Three monarchs were crowned on Thursday night in a competition that brought out the crème de la crème in the finals of the 2014 extempo, political commentary and social commentary competitions.
Extempo monarch 2014 Brian London, political commentary monarch Mistah Shak (Selvon Noel) and social commentary monarch Kurt Allen keenly contested their respective categories to emerge winners at Kaisorama 2014—The Night of Champions at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port of Spain.
Eight extempo stalwarts and newcomers drew for performance positions in this category and sang on controversial topics like “Too Much False Degrees”, Two Million for Calypso Monarch”, “How Many More Must Die”, “The Calypso Tent” and “Honour Our Heroes”. Other topics included “Soap and Water Keeps You Clean”, “Is Meh Pension She Seeing” and “Every Year You Wearing the Same Clothes”. London showed his superiority early on with “Honour Our Heroes” to get the judges’ nod among the four finalists, who included Black Sage (Phillip Murray), Lingo (Joseph Vautor La Placeliere) and Contender (Mark John).
London was paired with Black Sage for the last leg of the competition. Six verses were exchanged in the extempo war, but London waxed eloquent throughout his delivery, each time to the crowd’s approval. At the end, it was a case of the student schooling the teacher—Black Sage sang that London was one of the young artistes he had the privilege to teach and that he was a product of his (Sage’s) and Gypsy’s (Winston Peters’) extempo school. But London again had Black Sage at his mercy with his wit.
London took home a purse of $150,000, while Black Sage received $105,000.
After a number of years making it to the finals of the competition, this is London’s first extempo win. He said he felt the time was right.
“I have been in the finals about four or five times, and in the final pairing two or three times before. I felt relaxed. I didn’t go there with anything else on my mind so it was a good night. I enjoyed myself and I think that suited me best—just going there, thinking about nothing and having fun,” London said.
London said he was not fully prepared for his performance in the political commentary category. “I had problems with the band because I didn’t practise with them, but I still went out and gave my best,” he said.
Mistah Shak sang his popular political commentary, “Bois”, to dethrone last year’s political monarch, Kurt Allen. Mistah Shak took the title and $25,000 for his winning performance, which included stickfighting chants and bele dancers. Bunny B (Neville Brown) and Brian London placed second and third and took home $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
Allen captured the social commentary title with “Sweet Sizzling Summer” in a stage production which featured an island scene with pan, tourists and back-up singers dressed in grass skirts.
Heather McIntosh and Leslie Ann Ellis placed second and third, to receive a purse of $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The five-hour show, which started around 7.30 p.m., went without any major hiccups. Making guest appearances were the North West Laventille Cultural Movement, Lord Nelson (Robert Nelson), Nadia Batson and Explainer (Winston Henry). Musical accompaniment was provided by Kelly Green and Harmony, and show hosts were Wendell Etienne and Omari Ashby.
The following are the results
of the Kaisorama competition:
1st - Kurt Allen
2nd - Heather McIntosh
3rd - Leslie Ann Ellis
1st - Mistah Shak (Selvon Noel)
2nd - Bunny B (Neville Brown)
3rd - Brian London
1st - Brian London
2nd - Black Sage (Phillip Murray)
3rd - Contender (Mark John)
4th - Lingo (Joseph Vautor La Placeliere)