By the time soca songstress Patrice Roberts closed the show at Wednesday’s ‘Woman Power’ event, most patrons were already on their feet dancing, waving and singing along, as the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-spain transformed into a party atmosphere.
At some point, Roberts, dressed in a white ensemble with matching boots, left the stage to get up close and personal with her captivated audience as she delivered a smorgasbord of hits from her repertoire, including ‘Carry On’, ‘Tender’, ‘Better Days’, ‘Big Girl Now’ and ‘Mind My Business’. She also performed her 2006 Road March winning tune, Band of the Year, which features soca heavyweight, Machel Montano.
“I am an advocate for women, always. That’s what I do”, Roberts told the attentive audience. “As women, we go through so many things in life but it’s important for us to stand up for each other”.
The Toco-born artiste ended her performance just after 11pm.
The concert was held on March 8 (International Women’s Day) and featured an all-female cast. It was hosted by the Network of NGOs of Trinidad and Tobago for the Advancement of Women.
Opening the show was D Piano Girl Johanna (Johanna Chuckaree) who set the tone for the evening, singing, among other selections, an original piece titled ‘Long Time’ and Nailah Blackman and Skinny Fabulous’ (Gamal Doyle) popular track, ‘Come Home’. She was followed by veteran singer Mavis John, jazz vocalist Vaugnette Bigford, sitarist Sharda Patasar and parang queen Alicia Jaggasar. John was a powerhouse, giving the audience soulful renditions of ‘Jazz in the Callaloo’, ‘Woman, Mother of the Earth’, Andre Tanker’s ‘Morena Osha’, and her evergreen, ‘You Are What Love Is’, which she dubbed the “Caribbean’s love song”.
Fans displayed their appreciation with thunderous applause. Patrons were in for a treat when Bigford took the stage. She chose to celebrate Caribbean music, belting out Bob Marley’s ‘Waiting in Vain’, Machel Montano’s ‘Play Harder’ and King Austin’s popular 1980 calypso, ‘Progress’.
“Ah come quite from La Brea, so you’ll have to help me sing…”
she told patrons, who accepted the invitation and sang passionately along. Bigford ended her set with Blaxx’s (Dexter Stewart) ‘Gyal Owner’, which she jokingly dedicated to Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez who was seated in the front row. Calypso legend David Rudder was the evening’s special guest, and as usual, he did not disappoint.
Armed with his signature charm and melodious vocals, Rudder had fans eating out of his hands as he sang some of his popular hits of yesteryear like Bacchanal Woman, Nuff Respect and Bahia Girl.
“Please stand and wine to the real national anthem of Trinidad and Tobago…”
he said, as he proceeded to sing his famous tune, ‘Islands in the Sun’. After delivering a riveting performance, Rudder exited the stage at 9:23pm but would return moments later when patrons called for an encore. He then sang his 2019 release, ‘Spirits’ before making his exit again.
Patasar and Jaggasar brought a unique vibe to the music affair with the former performing several compositions on the sitar including an original titled Tiptoe, as well as one from her father (Mungal Patasar) called Rema. And although the Christmas season is still months away, Jaggasar, lead singer of Los Alumnos de San Juan, brought some christmas cheer to the venue with a captivating performance of her original tune ‘Solamente en su Corazón’. She also sang ‘I am Woman’ by Helen Reddy and ‘Cheers to Life ‘by Aaron ‘Voice’ St Louis’ in her signature Spanish and English fusion which went down pretty well with the audience.
Patrons, who came out in their numbers were dressed to impress and left the NAPA venue satisfied. “This was a treat. I thoroughly enjoyed every performance”, one patron told Caribbean Insight after the show. “We have the talent right here in Trinidad and Tobago. Just look at what we just witnessed here. Simply spectacular”, another stated.