Taino Beach Junkanoo Carnival gets low grade

Phillip ‘Lil Joe’ Cartwright performs his song entitled ‘Sweet Carnival’ on Friday. Cartwright was one of eight artists who advanced to the Music Masters Song Competition final round which is expected to take place this weekend in Nassau. (Photos: Shayne Stubbs)

The 3rd Annual Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival (BJC) kick-off event over the weekend, on Taino Beach, was decidedly downgraded compared to those held in previous years.

While performances by both participants in the ‘Music Master Song Competition’ and the artisans who graced the stage during the two day affair were noteworthy, the number of spectators was significantly reduced, a stark difference from last year’s event as well as the launch of the national cultural extravaganza in 2015.The downgrade in this year’s event was evident with the elimination of the all-day activities that went on during the second day in both 2015 and 2016, inclusive of Beach Olympics and an air show that thrilled spectators.

While many present at this year’s BJC Kick-off said they enjoyed the entertainment and the talents, they were disappointed that there were no activities throughout Saturday, inclusive of family-oriented happenings that all could enjoy, as participants did during the former BJC events.

The primary focus of the BJC was the Music Masters Song Competition. The contestants had the opportunity to submit more than one song, resulting in 20 songs being entered this year; 10 of which were performed by the artists on Friday; while the remainder were performed on Saturday night.

With BTC as the primary sponsor of the event, other sponsors included, Cash n’ Go, and Kalik. Master of Ceremonies (MC) on Friday, were Empress and Lexxus, both radio personalities, while on Saturday, Lexxus welcomed Yolanda Hanna to share the stage with her.

First to hit the stage on Friday night was Valerie Richards, aka Suga, who performed, followed by Glenrick Sands aka Straightface.
Arailia Russell, better known as Bantangy, was third on the lineup. Also a contestant in last year’s competition, Russell, completed her task at hand, engaging the crowd with her performances on both Friday and Saturday night, as she had two songs submitted in this years competition.

‘Dimples’ was next in the lineup, offering electrifying energy before and after her performance. She was followed by Patrice Murrel who also had two songs entered in this year’s BJC and was a first time contestant in the competition, but indeed a crowd favorite.

Then came Tammy Burrows followed by Richards aka, Suga who performed her second song for the evening.

Not new to the BJC stage, as she was half of the duo Jive which entered the competition last year, Ilsha McPhee performed one of two songs on Friday evening and her second on Saturday night. McPhee had the crowd’s attention on both nights as she performed her songs with passion and energy.
Tiara Rolle, aka Thin Ice also had those in attendance bouncing on their feet during her performance. Last but not least on Friday evening was ‘Lil’ Joe Cartwright, an established songwriter in his own right. He also had the crowd moving along with him as he performed his song.

Following the contestants’ performances, Kerwin DuBois, Ira Storr and the Spank Band, Veronica Bishop, Avvy, Peter Ram, Bodine Johnson, Skinny Fabulous, The Rhythm Band and Ultimate Rejects entertained spectators. Disc Jockey ‘Da Barber’ was a presence on both Friday and Saturday night.

On Saturday evening the remainder of the semifinalists performed, some hitting the stage for the second time. Ilsha McPhee, Patrice Murrel and Aurelia Russell, aka Batangy all returned to the stage on Saturday, again offering show-stopping performances.

First in the line up was Ebony Gibson, followed by Bryan Cee.

Additionally, Carlton Smith, aka Muzikal, Clay ‘Qpid’ Adderley, aka, Q-Pid and Lisa Jayne, a previous competitor in the BJC Music Masters competition, all entertained the crowd on Saturday night, each bringing their own techniques to gain the crowd’s momentum and attention.

While the judges of the competition, namely, Jay Mitchell, Kevin Tomlinson, Carlton Sands, aka. DJ Reality and DJ Entertainment, had a mammoth task at hand, determining who would make the final cut, to perform at the finals in Nassau this coming weekend, eight artists reigned supreme.

Two of them had both of their songs gaining entry into the finals. Reference is to Patrice Murrel and Arelia Russell, aka Bantangy. Carlton Smith, aka, Muzikal; Lil Joe Cartwright; Ebony Gibson; Valerie Richards aka Suga; Ilsha McPhee; and Q-Pid, also qualified for the 2017 Music Masters finals.

Following the announcement of the finalists, the entertainment on Taino Beach continued on Saturday into the morning of Sunday with performances by Bunji Garlin, Rik Carey, Lady E, DMAC, Farmer Nappy, Mdeez, Ricardo Drue, Teddyson John and Fayann Lyons.

The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival festivities continue in Nassau this weekend, May 4-6, when the Music Masters finals is set to take place, along with performances by international recording artist Machel Montano, among others.

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