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Rains Unable to Dampen Spirits of Calypso Revue Revelers

Anita Davis April 22, 2007 — "Rain don't stop de Carnival!" These words bubbled forth time and time again Saturday night as a stalwart half-capacity crowd braved rain and intermittent drizzles throughout the V.I. Carnival Committee's annual Heineken Calypso Revue at Lionel Roberts Stadium.
While the sprinkles were unofficially added to the program, one perennial favorite was absent: Hollis (Chalkdust) Liverpool, who had to bow out due to illness. The remaining kaiso and soca stars soldiered through an engaging show, absolutely unaffected by any downpour, which at times was constant.
The precipitation figured into much of the onstage chatter. At one point, Shadow mused that everyone must have been wondering why, when he came onstage, the rain started up again.
Lord Nelson referred to "showers of blessing," and co-emcee Tommy Joseph asked why drinking water even needed to be brought onstage for the singers, resulting in a wave of laughter from the audience.
One eager fan, who preferred that she not be named, proudly noted that she makes it her business to catch the Calypso Revue: "I haven't missed one in the past 20 years … I always come prepared. You know to walk with your umbrella because there's always a chance of rain. In fact, this is the only (Carnival event) that I participate in every year, I look forward to it."
Another attendee, Messilena Carey, was similarly unmoved by the weather. Recalling that she has sat through the show when it was "pouring," Carey continued, "Rain don't stop the Carnival." As is the Carnival committee’s wont, they launched the revue on schedule; the Civil Air Patrol brought the colors onstage at 8 p.m. sharp.
Awaiting the first chord, flautist Mousie Howard chatted with old chum Clifton Boyd. Both gentlemen were into a heavy discussion concerning our collective responsibilities towards our youth. Asked if he'd be sitting in the rain otherwise, Howard smiled broadly and said, "We can take it. Remember, Carnival is a decent bacchanal. Rain don't stop the Carnival. Looking forward to a good show." Clifton especially was looking forward to hearing from Black Stalin. Backstage, a determined St. Clair (Whadablee) DeSilvia was performing his duties as a member of the tent committee, assisting performers and handing out sheets with the night's lineup. When asked how things were going so far, he said, "Well, rain don't stop the Carnival. We'll try to hold up until the rain stops, I don't think it's going to rain all night, but we'll still try to get it in."
The reclusive Timothy Watkins (Baron), who ordinarily has few words except while onstage, admitted that he rarely grants interviews. "I does hardly even take them," he said.
But, as a frequent contributor to V.I. Carnival, Baron was pleased to be on hand for another tent: "I like that, I appreciate that very much. I always like to do songs that I know the people will like. But all I'm doing is just what they ask me to do," he concluded with a grin. Kenneth (Lord Blakie) Blake, chairman of the V.I. Carnival Committee, praised the gathered crowd: "From the first drizzle, they said they were going to stay whether they needed an umbrella or not."
This year's challenge of culling artists was quite daunting due to some unexpected competition: "We went out on a mission this time. We tried to bring the best. I tried to get some other singers, but couldn't because of the Cricket World Cup. The majority of them are performing down there," Blake said.
“I had the support of the governor and Sen. White, really a super senator, and Sen. Dowe and those guys. They said 'Go ahead and do your stuff.'” In response to numerous requests, Blake says he attempted to contract Machel Montano. "The young people were telling me they wanted him,” but it was not to be, he said. This year's Calypso Revue also endured the absence of Hollis Liverpool, better known as Chalkdust. Blake turned serious as he said, "One disappointment – the Mighty Chalkdust. He was supposed to be here on Tuesday. I didn't see him come. So when I checked my email, he told me that he's not feeling well, he's sick. So I emailed him back and asked him what's wrong. It's like he didn't want to talk, the doctor said he couldn't fly.
"So right away I went on the phone and I spoke to him. And he told me he was weak, and he was preparing to go for surgery.” Blake looked away for a moment and added, “I got an email from his attorney the other day apologizing for not coming. I know Chalkdust does not like to miss this activity. It's like home to him. That's why Chalkdust is not here. And we’ll miss him."
The Calypso Revue tent was not quite the same without Chalkdust's yearly review of the state of the world and the V.I. community, complete with a recounting of the foibles of public figures so intimate that it is as though he has read every news article, seen every interview, or was perhaps the proverbial fly on the wall. In the absence of Chalkdust, legends such as Leroy (Black Stalin) Calliste, (Singing) Francine Edwards, Emmanuel (Short Shirt) McClean, Eric (Pink Panther) Taylor, and Deryck (Hunter) St. Rose provided the right mix of classics and zest to the proceedings.
