Valentine’s Day love: Senior Monarch Queeny-G recognises fellow calypsonians

Sponsor of the award, the Hon Lindsay Grant, left, and National Senior Calypso Monarch Gloria Esdaile Robinson, right, present the Lifetime Achievement Award in Calypso for ‘Calypso Development’ to King Socrates, Sylvester Hodge. (Photos by Peter Ngũnjiri)
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A Celebration with the Monarch 2020-2021: National Senior Calypso Monarch Gloria Esdaile Robinson, Queeny-G, addresses attendees at the Mill House, Garvey’s Estate, Boyd’s, West Basseterre.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — At a colourful event dubbed, ‘A Celebration with the Monarch 2020-2021’ reigning National Senior Calypso Monarch Gloria Esdaile Robinson, stage name Queeny-G, did what no other monarch before her has done, she recognised contributions of fellow calypsonians and supporting affiliates with awards.

Held at the Mill House, Garvey’s Estate in Boyd’s, West Basseterre, on February 14, the event saw the official launch of Queeny-G’s video ‘We’re in this together.’ The highly anticipated ‘Monarch’s Choice Awards,’ according to Queeny-G, “honour the contributions of calypsonians and supporting affiliates for their continuous participation, promotion and development of the Calypso art-form and industry.”

Receiving top awards included the person she dethroned to capture the Senior Calypso Monarch title, Sylvester Hodge, stage name King Socrates, one of three recipients of the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award in Calypso.’ His award for ‘Calypso Development,’ sponsored by the Minister of Tourism et al the Hon Lindsay Grant.

Other ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards in Calypso’ recipients were Daven Liburd, stage name Lord Kut, who has participated in all 48 carnivals, but was taken ill and could not take part in the Sugar Mas 49, was honoured for ‘Long Service,’ sponsored by Trevor Fraites & Associates; Glen Hanley of Grand Masters Proud Sounds who was recognised for ‘Sound Engineering,’ sponsored by Jenkins Ltd.

‘Legacy Award in Calypso’ awards were presented to well-known cameraman Mervin Sage of the St. Kitts Nevis Information Service for ‘Historical Documentation (videography);’ and Wingrove Hicks Williams of Grand Masters for ‘Band leadership, talent development, and music arrangement.’

A Celebration with the Monarch 2020-2021: National Senior Calypso Monarch Gloria Esdaile Robinson, Queeny-G, addresses attendees at the Mill House, Garvey’s Estate, Boyd’s, West Basseterre.

“For this year’s awards, a panel of experienced calypsonians/writers and engineers were tasked with the responsibility to select nominees from amongst the calypsonians and supporting affiliates who participated in Sugar Mas 49,” said Queeny-G, who during Sugar Mas 49 became only the second woman to ever be crowned Senior Calypso Monarch.

Having won the 2020/21 Senior Calypso Monarch, Gloria Esdaile Robinson made history by becoming the first person to have won both the National Carnival Queen Pageant in 1996, and the National Carnival Calypso Competition. In 1993, Ms. Robinson won the St. Kitts Talented Teen Pageant and capped it with the Miss Haynes Smith Caribbean Talented Teen Pageant crown.

The extraordinary event, held on Valentine’s Day evening, ‘A Celebration with the Monarch 2020-2021,’ was emceed by Andy Blanchette, with the category descriptions for ‘Monarch’s Choice Award Segment’ being read by Lanein Blanchette, while Clement ‘Monarch’ O’Garro, and St. Clair ‘G-Cue’ Liburd announced the category nominees and winners.

The categories included ‘Best Personally Uplifting Calypso,’ with five nominees. Kibiane Willett, ‘Queen Kibi,’ won for her song ‘Don’t Give Up;’ ‘Most Entertaining Calypsonian,’ had four nominees. It went to Daven Liburd ‘Lord Kut,’ and ‘Best Witty Calypso’ had three nominees, and was won by Junior Newton, ‘Bad Man Polo,’ for his song ‘Mark that mother.’

“I really prefer to honour others, that I guess is part of my nature,” observed Queeny-G. “Calypso is alive, I am just doing my part. I have been given a responsibility and tonight I wanted to do something extra special. It is important for us to recognise calypso and the contribution calypsonians and the affiliates, the persons who help to make calypso what it is.”

‘People’s Choice’ category had two nominees. Clement Williams, ‘King La La,’ walked away with the award for his song, ‘How you get it do.’

‘Best Social Commentary’ had seven nominees. ‘Queen Brown Sugar,’ Kendra Hutton, walked away with the award for her song ‘Sex offenders list.’

‘Best Political Commentary’ attracted four nominees, which were outdone by Duncan Wattley, ‘Big Lice,’ for his song, ‘We want to know.’

‘Most Improved Calypsonian’ category, which had five young-lady calypsonians, saw the award go to Venetia Clarke, ‘Lady Composer; while the ‘Media Award for the Best Promotion of Calypso Music,’ had four radio stations from both St. Kitts and Nevis contending for the award which however went to ZIZ Broadcasting Corporation.

‘Rising Star in Calypso’ category had five nominees. ‘Singing Sensation,’ Tiandra Francis, received a sponsorship opportunity to produce/record one song at the Monarch’s Studio, Abo’s Digital Factory, in Gingerland, Nevis.

In the ‘Best Calypso Writing Award 2020-2021,’ four great song writers were presented. Bernard Wattley, won the award for writing ‘We’re in this together,’ which was sung by the eventual winner Queeny-G. The same song won Antonio Abonaty Liburd the ‘Best Calypso Arrangement 2020-2021’ award from a field of four nominees. Two outright winners were Kimberly Gumbs who received the award for ‘Most Dedicated Female Calypso Fan,’ and Warren Bradshaw for the ‘Most Dedicated Male Calypso Fan’ award.

In thanking her many sponsors, most of whom were present or represented, Gloria Esdaile Robinson said: “I trust that the sponsors who have supported us this time around are pleased with the showing tonight, and will be willing to come on board next year’s event. We are going to make this a February event. It is all about the love for calypsonians, and I know a lot of the times we experience challenges because some persons win, some persons thought they should have won, some persons lose.”

There was plenty of entertainment: National Senior Calypso Monarch Gloria Esdaile Robinson, Queeny-G, pictured with members of the Jingle Bells String Band.
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