From climate change to youth violence: Junior calypsonians put issues of the day under the spotlight

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Ruez Titre won the 13-18 age category and Empress Buchanan won the 5-12 age category (Photo courtesy Wayne Mariette)
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By Charminae George

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Youths took to the stage on Sunday night to showcase their talent in the 2023 Smalta Junior Calypso Monarch competition. This was following a day of celebration through the streets of St John’s in the 2023 Junior Carnival.

Empress Buchanan – under the stage name ‘Jai’liah’ – sang ‘Dousing Me House’, earning her the crown in the 5-12 category. The song highlighted the importance of taking note of unfortunate situations in other places and circumstances, and taking proactive measures to avoid them.

Capturing the first runner up position was Nicholas Perry – aka ‘Mighty Nick’ – with his song ‘Save the Children’ which urged parents to play their part in reducing youth violence by cultivating good morals in their children at a young age.

Next was Lena Mills – ‘Calypso Lily’ – who earned the second runner up position, with her song ‘ Cool is Clean and Clean is Cool’. Her musical rendition sought to encourage local residents to play a part in eliminating littering.

Ruez Titre – ‘Ruez’ – captured the title in the 13-18 category with his song entitled ‘Solutions’. In his performance, he highlighted the need for solutions instead of criticism, regarding the issue of youth violence.

He was followed by Prisca Neptune – ‘Calypso P’ – who placed first runner up with the song ‘Unsung Heroes’ which sought to emphasise the importance of recognising persons who selflessly contribute to others while they are still alive.

In second runner up position was  Noah Yeboah – ‘African Prince’ – with ‘Incomplete Independence‘, a song questioning Antigua and Barbuda’s sovereignty while the British monarch still serves as the head of state.

Buchanan told Observer that she was both surprised and excited by her win. She pledged to continue competing, and revealed that her stage name ‘Jai’liah’ is her middle name.

Titre told Observer of his relief that his hard work had yielded a fruitful result in the contest.

“I’m feeling relieved that the preparation was really successful so I’m happy that it is all over, and I’m going to have to come back next year and defend my crown,” he vowed.

The newly crowned junior calypsonian – who was also first runner up in last week’s Teenage Pageant – revealed his future plans for study at the UWI Five Islands campus, and also the Edna Manley School of Performing Arts.

“When I get to UWI Five Islands, I’m doing business and computer science. Then I will further my education in Jamaica where I will go to the Edna Manley School of the Performing Arts,” Titre added.

Francine Carbey, a member of the Junior Calypso Monarch and Junior Soca Monarch committee, commended the contestants.

“I really commend the junior calypsonians for their performance. My main commendation is the way they worked together…Even though they were in competition against each other, they were willing to support each other on stage for their performances,” Carbey stated.

Overall, the songs of the competition focused on the themes of emancipation, youth violence, littering, climate change, and the importance of father figures.

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