FILE PHOTO: Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons performs at the launch of downtown Carnival, Woodford Square, Port of Spain, February 8, 2019.
FIVE calypsonians were among the recipients of national awards for 2021 presented on Wednesday by President Paula-Mae Weekes at President’s House, St Ann’s.
These were Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons, Allan “Brother Mudada” Fortune, Franz “De Lamo” Lambkin, Johnson “Johnny King” King, and Morel “King Luta” Peters. Their awards were for music and culture.
Lyons was awarded the Hummingbird Medal Gold. The others were awarded the Hummingbird Medal Silver.
A President’s House statement said, “Mr Lyons, fondly known as SuperBlue, has been consistent in his profession, winning ten Road March titles, and seven Soca Monarch titles, in his contribution to the cultural landscape of TT over the last 41 years. He is viewed by his fellow artistes as a trailblazer and has been a benchmark due to his successes.”
Lyons’ songs range from Soca Baptist in 1980 to Soca Kingdom (with Machel Montano) in 2018.
Lambkin has excelled in social commentary, performed for charities and mentored young calypsonians, said President’s House.
“In 1994, he won the South Trinidad Calypso Monarch, Young Kings, National Calypso Monarch (jointly), and Caribbean King of Kings titles, a feat that is unmatched to this day.”
Tying with Lambkin (singing 31 Years Old and Trinity is my name) in 1994 was Peters singing Good Driving and Licensed Firearm. Peters also won the crown in 2006 with Check the Foundation and Kaiso, kaiso.
President’s House hailed Peters for helping preserve calypso.
“Mr Peters, also known as King Luta, gives numerous lectures in judging calypsoes, and the various nuances in composing and performing.”
The statement also hailed King: “His compositions, Nature’s Plan, Appreciation and others, have been used in literature classes in schools, and have been featured in a dance/theatre production by the Greater London Council’s Black Experience Arts Programme.”
Fortune won the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) veteran monarch title in 2009, with a tribute to the first black US President Barack Obama.
The President’s release said, “Mr Fortune, also known as Brother Mudada, has proven to be one of the best social commentators in the propagation of the calypso art form in TT and internationally. “He shares his talent and spare time in mentoring youth of the community of Laventille where he grew up and still resides.”
Medals were given to four other people in the creative/entertainment sector.
The Hummingbird Medal Gold was given to Deborah Jean-Baptiste, Michael Boothman and John Ferreira, while the Hummingbird Medal Silver was awarded to Lennox Toussaint.
Jean-Baptiste, founder of the Oratory Foundation, was recognised for youth development.
“She trains children and teenagers to be fluent in oral expression, dramatic monologues, poetry writing and performance, public speaking, choral speaking, debating, and other forms of the spoken word.”
Musician Boothman was recognised by President’s House as “one of the fathers of smooth jazz in the Caribbean.”
“He has represented TT musicianship at the highest levels, sharing the stage with renowned musicians and performers such as Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Ray Charles, and others.”
The release described Ferreira as the inventor/innovator of the double second and double tenor steel pan, and founder of the Boys from Iwo Jima and Dixieland steelbands.
Toussaint, a deacon, was recognised for helping the survival of TT’s Carnival tradition of ole mas.
The highest medal given for 2021 was the Chaconia Medal Gold, awarded to five people. Beverly King was honoured for community work and education regarding people living with AIDS/HIV. Dale Mc Leod, a managing director, was recognised for business, as the only person in the Caribbean ever to qualify 21 times for the Top of the Table awards in the insurance industry. Economist Jerry Hospedales was saluted for 50 years of contribution to TT’s economic development. Attorney and development coach Sharon Christopher was recognised for business, banking and finance. Prof Emeritus Winston Mellowes, a professor of electrical engineering, was awarded for education.
The Chaconia Medal Silver was awarded to Mc Donald Greene, for business in Tobago. He also served on boards including the Tobago Regional Health Authority.
The Hummingbird Medal Gold was given to Bhawani Persad for community service to the blind and visually-impaired community. It was also given posthumously for community service to Maulana Mushtaq Ahmed Sulainmani, a former imam at masjids in Port of Spain and San Fernando.
The Hummingbird Medal Silver was awarded to Sister Annetta Alexander, a nun and retired school principal, for education and mentoring Girl Guides.
The award was also given to Lincoln Phillips, a former goalkeeper and coach, for sport.
The Hummingbird Medal Bronze was given posthumously to Stephen Marcano, a fire officer, for gallantry. He drowned after saving the lives of others in difficulty in the sea at Mayaro. The Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) was awarded to retired permanent secretary Gillian Mc Intyre, retired permanent secretary Vishnu Dhanpaul and posthumously to Capt Kent Moore, first head of the Air Guard. The Public Service Medal of Merit Silver was awarded to Alick Alexander Charles, a retired police inspector, for mentoring disadvantaged youth in Pleasantville.
The Medal for the Development of Women (Gold) was awarded to Presbyterian Church moderator the Rev Joy Abdul-Mohan for religion, social work and activism, and to senior legal adviser Gaietry Pargass for women and children’s rights. The Medal for the Development of Women (Silver) was awarded to Sherna Alexander Benjamin, a peace education consultant, for women and girls’ development.