The most respected and celebrated female calypsonian the world over, Calypso Rose (McCartha Lewis) was honoured, through a sterling tribute in a calypso titled “Queen of the Road”, by newly-crowned NWAC National Calypso Queen Candice Robinson. The Tobago-based calypsonian beat out 21 contenders to get the judges’ nod. A rowdy audience enjoyed an entertaining night of calypsoes from the female bards. Many of the contenders utilised elaborate props with bele dancers and African drums to enhance their performances.
Robinson, who is attached to the TUCO Tobago Magnificent Glow Calypso Tent is no stranger to winner’s row, having also captured the 2007 and 2011 Tobago Calypso Queen titles. Dressed in a long flowing red dress, Robinson executed her calypso in earnest capturing the attention of both the judges and patrons at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s. Robinson said Calypso Rose paved the way for women in the calypso art form today. The Henson Wright composition, Robinson said, is a worthy tribute to “Her Majesty”. “I call Calypso Rose ‘Her Majesty’. I don’t call her anything else.
“When I got the song I felt really enthusiastic about it because it was an opportunity to pay tribute to Her Majesty while she is still with us. She is here to hear the tribute and enjoy it. Many times we wait until it is too late to honour our ambassadors and heroes. We should not wait until the ambassadors and heroes are gone. I don’t know how to express this feeling, but I am very happy. I had fun doing this calypso. I had fun doing it.”
Robinson continued, “Her Majesty Calypso Rose has paved the way for so many women in the calypso artform because back in the days it was not considered ladylike to sing calypso. She paved the way. I am thankful that I could stand tall and do a tribute to her. I’m not sure that has heard it but I sent messages to her and I am hoping that she likes it very much. I hope that she would hear it. This tribute is also to all the other female calypsonians who continue to produce calypsoes and who are continuing to work hard. This is also to each and every one of them. I want to tell them to keep up the good work,” Robinson said.
Robinson was selected as a semi-finalist in the National Calypso Monarch competition (Calypso Fiesta) in 2008 and 2009. She said she is hoping to make it to Skinner Park again this year. “I am hoping to be in Skinner Park. I am going to do my best and continue working. I won’t leave calypso; each time you see me it will be something impacting and different,” Robinson said
The 30th edition of the NWAC National Calypso Queen competition was also used as a platform to honour women who have contributed to the performing arts. Founder of Golden Hands Steel Orchestra, Franka Hills-Headley and founder of the Oratory Foundation Deborah Jean-Baptiste-Samuel were honoured for contributions in their respective fields and the performing arts.
The competition featured an entertaining night of noteworthy calypsoes. Cindy Alleyne placed second with “Trinbago Blossom” in which she outlined what it would take to produce a society free of social ills. Makeda Darius performed first and offered “Profiling Laventille”, in which she came to the defense of the wrongful stereotyping of the troubled community. Those who also stood out in the competition and received lengthy applause and whistles included Georgia Charles-Mc Intyre who pleaded with mothers to stop encouraging their children in crime and criminal activities. Singing from a personal experience, Charles-Mc Intyre, in a heartfelt plea, admonished the large turnout of patrons for making excuses for their children’s negative behaviour and to stop crying “innocent” when they know their children are guilty.
Rosemary Mitchell sent a “Message to the Badman” which had patrons in stitches. Performing in a wedding dress Mitchell said she “don’t want no badman”. Sharadah Mc Intyre performed “Deh Doh Know”, a sang about wrongfully profiling people of African descent. Amrika Mutroo’s “Doh Get it Twisted” was enthusiastically received. Alana Sinnette was also in rare form with “Sea Lots”. Other noteworthy contributions came from Tamico Moore, Cindy Alleyne, Marion Paponette, Sister Ava, Lady Adanna, Natifah Phillips, Megan Walrond, Marva Mc Kenzie, Mahalia Regis, Bridgette Creese, Wendy Garrick, Tricia Hamilton and Natasha Nurse. Guest performers Holy Faith Convent Penal Drummers offered an enthralling drum treat at the start of the competition.
The results were as follows:
1st Candice Robinson -- “Queen of the Road”.
2nd Cindy Alleyne -- “Trinbago Blossom”.
3rd Alana Sinnette -- “Sea Lots”.
4th Spicey (Tamico Moore) -- “Man In Dat”.
5th Eunice Peters -- “Calypso Lives On”.
6th Marion Paponette -- “Ek Wil Dom Woon”.
7th Rosemary Mitchell -- “Message to the Badman”.
8th Georgia Charles Mc Intyre -- “Make the Right Choice”.
9th Natifah Phillips -- “Fly on the Wall”.
10th Amrika Mutroo -- “Doh Get It Twisted”.