Tameika Darius during her performance at Kaiso Showkase calypso tent, Palms Club, San Fernando on January 27. Darius won the NWAC Calypso Queen crown on January 29. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Calypsonian Tameika Darius is the new Calypso Queen, having placed first in the NWAC National Calypso Queen 2023 Competition. The event was held at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on Sunday evening.
Over 200 people attended the event, which was marred by sound issues, with several of the 17 contestants being almost drowned out by the volume of the backing band.
Darius’ entry, Now More Than Ever, was a patriotic anthem which called on the people of TT to stand united during these trying times. Her performance showed she was passionate about the topic. Her voice rang out through the audience at the conclusion of her song, and drew a hearty round of applause from the audience.
“Trinbago now more than ever, we need to stand together. For more than 60 years we have depended on each other, we need each other more than ever, we need to show we are one nation standing together.”
In second place was Kerine Williams-Figaro singing Just for You (With Love). At the beginning of her presentation, she gave an award of appreciation to veteran calypsonian Brother Valentino (Emrold Phillip). She said many times calypsonians were not given their accolades or appreciation shown for their work until they died, so she was “giving them flowers to show I care, while they are still here.”
Alana “Lady Watchman” Sinnette placed third with her calypso Bullets Have No Eyes. She played the video taken at the Rose Hill Primary School where a teacher attempted to hush students while gunfire was taking place outside. She called on government to apologise for insensitive comments and said they were out of touch.
“Children of the school, how did they cry when the bullets fly. As I lay me down to sleep, I pray my soul to keep/ As they cry in terror, as the bullets fly/ When will the powers realise, bullets have no eyes. So it seems gun violence is the norm, we must all conform, the children must identify a new lullaby.”
Fourth place went to Jerrisha Duncan-Regis with Modern Discipline, where she openly advocated to a return to licks and physical discipline for children as “long time children was in order. As schools eased the tension, modern discipline have youths going wild.”
Marion Paponette took fifth place with Message to My Unborn Child. She said she wanted to teach her child about life, love, culture, and most importantly, spirituality. She gave tips about navigating their way through the world and how to focus on their purpose.
Naomi Sinnette’s Take Them Down garnered her the sixth place placing, as her song Take Them Down called for statues of colonisers such as Woodford and Columbus to be taken down and replaced with icons such as Black Stalin, Makandal Daaga, and ANR Robinson.
Francelia “Lady Tallish” Adams-Jackson took seventh place with Calypso Will Live On. She said while a lot of calypsonians have died, the genre would live on in people’s memories.
Other notable songs included Sonia “Singing Sonia” Francis’Climate Change, Louise Dianne-Smith with The Brighter Side of Covid, Lystra “Lady Lystra” Nurse’s Pull the Plug, Curlissa Charles-Mapp’s RIP Shilling, and Georgia “The Messenger” Mc Intyre’s One Caribbean.
The programme featured 17 contestants, and the competition took approximately three hours, a greatly improved flow from previous years.