by Latoya Burnham
From the time the band struck the first chord and Scotiabank Junior Monarch Calypso semifinal reserve Kayla Kayla Bee Thorpe burst onto stage, it was clear the 13 to 18 category would be no walk in the park this year.
It was only the showcase when the National Cultural Foundation pitched the first Junior Monarch tent at Queen’s College on Sunday, but already tension is high with lots of talent in this group.
Before Kayla Bee, singing Our Disease graced the stage, the packed audience was treated to an appearance from last year’s eight to 12 category winner Jazz Jazz-Z Gittens, singing My Granny. As usual his rendition was a good one, even if it did not have the energy he is accustomed to giving.
It was however a nice setting for the seniors, and Kayla Bee came out batting strong, with lots of antics and attitude, making it clear that condomisation and sticking to one partner was the way to go.
When Destiny Destiny Blunte followed with A Daughter’s Prayer and the sweet melody filled the air, it was again clear that this might not be a night for favourites, as these young people, even this first timer, came bang on with lyrics and delivery. The only flaw in her very enjoyable performance was the fact that there were points in the chorus where her voice faded beneath that of her back-ups.
Gregerson Young G Abraham returned to the stage this year with Positive Thinking, a song that was pretty self-explanatory as he urged young people to stay positive even amidst negativity. He too delivered well.
T’Kayla Lil T Clarke-Weekes’ Too Big Fuh Ya Shoes was an interesting song as she touched a myriad of topics while warning both young and old to be wary of their actions. The antics of her delivery were such that one could have been watching a young TC on stage.
Sixteen-year-old Moesha Nubian Queen Daniel was another familiar face returning to the stage this year with My Pray, telling the audience that this was her Barbados and inviting them to kneel and pray and ask God to lead the way in the face of some of the ills. It was a sweet delivery and reinforced that come semifinals, there will be a ding-dong battle on stage.
Increasingly becoming known for the dramatic performances of her songs, Ashley Queen Ash√ Green, dressed to the nines with hair and make-up well in place, brought the audience Cover Girl. It was an intriguing look at domestic abuse, where the woman in question was bent on hiding the evidence beneath brand names and heavy make-up, and was delivered well and with class.
The progression of Ranesha Confetti Cummins from the 8 to 12, to the 13 to 18 category has been most noteworthy. Her plea to Mr. Minister, to consider the plight of the poor in a crisp delivery proved that she can indeed fight up there with the big guns.
Perennial junior monarch competitor, Rabiah Small One Clarke’s Pull We Back was performed with energy and conviction as the young one begged adults to be the guardians of the youth and put them back on track when they strayed.
A writer of her own song, Teri Sparkle T Williams-Niles’ rendition was a pleasure as she punched with lyrics discussing issues ranging from home life to the political arena as she told both old and young it was a good idea to Know Ya Place.
Appearing at number 10, former monarch Samantha Sammy G Greaves brought the crowd Successful Sammy where she laid out her plans to be a success in whatever she tackled to be a good role model and example. If there’s one thing that can always be said about this young Alleyne School student, it’s that she clearly enjoys the stage and her performances, and on Sunday night it was a solid one.
Charice Honesty Walrond delivered Respect De Disable in a mellow voice that was easy to enjoy, even if the fourth time competitor did look a little nervous at points. She was however confident in her delivery as she put a strong case not to neglect this segment of society.
First-timer Chad DEMC Montplasir of the Frederick Smith Secondary School made a strong plea to the media to Uplift The Youth of Society, charging that negativity is given front page and the good of youth relegated to a smaller area. His performance was one of the greatly enjoyed ones of the evening and the cheers that followed were well deserved.
Final performer, former monarch and last year’s first timer to the Pic-O-De-Crop, Aziza Clarke graduated of sorts this year to assume the stage name Aziza, rather than the customary Lil Az, and that graduation was stamped in her delivery. With a song, The Guardians of Calypso, she told her critics she was not going anywhere and asked adults to support rather than discourage the efforts of young people in the calypso arena. There was a new maturity to her act this year that perhaps can be contributed to her experience in higher competition as well as from her joining of the House of Soca Calypso Tent and increasing her exposure last season.
Just like the 8 to 12’s had before intermission, these seniors gave the audience more than their monies worth with solid performances, and excellent lyrics, along with a professional sounding backing band and singers. The only drag on the evening was perhaps the MC, who seemed to annoy the crowd more than entertain. firstname.lastname@example.org