Anton & Fanatik are victorious at NCCU Cadence competition
It would seem that what Dice is to Calypso, Anton "White Fairy" Joseph is to Cadence competitions having convinced the judges for the fourth time with "Still Striving", a reflection on the ravages of Maria and the country's resilience. Anton has developed a technique which works; a pacey Grovers styled rhythm, relatable lyrics, and energy on stage.
Before competitions he may not be the favorite based on the judging criteria which is skewed towards melody and creativity. His rhythms are simple, uncomplicated three- chords melodies with little instrumentation or arrangements tailored at providing a modern twist away from the Cadence of the Seventies and Eighties. Quite the opposite, he seems to purposefully replicate it with its roots rhythmic structure and the ever present cowbell and stinging lyrics. This is the magic formula. Why change…it works.
Some may say that his composition lacks the international marketability touted by the NCCU; however, it is well known and accepted that Midnight Grovers is the most infectious Cadence band ever, with its roots rhythmic guitar licks by Marcel Mark on guitar and the prominence of the incessant cowbell are commands to all and sundry to dance. Also we must be honest and say that White Fairy is an excellent performer, fair singer and good lyricist. No matter how miniscule the points for crowd response or impact on the judges' score card, it's just theoretical, because at the end of the day you are playing to please an audience and judges are part of that audience.
Congratulations to Anton, well deserved.
The persistent Chris "Chris B" Sylvester with " Chauffeau Bus", a topic he would know a lot about was a major contender on the night with his unique clear and articulate vocal style, placed second; a rhyming melodious sing- a- long composition from the pen of Harley. Meanwhile, first timer to the competition but a winner of many others, Casim Birmingham, took the third spot with an energetic execution of a Dave Tyrell composition "Lavi Dou" in spite of the obvious musical hitches.
The ladies, on the other hand, were quite disappointing. The exception was Shamica Sorhaindo's "One and only", was the only one who kept her key throughout. Maybe it was a bit of nerves as voices sounded strained. Hence, a beautiful number such as Marissa Stedman's "Mon Jalou" never lived up to expectations. Sye, Jaydee, and Desmond Lawrence with "Winners never give up", "Nou Konnen" and "Doubot respectively, all had commendable performances. Perhaps there is something masculine about Cadence, for which Ophelia, Janet and Michele, as ladies, have been able to master.
Charles Leatham, however, was a no show.
A commendable job by backup band Fanatik, but again I take the opportunity to lament the poor engineering and the fluctuations in song quality throughout and I echo the call for scholarships to be offered to young practitioners to study this science.
Just as the individual song contest where the last was first on the judges score card, well the same obtained for the band contest as the four groups placed in exact reverse order. Fanatic, the final band, won hands down for their precision, vocal execution and creativity. They were professional and well-rehearsed and had the most creative and best execution of the test piece "Cadence- lypso" by Exile One.
First Serenade was also brilliant but not as professionally efficient in execution as the Fanatic; hence, Serenade had to settle for second place while Signal Band with the biggest local single for the year, rivalled only by Triple Kay's "Still standing", did not live up to their hype though they were much more effective than the Look Us Band who added insult to injury by going over the stipulated 40 minutes on stage. My opinion with regards to Signal Band is that Cadence requires a guitar because of the rhythmic nature of the musical genre and for some strange reason the group had three keyboards on stage and because of the absence of their most renowned personality, Shelly Alfred, who could not be present due to study commitments overseas.
Unknown to the public was the fact that for the first time a judge was asked to stand down or a particular band won't compete. Strangely, the organizers acceded to this request; but whether they did or not, it would not have prevented Fanatik from winning, since the high and lows are eliminated. Moreover, I really don't think a judge would be so malicious to purposefully punish a band. I don't think any band or artiste should attempt to hold any organization to ransom on the night of execution about the eligibility of a judge when these concerns could have been expressed weeks in advance. The division among our musicians here is another matter that will be addressed in another article.
Nonetheless, though lengthy, the performances were generally well executed and there was a handsome turn out by patrons. Therefore, the NCCU team of Harrigan, Ducreay, Ayodele, and Vernelle together with personnel of the marketing department and management must be applauded for their unwavering and almost single- handed effort to preserve and propel Cadence.