The Church’s story is service, not abuse
February 25, 2019
Should Catholics participate in “Carnival”?
February 26, 2019

More to calypso than trophies and prize money—winning message*

The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO), First Citizens’ National Junior Calypso Monarch Final 2019, Monday 25, saw reigning monarch Ta’zyah Duane O’Connor, 16 years, give a commanding performance with ‘Great Trinbago’. The St Mary’s College student however, had to step aside for 17-year-old Pleasantville Secondary School student Rivaldo London, whose ‘My Purpose’ had the audience cheering after he left the Queen’s Park Savannah stage.

London sang that as he got older, he realised there was more to singing than the trophy and prize money. The calypsonian can deliver a message and “turn lives around”. He described the calypsonian as “the reporter, the newspaper” and even the “true Opposition” to governments. He did win a trophy, $25,000 and a trip to be a guest performer at the Barbados Junior Monarch Finals. London later told media, with the support of his parents he knew he had a good chance. “A lot of times people come into competition to come first and win prize money but really and truly, it is to deliver the message to the people.” London called Calypso “my thing”.

Although things seem grim with the economy, and with the prevalence of crime, O’Connor’s song presented hope and patriotism with his refrain of “Trinbago, Trinbago you can be great again”. He too had the audience clapping and singing along. O’Connor won a trophy and $20,000. He was proud of his performance and congratulated the winner: “He did a really good job”.

It was a reversal of places as London placed second to O’Connor in last year’s competition. Both songs, as well as two others, were written by London’s uncle, the calypsonian Brian London. A trophy and $15,000 was earned by Third Place N’Janela Duncan-Regis, 15 years for ‘Slave to the Gun’. Her song likened the gun culture to a new enslavement and release from “massa” had no impact on young men—another liberation was needed. Prizes were given to all participants and there were extra prizes for Best in Category etc.

The programme started at 10 a.m. with opening remarks from TUCO’s President Lutalo Masimaba, ‘Brother Resistance’, and addresses from officials of First Citizens and the Ministry of Education. Barbados’ Junior Calypso Monarch Dequon Alleyne Jr was a guest performer. The competition was underway at 11 a.m. and proceeded smoothly with media personality Sunny Bling (Kerron Sealey) as Master of Ceremonies.

The need for parents to spend more time with their children was the topic of the first performer 12-year-old St Francois Girls’ College student A’Janae King Fraser’s ‘More Time’. A call for fathers to be present to “teach the young men to be men” was the focus of The University of the West Indies’ student T’sahai Corbin, 19 years, with ‘Fathers of the Nation’. Her performance included two males, representing father and son mirroring each other and exchanging roles as she warned of the next generation of fatherless children. That adults have to be exemplars for children who mirror their conduct was the general theme of Caleb Hinds of St Benedict’s College, 14 years.

The effects of crime and a call for change were highlighted in addition to tributes to the culture of the country, as with Annalise Emmanuel’s tune ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’, which called for youth to know their culture. She is a student of St Joseph’s Convent, St Joseph.

The youngest participant was nine-year-old Kai-Anthony Salazar, St Michael’s Anglican AC.  Dressed in a three-piece suit he gave a confident performance and was unfazed when his hat blew off. He retrieved it later and continued his performance without missing a beat. The second youngest was ten-year-old Jalan Maughn, of St Patrick’s Newtown Boys’ RC, who gave a rousing display for ‘God’s Army’. Six of the 16 participants were from RC primary or secondary schools.

The results are:

  1. Ronaldo London ‘My Purpose’
  2. Ta’zyah Duane O’Connor ‘Great Trinbago’
  3. N’Janela Duncan-Regis ‘Slave to the Gun’
  4. Cindy-Ann Bigford, Holy Faith Convent, Penal ‘Help Our Children’
  5. Caleb Hinds ‘Our Nation’s Children’
  6. Jalan Maughn ‘God’s Army’
  7. Kurlise Bentham, Bishop Centenary College ‘Two Heads’
  8. T’sahai Corbin ‘Father’s of the Nation’
  9. Kai-Anthony Salazar ‘Leh We Celebrate
  10. A’janae King Fraser ‘More Time’
  11. Faith Haywood, Holy Name Convent, Penal ‘Your Brother’s Keeper’
  12. Annalise Emmanuel ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’
  13. Naomi Sinnette Bishop Centenary ‘The Truth About Money’
  14. Adana Dardaine Sangre Grande Educational Institute ‘Is De Music’
  15. Kerston Millar Bishops High School ‘More Love, Less Blood’
  16. Bethany Lighbourne Bishop Anstey High School East ‘Calypso Rising’