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Monique Hector, National Calypso Queen 2008

Monique Hector
Monique Hector Reporters
Event Date: January 14, 2008
Posted: January 31, 2008

The National Women's Action Committee (NWAC) held their 24th Annual Calypso Queen Competition at the St. James Amphitheatre on Monday 14th January, 2008, where eighteen ladies of Calypso vied for the crown and the $100,000 first prize. This year's competition was dedicated to dance stalwarts Joyce Kirton and the late Jean Coggins. Jean Coggins was a founding member of the National Dance Association of Trinidad and Tobago and represented Trinidad and Tobago in Nigeria, Barbados, Canada and Cuba, while Joyce Kirton was the founder of Les Enfants Dance Company and has worked tirelessly for a number of years in the area of dance.

Dela Obika, head of NWAC, welcomed patrons to the competition and shared that there are plans to have a Caribbean version of the competition where the top three Calypso Queens from Trinidad will square off against Calypso Queens from other islands. She also announced that from this year, the winner of the competition will not be allowed to re-enter.

Among the Queens, the topics were varied, as was the performance and lyrical content delivered by them. Crime was the dominant theme of the Calypso as the Queens offered their opinions and solutions on the topic. Twiggy (Ann Marie Parks) delivered a strong rendition of her song "Choices" that called attention to the implications of choices made by individuals. Eunice Peters gave her opinion of some of the factors behind the high crime rates in her song "Building Blocks of Crime". Spicy (Tamico Moore) also gave a fantastic performance of her humorous song "Check the Signs" in which she cautioned that there are certain signs that females should look out for before getting into serious relationships. Patrons clapped and cheered as she sang out the 'signs'. Females did not escape her attention as she warned males in her last verse as to the behavior patterns of females to look out for.

Marva Mckenzie singing "Below the Poverty Line" took a humorous look at Jack Warner's announcement that he will work for one dollar a month as an MP, by describing him as living below the poverty line. Sista Ava (Ruth Shallow) gave a spirited performance as she came on stage to sing "A Nation Coming". Accompanied by African drummers, she greeted patrons in the name of the oral traditions as she proceeded to give a Rapso-flavoured social commentary. Kathy-Ann Sarjeant called attention to the environment in her song 'Wounded Soul' as she portrayed 'Mother Earth' as a sick and wounded soul because of industrial activities. She expressed that the environment cannot be sustained if we treat it so.

Also delivering an excellent performance was Karene Asche, who came to the stage dressed in a chef's outfit to sing "The Recipe". In song, she gave the ingredients required to "make a politician" and this struck a chord with the audience who loudly showed their agreement. Among the ingredients she listed were fake modesty, arrogance, ignorance and hypocrisy as she went on to conclude that the country needed to purge itself from these politicians.

Terri Lyons gave a dramatic and emotional performance of her song "Ah Vex" in which she appeared as a mental patient in a mental asylum where the 'psychiatrist' that was treating her asked her why she was vexed. She proceeded to tell the audience in song that she was vexed because of parents and guardians neglecting their children, broken communities, abuse, promise-breaking politicians, racism and raising food prices. The audience responded, showing their approval with rapturous cheers and applause.

With all these sterling performances, the competition was very stiff, and when the results were released it was Monique Hector who captured the title of National Calypso Queen 2008. Dressed in a resplendent white and gold outfit, Princess Monique had rendered her song "Sister Looking" in which she expressed that everywhere she goes sisters are looking for real men who will put their children and family first. Saying that behind the smiles of sisters there is hurt. She called on males needing to take care of their responsibilities as the audience cheered loudly. Terri Lyons placed second, Karene Asche third and Tamico Moore fourth.

NWAC Calypso Queen Competition 2008 in pictures: