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Megan Walrond, Junior Calypso Monarch

Megan Walrond, Junior Calypso Monarch 2008
Megan Walrond, Junior Calypso Monarch 2008 Reporters
Event Date: January 28, 2008

The Junior Calypso Monarch Competition came to a climax at the Jean Pierre Complex as twelve budding Calypsonians came up against the reigning Calypso Monarch, Teneisha Weekes, on Monday 28th January, 2008. A week earlier, the semi-final round was held at City Hall where thirty students from primary and secondary schools across Trinidad and Tobago vied for a place in the final round. These talented youngsters gave an excellent showing of themselves entertaining the audience with a variety of topics and delivery styles.

When the results were released it was Ezekiel Yorke, Shradah Mc Intyre, Kesi Bennet, Reena Rajkumar, Shinesse Simmons, Dinessa Nelson, Teneisha Weekes, Leah Richards, Tenaj Smith, Victoria Cooper, Megan Walrond, Jaylana Bryan and T'keiah Alleyne who made it into the finals.

A large crowd was at hand for the final round of competition at the Jean Pierre Complex, which, according to the organizers, marked the 31st year of the Junior Calypso Monarch. Opening the competition was Ezekiel Yorke of St. Mary's College with "Dancing", a song which praised the Prime Minister for establishing the Divine Echoes musical group as it gives people like him an opportunity to learn music and dancing.

Shradah Mc Intyre was confident as she delivered her song "I'm Not Mixing Up My Priorities" which stressed her pursuing her education. She declared that she is not bowing to peer pressure as she is focused on her vision of creating a better situation for herself. Shinesse Simmons of Holy Faith Convent gave a dramatic rendition of "Bitter Fields", a song that lamented how the cane fields, which once provided support for many, have turned into killing fields.

The youngest competitor, eight year old Kesi Bennet from St. Xavier's Private School was impressive with her song "Mommy's Mouth" that spoke about the maternal instincts of mothers that allow them to foresee danger before it happens. She described various situations which showed how her mother had, according to the Trini parlance, 'goat mouth', to the delight of the audience.

Dinessa Nelson of ASJA Girls College got a loud response from the audience with her song "They Confusing Me" which humorously highlighted the idiosyncrasies of the English language. Reena Rajkumar of Parvatie Girls Hindu School also stressed the importance of education in her song "Educate Yuh Self" as she declared in song that before one can be emancipated and liberated they first must be educated. Reigning Junior Monarch, Tenisha Weekes, took a different look at education as she demanded, tongue in cheek, that the Education Ministry bring back writing slates because children had discovered lead (which is dangerous to the environment) in pencils.

Leah Richards of Scarborough Secondary, in her song "My King to Be", invoked the names of legendary African personalities such as Alphonso, Ja Ja, Shaka, Imhotep and Osei, making it clear that she is a queen-to-be who deserves a king of good character.

Tenaj Smith of St. Augustine Senior Comprehensive School paid tribute to Calypso icons as she professed her love for the art form in a powerful rendition of "A Vote of Thanks". She highlighted especially the contributions of the Mighty Terror, Bomber, Kitchener, Sparrow, Karen Eccles, Lady B, Calypso Rose and Singing Sandra in giving her inspiration as a budding Calypsonian.

Jaylana Bryan started out strongly with her song "Success" as she gave the ingredients of success. However, the hot sunny day took its toll and she appeared to suffer from severe dehydration and had to be assisted by medical personnel and was thus unable to continue.

Victoria Cooper of Cowen Hamilton Secondary School gave a powerful rendition of her song "TV Control" as she called attention to violent and negative content on television programmes which she linked to the violent direction that the society is going. T'Keiah Alleyne of Bishops High School (Tobago) wowed the audience with "Take the Bitter With the Sweet" in which she encouraged individuals to take the good things in life with the not so good aspects of existence.

Despite all the commendable performances it was seventeen-year-old Megan Walrond from Barataria Secondary Comprehensive School who took the 2008 Junior Calypso Monarch title with a powerful performance of "Remember Me Not". In song she told her absent father not to call on her now that he was sick as he had abandoned her when he was young and able. This biting social commentary denounced absentee fathers who abandon their responsibilities as the audience broke into loud cheers and applause. However, at the end of the song, Megan declared that she had found it within herself to forgive her father and she would look after him and make him proud. For her efforts, she won the $6,000 first prize with a total of 426 points. Coming second was Tenaj Smith, while Shinesse Simmons came third.

Addressing the audience was Minister of Education, Esther Le Gendre, who placed on record the appreciation of her ministry for the partnerships that they had with various interest groups as she underscored the importance of a variety of experiences in developing culture. She encouraged parents and teachers to listen to their children so that they can use their talents to make their country proud.

Full Results

Placing / Name / School / Song

1st / Megan Walrond / Barataria Secondary Comprehensive School / Remember Me Not
2nd / Tenaj Smith / St. Augustine Senior Comphrensive School / A Vote of Thanks
3rd / Shinesse Simmons / Holy Faith Convent / Bitter Fields
4th / Victoria Cooper / Cowen Hamilton Secondary School / TV Control
5th / Ezekiel Yorke / St. Mary's College / Dancing
6th / Kesi Bennet / St. Xavier's Private Schoo l/ Mommy's Mouth
7th / Dinessa Nelson / ASJA Girls College / They Confusing Me
8th / Shradah Mc Intyre / Arima Government School / I'm Not Mixing Up My Priorities
9th / Leah Richards / Scarborough Secondary School / My King to Be
10th / T'Keiah Alleyne / Bishop's High School / Mix the Bitter With the Sweet
11th / Reena Rajkumar / Parvati Girls' Hindu College / Educate Yuh Self
12th / Tenisha Weekes / Melville Memorial Girls School / Bring Back the Slate
13th / Jaylana Bryan / Bishops Anstey High School / Success

Junior Calypso Monarch Finals 2008 in pictures:

Junior Calypso Monarch Semi-Finals 2008 in pictures: