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Jouvert 'Bombs' explode

Friendly fire from 26 bands

Terry Joseph
February 12, 2002

FOR some five hours of Jouvert, a steady stream of steelbands crossed the Victoria Square judging point of the Neville Jules "Bomb" competition, bringing delight to hundreds gathered to hear non-calypso tunes played in calypso tempo.

Created by Jules 39 years ago, the inaugural contest was sponsored by the Monte Carlo Club and held at the corner of Park Street and Tragarete Road, a convergence known as "Green Corner".

The Morvant Ebonites won the 1963 competition for its rendition of "Theme From Slaughter on Tenth Avenue", copping the Broadway Cup, which was donated by the West Indian Tobacco Company (Witco). Second was Silver Stars, who played "Moonlight Sonata" and third Merrytones for "The Road."

Interestingly, Ebonites, who were for many years dormant, returned to the streets yesterday, sporting a tag-line "Back with a bang" to compete with Silver Stars, Merrytones and 23 other steel orchestras for the Neville Jules trophy and cash prizes.

It was shortly after 4 a.m. when Hummingbird Pan Groove crossed the stage playing "Tears on My Pillow" to open the proceedings. They were followed by Carib Tokyo doing George Harrison's "Something" and BWIA Invaders with "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)".

As the pre-dawn crowd built up, St James North Stars did their rendition of "Back on My Feet Again".

The flow continued with Silver Stars' doing the Vangelis hit "Chariots of Fire" and Courts Laventille Sounds Specialists' version of "The Living Years", fuelling a group of revellers called Return of the Cave People.

At 5.35 a.m., Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove came through with a stirring delivery of "Theme from Exodus".

Next up was Woodbrook Playboyz doing "I Can't Stop Loving You", Trinidad Pan Connoisseurs with "September Song" and Scrunters Pan Groove with "You Sang to Me", the last performance before a light shower of rain sent hordes scampering into the stands, some invading the hitherto sacrosanct judges' enclosure.

While they defeated the sudden change of weather, their view was now confined to a small window framed by a thick tree-trunk, badly positioned speaker boxes and tents. Happily, the rain lasted all of ten minutes.

Meanwhile, St James Tripolians, led by Keith Simpson replete in toga virilis and gold lame cape, belted out "Mambo # 5". Recently crowned Panorama champions Neal & Massy Trinidad All Stars got approving applause for its version of "Green, Green Grass of Home".

Harmonites was good for the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back", followed by Birdsong with "Scheharazade" and Merrytones' "You Are Not Alone". BP Renegades, fronted by Winston "Dr Rat" Bruce in homeland security get-up (the band presented the mas Anthrax USA), acquitted themselves nicely on "How Great Thou Art", while Belmont Fifth Dimension was somewhat thin for "Cuando, Cuando".

Six-time winner of the trophy, Exodus, was up next with Michael Jackson's "Human Nature", followed by Flamingoes with "Unchained Melody", Laventille Serenaders with "Angel" and the Witco Desperadoes rendition of "Who's Sorry Now?"

Then it was Morvant Ebonites turn for Lionel Richie's "Hello". The dependable Harvard Harps did "All of Me" and Uni Stars was up for Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive".

Missing the point completely was Spree Simon Wired, who had no ‘Bomb' tune, so played Preacher's "My Dulahin".

Coming up the street as we made our exit, Valley Harps strummed away at "Don't Cry for Me Argentina," playing to a depleted audience, who must have taken seriously the competition's advertised closing time of 9 a.m.– for it was now well past that hour.

Pan fans lamented the absence of PCS Starlift, who may well have been diverted by its primary Carnival Monday mission of producing a historically huge mas band.

Results were not available up to press time.

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