Trinidad and Tobago


Cro Cro crackles at police kaiso show

November 05, 2001

Calypsonian Cro Cro was the toast of Saturday night's police service calypso competition final, charming a full Grand Stand at the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, into zealous participation, then enjoying a solid encore.

Performing as one of four guest acts, Cro Cro was at his articulate best, detailing every biting word of three calypsoes evidently selected to make clear his stance in the politics of the day.

He waded into fellow-calypsonian Gypsy, whose ascendancy last December to the House of Representatives on a United National Congress (UNC) ticket has been the subject of much controversy. Cro Cro described it as "disappointing the little black boy", reconfiguring one of Gypsy's winning lines into a weapon.

In the song "Gypsy Wrong", Cro Cro scolded his colleague from opening line to closing chorus, veering off only to chastise former Elections and Boundaries Commission chairman Sir Isaac Hyatali, whom he described rather uncharitably.

For a remake of Gypsy's "Sinking Ship", Cro Cro accompanied himself on guitar, training his guns on UNC political leader, Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, and including comment on a house in Kensington, a shooting-death at the official residence and the sacking of former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

On the latter matter, when Cro Cro sang "Panday I find you farse, you playing up in your mother's ..." the crowd gleefully completed the rhyme. And that was tame.

Were it another type of event, thousands might have faced arrest for singing choice obscenities, but as Saturday night's show was put on by the police service, members of the audience took extraordinary liberties in concluding rhymes baited from the stage.

In "Dole Chadee Say", a song chiding Maharaj for presiding over multiple executions of murderers convicted during his stewardship, Cro Cro imagined what fate would befall the former AG were he to ever do prison time. All the singer needed to do was suggest: "They go rock 'im" or "they go pull 'im" and the crowd inserted risque phonetics to finish succeeding lines. Trinidad Rio caught the same wave with his chorus: "Everybody only rockin' up, rockin' up".

The competition component saw 12 contestants vying for a $12,000 first prize donated by Dairy Dairy. Defending champion Golden could do no better than sixth position for her two numbers ("Judgment Day" and "Wizzie"), while last year's second-placed contestant PC Roger Mohammed ran off with the bounty.

Singing under the moniker "Bodyguard", Mohammed teamed up with Gregory "GB" Ballantyne to compose his first song "Natural Progression" and relied on the writing skills of former national calypso monarch Luta for "Mash Up Man"; the pair that took him to the throne. He also won the prize for most humorous song.

Gary Hercules was second and Wizard of Id third.

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