It was a colourful explosion of nationalism and talent reflecting Grenada’s 41st Independence Anniversary last week Wednesday, when the Grenada Union of Teachers Co-operative Credit Union (GUTCU) held its Independence Calypso showcase for the first time.
Some 15 aspiring calypsonians from various primary and secondary schools throughout the island, were given the opportunity to showcase their skills and talents at the Deluxe Cinema in Grenville, St Andrew.
Among the participants who graced the stage were Khalil Paul with his rendition ‘Uncle Gairy thank you’, Joshell Augustine (Three beautiful women), as well as Janeal Harris (Flag woman), Akish Rennie who did ‘Parade’, Nyturi Smith (Sweet Grenada) and Shamira Bartholomew who sang “New independence”.
The cast was completed by Aileen Charles-Hector who did ‘7 ah dem’, Lorenzo Charles (Is it Independence?), Makada Antoine who performed, ‘Thank you’, Anthony Celestine (Yam land), Michael Griffith (Our Independence), Petal Ashton who did the song, ‘Let we celebrate’, as well as Adama Forbes (We living ah lie), Nathan Johnson (41 not out) and Shirtonee Mc Lawrence doing ‘Be independent’.
The budding calypsonians are all current participants of the GUTCU ‘Pass the Torch’ programme that was officially launched in 2013 and which seeks to teach the youngsters how to write, compose and perform calypsos.
According to Deputy General Manager of GUTCU, Retesha Boyd the programme has been “developing nicely”.
“It continues to grow and we are very happy about that…the aim is to harness the calypso artform and teach young people how to write, compose and perform,” she remarked in delivering the welcome remarks at the opening of the last week Wednesday’s event.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY following the show, reigning Independence Monarch, Sean Niles also known as ‘Sour Serpent’ applauded the efforts of the youngsters.
“I think everybody did very well, because they are under 15. I think what happened today is laudable…efforts like this should be praised because most of their hard work would go unseen”, he said.
Niles, who is also one of the programme facilitators for the St George’s branch said, he believes things “are on the right track but much more can be done,” to keep the artform alive.
Another facilitator, veteran calypsonian, Elwin ‘Black Wizard’ Mc Quilkin echoed Niles’ sentiments.
The former calypso, road march and soca monarch winner who teach the youngsters at the St Andrew’s branch said he too is satisfied and “extremely proud” with the performances delivered.
“I think the children executed very well,” said Mc Quilkin as he lauded the GUTCU for undertaking the initiative and “investing in the future of Calypso.”
The ‘Pass the Torch’ programme is ongoing and is held every Saturday at centers located in St George’s, St Andrew’s and St David’s.