Staff ArticleThe 18th annual Top 20 Stars of Gold Calypso Award Ceremony was held on Saturday 7th January, 2006, at the Ballroom of the Cascadia Hotel honouring the top 20 calypsos for the year 2005. This effort was co-produced by the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) and the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) to award calypso entertainers based on their excellent lyrical content, music, originality and adherence to international standards.
Posted: January 09, 2006
The Calypso Award Ceremony, also referred to as the "Grammy Awards" of calypso, was opened by Sheldon Reid who sang the National Anthem of Trinidad and Tobago. Following this was a prayer by Shri Ravi Ji who wished the best for the night's proceedings. Co-MC's for the night were Sharlene Hendrickson, a two-time Calypso Queen and Dwayne O' Conner, winner of the Star of Tomorrow competition.
The Chairman of NACC, Kwasi Mutema, then gave welcoming remarks and spoke of the need to take the calypso artform to higher heights. Mutema intimated that the internationalization of calypso, including social commentary, political commentary and party vibrations was necessary for the increased exposure of our local artistes. He believed that despite the need for more work in this regard, that visible steps were being made to take calypso music to the top.
The President of TUCO, Mr. Michael Legerton, then gave opening remarks. He thanked invited dignitaries for their presence and commended the awardees for their excellent performances in 2005. Mr. Michael Legerton also took this time to mention TUCO's plan to build a convalescent home for the aged artistes of the country in 2006. According to Legerton, this venture should be underway soon with subvention from the government of Trinidad and Tobago. He then proceeded to introduce a special guest arriving from the shores of neighboring Caribbean islands: the Minister of State, in the Ministry of Housing, Culture and Social Transformation in Antigua and Barbuda, the Honorable Eleston Adams, who gave the feature address.
Mr. Adams expressed that the versatile musical culture of the Caribbean provides the richest and most superb sounds of the world. He also found that the strong African influences in our Caribbean culture helped to shape our linguistic expressions, and further influence the calypso tradition and the unique steelpan sounds. Mr. Adams then celebrated the efforts of taking pan to the world scene and encouraged the ambition to take pan to schools and to the wider community. He then used the opportunity to mention an uprising radio star, the "Serpent", coming out of Antigua and Barbuda, who he claims is the best promoter of calypso outside of Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Adams praised the media for highlighting and recording the cultural progress of the society. Ultimately, he expressed his appreciation for the honour provided by the NACC and described them as the pillars of cultural promotion and was assured that the calypso artform is in good hands. Calypso music, he believes is a great promoter of tourism and is an effective instrument of informal education.
Following the elaborate speech by Mr. Adams, was the presentation of the Top 20 Musical Awards to musicians and remarks by the Honorable Senator Joan Yullie Williams, the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs.
Guest performances for the night included the Keishan Seenath Dance Troupe who performed an interpretative dance of "Pretty Woman" and a calypso sung by Brother Valentino entitled "Where Calypso Went", which was in essence a brilliant piecing of the history of calypso in song.
Music was supplied by the Top 20 Orchestra, which comprise of the leading musicians of Trinidad and Tobago, six of whom were awarded for their musical prowess. Each musician received a commemorative plaque and a special performance fee of $1000. They were: Mr. Andrew Alben, trumpeter and member of the Regimental Band, Mr. Elvis Davis, saxophonist and member of the Fire Services Band, Mr. Keneth Baptiste, keyboardist and member of Rapid Response Orchestra, Mr. Eugene Bass, guitarist and freelance musician, Mr. William Estrada, bass guitarist and member of Earl Knight and the Services Orchestra and the Los Tocadores Parang group and Mr. Thomas Julien, drummer and Director of the Prison Services Band.
Then in order of appearance was Karene Asche who sang the winning song entitled "Mercy", followed by "God is Not Sleeping" by Sean Daniels, "Eastmorings" by Contender, "Keith's Technique" by Heather Mac Intosh, "15 Talking Heads" by Monique Hector, "Sleeping in Your Bed" by Michelle Sylvester, "Piece of Land" by Ras Kommander, "Heaven and Hell" by Sugar Aloes, "Who am I" by Lesley-Ann Ellis, "Pioneers of Emancipation" by Jervae Caesar, "Good Time Pioneers" by Mudada, "To Be a Father" by Mighty Duke, "Time Will Tell" by Crazy, "Shadow Jumbie" by Impulse, "His Excellency" by the original de Fosto himself, "Ah Seeing" by Abbi Blackman and "Clean Heart, Clear Conscience" by Singing Sandra.
Brian London whose song was entitled "Tsunami" was unable to perform due to an injury sustainted recently. Between performances were presentations of the Top 20 Calypso Awards and a spectacular performance by the North-West Laventille Limbo Dance Performers.
The Calypso of the Year title went to Dr. Hollis Liverpool known in the Calypso world as 'Chalkdust' who sang "In the Town Too Long". He received a cheque and copper trophy designed by Glendon Morris, son of the legendary Ken Morris.
The Top 20 Stars of Gold Calypso Award Ceremony was indeed a success. The attendance was good as the ballroom was almost full, and performances flowed one into the other without delay. Also, the audience enjoyed and even sang along to the calypsos being performed. If other shows take pattern from the tight schedule and fantastic performances of this award ceremony, then patrons are guaranteed to leave with a feeling of satisfaction.
NACC Stars of Gold for 2005 Album:
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