RONALDO LONDON looked quite shy and almost reticent coming on-stage in penultimate position, yet emerged winner of Tuesday’s Young Kings 2019 contest held by the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
Singing the preachy “Man’s Imagination,” he followed in the footsteps of his uncle Brian London who had won the title in 2004.
He sang in a strikingly melodious voice, with a haunting vibrato, that could easily venture into other genres such as reggae. His message was a call for mankind to turn from usual fare of greed, hatred and envy, and to realise that the Master’s plan was for man to love his fellow man, “Imagine you are your brother’s keeper; Together we are stronger,” London implored. “If only man learned to love man as in the master’s plan, man would stop the fall of man.”
Dawren “Pharaoh” Greenidge kicked off the show by invoking the late Winston “Shadow” Bailey whom he said had appeared to him to give him the formula for kaiso victory
With bass-rich backing instrumentals and sporting black hat, he captured Shadow’s essence by his staccato delivery of one liners, with a carefree chorus, “Jump Up, jump Up! Free up, free up!”.
Wendell Goodridge gave a smooth, crisp and easy-listening delivery of Support, a call for help for ex-convicts to get a second chance at life, to help curb the country’s crime upsurge.
Addelon Braveboy’s Bring It Back was a thoughtful call to return TT to peaceful days, “Every day I sit and wonder; How this sweet island got so bitter.” His poetic words were supported by a deep soulful, gospel-like musicality.
Gary “M’ba” Thomasos had a great night in a Shadow tribute “What the Ghost Say,” clad in black and doing Shadow’s trademark jumping on the spot with arms-at-his-side. Still to find his adult voice, Aaron Duncan hailed past kaiso icons in Thank You, with veteran David Rudder coming on-stage in support to sing two lines.
Derrick Seales played several local videos of school fights and armed robberies on a projector as a backdrop to his song Be Careful warning people to beware in their daily lives.
Sekkon Alves in Google Problems told a humorous tale of researching foreign affairs online, but being unable to get search engines to get answers to local questions such as who was involved in certain rackets and political controversies.
Nicholas “Nikko Ash” Ashby began with a funny skit of a domineering wife’s employ of a robot servant, only for her timid husband to ultimately rebel and bring home his own female robot. However, Ashby should have incorporated this idea into his story rather than just rely on a rhetorical lament in Machine Man.
Kyle "KC" Cowie in The Bigger picture urged that kaiso go global. "It ain't dying but it ain't flying," he sang of kaiso, urging artistes to sing on topics such as Donald Trump, China's rise and the Syrian war. "Rowley and Kamla that is old news; Time to sing on global issues. No more calypsonians dying broken; Calypsonians will be living in a magical kingdom."
Martin “Swappi” Davis effortlessly excited the crowd with his upbeat and infectious soca hit, Party Start. Who could resist the joie de vivre (joy of living) of his infectious “Bi-di, bi-di, boom-ba!”? This smooth operator turned a cultural showcase into a giant fete, all delivered without Swappi breaking a sweat. When he bared his chest, many women screamed their approval.
Carlton “D’Observer” Louison must have be disappointed not to place in the top 10 with his wake up call, Cellphone Addicts, that unlike most other songs largely succeeded in telling a story, to get across his message of people lost in the cyber-zone. “Long ago we communicated with mouth and lips; Now it’s with our fingertips.”
Those present included former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams plus National Carnival Commission head Winston “Gypsy” Peters who in his feature address urged organisers to be have a more punctual start. NACC head Embau Moheni in his welcome speech was confident youngsters would carry calypso to a great global future.
1. Brian London. Man’s Imagination
2. Marvin “Swappi” Davis. Party Start
3. Addelon “Banjela” Braveboy. Bring It Back
4. Gary “M’ba” Thomasos. What the Ghost Says
5. Sekon Alves. Google Problem
6. Darwen “Pharaoh” Greenidge. Formula
7. Kyle “KC” Cowie. The Bigger Picture
8. Sheldon “Sheldon Nugget” Bullen. Celebrate Them.
9. Aaron Duncan. Thank You.
10. Nicholas “Nikko Ash” Ashby. Machine Man.