Roderick "Chucky" Gordon is today half a million dollars wealthier having won Saturday's final of the Lord Brynner 50th Anniversary Independence Calypso Competition at the Grand Stand of the Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Chucky sang "Bear With Me," an upbeat calypso that had members of the audience dancing as he performed. His act was supported by silent actors and minimalistic props depicting Piarco International, an airport scene which shows people leaving the island.
Chucky sang, that citizens ought not to migrate to other lands because of the challenges here. They should remain and use their skills and talents to help build the nation. "I am only 50 years old…When you look at me there is potential galore…When compared to Iran and Iraq, I only have minor problems" were some of the lines.
As he neared the end of the calypso, Chucky, who portrayed a character titled Trinbago in the song, called on the people to work with him.
The audience cheered as he exited the stage, many calling for an encore seeming to forget that it was a competition. There was even a small fireworks display at the end of Chucky's presentation, causing patrons to comment he was the one to beat that night. Popular opinion in the venue was that the competitors were now battling for the other placings.
Of his victory, Chucky said he was elated and he knew that his father, the late Roland Gordon who was a respected calypso judge, would be very proud of him.
Michelle Henry, to whom many referred as the dark horse in the competition, placed second and won $250,000. She delivered a commendable performance of, "Our National Watchword." She sang that citizens seem to have thrown away the watchwords given them by the nation's first Prime Minister Dr Eric Williams at the dawn of Independence: Discipline, Tolerance and Production.
Karen Eccles took home the $150,000 third prize with her rendition of "Give, I Will Reciprocate." Eccles, who is pregnant, took command of the stage, delivering a sound performance. In this calypso, Eccles took on the role of Mother Trinbago crying out to her children.
Sugar Aloes sang in a reserve position after the organisers, Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) announced last week that fellow competitor Brian London had been disqualified for singing a previously performed song. He did not fare as well those who placed in the top three as when it was announced that he was the next artiste up, members of the audience began to boo.
This was most likely because of his performance at the ruling People's Partnership anniversary rally in May, after years of declaring his support for the People's National Movement, now in Opposition.
Although the patrons settled down as Aloes performed, some people began to steups and make other disgruntled noises when one of the several people accompanying him on stage revealed a photograph of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Aloes ended up placing seventh.
Luta placed tenth with his calypso "50/50" in which he poked fun at Aloes.
In it Luta stated that as an independent nation Trinbago has not done too badly, but still not as good as he had hoped. In one of the lines he stated that the Government had turned,"Aloes to Aloo," eliciting laughter from the audience.
Sending the patrons wild was guest artiste SuperBlue who jumped off the stage and went into the audience. Patrons danced to his "Bacchanal Time" and "Signal To Lara."
This was the first time the competition was named in honour of Lord Brynner who in 1962 won the inaugural Independence Calypso Competition. It was held for the second time when Trinidad and Tobago celebrated 25 years of Independence in 1987. That year's competition was won by Cro Cro.
How they placed:
01 - Chucky — "Bear With Me"
02 - Michelle Henry — "Our National Watchword"
03 - Karen Eccles — "Give. I Will Reciprocate"
04 - Heather Mac Intosh — "The Reason"
05 - Kizzy Ruiz — " T&T Forever"
06 - Karene Asche —"Casscadu"
07 - Sugar Aloes —"Team T And T"
08 - Singing Sandra — "Red, White and Black"
09 - Duane O'Connor – "Unity In Independence"
10 – Luta – "50/50"