Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Chutney children excel


SECOND-TIME WINNER: Representative for the mayor of Chaguanas, Amanda Maharaj congratulates Aaron Duncan during the 2014 School’s National Carnival Chutney Soca Monarch prize giving ceremony held at the NCC’s VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Wednesday. —Photos: ANISTO ALVES

Mark Fraser

Despite the backdrop of the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination results on Wednesday many children from the 2014 School’s National Carnival Chutney Soca Monarch came out for the prize giving ceremony held at the National Carnival Commission’s (NCC) VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.

There are big plans already underway for the 2015 instalment of the competition. 

Deputy chairman of NCC Don Sylvester said $75,000 would go towards infrastructure so competitors and patrons would have a more comfortable and enjoyable experience.

In past competitions, patrons had to brave the sweltering heat and heavy showers to watch contestants perform on stage due to insufficient coverage.

Sylvester said, “We would like to offer $10,000 to the school that brings the most children out on the day of the competition.”

He noted that the winning school would be able to receive their prize money on the same day as the competition. 

Aaron Duncan topped the primary school category this year with his song, “Never Let You Go” which he performed during the prize giving ceremony. This is the second time, Duncan has won the title and he walked away with $10,000 for himself, a trophy and a plaque for his school. He shared the spotlight with Melina Smith from Guaico Secondary School who won the secondary school category with her song, “Indian Words”. Smith also performed her winning performance during the prize giving ceremony much to the delight of her peers, teachers and parents in attendance. She walked away with $12,000 for herself, a trophy and a plaque for her school. Smith also won the title, Best Lyrics along with Tyrese Williams from Arima Boys’ RC School with his rendition, “Trini to the Marrow”.

Rounding out the top three spots in the primary school category, N’janela Duncan-Regis from Eshe’s Learning Centre got second place with her song, “Real Unity”. Third place was Tyrese Williams from Arima Boys’ RC School with his song, “Trini To The Marrow”.

In the secondary school category, Arindel Seeraj from Hillview College got second place with his song, “Chutney in Trouble”. Third place was Jerrisha Duncan-Regis from St Francois Girls’ College with her song, “Chutney Madness”.

President of the National Chutney Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Vijay Ramlal-Rai noted that the lyrical content he has seen emerge from these young competitors far surpasses their adult counterparts in chutney soca.

The plethora of rum songs in chutney music showcased just one side of the industry and more needs to be done to show more diversity and strengthen the art form, he said.

General manager, Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC), Ronald Forde noted that given trying times we live in right now in Trinidad and Tobago, it is very important to get young people to engage in uplifting lyrics to lift the country.