Soca-lovers hoping to catch Olatunji Yearwood at The Tabernacle in west London were disappointed with his no-show on Friday 3 August.
Olatunji made a big impression on the London Calypso Tent audience at the old Yaa Asantewaa Centre back in August 2003 when he was the reigning T&T Junior Calypso Monarch. On Friday, he was meant to have been making a one-off return to the tent, now in its 26th year, for the opening of the 2018 season. However, in the second half of the show, Association of Calypsonians UK (ACUK) chair Vincent John told the audience that “Ola was not able to perform”. MC Coco P was also mysteriously absent.
No-shows by overseas artistes are not unknown at fetes and carnival events, and usually stem from contractual or visa difficulties. On this occasion, however, the problems were closer to home.
Soca News has been told that Ola was over in the UK for an exciting and challenging project. If the reports are accurate, this potentially offers him the chance to take soca to a whole new level and bring the music to a much wider audience.
However, when he arrived at The Tabernacle he was clearly in no condition to go on stage. Witnesses reported that he was involved in an altercation with some local men on the street near the venue, which led to the singer being quite badly beaten. He is believed to have flown back to Trinidad today.
Vincent John told Soca News: “ACUK maintained its standards that artistes should turn up in a fit state to perform at the London Calypso Tent.”