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Mighty Diamond is 2008 Young King

Mighty Diamond sings 'Crime Issues'
Mighty Diamond sings "Crime Issues" Reporters
Event Date: January 21, 2008

The National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) held their 24th Annual Calypso Young King Competition on Monday 21st January, 2008. Aiyegoro Ome of the NACC welcomed guests as he remarked to the audience that NACC, with its various endeavors, are working hard on the goal of making Calypso an international art form.

Opening the show were the dynamic Kishan Seenath Dancers who performed a spicy Chutney dance followed by the 2008 National Calypso Queen, Monique Hector, who performed her winning song "Sisters Looking" to the delight of the audience.

The lyrics and delivery style of performers were varied, but like in other competitions, the most popular topic was crime, even as contestants took different approaches to dealing with that issue. Walter Taylor opened the competition with "Sorry", a song that apologized to his son for not teaching him life's lessons. One of those lessons he sung was that how you make your bed, so you lie. Opoku Ware focused on illegal guns in his song "More Guns" as he lamented that gun violence is destroying sweet Trinidad.

'Tobago Chalkdust' gave a decent performance of his song "Is Not Only Crime" as he explained that despite the crime situation Trinidad still has a lot to offer humanity. His antics in imitation of 'Chalkdust' (Hollis Liverpool) was also quite entertaining. Chris Garcia advised individuals to believe in themselves and never give up in his song "Stand Up and Be Counted" while 'Ninja' with his song "Who to Blame" acknowledged that women should be respected, but concluded that every time there is conflict the man is always blamed. "Women have to share the blame for marital woes," he sung.

Jagdeo Phagoo with his song "Drums Beating Again" highlighted how foreign interests control T&T's resources to the detriment of the poor. He expressed that it is not the poor man who brings in all the guns and drugs, as he encouraged resistance as embodied by Indian Tassa and African drums. Jervae Caesar sung "Fraid to Fight", a composition that criticized those who recognized that the system was not right, yet who failed to confront and change it.

Derrick Seales seemed to be confused about the difference between 'race' and 'nationality' as he asked whether there was anyone from Africa or India in the audience as an intro to his song "Trinis Dey". He then went on to relate how local immigration officials were concerned about the appearance of Africans and Indians in Trinidad, and after doing some investigations they concluded that only Trinis dey (there).

Calypsonian 'Organiser' was original and dynamic with his song "Too Much Chemical" as he explored the negative effects of farmers using chemicals in agricultural production. Saying that food production is now more about wealth than health he advised farmers to stop using chemicals in producing tomatoes, eddoes, cucumber, potato, christophene, dasheen, lettuce, patchoi, bhaigan, corn, bananas, cassavas and beetroot. Expanding his focus he also remarked that there is too much chemical in lovemaking, but did not go on to explain himself, and the audience did not seem to mind.

Sheldon Nugget gave a powerful performance of his song "Children of Yesterday" as he sung that for too long elderly people have been disrespected in T&T. Bringing Calypsonians 'Mighty Striker' and 'Surpriser' onstage, along with a woman identified only as Aunt Louise, he expressed that when they were young, they made their contribution, and so they are heroes. He criticized the practice of sending retired elderly people to nursing homes to die alone, while lining up to take their possessions. With their whirlpool of knowledge, Nugget advised that there is much that elderly people can teach us, if only we listen.

On the night, however, it was little known 'Mighty Diamond' (Patrick Purcell Lewis) who captured the 2008 Young Kings title with his song "Crime Issues". Criticizing the government's handling of crime, he expressed that the state seems to move swiftest against crime when it is perceived to be a 'crime' directly threatening the government, as he used examples of the 1937 Butler Riots, the 1970 Black Power Uprising and the 1990 attempted coup by the Muslimeen. In second place was Jervae Caesar, third was Sheldon Nugget while Jadee with his anti-crime song "Raining" came fourth.

The 2008 Young Kings Competition was dedicated to the memory of the late Calypsonian 'Gibraltar' (Sydney Benjamin) and Parang stalwarts, the Lara Brothers. Tito and Willie Lara were on hand to receive an award during the intermission for their contribution towards the Parang art form. 'Chalkdust' (Hollis Liverpool) collected Gibraltar's award on his behalf and took the time to tell the audience of Gibraltar's work in the Calypsonians' Organisation, from which the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) evolved. He praised 'Gibraltar' for his sterling contribution especially in the area of setting up a museum of all the Calypsonians who were a part of the organization.

NACC Young Kings Calypso Monarch 2008 in pictures: