This year, apart from Steel and Glitter, patrons attending Panorama on Thursday July 5th will be entertained by Trinidadian soca artiste Rodney 'Benjai' Le Blanc.
The Steel and Glitter show is where the various Mas Bands compete in the Sections of the Bands competition and also where the senior pan men take part in the Panorama competition.
The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) has this year decided to give patrons even more with the introduction of soca into the mix in the form of the sensational Benjai.
In an internet release, Benjai is described as one of the most lyrically savvy artistes to come up within the last decade.
The release says, "Benjai is among the most sought after soca / ragga-soca acts along the east coast of the United States commanding audiences of thousands with his engaging performance style and infectious personality".
"The Benjai sound has influenced the music of a number of successful young artistes and musicians, yet Benjai continues to stand out as unique and nonpareil".
The release goes on, "Benjai comes from the eastern community of Arima, Trinidad which boasts a rich tradition of music and was the birthplace of legendary musical icons such as the Calypsonian the Lord Kitchener and broadcaster, Holly Betaudier who is credited with playing a major in keeping traditional parang music (Spanish Christmas songs) alive over the last four decades.
In the early years of his career Benjai participated in soundclashes alongside other youth who would gather in Arima and other parts of the island to lyrically spar against each other. Having proved himself as one of the more proficient freestyle lyricists, Benjai in 2002 took his talent into the recording studio where he recorded his debut single, "Over And Over," which proved an instant runaway hit, paving the way for what has thus far been a phenomenal career.
Although making great strides as a solo artiste Benjai accepted an invitation from longtime friend, Bunji Garlin who was in need of a strong vocal presence alongside him in the Asylum Band. Garlin himself was riding a crest of success and the union of these two created an unstoppable musical force that stormed through the Caribbean and North America. Benjai, however, continued to stand out at times dominating the Asylum stage eventually making the decision to return to flying solo.
The next artiste to come knocking on Benjai's door was Machel Montano who impressed by Benjai's composing skills and performance style invited him to be a part of the world famous HD Family. This move led to the creation of "Amnesty," one of the most poignant songs of the last decade addressing the effects of crime on the nation (Trinidad). Composed by Benjai the song featured him and Montano in a stellar duet performance.
After a successful year touring with Montano and HD throughout the region, North America and Europe, Benjai again decided to return to a solo flight. He also took some time away from the stage for introspection and chart the course for his career from this point on. He has singles like "Whole Day," "Drunk Again", "Jah Seal", "Alive" and "Amnesty".
Benjai is committed to perfecting his art and honing his skills as he creates music that makes listeners reflect on life issues and encourage them to live right, but also making music that gets them dancing and singing".
Patrons wanting to witness Benjai's exciting performance can journey to Carnival City Victoria Park on Thursday July 5th for as little as EC$15 entrance fee.