Joan Alexander’s Soca Parang Lime – Great music and scholarships to boot


By Lincoln DePradine

Scrunter with a special lady

Kolin Alexander, in a brief pause at last Sunday’s “Soca Parang Lime” that featured former Trinidad and Tobago Calypso Monarch, Scrunter, reminded patrons that amidst the fun, there was also a serious purpose to the event.

Some of the proceeds from the event will support two scholarships established in the name of Alexander’s mother, who died February 5th last year.

“Thank you for all the support. You, being here tonight, have supported a couple of students who are studying nursing and cultural arts,’’ Alexander said.

His mom Joan Alexander, at her passing, was 83. She spearheaded the organizing of the “Soca Parang Lime’’.

The event is hosted by “Joan Alexander’s Family & Friends’’, and this year was the 21st annual edition of the show.

Mr. Wonderful and La Petite Musicale

Trinidad-born Alexander, a nurse by profession, was also considered a “cultural icon’’ for her passion for carnival arts, including masquerading, mas-making and carnival judging.

For 19 years, she was the main driving force behind the “Soca Parang Lime’’, consistently bringing Scrunter to Toronto as the headline act.

“This was her favourite artiste,’’ Kolin Alexander said, adding that “we love him, we appreciate him’’, referring to Scrunter.

Joan Alexander was “a good friend’’, said Scrunter, the 1982 Trinidad Calypso Monarch, whose real name is Irwin Reyes Johnson.

Sunday’s show, at the Metropolitan Centre on Finch Avenue East, included performances from Los Amigos, La Petite Musicale, keyboardist Richard Luces,  calypsonian Connector, and Joan’s niece, the talented pannist Rachel Walcott. Traditional Trinidad Christmas goodies such as pastelle and ponche-a-crème were an indispensble part of the festivities.

Los Amigos

Many of the attendees gathered at the front of the hall to get close to Scrunter, commonly referred to as a “living legend’’ and the “King of Parang Soca’’, when he took to the stage.

He opened with some of his calypso hits such as “Sing In She Party’’ and “Oil In De Coil’’.

Scrunter later switched to his repertoire of classic Parang Soca such as “Leroy’’; “That Eh Working Here Tonight’’; “Homemade Wine’’; “Anita’’; “Eat Something’’; and, “Piece Ah Pork’’.

He closed with his “Merry Christmas’’, singing: “We celebrating Christmas once more….I have nothing much to offer but to send love and greetings to you’’.

Although he would have liked to see a larger gathering of patrons, Kolin Alexander expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the 2023 “Soca Parang Lime’’.

“I’m happy with the show. But, I understand after the COVID pandemic, people are coming out slowly. At the end of the day, it’s still one of the number one shows in the city,’’ Alexander told The Caribbean Camera.

In memory of his mother, two students were awarded scholarships of $1,000 each in May to study at Toronto Metropolitan University. One received the “Joan Alexander Cultural Ambassador Scholarship’’; and, the other was presented with the “Joan Alexander Nursing Scholarship’’.

Two more scholarships, said Alexander, will be presented next year.