Steelband Panorama 2012

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‘J’Ouvert Rhythm’

sung by King Short Shirt



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Hell's Gate Steel Orchestra
Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra at the 2010 National Panorama - image provided by Khan Cordice


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“J’Ouvert Rhythm”
King Short Shirt

Provided with the expressed permission of the composer(s)

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Calypsonian King Short Shirt of Antigua
King Short Shirt

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This year, he is celebrating his fiftieth anniversary in the music business and singing calypso.  He is esteemed veteran Antiguan calypsonian Sir Mclean Emmanuel, more familiarly known as King Short Shirt, and the last of nine children.

Displaying his musical talents at a very early age from school days through his teen years, he would go on to win his first local calypso competition in 1964 with No Place Like Home and Heritage.   That victory was the first of fifteen for King Short Shirt, with his last year of competition being 1992.

According to his bio, Emmanuel established a legacy “of scathing social commentary against injustice of all kinds,” and known for taking bold political stands in song.  Being an artist himself, the calypso and steelband art forms also received his attention and support when he perceived unfairness was meted out to them; case in point was Hands Off Harmonites.

Emmanuel/King Short Shirt became a born-again Christian in 1997, and is now known as Brother Emmanuel.  However the performer has not relinquished his penchant for ‘speaking out’ in song about issues close to his heart, and any that merit a platform of exposure provided by someone as battle-tested as Emmanuel. 

Edited by C. Phillips

Full bio here

For Antigua & Barbuda’s 2012 Panorama season, ace musician Khan Cordice has arranged the song featured here and popularized in 1987, J’Ouvert Rhythm.  It was the ‘Road March’ for that year’s Carnival, and is now the tune of choice for Cordice’s band Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra, in the 2012 Panorama competition.

Hell’s Gate was initially sole defending Panorama champion.   After an adjudication-related controversy, Halcyon Steel Orchestra were reportedly proclaimed co-champions for 2012.

2012 Panorama Selection for Antigua & Barbuda’s Hell’s Gate Steel Orchestra - Antigua & Barbuda National Panorama

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