By TriniSoca Reporters
Event Date: February 12, 2015

Flag-bearer, Mr. Hurbert  Diaz
Flag-bearer, Mr. Hurbert Diaz

On Thursday 12th February, 2015, TUCO culminated a condensed whirlwind of kaiso competition on The Grand Stage in the Queen’s Park Savannah. It was indeed the night of champions and as calypso bards congregated backstage in preparation for the upcoming competition, the musicians of the Kelly Green and Harmony band warmed up their instruments on the stage, preparing for a night of live entertainment and accompaniment for the artistes.

As the patrons filtered into the Grand Stand, the nearby food vendors advertised their attractive wares in glass cases, offering insight into Trinbagonian epicurean culture. Ponnie’s little stall held a tasty looking selection of soft cake pastries and sweet milky tea while Sweet Hand Vilma simmered two large cauldrons of homemade corn soup. Queen Marva officiated over her soft drinks and snacks in Marva’s Delights and the J.B. Love House Touch offered an assortment of fried bake and potato pies. The smell of frying shark fillets wafted from Sherri’s Café while Kathleen’s Cuisine advertised the ubiquitous Bake and Buljol as Cecelia’s Café staff slipped thick, wedge shaped roti slices onto a display platter near tall jars of tamarind balls and sugary nut cakes. The dinner menu for patrons included burgers, macaroni pie, stewed chicken, callalloo, pelau, hotdogs and cane juice which all attracted brisk business for the varying vendors prior to the start of the show. Kaiso themed hats, t-shirts and CD’s were also on sale.

The show began shortly after 7:30 p.m. and the flag-bearer, one Mr. H.P. Diaz, recipient of the Hummingbird Medal (Bronze), stood like a statue at attention in his patriotically red suit as the national anthem of Trinidad and Tobago played. The Masters Of Ceremonies, Mr. Wendell Etienne and Mr. Omari Ashby thereafter commanded their roles on the stage and did an able job in piquing the spectators’ interest in upcoming performances. Willard ‘Relator’ Harris was the first guest artiste to take the floor and he successfully evoked a pleasant nostalgia with a selection of vintage kaiso which had the audience singing along.

Joseph 'Lingo' Vautor-La Placeliere, 2015 National Extempo champion
Joseph ‘Lingo’ Vautor-La Placeliere, 2015 National Extempo champion

Thereafter, the Extempo competition commenced and contenders for the crown in the order they performed were:

• Francois Ottley
• Brian London
• Mark ‘The Contender’ John
• Joseph ‘Lingo’ Vautor-La Placeliere
• Nestor Boxhill
• Lesley-Ann ‘Lady Africa’ Bristol
• Myron ‘The Incredible Myron B’ Bruce
• Neil ‘Abebele’ Baptiste

The crowd enjoyed the skill of the artistes and the crowd’s favourite was clearly Lingo who wittily referenced the recent retreat of Machel Montano from the Fatima Fete stage in his composition. He easily qualified for the second round which brought him to battle with Leslie-Ann ‘Lady Africa’ Bristow while Myron B, who also qualified for Round Two, went toe to toe against Brian London. All competitors represented well with the topics of “West Indies Cricket Board” and “Male Enhancement Pills” respectively, but the two stronger extempo artistes proved to be ‘Lingo’ and ‘The Incredible Myron B’ who faced off in the final round for the first prize of $250,000. Musical picong flew sharp and fast between the two but in the end, it was ‘Lingo’ who blazed a trail to become the Extempo King of 2015.

(Kneeling) 2015 Young King Calypso Monarch, Arnold 'Jaw D' Jordon performs 'Dis Is My Life'
(Kneeling) 2015 Young King Calypso Monarch, Arnold ‘Jaw D’ Jordon performs “Dis Is My Life”

The Calypsonians were equally competitive in vying for the first place in their respective categories. In the Social Commentary category, Heather MacIntosh’s powerful “Ah Gone” squared off with the crowd’s favourite Arnold ‘Jaw D’ Jordon with the poignant “Dis Is My Life” while Georgia ‘The Messenger’ Mc Intyre invoked the social presence of the recently deceased Marcia Henville with her contribution, “The Voice.” Ultimately, it was Heather MacIntosh who successfully copped the first place while Georgia ‘The Messenger’ Mc Intyre claimed the second place and Arnold ‘Jaw D’ Jordon was placed third.

Karene Asche performs 'Every Knee Shall Bow'
Karene Asche performs “Every Knee Shall Bow”

In the Nation Building Category Brian London’s soulful “Wishful” was pitted against Karene Asche’s power ballad “Every Knee Shall Bow” and Kurt ‘The Last Badjohn of Calypso’ Allen’s thought provoking “Selfie.” The clear favourite in this category was Karene Asche who was awarded first prize, Kurt ‘The Last Badjohn of Calypso’ Allen was placed second and Brian London’s “Wishful” came third.

Alicia Richards performs 'Suits for Sale'
Alicia Richards performs “Suits for Sale”

In the Political Commentary Category, Alicia Richards delivered a forceful rendition of “Suits for Sale” which went against songster Devon Seale who’s composition “My Humble Plea” had the audience singing along enthusiastically with the hook of “Go…Nah…Pleease!” Kurt ‘The Last Badjohn of Calypso’ Allen also competed in this category with his song “King#2” and while his galvanized latrine stage prop caused great amusement in the crowd, he was ironically placed second in this category as first place was given to Devon Seale and third place to Alicia Richards.

(R) Karega Mandela presents an award to Paul 'Trinidad Bill' Trotman on behalf of TUCO. (L) Shirlane Hendrickson
(R) Karega Mandela presents an award to Paul ‘Trinidad Bill’ Trotman on behalf of TUCO. (L) Shirlane Hendrickson

Also performing at the show were the North West Laventille Cultural Movement and renowned pannist Earl Rodney. Rupert ‘Swallow’ Philo of Antigua gave a sprightly performance and was followed by a saucy show by Robert ‘Lord Nelson’ Nelson who delighted patrons with his naughty antics as he sang and danced across the stage. An award was also presented to Paul ‘Trinidad Bill’ Trotman by Karega Mandela on behalf of TUCO. Community Development Minister, Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters who was also present on stage with Mr. Trotman, paid tribute to the lifetime works of this legendary artiste in the field of entertainment.

Supporters for the event included:

• The National Carnival Commission (NCC)
• First Citizen’s Bank
• The Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG)
• Government Information Services Limited (GISL)
• WACK90.1 FM
• I 95.5 FM
• Vibe CT 105.1 FM
• Power 102.1 FM
• More 104.7 FM
• Trinibashment 91.9 FM
• BP Trinidad and Tobago
• National Flour Mills
• Angostura Limited
• The Carnival Institute
• Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism

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