PLEADING SONG: Helon Francis performs “Homeless Hero” at the finals of the National Youth Action Committee Stars of Tomorrow Calypso Competition. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

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20 young stars vie for calypso crown

By Verdel Bishop

Twenty calypsonians competed for a crown on Wednesday night in one of the earliest competitions for the 2014 Carnival season.
The finals of the National Youth Action Committee (NYAC) Stars of Tomorrow Calypso Competition, which took place at the Learning Resource Centre at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, attracted a large crowd of supporters and calypso-lovers who enjoyed a high standard of the art form from the young bards.
After the competition started half-hour later than the scheduled 7.30 p.m. time, a good mix of calypsoes was offered, along with entertaining props.
Before the start of the competition, National Joint Action Committee (NACC) communications officer Akhenaton Daaga praised NYAC for creating a platform which, over the years, has churned out some of this country’s big names in calypso and soca.
This year marks the competition’s 25th anniversary.
“We see so many artistes who have come out of this competition—Karen Asche, Kerwin Du Bois, Roger George, Shurwayne Winchester, Alicia Jagessar (parang queen), Devon Seales, Sheldon Reid, Duane O’Connor, and the list goes on. Every year we gather some of the best talent—the NYAC is a nursery of sorts for young calypsonians and this competition is a sort of university where they graduate to go on to participate in Young Kings, Dimanche Gras, Soca Monarch and so on,” Daaga said.
Some calypsonians faced some minor problems with the band, Earl Knight and the Services Brass, but were able to overcome them.
The band in some instances seemed to have a hard time staying in sync with the music for some of the competitors.
Kelvin Deweth was first on stage. His rendition of “I am Killer” was a warning about the dangers of using cocaine.
Memorable performances also came from Amrika Mutroo, who sang “Don’t Judge Me”, an entertaining calypso about wrongfully judging people; Shradah McIntyre sang “Dey Don’t Know”, a calypso about stereotyping black people; Vornique Benjamin’s “Ah Putting Mih Foot Down”, a social commentary about domestic abuse, was also well received; Jalani Kojo offered “Hope”, while Helon Francis sang “Homeless Hero”, in which he pleaded with the powers-that-be to complete the unfinished Pan Trinbago headquarters in Trincity.
Other stirring calypsoes came from Sirgio Francisco, Khadja Antoine, Bevon St Clair, Erphan Alves, Ife Alleyne, Ezekiel Yorke, Philman, Arnold Jordan, Kyle Cowie, Marion Paponette, Caston Cupid, Natifah Phillips and Megan Walrond.
Earlier, Dennis “Pumpa” Liburd entertained patrons, while Rohan “Fireball” Richards and Avalon Clinton served as MCs.
The results for the NYAC Stars of Tomorrow competition are due to be released today.
NYAC will also host Pioneers Jewels calypso competition on Thursday at Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain and Junior Path Finders at Palms Club, San Fernando on February 20.
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