Saint Lucia
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Artistes Compete for Qualifying Spots in this season’s Kaiso Contest

TOT’s newcomers and rising stars Robert Renee and Jemica Benti aka Mica.
TOT’s newcomers and rising stars Robert Renee and Jemica Benti aka Mica.

ARTISTES are enthused and gearing up for the qualifying rounds of this year’s Kaiso competition with prospects in store for a dynamic and very competitive season.

The quarter final stage of the calypso competition ends tonight with the South Calypso Tent. It started with Kaiso Pros Tent (KPT) on Tuesday (June 13). The Fire One Tent followed with its quarterfinals, Wednesday. Take Over Tent/Soca Village held their quarter finals last night at the National Cultural Centre [NCC].

Local radio stations have been airing the tunes that cover political issues, domestic issues and witty humorous selections.

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TOT tent leader Cecil “Charlo” Charles spoke to THE VOICE about the preparations and the mood in the camp as the selected artistes prepare to deliver.

TOT /Soca Village have staged two shows before the quarter finals, where the artistes each presented one tune at the respective event.

“Within those two shows we had an in-house assessor who basically assessed the performances, provided feedback and coming out of that we made a selection of 13 artistes who will be presenting themselves to the judges for the quarter-final stages,” Charles explained.

Following the hosting of training workshops for the artistes, Charles said, it was a “rigorous process” to make the final selection of artistes for the qualifying stages.

“What we have seen is that we feel that we have a competent cast who will be able to move from the quarter finals stage and we hope that most of them would make it to the semi-finals,” noted the TOT tent leader.

Added Charles: “We are happy with what we have done, blending youth with experience. All in all, the season so far has worked tremendously well for us, we just continue to bring in new blood, to elevate the art-form and we are happy that everything has worked out so well for us.”

Nonetheless, he said, the tent setting is different to the stage competition. The popularity of a song does not ensure automatic qualification for an artiste into the qualifying stages and in the final run “we have to go with the judging criteria, which is before everyone and it is on that merit that persons are selected within our tent because of the numbers.”

Charles explained that basically, a total of 12 artistes were due to be selected, but TOT pushed the button and squeezed in one more artiste to make it 13 competitors for the quarter finals.

TOT produced 29 participants /artistes for this Kaiso season. The back-up band is set to play a total of 24 selections for the qualifiers.

TOT will also present competitors for the Groovy and Power Soca competitions, which is delivered through the electronic format. He added, “They go through a panel at the national level where they are selected. Then …they do the audition and do a live presentation.”

Qualifying artistes will, today, be selected from the 40 submitted selections for the Groovy Soca; and on Sunday, a similar criterion will be used to select artistes for the Power Soca qualifiers to consist of 28 tunes.

Then, next Friday (June 23) the artistes will perform to make the cut for the top 10 selections for the finals.

The back-up band for the TOT /Soca Village is Take That Hard band, led by veteran musician Gregory Piper and also the backup band for the Fire One tent.

Summing up the input of artistes and musicians so far, for the season, Charles said: “Coming out from last year where we were fighting or struggling to have numbers, this year our pot overflowed and this is why we eventually had to have our In-house assessment being done to select the final or top 13 out of who presented themselves in the first and second shows.”