THE preliminary round of the Junior National Calypso Monarch kicked off on January 20 with 53 students vying for a spot in the finals.
Children from the south, central, east and north zones performed for the judges at the Kaiso House, Queen's Park Savannah while Tobago’s turn will be on January 22.
Several performances stood out for various reasons but, overall, the youths showcased their singing and performing chops to the delight of the audience.
One of the best vocalists was 15-year-old Jariah Nelson from St James Secondary School who sang Addicted to God. Her strong voice and proper enunciation did justice to the melody of her song as well as its message.
She pointed out many youths were addicted to cellphones to the point they did not go outside to play, did not have friends, and looking at it was the last thing they did before bed and the first thing they did when they woke up.
“No addiction to the cellphone. I want to be addicted to God alone,” she sang.
Celebrit-t Charles, five, of Lower Laventille Government Primary School was impressive for her age, gesticulating and singing about national unity in her song I Am Trinbagonian.
Dressed in a silver, black and red dress, there was initially some concern by audience members as Charles stood very close to the edge of the stage before she stepped back mid-song.
She sang that there were many kinds of people in our country but they were one and, they should “all live in peace under God’s sun.”
Jah’ Majesty Charles, ten, also of Lower Laventille sang well, was very expressive and made good use of the stage as he performed. Dressed in all black with several gold chains, he sang An Ordinary Life in which his father bought him expensive things but when he was not at school he had to remain at home for fear of violence owing to his father’s lifestyle. He said he would willingly swap the “fake happiness and lies” for a normal life.
Some of the students were highly entertaining, again for various reasons.
The duo of Justin John and Orande Adams gave the audience a party calypso with a bit of rap during an ode to their school, Couva West Secondary. Amidst the various, more serious topics, the song and their energy were unexpected and well-received. Their energy was high and the audience could not help but respond.
They ended their performance with the shout, “Education for life!”
Christopher Stuart, eight, of Newtown Boys' RC also surprised the crowd during his performance of the song he wrote: Jam If You Want to, Wine If You Want To. He seemed uncomfortable on stage with both his singing and movements uneasy. But that was juxtaposed with the occasions he sang his title line and broke out wining, making the audience cheer and laugh.
The National Junior Calypso Monarch semifinals will take place on January 27 at the Kaiso House.