KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Shadé Barker exuded confidence as she appeared on stage at Victoria Park on Tuesday, the penultimate contender in the secondary school segment of the Junior Calypso competition.
The band — Access — struck up and the artiste began singing her song — “Rights to Live” — and then the musicians, as if on cue, suddenly stopped playing.
Something had gone wrong.
But the St. Joseph’s Convent representative maintained her composure, smiled and told the crowd not to pay too much attention to the glitch.
She went on to give a performance that judges believe was better than the seven other contenders for the crown.
“I am happy,” she told I-Witness News of her victory.
“I have no idea. Ask the band members,” she responded when asked about what had happened at the beginning of her performance.
Shadé further said she knew something was wrong when the band stopped playing. “I just continued singing my song,” she said when asked how she was able to cope with the hiccup, adding that her experience might have helped.
Shadé also outshone her schoolmate Gillian Smart, who was second with her rendition “We Should Be Loving We”.
Deroney “The Messenger” May of the Sandy Bay Secondary School was third with his folksong-like “Island in the Sun” that included elaborate portrayals of activities in which visitors to this country can be engaged.
Airport song lands primary win
In the Primary School category of the competition, Layou Government School’s Kristiana “Singing Kristy” Christopher was both the first artiste to perform and the first place winner.
Her rendition “Making A Dream A Reality”, a song that lauded the benefits of the international airport under construction at Argyle, landed her the crown.
Singing Kristy outperformed the other seven contenders, including second place winner Abigail “Abbi” Alexander of the Fancy Government School, who sang of “My Secret Lover” – education.
In third position was Jenille “Jennie” Garick of the New Prospect Primary, who sang “Stop the Violence”.
The young bards tackled a multiplicity of topics, including infrastructural development, the beauty of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, social harmony, crime and violence, the declining economy, and social justice.
Of especial note was Antonya “Singing Antonya” Telemaque who used her song to call for a brand new school for students of the “two-building” Kingstown Anglican School.
But while the artistes were generally confident in their renditions and use of the stage, they overwhelmingly demonstrated poor stagecraft.
Many of the young bards continually walked to and fro on the stage with their movement more of a distraction than a contribution to the delivery of their song.
Their performances were in stark contrast to guest artiste, Trinidad and Tobago Junior Soca Monarch, eight-year-old Aaron “Master Aaron” Duncan.
Master Aaron’s performance of a calypso and a soca song was accompanied by more graceful moves that seemed intended to emphasise what he was singing rather than merely ensuring that he was not stationary on the stage.
Further, almost all of the calypsos and at least one of the soca songs were preceded by a drawn-out dramatization that contributed little to the effective delivery of the song.
Some of the dramatizations seemed more of an explanation of what the artiste would be singing, thereby suggesting that the song was lyrically weak.
Simplicity wins soca crown
In the soca segment of the competition, maybe it was Otis “Flippa” Cain’s simple performance that won the judges’ approval.
Flippa was the only artiste whose performance was not accompanied by an entourage of dancers.
The Grammar School lad came onstage with a bandana tied to each arm and waved a rag as he performed “Squeeze Up”.
Second place winner in the competition was Delanzo “Lanzo” Lavia of the Owia Government School, who sang “Wuk Yuh Body”
Kristina “Singing Kristy”, who won the primary calypso crown, was third with “My Imagination”.
At least one of the soca songs — Omali “Magic Man” Collins’ “Telephone” — seemed to be sexually suggestive.
In the song, the Greiggs Government School student said his “phone stop wuk” and further spoke of receiving a “fax”.
The contestant for the Miss Carival pageant on Friday also made an introductory appearance at the show and several guest artiste also performed.