Timothy (Baron) Watkins was called back onstage for an encore by the crowd, which crooned along as he sang, "I'm de Baron, they call me de sweet soca man." Robert (Lord) Nelson, all 75 years' worth of him, kicked up small splashes of rainwater as he gyrated and pranced through hits like "Garrot Bounce."
The final act for the evening was Alston (Beckett) Cyrus, who acknowledged the territory as a proving ground for many of the evening's performers, as Lord Nelson had earlier. Former BVI champion and Virgin Gorda monarch Shereen Flax made an impressive showing with hits, including "Doh Sing Dat."
Mighty Pat (Samuel Ferdinand) offered bold political commentary, and reigning V.I. Monarch Cedric (King Spade) Brookes treaded literal and figurative water as he preps for all contenders in Thursday night's V.I. Calypso Finals, also at the stadium.
Irvin “Brownie” Brown shared master of ceremonies duties with the outrageous Tommy Joseph, while Juan Harrigan’s All-Stars band provided musical accompaniment with backing vocals from Spectrum Band’s Lorna (The Fox) Freeman, St. Clair (Whadablee) DeSilvia, and Dietra Davis.
With the Calypso Revue comes the acceleration of the Carnival season, continuing with the water sports and boat races in Charlotte Amalie harbor beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday.
The Steel band Jamboree is set for 4 p.m. Sunday. The event will kick off one hour earlier due to the fullness of the roster. Scheduled to perform are: Bovoni Weed and Seed, Kean High School, Joseph Gomez Elementary School, Evelyn Marcelli Elementary School, the Kirwan Terrace Community Center, Phoenix Sounds, Ulla Muller Elementary School, St. Thomas All Stars, Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, Charlotte Amalie High School, Sts. Peter and Paul School, Antilles School, Rock City Musical Stars, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School Burning Blazers, Love City Pan Dragons, Rising Stars and Pan in Motion.
Monday’s opening of the Carnival Village, dubbed “Bolo’s Music Studio” in honor of revered musician Sergio (Bolo) Feliciano, will take place at 6 p.m. in the Fort Christian parking lot.
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Anita Davis April 22, 2007 -- "Rain don't stop de Carnival!" These words bubbled forth time and time again Saturday night as a stalwart half-capacity crowd braved rain and intermittent drizzles throughout the V.I. Carnival Committee's annual Heineken Calypso Revue at Lionel Roberts Stadium.
While the sprinkles were unofficially added to the program, one perennial favorite was absent: Hollis (Chalkdust) Liverpool, who had to bow out due to illness. The remaining kaiso and soca stars soldiered through an engaging show, absolutely unaffected by any downpour, which at times was constant.
The precipitation figured into much of the onstage chatter. At one point, Shadow mused that everyone must have been wondering why, when he came onstage, the rain started up again.
Lord Nelson referred to "showers of blessing," and co-emcee Tommy Joseph asked why drinking water even needed to be brought onstage for the singers, resulting in a wave of laughter from the audience.
One eager fan, who preferred that she not be named, proudly noted that she makes it her business to catch the Calypso Revue: "I haven't missed one in the past 20 years ... I always come prepared. You know to walk with your umbrella because there's always a chance of rain. In fact, this is the only (Carnival event) that I participate in every year, I look forward to it."
Another attendee, Messilena Carey, was similarly unmoved by the weather. Recalling that she has sat through the show when it was "pouring," Carey continued, "Rain don't stop the Carnival." As is the Carnival committee’s wont, they launched the revue on schedule; the Civil Air Patrol brought the colors onstage at 8 p.m. sharp.
Awaiting the first chord, flautist Mousie Howard chatted with old chum Clifton Boyd. Both gentlemen were into a heavy discussion concerning our collective responsibilities towards our youth. Asked if he'd be sitting in the rain otherwise, Howard smiled broadly and said, "We can take it. Remember, Carnival is a decent bacchanal. Rain don't stop the Carnival. Looking forward to a good show." Clifton especially was looking forward to hearing from Black Stalin. Backstage, a determined St. Clair (Whadablee) DeSilvia was performing his duties as a member of the tent committee, assisting performers and handing out sheets with the night's lineup. When asked how things were going so far, he said, "Well, rain don't stop the Carnival. We'll try to hold up until the rain stops, I don't think it's going to rain all night, but we'll still try to get it in."
