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Newtown Girls pay tribute to Plummer
Children in primary schools don’t know about calypso, they only know about soca and need education in terms of local culture. That was the view by primary school teacher Amanda de Silva yesterday at a tribute for calypsonian Denyse Plummer at Newtown Girls’ RC School, Maraval Road, Port-of-Spain. The tribute took place during the school’s annual calypso competition. De Silva said the school had been active in educating its students on Carnival for years and each Carnival season they encouraged pupils to pay tribute to calypsonians in an effort to expose them to their rich culture.
Plummer, who was treated to a dramatisation of her calypso history, became very emotional and cried as an award was handed to her by pupils. She said this year would be her 26th in calypso and described her feelings toward the enactment by students as overwhelmingly emotional. She recalled her initiation to calypso, telling the young pupils the story of her first performance in the Calypso Monarch Competition. She told them while performing to a crowd of 15,000 people in her first year of the competition she was stoned with toilet paper and beer bottles and anything patrons could get their hands on.
“They tried to deny me the opportunity to perform because of one thing, my skin colour, but I was born in Trinidad and Tobago. Calypso is my birthright,” she added. Plummer said the lesson she learned was one of humility and said she must have gotten strength from God to continue singing both of her songs while patrons abused and attempted to demoralise her. She noted that everyone was born with a talent and cautioned students not to let people deny them the gift that God gave them. Plummer ended her address with a shout of “Woman is Power” before she took to the stage to lead the young performers in a rendition of what was arguably her best known song, Nah Leaving.
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