BOYS TAKE THE CROWNS
FIFTEEN-year-old Duane Ta'zyar O'Connor of St. Mary's College walked away with the Junior Calypso Monarch trophy, $25,000 and a trip to Barbados to perform in their competition later this year.
Son of Duane O'Connor, the 2012 National Calypso Monarch, the younger O'Connor sang Man Of Integrity where he told his mother in song it is not always about money. He sang: "There are things money just can't buy. Before I choose a career path it is important to me to be a man of integrity", just as the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Kitchener, Duke, Sparrow and Abraham Lincoln. It was a powerful rendition and certainly a winning performance.
He told the media afterwards that he was truly elated with the result and will continue singing calypso as well as continue with his studies.
Placing second was Rivaldo London of Iere High School. Dressed in a grey scissors tail suit and hat to match, like the calypso bards of yesteryear, he sang Die For Meh Calypso.
He would have none of questionable videos or taking a sweat with delinquents or liming. He said those things can't help him save the country. Instead he wants to sing calypsoes with uplifting messages and about the good achievements of citizens. "The love for my country is all I know so I go die singing calypso," he sang.
London won a trophy and $20,000, while Arima Girls R.C's A'Janae King Fraser, granddaughter of Johnny King, sang Education First with clear diction.
For the most part, competitors sang songs on the crime situation, some offering solutions, while another set sang on the importance of education.
Nicole de Freitas, general manager at gold sponsor First Citizen's Bank, lauded the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians' Organisation (TUCO) for starting the competition 40 years ago, stating that the initiative has seen the development of so much young talent.
A performance by the Barbados junior monarch, Teri Williams-Niles aka Sparkle T, followed, and it was straight into the competition.
One of the other outstanding performances came from Sharissa Camejo of Holy Name Convent, PoS who sang Pentecost. The crowd was upset on hearing that she placed fifth.
Her uptempo song with a message likened to Voice's (Aaron St. Louis) Year For Love and Stalin's (Leroy Calliste) Bun Dem, she gave a commanding performance that earned her loud applause as did the performance of Renaldo Alleyne-Noreiga of St. Mary's College who drove himself on stage to sing Education is the Key.
Aaliyah Hinds of St. Mary's A.C. Primary offered a moving Don't Be A Bully, as did Caryn Mc Carthy, 19, from the University of the West Indies who sang No More, as a child feeling the pain of her abused mother.
After a guest performance by Aaron Duncan of Can You Feel It and Better Days, Dr. Lovell Francis, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education told the audience, after experiencing the competition for the past three years he was not surprised by the high quality of calypsoes, and congratulated all the competitors. The Junior Soca Monarch Competition, recently taken over by the Ministry of Education followed, with all competitors singing over tracks.
There was a tie for first place between Singer Boy Sergio (Sergio Camejo) of Fatima College who sang No More and his friend Desle (Desle Julien) of St. Mary's College who sang Kryptonite.
Both of their experience in the competition showed.
Taking third place was Cassi (Catherine Chandler) of St. George East Educational District.
Speaking with reporters afterwards, the joint winners expressed happiness with the result stating that it couldn't have been better.
President Anthony Carmona told the audience, anyone who has an appreciation for kaiso with good content - lyrics and melody - would know that any one of the competitors could have made the National Calypso Semi-final held at Skinner Park on Saturday. He was also certain that some of the performers will make the Dimanche Gras final one day soon.