Guidance Tops NYAC’s Stars of Tomorrow

NYAC 2010 Stars of TomorrowThe 21st National Youth Action Committee’s Stars of Tomorrow Calypso Competition took place on January 17, 2010, at the Strand Cinema, Dundonald Street, Port-of-Spain, where twelve young artistes, between the ages of nineteen and thirty, vied for the top title. Although the size of the audience was modest, mostly consisting of the peers of the contestants, the atmosphere proved to be an exciting one as the young Calypso and Soca artistes delivered their songs.

Opening the proceedings was president of NYAC, Alpha Obika who greeted the audience, reminding them that this was the twenty-first year that the Stars of Tomorrow competition was taking place and promised an evening of exciting performances. From there, host of the show, Dr. Phaedra Pierre took over the reigns introducing in most eloquent fashion all of the participants.

Before the competition began, there was a performance of a humorously serious Calypso by Hamidullah titled “Nothing”. This song, which he sang for the 2009 Calypso season, still had the audience in stitches with the line, “If you do something, they cyah say you doing nothing.”

Backed by Earl Knight and Services Brass Band, the competition featured several interesting performances by the young artistes, some with strong lyrical content and some penned by the young artistes themselves. Songs such as Sherma Edwards’ witty Calypso, “Solve the Problem”, which criticized the powers that be for their double-standards and failure to address the plight of the people was indeed controversial but well-researched and honest. Although she did not place with the song in this competition, people should not dismiss it as it could be the source of great debate. Wendell “Speshie” Goodridge’s “Basdeo Manning and Patrick Panday” was also on point and was well-received by the audience. As the title of his song suggests, there is little difference between Basdeo Panday and Patrick Manning in terms of their policies and the treatment of the people while in office. Kwesi Jeffer’s song titled “Climate Change” was also very relevant to the times and critiqued the big player’s involvement in the detriment of the planet.

Other performances worthy of note are Dalanie Baynes who portrayed the role of a battered and broken woman in her piece “Battered Women”; Cindy Alleyne’s “The Dream” which spoke about the dream which led revolutionary freedom-fighter and world hero Toussaint L’Ouverture to fight European powers and lead the island to victory and Victoria Cooper’s “Pain” which dealt with the issues that young people have to face and that they should look to God in times of trouble.

Other performances included Naheelah “Nefta” Kojo’s “Back to de Roots” which urged African people to return to their culture; Phil “Philman” Brown’s song “This Life” which urged youths to stop the violence among themselves; Jason “Zion” Garraway’s Calypso “Real Reason for Crime”, which explained that crime was an outgrowth of social injustice; Mauri Kekere Hall with the self-explanatory song entitled “Unite the Cultures” and Anil “De Niro” James with his Soca “Wajang Behaviour” which encouraged people to get loose and ‘get on bad’ for Carnival.

Although the competition may have been stiff in some instances it was Asten “Guidance” Isaac with his song “Wounded Nation” who proved victorious. A combination of powerful voice, good lyrics, and an overall moving performance made his win a believable one. His Calypso detailed all the ills in Trinidad and Tobago which were more glaring than all the tall buildings and other so-called developments taking place in the country.

The results of the competition are as follows:

Place / Name / Song

1st / Aston “Guidance” Isaac / Wounded Nation
2nd / Kwesi Jeffers / Climate Change
3rd / Naheelah “Nefta” Kojo / Back to de Roots
4th / Wendell “Speshie” Goodridge / Basdeo Manning and Patrick Panday
5th / Mauri “Kekere” Hall / Unite the Cultures
6th / Victoria Cooper / Pain
7th / Anil “De Niro” James / Wajang Behaviour
7th / Cindy Alleyne / The Dream (tie)

NYAC 2010 Stars of Tomorrow in pictures:

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