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Benjai – The people’s champion
By Sharon Buckley
United Kingdom
Tuesday 7 February 2012 : 8:56 GMT

Oh, what a night! On Saturday 28 January, London WC1 most definitely came alive as Benjai - aka Mr Swanky - brought the heat from Trinidad straight to 'One for de Road' UK Chocolate Nation's pre-carnival jam at the Holiday Inn Hotel. Da place was on fire! As Benjai blasted on stage, giving us hit after hit of reggae and soca vibes, the crowd wined along to his distinctive, sweet tones. Tickling us every so often with his notorious trademark phrase, “Si mi 'ere”, he turned a winter’s night into a blazing hot summer’s afternoon.

Let’s not forget, who has to be one of West London's finest pan men, Brent Holder of CSI steelpan, who accompanied Benjai on stage as a solo pannist and certainly made his mark. Holder beat every note as if it were his last; I never knew one drum of steel could mesmerise so many people at once. At one point, during the massive hit Trini, Benjai could do nothing but stop singing and let the pan take over, as the crowd were transported straight to the Caribbean; we were in a trance, truly amazing.

From start to finish, the night was a success. DJs rolled out hit after hit of just what the crowd wanted; here were all the ingredients for a superjam, as Benjai gave us the swanking recipe. Big up Benjai, London looks forward to getting 'mad and bad' with you again next time.

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