Penal Convent student is San Fernando Junior Calypso Monarch

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Holy Faith Convent, Penal, Cindy Bigford was crowned the winner of the South Junior Calypso competiton at City Hall Auditorium on Friday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

STILL basking in its win at the Secondary School Junior Panorama 2024, Holy Faith Convent, Penal recorded another victory on January 19, when sixth-form student Cindy-Ann Bigford copped the San Fernando Junior Calypso Monarch 2024 crown.

Bigford dethroned defending 2023 monarch, primary-school student Xhadien Darius, who performed De Cultural Mecca. Darius placed sixth, a position many felt was not justified, as his stage presence, delivery and lyrical content should have afforded him a higher spot.

But as convenor of carnival Dawad Philip noted, the judge’s decision is always final.

With an infectious infusion of calypso and rapso, Bigford paid tribute to the late rapso artist Brother Resistance in Not Hearing the Bell. (Ring the Bell was one of Resistance’s classics.) Singing in position number three, Bigford amassed a total of 493 points to secure victory from among the ten competitors.

Holy Faith Convent, Penal, Cindy Bigford is crowned the winner of the South Junior Calypso competiton by San Fernando Mayor RiParris, at City Hall Auditorium on Friday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

There was no doubt about her earning the top spot, judging from the response from the audience at City Auditorium, San Fernando, and the wide margin between her points and those earned by second-placed Kai Salazar.

Salazar, singing, Hear my Cry – A Letter to Trinbago, in position number two, scored 406 points, a vast difference of 87.

Third-place winner, Marcus Mc Donald who performed Read My Lips, in position number five, scored 394 points.

San Fernando mayor Robert Parris, who crowned the winner, said he was very proud of what he had seen and heard. With this crop of calypsonians, he said, “Calypso will never die.”

In an immediate interview, Bigford said she has been singing calypso for the past seven years, since she was a student at St Gabriel Girls’ Primary School.

In the past seven years she has won over ten competitions, including at her primary and secondary schools, the 2019 San Fernando Junior Calypso Monarch, and the South West Junior Calypso Monarch.

While a lot of younger people are gravitating to the soca genre, Bigford said memorable Carnival Friday events when she was a student at St Gabriel’s, where calypsonians and soca artiste were invited to perform, had left her with a love for the indigenous art form.

Impressed by the music of rapso pioneer Brother Resistance’s, she believes this is an important form of the calypso genre and should be passed on to the young people for continuity.

“I don’t believe we are hearing enough rapso music on the radio. I am not hearing the bell. The juniors need to learn about him, his style, his music. We need to carry the Resistance torch.”