70 Years of Musical History, celebrated, Setar pays homage to Carnival – second of three installments.

It was an elegant evening, at the Renaissance Convention Center. The event sold out fast, but I got on the waiting list and was lucky to get leftover tickets that weren’t picked up, same day.

Thank you, wine and cheese sponsor; you added to the overall fantastic experience.

Where were we?

Right. Mighty Reds, the original performer of This Is the Way, a song dedicated to the celebration of Carnival, from 1980, delivered a classic soca, stating that in spite of tough economic circumstances, Carnival goes on. Mighty Reds had the public singing, dancing and hooting.

The crowd really got on its feet with Road on Fire, from 1985. Mighty Cliffy sang at the time, in the ballpark in St Nicolaas, dressed as a fireman, while it was pouring rain. The song is still one of the greatest Carnival hits, ever.

Without naming favorites, I have to say that I adore soca by Rusty, above all other genres, it is smooth, and ear-pleasing, his voice retrained its original flavor and tone and the audience vocalized freely to Juke, Juke, a song from 1982 by the late Mighty Stinger. It sounded as good, today.

Lady K, a strong female performer, among the few musical queens, gave us Hardself, in 1984. It was uplifting to hear her again — the song and the empowering message still resonates. Inky was a band member of Musical Times, and gave us many hours of parade pleasure, over the years.

Tattoo hasn’t changed a bit. Still diminutive, named after the little man on TV, in the Fantasy Island series. It is a typical phenomenon here, audiences call songs by one name, while the composers named it differently. That’s why Dance With Your Towel, was originally named Back & Front, in 1993, when it first put audiences on their feet. Tattoo reenacted his performance of the song, by the late Chucho Hoek, to thundering applause, and full audience participation.

In 2004, Kevin James, known by his stage name, The Baron, gave us Jumbi, inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. He was back on stage and we relived that moment, including every step of the fun choreography.

The Truck, is also one of those songs, known by its nickname, The Wiper. It was originally performed by BMW in 2000, and still entertains the public, doing elaborate dance moves, and enthusiastically waving hands in the air, braking, reversing, and turning.

Teddy Philips, Caiso Tedy, collaborated with Dushi Band and legendary, late, Hildward Croes to give us All The Way, in 1994. It was an emotional moment for Hildward’s nonagenarian father – more than 90 years old, to experience the homage paid to his talented, gone but not forgotten, son, that night.

For Once and For All, 2018, is a much-played call for unity and love, unlike any other Carnival song, it was composed by Jeon, the island’s International Reggaeton star. Freddy Rasta helped put the song together and performed it mightily.

We joyfully remembered Mighty Hippy, the late Ruben Trappenberg and his politically incorrect Chiney Wok from 2005. The Baron sang, and we all chopped imaginary Chinese veggies into the wok.

Then my darlin’ Rusty, reemerged with Tighter — what a fun song. It was a RoadJam, meaning a public favorite, and an excuse for parade-goers to hold each other closely. I also have fond memories from Eclipse, the band that collaborated with Rusty to create the song, in 1991. His followers used to dance all the way to his mom’s house, in San Nicolas, on J’ouvvert Mornings, not wanting the music to stop.

Another singer who kept his Brillo and stage charisma, Long Roy. We know his song, composed for Carnival 40, as Hisa Man Na Laira, raise your hand in the air, but in fact it’s titled, Jamming 40 years, from 1994. Long Roy nailed that performance brilliantly.

No doubt a public favorite, Claudius Philips, is the King of Kings. He presented a medley of his hits, he has many — 20 winning calypso and 15 winning road marches. His star dimmed in recent years and my sources report he is a bit of a Prima Donna, but how can we argue with the artist who is etched in stone in the annals of Carnival in Aruba, with 20 winning calypso and 15 winning road marches. We use to wait impatiently each year for his winning, clever calypso, loaded with social and political commentary.

Did I forget Vivian Hooker, Lady V? She is a powerful singer.

More at another time.

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January 09, 2024
Rona Coster