April 25, 2005 – "Sometimes they are funny. They make us laugh. Sometimes they are serious. They make us think, " said Gov. Charles W. Turnbull as he officially opened Calypsonianville.
And a few minutes later three well-known local calypsonians, Whadablee, Ras' Regg, and King Louis Ible Jr., did just that as they performed a few short verses from some of their more well-known calypso songs.
The musical treat from the three former calypso monarchs came at the official opening of Carnival Village Monday night. Its name, Calypsonianville, was chosen to honor all Virgin Islands calypsonians of which the three performers are only a few.
"We won't try to name them all," Turnbull said, "lest we forget any names."
Calypso is witty, satiric folk music believed to have originated in Trinidad in the 1800s. At carnival time in the Caribbean groups of slaves led by popular singers would dance through the streets taking lyrical pot shots at political leaders, concealing their criticism in song.
Today calypso provides social commentary, as well as political, and calypsonians compete to see who can bring the most topical, clever, lyrical compositions to the mix. The top winner earns the title of calypso monarch. All three of Monday night's entertainers have held that title more than once.
Revelers at Monday's Village opening event were told to "look for some of your favorite calypsonians" while taking advantage of all the food and drink booths surrounding what is during the rest of the year, the Fort Christian parking lot.
A wide variety of decorated booths, depicting the spirit of Carnival 2005 and serving everything from maubi to whelks and everything in between, encircled the lot. Booth No. 6, Heart Aches, was the winner for best decorated booth. Party Shack, No. 1 took first place for best theme.
As the official opening got underway at 6 p.m., a smattering of people began wandering into the village in small groups, but as the evening wore on more and more friends and neighbors could be seen greeting each other in typical Carnival style, as "Happy Carnival," or "Have a good Carnival," along with warm embraces passed from person to person.
And Carnival Queen, 17-year-old K'misha-Victoria Counts, offered her official words of wisdom for Carnival 2005, "Be responsible. Be respectful. And have a spectacular Carnival."
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