KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent:- Junior calypso and soca artistes here had their moment in the spotlight on Tuesday during a show in which the calypso bards spoke to social issues and soca don and divas showed that they are good students of their seniors.
The calypsonians used their songs to decry social ills such as the increasing lack of respect, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, violence, and police brutality.
They also satirized politicians who promise everything but do not accept responsibility for anything.
The budding artistes sang of the impact of cultural penetration and violence on television and the perpetual, but fruitless, search for answers to many of contemporary society’s problems.
They sang of the impact of violence on society and noted that the cry for peace transcended national boundaries and were being echoed across the Caribbean region.
The youngster used placards and dramatizations to help to communicate their messages.
They rallied against HIV/AIDS, noting that the disease affects young and old, gays, lesbians and heterosexuals alike.
One calypsonians highlighted the need for role models and a member of the supporting cast wore a mask of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves’ face. Another placard echoed U.S. President Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” mantra.
One artiste lauded the wellness revolution and even LIAT, the only airline that provides regional air transportation to St. Vincent, came in for commentary.
The soca category of the show was dominated by the “jump and wave” and gyrating that has become characteristic of the soca art form here.
Officials pulled the plug on one male soca artiste after he invited a female member of the audience onto the stage and engaged in some precarious “dancing” with her.
The spontaneous routine involved the artiste running towards and jumping onto the young lady and holding her by the thighs with her head dangling towards the ground.
There were several guest artistes including senior soca dons Fireman Hooper, Jamesy P, and Luta who reminded the audience of the importance of staying in school, avoiding underage drinking, and postponing sex.
Nine of the ten contestants in this year’s Miss Carival pageant as well as the reigning Miss Carival also made a guest appearance at the show. (See Photos here)
“The show is at the usual quality that I expect from the juniors,” Anthony Theobalds, Cultural Officer in the Ministry of Tourism told I Witness-News.
“The calypsos are strong, the delivery is good, most of the children are actually singing and those are not comment that you can always make about the seniors,” he said.
He added: “There are many senior calypsonians who do not hold a good melody in their voice and whose voices don’t caress the words. They present me prose instead of poetry.
“I am a little disappointed with the turn out but maybe it’s a little early and it is a little hot. Hopefully, there will be more people as we get closer to five o’clock,” he said about two hours into the show, which started at 2 p.m.
Hance ‘Man Hans’ John of St. Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua, the only male in winners row, defeated seven other competitors to win the Junior Soca Monarch title for the third consecutive year, performing “Blaze It Up”.
He said he was happy to have won the title thrice in a row and hoped to perform on the international scene some day.
He said for the time being he was trying to get young Vincentian involved in the art form. The artiste, who writes his own songs, said he was considering writing songs for students at Evesham Primary School.
Jovica ‘Princess J’ Veira of Greggs Government School was second with “Jam It Back” while Daniesha Simmons of Bishop’s college was third, singing “Soca Body”.
Terancia “Little TC’ Cornwall of the Park Hill Government School won the crown in the primary school calypso competition ahead of eight other callers. She sang “Is This Retribution?” Cassie Anne ‘Princess Cassie’ Laidlow of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic was second singing “Things That Does Get Me Vex”. Nadia ‘Lady Nidia’ Jack of the Greggs Government School won the third spot with her song “The Drug Culture”.
In the secondary school calypso competition, Cassia ‘Singing Cassie’ Lavia of the Sandy Bay Secondary won the judges nod ahead of six other artiste with her rendition “My Voice Must Be Heard”. Second place went to Daniesha Simmons of the Bishop’s College. She sang “Don’t Blame De World”. In the third position was Phylicia ‘Nubian Empress” of the Dr. J.P. Eustace secondary school with her rendition “A Friendly Request”.