Mark “The Ladies Man” Eastman wants when he walks down the street to have people say, “Hey, Mark, good song.”
As the winner of this year’s Young Kings competition, he is poised to go on his way down that street. Eastman captured one of the first big crowns of Carnival 2018 on Monday night after delivering Fantasy Island.
Speaking to Newsday about his win yesterday, Eastman said this was his first major crown, but he hopes to make it to Dimanche Gras. He has been singing for 13 years – it will be 14 years on his birthday, February 1.
“My ultimate dream is to be recognised as a calypsonian, to be one of the greats, to be as great as Sparrow and Kitchener. I want to be one of the greatest calypsonians and go down in the Hall of Fame. When my name is called back people must say, ‘Yes, yes, I know that fella, that fella have a voice. That fella could sing.’”
The 34th National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) Young Kings contest was held last Monday at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain. Eastman competed against 14 other finalists, among them Aaron Duncan, Heaven “Snakey” Charles and Derrick “Dr Seales” Seales.
But it was Eastman, Addelon “Banjela” Braveboy and Duncan who walked away with the top three spots.
Eastman, 31, from Trincity, in a phone interview with Newsday after his win, called for the NACC to be honoured, saying the committee had groomed a generation of calypsonians, among them Karene Asche and Roderick “Chuck” Gordon.
Eastman’s Fantasy Island drew large crowd applause, although he had a “rent-a-crowd” of supporters present. Songwriter Elijah Abdul Kareem wrote the song.
Dressed like Ricardo Montalban’s character Mr Roarke, from the television show of that name, Eastman sang of today’s twisted reality, in which laws exist for the rich but not the poor and, if popular, one would get away with “fooling the nation.” The song expressed, in today’s TT, “anything wrong is right.” The song also referenced recent political and social happenings such as Watson Duke’s attempted swim from Tobago to Trinidad.
Singing at number 12, after his delivery, Eastman received loud applause from the entire audience, with some calling for an encore (not allowed in competitions).
Although the show had a 30-minute late start, it ran smoothly until its 11.15 pm end. The committee honoured show promoter and music producer Carl “Beaver” Henderson for his contribution to the country’s music.
Last year’s winner, Rohan “Fireball” Richards, made a guest appearance before the show. Rawle Peters opened with his Web of Lies, which spoke to the effect the internet was having on society.
Snakey, who performed in second place, drew crowd support and applause when SuperBlue joined him on stage for his Tribute to Austin Lyons. As in many Carnival fetes, Snakey’s performance, coupled with SuperBlue on stage, made many “put their hand in the air.” Snakey came fourth.
Many of the calypsoes addressed the spiralling crime rate such as Eric James’ Drive Them Out, Sekon Alves’ A Nation in Tears and Nyol Manswell’s One Eye Monster.
Second place winner Addelon “Banjela” Braveboy called on TT to unite. Dressed in white African wear, he sang, “We’re not safe even inside we home,” while calling on people to pray as well.
Duncan’s One Nation was also a crowd favourite. It looked at the many national achievements, among them TT’s men’s 4x400 relay team winning gold at the IAAF World Championships at the Olympic Stadium in London, England and Janelle “Penny” Commissiong-Chow becoming the first black Miss Universe.
He called on TT “to forget the hate knocking on our gate...We have so many reasons to be proud, not one but every day.”
The first major competition for Carnival 2018 has wrapped up and the new National Action Cultural Committee's (NACC) Young King is Mark "The Ladies Man" Eastman.
Eastman's composition Fantasy Island won him the crown over 14 other finalists including Aaron Duncan, Derrick "Dr Seales" Seales and Gary "Mba" Thomasos among others.
Addelon "Banjela" Braveboy placed second, while Duncan placed third.