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Heather wins National Calypso Queen title
A smooth, thoroughly confident performance of a selection, titled “Keep It”, secured the 2011 National Calypso Queen title for Heather McIntosh at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port-of-Spain, on Monday night. The 27th edition of the National Calypso Queen Competition, hosted by the National Women's Action Committee (NWAC), was staged at the venue before a large audience that included Minister of The Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters, as well as members of the Diplomatic Corps.
By far the most articulate among the 16 competitors, McIntosh in her perfectly rendered composition encouraged fellow nationals to begin looking at the many attractions in Trinidad and Tobago instead of subjecting themselves to indignities from personnel at the American Embassy in their quests to secure visas for vacation travel to the USA. She pointed out only when we discover and begin to make use of the beautiful places in our country would we rid ourselves of the desire to secure a visa, so we could then confidently tell the US Embassy to “keep it”.
Placing second was Leslie Ann Ellis, singing “In Denial”, and third place went to Joy C, doing “The Cries of the Grand”. In an address Minister Peters said the competition has become an important part of the annual Carnival calendar and audiences have come to expect a quality crop of contestants and a thoroughly entertaining evening. “For this, I would like to thank and congratulate all those ladies who have seen it fit to throw their hat into the ring over the years,” he said.
He added: “Calypso is as much your artform as it is mine. After all, it is the expression of a people. It belongs to all of us. “Each and every one of you deserve commendation for taking that brave step to turn your love for this music into a solid commitment to strive for excellence and present yourself for public scrutiny. “I am positive all your hours of songwriting, recording, rehearsal and performance will pay off this evening, no matter where you place in the competition. As a consequence, I wish all of you the best of luck.
“It is also noteworthy that, since its inception, the only women to have won the National Calypso Monarch are also past winners of this very competition. “You know them as Singing Sandra and Denyse Plummer. If this is not testimony to the developmental platform this competition provides for our nation’s women, I don’t know what is.” Also delivering an address was Fidelia Graand Galon, ambassador of the Republic of Suriname.
The contestants were accompanied with music supplied by Earl Knight and the Services Brass, while show host duties were performed by Dr Phaedra Pierre. Special awards were presented to Drupatee Ramgoonai-Persad, the first woman of East Indian descent to sing calypso, and Dr Anne Marion Osbourne, lecturer in the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies (UWI) for her contribution to music literacy in Trinidad and Tobago. Making guest appearances were the Vakash School of Dance and the Sapophonics Steel Orchestra.
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