The many persons who patronized the Stardom Tent Queen Show on Wednesday night were left deeply dissatisfied when 2014 calypso sensation Leona, walked out of the Sisserou Hotel venue without performing.
Master of ceremonies, Alex Bruno, announced to the crowd that Leona, who is a member of the Showdown Mas Camp Tent, decided not to perform at the Stardom event after her request to be accompanied by her own musicians was turned down by the Tent’s organizers.
However, Showdown Mas Camp Executive member, Daryl Bobb, told Dominica News Online that it was only he, as guitarist and keyboard player, Cowen Hazel, who sought to accompany Leona because “she didn’t feel comfortable with the Stardom band.”
He said he had spoken to three members of Stardom Tent who gave the assurance that they would be allowed to play.
Bobb said one of the main organizers of the Tent objected to that arrangement just before Leona went on stage and as a result, they decided not to participate.
But one of theorganizers of the Stardom Tent, Norman Letang, told DNO on Thursday morning that no permission was given to have Leona’s musicians accompany her.
He explained that Bobb called at around 7:30 pm on the night of the show to say that two of Leona’s musicians were coming to accompany her.
Letang said Bobb was told this was not possible “for obvious reasons.”
“I mean you haven’t practiced to play … players cannot just fit into a band and making bad matters worse they have a unique beat and to come in Swinging Stars, you are going to change the beat,” he stated.
He noted that the Swinging Stars practiced with Leona and accompanied her during the quarter finals and will her accompany at the semi finals and he didn’t understand what the problem was.
“I mean you are not just going to take a chance and let people come in on stage in a competition… your reputation is at stake,” Letang noted. “Anything that would happen, they would say is Swinging Stars that mess up Leona.”
Letang pointed out that the matter came to head when one of the artistes was performing and Bobb and another man walked across the stage with their instruments and started setting up. “I mean this is so disrespectful, how can some body be performing and you walking on stage? In another country police would put them out,” he said.
He noted that people in the tent saw what happened and they supported the Stardom’s management’s decision of preventing the two from setting up and accompanying Leona.
Letang said in his opinion, the entire episode was planned beforehand. “My firm opinion is they had never planned to let Leona sing, everything was planned before hand,” he said.
He remarked that the Showdown Mas Camp tent is not doing so well “so they tried to mess up the competition in the hope of getting people.”
Meanwhile Leona has apologized to fans for her non-performance at the event noting that she is not going to be disrespected by Stardom’s management.
“I would like to apologize to my fans for not performing at the Stardom Calypso Queen Show,” she said in a message on Thursday. “I am not going to be disrespected and underminded by Stardom Tent and their management team. I was promised that two members from my band could accompany me alongside Swinging Stars .I was dressed and ready to perform when I was informed that my two band members, my keyboardist and guitarist, were not allowed to accompany me along with Swinging Stars.”
The calypsonian said the intention of having her two musicians accompany her was not to replace Swinging Stars band members but “I wanted it for my comfort.”
“I am sure most people who saw me entering the venue could see that I was accompanied by only two musicians,” Leona said. “I apologize to my fans again but I am satisfied with my decision for standing my ground and will not be disrespected.”