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Heat at Fire Fete

January 12, 2009
Soca artistes Bunji Garlin, right, and Benjai during their performance at the Blazing Soca Fete at St John's Ambulance compound over the weekend.

Soca artistes Bunji Garlin, right, and Benjai during their performance at the Blazing Soca Fete at St John's Ambulance compound over the weekend.

Songwriter and soca star Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc has reunited with his original camp and will perform with both Bunji Garlin and The Asylum Band, as well as Machel Montano and the HD family this season.

Reigning Soca Monarch Bunji Garlin welcomed Le Blanc onstage during his set on Saturday night, as he performed at the annual Fire Service Blazing Soca Fete, held at St John’s Hall, Wrightson Road.

Embracing “Benjai” and posing for each of the photographers and cameras present in turn, Garlin said:

“Take a picture, because a lot of people thought this would never happen again in the history of soca, but, God is love and once God say love, we all have to obey love. If allyuh believe in love, ah want to see your right hands in the air right now and say Fire!”

Le Blanc left The Asylum Family in 2005 and joined Machel Montano’s HD Family soon after. He performed exclusively with Montano’s camp for two years, before “taking a break from performing in general last year”.

Dispelling rumours of rifts between him and both camps, Le Blanc said he “enjoyed his vacation from the action”, but is back to cement his name on the music scene and “will be everywhere this season”.

His offerings for Carnival 2009 include the hit, “Drunk Again”, as well as “Whole Day”, “Alive” and “Jah Seal We Faith”.

Garlin and Road March queen Fay-Ann Lyons also welcomed 3Suns, Patch and Denyse “Saucy Wow” Belfon onstage as they closed off a night of fun and freedom. Dressed in red, hundreds swarmed the venue from as early as 10 p.m. and frolicked to the sounds of Destra Garcia and Atlantik from midnight, before Garlin and Asylum took the stage around 2.30 a.m.

In between the live bands, several artistes performed on tracks, including: Grenadian bard “Berbice”, Bajan singer Stabby, calypsonian Crazy, TV personality TC and “De Boss” Neil Iwer George.

Taking the stage around 1.40 a.m., George and TC enjoyed an extensive and energetic reception as they performed hits past and present and whipped the crowd into a feting frenzy. Unfortunately, after George’s highly-engaging set, time was short and Traffik was cut from the itinerary. Â

The masses did not seem to mind and certainly did not miss a beat as they drank, sang, waved and wined to their hearts content, in spite of the intermittent showers which fell throughout the night.

Polled about the effects of the global economic crisis on their plans for Carnival 2009, most patrons stated outright that they would only “tighten their belts after Carnival was over!”

This was one of the first big “downtown fetes” of the season and attracted one of the largest turnouts for this particular event in several years.

From all indications, the masses are determined to enjoy themselves thoroughly this Carnival season and with no incidents of violence reported, it seems that badness is definitely out of style for Carnival 2009.

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