Addelon “Banjela” Braveboy is the 2020 National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) Young Kings winner. After placing in top positions in the competition over the years, Braveboy finally walked away with the crown.
His performance was the judge’s favourite of the 15 competitors on Tuesday night at the NACC 36th annual Young Kings Calypso competition before a packed Grand Stand at the Queen’s Park Savannah. His cultural and pulsating rendition captured the audience as he performed T’is We Season.
His message about the significance of keeping the culture and heritage of Carnival rich in TT was felt across the Grand Stand through his spiritual invocations and African drums.
His rendition reflected NACC’s Fifty Years: Shaping Minds Through the Arts theme for 2020. He sang of the uniqueness of the Carnival characters and cultural dances, traditions and local instruments from the tamboo bamboo to the steelpan. Banjela’s winning performance received a standing ovation and was a highlight of the night.
Kyle “KC” Cowie walked away with second place with his In 2020 – How Could That Be piece. His performance was another highlight of the show and a crowd favourite.
Although Andrew “Frosty” Brooks failed to make it into the top ten, the lyrics to his Pray Then Work warned parents of the future consequences for failing to discipline their children.
Marvin “Swappi” Davis was applauded for his striking rendition and recreation of Winston “Might Shadow” Bailey’s Jumbie Head. He placed sixth.
The show began at 7.30 and was off to a smooth start as Wendell Goodridge’s Massa’s Position was an enjoyable performance. Caston Cupid’s Split ended the show on a lighter note but he took the time to address issues of corruption in the government, in the calypso arena and gang violence across TT.
NACC hosted this year’s competition in honour of veteran calypsonian Anthony Valentino and artist Makemba Kunle. They were recognised for their efforts in transforming the arts industry in TT.
Valentino, a Humming Bird Medal (gold) awardee became a calypsonian after the Black Power Revolution of 1970 movement and sang on behalf of the poor and downtrodden. He made his debut in the calypso arena in 1966 at Kitchener’s Caravan and was later labelled as “The People’s Calypsonian” for his thought-provoking lyrics on education, evaluation and consciousness. Some of his known compositions are Barking Dogs, Dis Place Nice and Stay up Zimbabwe.
Kunle was a teacher at the Nelson Boys RC School when he witnessed 1970 movement. That event influenced his life and reflected in his work. He was involved in the production of past Young Kings competitions, Kings in Concert, Black Traditions in Art, Dimanche Gras and Carifesta IV sets. He formed Studio 66 Art Support Community in San Juan to train young artists.
Banjela (Addelon Braveboy) – T’is We Season
KC (Kyle Cowie) – In 2020 – How Could That Be
Lani K (Jalani Kojo) – Choices
Rondell Donawa – We So Cold
Kenny Phillips – Wack Dem Kenny
Swappi (Marvin Davis) – Jumbie Head
Sekon Alves – De New Handbook
Sheldon Nugget – Black and Proud
Preedy (Akeem Chance) – Fete In Peace
Aaron Duncan – Caught Up