Singing Climate Change, Kwesi Jeffers won the 2010
edition of the Young Kings Calypso Competition, on
Monday night. Photo: Gillian Moore
Kwesi Jeffers used a combination of lyrical skill, strong stage presence and impressive vocal talent to come out on top at Monday night’s Young Kings Calypso Monarch Competition, presented by the National Cultural Action Committee at Pier One, Chaguaramas.
A good crowd came out to support the calypsonians at the show, advertised to start at 7.30 pm. After prayers, addresses, cultural awards and a guest performance by last year’s King, Jervae Caesar, singing That is Small Business, competition got started at 8.40, when MC Phaedra Pierre called the first of 18 competitors onstage, accompanied by Earl Knight and Services Brass. Ware got it started on a nostalgic note, with Calypso Tribute, in which he hailed the contributions of kaiso greats of yesteryear. Next, Derrick Seales sang God Bless de Caribbean, focusing on some of the achievements of the region, and calling for unity. Walter Taylor followed with Signs, impressing with his powerful singing voice. A Nation After God was Marlon Edwards’ effort, a rousing gospel-influenced song asserting that T&T is divinely favoured. Dramatic footage of natural disasters heralded the start of Jeffers' Climate Change. His drum-driven kaiso called for listeners to cherish Mother Earth. Good stage craft and his big, soulful voice marked him as the one to beat.
Kekere followed with Unite the Cultures, punctuating his call for togetherness with his signature dance moves. Sekon Alves’ More than a Panside lamented the departure of Desperadoes from Laventille, saying the fabled steelband represented an important cornerstone of the community’s soul. At number eight, Wendell Goodridge sang of political disillusionment in Basdeo Manning Patrick Panday, before the winner of this year's Stars of Tomorrow Competition, Guidance, sang Wounded Nation. His strong, passionate voice got his message across as he cited numerous problems facing the country. Coming right before the break was Falco, with a percussive, chutney-infused number, Baptist Melody. Jadee resumed the show with Mighty Men of God, another gospel-influenced song, followed by veteran Hamidullah, who sang It Started with We, a clever composition declaring that the older generation should accept responsibility for social problems, instead of blaming youths. In National Pride, escorted by a pair of Moko jumbies, Duane O’Connor took on the $2 million national flag debacle, declaring that a better way to instil pride was to fix the nation's many wrongs.
Ninja’s My Company took the form of a retrenchment letter to his “outside woman”. He made the audience laugh, using business jargon to let his paramour go. Kaiso Money was the contribution of Dr Will B. He appealed for better treatment and remuneration for the calypso artform. Revealer, singing Integrity, confronted the issue of beleaguered integrity commissions, letting the President know that “grassroots have integrity too”. Penultimate performer Sheldon Nugget came on with Special People, a well composed appeal for compassion and fair treatment for differently-abled members of the community. Tobago Chalkie (Alex Gift), who won the Tobago Young King Competition on Sunday night, closed things off, shortly before midnight, with Cocoa Melee.
RESULTS 1. Kwesi Jeffers–Climate Change 2. Sekon Alves—More than a Panside 3. Guidance—Wounded Nation 4. Sheldon Nugget—Special People 5. Tobago Chalkie—Cocoa Melee 6. Duane O'Connor—National Pride 7. Ninja—My Company 8. Hamidullah—It Started with We 9. Revealer—Integrity 10. Derrick Seales—God Bless The Caribbean & Walter Taylor - Signs.