The reclusive Timothy Watkins (Baron), who ordinarily has few words except while onstage, admitted that he rarely grants interviews. "I does hardly even take them," he said.
But, as a frequent contributor to V.I. Carnival, Baron was pleased to be on hand for another tent: "I like that, I appreciate that very much. I always like to do songs that I know the people will like. But all I'm doing is just what they ask me to do," he concluded with a grin. Kenneth (Lord Blakie) Blake, chairman of the V.I. Carnival Committee, praised the gathered crowd: "From the first drizzle, they said they were going to stay whether they needed an umbrella or not."
This year's challenge of culling artists was quite daunting due to some unexpected competition: "We went out on a mission this time. We tried to bring the best. I tried to get some other singers, but couldn't because of the Cricket World Cup. The majority of them are performing down there," Blake said.
“I had the support of the governor and Sen. White, really a super senator, and Sen. Dowe and those guys. They said 'Go ahead and do your stuff.'” In response to numerous requests, Blake says he attempted to contract Machel Montano. "The young people were telling me they wanted him,” but it was not to be, he said. This year's Calypso Revue also endured the absence of Hollis Liverpool, better known as Chalkdust. Blake turned serious as he said, "One disappointment - the Mighty Chalkdust. He was supposed to be here on Tuesday. I didn't see him come. So when I checked my email, he told me that he's not feeling well, he's sick. So I emailed him back and asked him what's wrong. It's like he didn't want to talk, the doctor said he couldn't fly.
"So right away I went on the phone and I spoke to him. And he told me he was weak, and he was preparing to go for surgery.” Blake looked away for a moment and added, “I got an email from his attorney the other day apologizing for not coming. I know Chalkdust does not like to miss this activity. It's like home to him. That's why Chalkdust is not here. And we’ll miss him."
The Calypso Revue tent was not quite the same without Chalkdust's yearly review of the state of the world and the V.I. community, complete with a recounting of the foibles of public figures so intimate that it is as though he has read every news article, seen every interview, or was perhaps the proverbial fly on the wall. In the absence of Chalkdust, legends such as Leroy (Black Stalin) Calliste, (Singing) Francine Edwards, Emmanuel (Short Shirt) McClean, Eric (Pink Panther) Taylor, and Deryck (Hunter) St. Rose provided the right mix of classics and zest to the proceedings.
Timothy (Baron) Watkins was called back onstage for an encore by the crowd, which crooned along as he sang, "I'm de Baron, they call me de sweet soca man." Robert (Lord) Nelson, all 75 years' worth of him, kicked up small splashes of rainwater as he gyrated and pranced through hits like "Garrot Bounce."
The final act for the evening was Alston (Beckett) Cyrus, who acknowledged the territory as a proving ground for many of the evening's performers, as Lord Nelson had earlier. Former BVI champion and Virgin Gorda monarch Shereen Flax made an impressive showing with hits, including "Doh Sing Dat."
Mighty Pat (Samuel Ferdinand) offered bold political commentary, and reigning V.I. Monarch Cedric (King Spade) Brookes treaded literal and figurative water as he preps for all contenders in Thursday night's V.I. Calypso Finals, also at the stadium.
Irvin “Brownie” Brown shared master of ceremonies duties with the outrageous Tommy Joseph, while Juan Harrigan’s All-Stars band provided musical accompaniment with backing vocals from Spectrum Band’s Lorna (The Fox) Freeman, St. Clair (Whadablee) DeSilvia, and Dietra Davis.
With the Calypso Revue comes the acceleration of the Carnival season, continuing with the water sports and boat races in Charlotte Amalie harbor beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday.
The Steel band Jamboree is set for 4 p.m. Sunday. The event will kick off one hour earlier due to the fullness of the roster. Scheduled to perform are: Bovoni Weed and Seed, Kean High School, Joseph Gomez Elementary School, Evelyn Marcelli Elementary School, the Kirwan Terrace Community Center, Phoenix Sounds, Ulla Muller Elementary School, St. Thomas All Stars, Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, Charlotte Amalie High School, Sts. Peter and Paul School, Antilles School, Rock City Musical Stars, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School Burning Blazers, Love City Pan Dragons, Rising Stars and Pan in Motion.
Monday’s opening of the Carnival Village, dubbed “Bolo’s Music Studio” in honor of revered musician Sergio (Bolo) Feliciano, will take place at 6 p.m. in the Fort Christian parking lot.
Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.