St. John’s Antigua- Civilian calypsonians ran riot over their police counterparts in a showdown that could become a fixture on the local calendar if organisers heed calls for it to be held every year.
When the lyrical dust settled at Palms Restaurant and Bar on Fort Road Saturday night, the civilians had emerged overall winners of the first such competition. The audience of more than 600 people determined the final outcome.
They also determined that individual bragging rights belonged to Anderson “King Bandit” Omarde, who emerged Best Civilian with “Rough, Rough” and Donette Samuel, who rendered “Marching Sisters” to cop the commensurate title among the singing lawmen.
“I was like shocked but I know that I went out and I did my best, so then it was just up to the crowd. From the feedback after I came off everybody was telling me ‘gal you were good, you were good’, so I felt that hey, maybe I would be victorious and I was,” Samuel told OBSERVER Media.
King Bandit said his winning tune will be on the album “King Bandit’s Observations” to be released for Carnival. He described the competition as a “a nice experience” but said he did not “make friends ‘cause it would cause me to drop my guard and ease up the pressure off them.”
The civilian artillery was made up of former calypso monarchs King Zacari, Queen Singing Althea and Destroyer Sr with Calypso Joe, Jim, Redding, Mighty Artist, Dr Solo and Blondie rounding off the team.
On the lawmen side, reigning King Bartemus performed as well as Donnette, Queen Silky Smooth, Singing KP, King Panampanana, King Singing Sudden, King Ibuki, Spracket, King De Instructor and Inspector.
President of the Calypso Association Adelza “Lipstick” Sheridan, one of the guest performers, told this newspaper the competition achieved the goal of building on the relationship between civilians and law enforcement.
“At least when we build this relationship and this bond it creates friendship. It is a starting point as well for developing the art form. As you know the police have some good calypsonians. It was a fantastic show but I must commend the civilians, they did a wonderful job,” she said.