Black Immigrant Daily News
Shaka Alexander belts out his song, Power to the People. Photo by Lincoln Holder
ONE OF the positives from the covid isolation is the emergence of young, talented calypsonians.
Embau Moheni, chairman of the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) and founder of the Young Kings competition, said he is encouraged by the talent coming to the fore.
He spoke to Newsday as auditions for both the NACC Young Kings and the National Women’s Action Committee (NWAC) National Queen competition took place over the weekend.
On Saturday, dozens of calypsonians showed up at the Creative Arts Centre, San Fernando trying to earn sports in the finals of both competitions scheduled for January and February.
Auditions continued at UTT at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) on Sunday. On Monday, the auditions will shift to Tobago.
Moheni said the north audition attracted a larger complement of calypsonians anxious to go back on stage after a two-year absence owing to public health restrictions caused by the pandemic.
He said the standard of the 2023 offerings were of a very high quality.
“The standards are quite encouraging. What was heartening, however, was to see so many young people entering for the first time.” He said this shows hope for the future of calypso.
“Our programme is one which is developmental. When you win in Young Kings, you move on. You make space for someone else.”
He said that was not the case for the queen’s leg of the show when it was first started in 1985 due to the fact that there were so few women competing at that time.
“That first year we had just about eight female contestants. That has changed. Now we have so many women singing calypso.”
The last competitions were held in 2020 when Addelon “Banjela” Braveboy was crowned Young King and Makeda Darius, was crowned NWAC National Queen.
In an effort to do something special for the artistes who were badly hit by the pandemic, Moheni said a special challenge edition of both competitions were held.
Young King challenge edition winner was Ezekiel Yorke, with Meguella Simon winning the queen’s version of the challenge edition.
Given that the prizes were smaller than what the winners of the previous competition won, Moheni said the top three winners from both competitions were promised automatic entry into this year’s competition.
“They do not have to audition, they just have to register.”
From the auditions, therefore, only 13 men and women will be selected to do battle.
Moheni said NWAC National Queens competition is slated for January 29 at Queen’s Hall, while February 7 has been set aside for Young Kings at the Queen’s Park Savannah. He said the content of the winning purse is yet to be decided.
Nicholas Ashby performs during auditions on Saturday for the NACC Young Kings competition at the Creative Arts Centre, San Fernando. Photo by Lincoln Holder
Curlissa Charles-Mapp who was among several women competing the auditions for the NWAC Calypso Queen competition also at the Creative Arts Centre. Photo by Lincoln Holder
Moses Charles performs Woman, during auditions for the NACC Young King competition on Saturday at the Creative Arts Centre in San Fernando. Photo by Lincoln Holder
Francelia Adams-Jackson who sang, Calypso Will Live On. Photo by Lincoln Holder
Nicholas Lucas sings Since Dr Williams during the Young Kings audition. Photo by Lincoln Holder
Daniella Roxane Singh, was another competitor in the NWAC Calypso Queen auditions. Photo by Lincoln Holder