.
The pharmacist said the woman should have told him she had a prescription, Joseph quipped.
The crowd laughed. Without missing a beat, Joseph herded on the next act.
There was also some amusement when the Carnival committee chairman sang a song he made popular this season called "Carnival Dilemma." Blake and his co-chairman, Caswill Callender have been quarrelling with some local lawmakers over their financial reporting so Blake, a former calpyso monarch himself, composed a song lambasting his critics.
At one point, he called to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull in the crowd. The governor had left his seat, so Blakie launched into his lyric citing the Virgin Islands code on how the committee should disclose its spending. As he played to stage right, the governor entered stage left
and stood beside him.
When Blake swung around, there was the governor, smiling at him. Blake finished his lines, then shook the man's hand. The governor snapped a salute and then left.
There were even more political shenanigans when the Mighty Chalkdust, king in Trinidad, the home of calypso, sang a song about the formation of the 26th Legislature. For the past several years Chalkie — as he is known — has been living on St. Thomas and teaching at the University of the Virgin Islands.
The chorus to his song was, "Here Comes the Bride," about the marriage of two political rivals, Sens. Celestino White and Lorraine Berry. Chalkdust said that White (who's black) told his colleagues he was marrying Berry because she was white and together they'd be White for spite.
The night was capped off with a performance by Lord Nelson, a legendary artist who got the crowd singing the chorus to his calypso classic, "King Liar," and sent them dancing down the ramps of the stadium into the streets around midnight to the tune of , "Garrot Bounce."
Garrot is a derogatory term in the Virgin Islands for an eastern-Caribbean immigrant but Lord Nelson diffused the situation, saying, "I hear 90 percent of the people living in the Virgin Islands now is garrot. That includes me!"
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