“Jump and Scream” Carnival 2013 set itself apart with colourful costumes and foreign music bands that entertained the local crowd, writes The Daily Herald. Asked about this year’s Carnival highlights, Commissioner for Culture Bruce Zagers mentioned the “really good music bands all week long, with internationally recognized performers.” He particularly liked the performance by Carimi-Touch Kompa and Destra. Asked about the parades he deflected negative statements made by others about the few participating troupes, mentioning only that the costumes “looked good.” This year, the traditional organisers of Carnival troupes did not participate, leaving the scene for fewer revellers. Zagers praised the Calypso competition, stating that the tradition of singing about politicians was all “in good humour.” Commissioner Chris Johnson seconded his colleague’s remarks about the Calypso tradition of political tolerance and also noted a decrease in anti-Dutch sentiment compared with previous years.
Thursday night’s soca concert featured Untouchable Dancers from St. Maarten, deejays as well as Destra from Trinidad. Friday’s Annual Calypso Competition saw some passionate political sabre-rattling, all set to music and received with easygoing humour. The evening’s entertainment featured Ebony Steel Orchestra from St. Maarten and Fya Empress from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The night show began with the Caribbean steel pan rendition of the Saba Song by Karel Sorton. Windward Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) Island Council Member Eviton Heyliger was the first calypsonian to take the stage as “Evy-D” with banners protesting taxation and a mock coffin of the “late” Netherlands Antilles. His lyrics were about health insurance, cost of living, small salaries, private sector complaints, drugs and crime and encouraged everyone to vote and change the bad situation. The least politically charged, but one of the best musical performances of the evening was Bob Morgan’s who combined traditional Caribbean rhythms with lyrics praising Saba’s beauty. He sang of the capital The Bottom, Saba’s people and the mystifying views, lyrics that could easily pass for a tourism-campaign soundtrack. Daddy Extra experienced a slip-up during his performance, which took him out for top competitors. Karel Sorton entertained the crowd with a rhythmical performance. Road March King Cirilio “Daddy Slim” Martin had a lively performance with a song titled “Striking Them Out.” It started with a theatrical skit featuring a single parent enraged but powerless while watching televised news about living conditions on her island. The skit dealt with topics such as inflation, price controls, insufficient wages and overburdening taxation. A televised recording interviewed people about the upcoming 2014 elections. After the skit Daddy Slim took over with a calypso about “striking out” the Dutchman and taxman, but also taking Commissioners Zagers and Johnson and Governor Jonathan Johnson out of power. In a show of tolerance, the song was taken lightly by the commissioners in the crowd.
The election call won the calypso night. Haruna gave an inspirational performance successfully steering away from politics and centring on the importance of education as a key to success in life. To complement the message of staying in school he had as stage prop girls simulating teenage pregnancy. Teenage Calypsonian “Lady Els” took to the stage with a group of traditionally dressed youngsters waving the Saba flag and calling for the community to come together in securing a better future. She decried political polarisation and the emptiness of party-line calls, and called for elected officials to show leadership in protecting the rights of locals. In the early hours of the morning, Commissioner Zagers handed over a US $2,000 prize, crown and cape to Calypso King 2013 Daddy Slim, followed by Lady Els with a cash prize of $1,000, while second runner-up Haruna won $500. Daddy Slim praised all fellow calypsonians for a good competition and thanked organisers while expressing hope that more people would get involved next year. The evening also included Dancing Divas on stage.
J’ouvert started Saturday at 4:00am from Windwardside to Carnival Village; that same day The Grand First Day Parade took to the streets of The Bottom. The first lap had a modest turnout that gradually included more participants. The parade passed by the Home for the Elderly, whose residents were brought outside to enjoy it. Saturday night’s entertainment show featured North Band from Anguilla. Sunday’s Last Lap Parade started in the afternoon on the streets of The Bottom with few revellers around. The evening show featured Small Axe Band International from St. Kitts, and of course, at midnight, the Burning of King Momo the traditional Carnival effigy.