Calypsonian Menell Third in Regional Competition
Lucian calypsonian and former Calypso Monarch Menell has just returned home from the island of Montserrat where she placed third in a Calypso competition.
This was Menell’s second appearance in Montserrat. In 2010, after winning the Saint Lucia Calypso Monarch competition for the second time, with assistance from the newly revamped Saint Luica Calypso Association and Cultural Development Foundation, she was entered as Saint Lucia’s representative in the regional female Calypso competition in Montserrat. She was up against the calypso queens of the various islands, all winners like her. She performed the songs “Pass it on” and “Rebellious Youths”. She went to Montserrat as a monarch and, with a determined attitude, persevered and performed exceptionally well and ran away with the crown. On that night in 2010 Menell was the best female calypsonian, in the OECS at least.
In 2013 Menell won the Saint Lucia Calypso Monarch for the third time but there was no regional competition in Montserrat as the private entity Euphony Vibes that promoted and organized the event was now defunct.
In 2014, being the only female in the Saint Lucia Calypso finals and having placed second behind King Walleigh, it was automatic for Menell to be Saint Lucia’s representative at the Regional Female Calypso competition once again. The Montserrat Tourist Board with the Culture Department there organized and funded the event.
Menell approached the Ministry of Creative Industries for assistance to enter and participate in the competition and received airfare and sustenance funds. However, the private sector - her Calypso tent and the Calypso association in general - failed to give any support. Her preparation for Montserrat, she has disclosed, was an uphill struggle due to the lack of financial assistance she received. She left Saint Lucia to fight a hard battle for her country, all alone.
Determined and armed with her constant practising and strong vocal abilities, she arrived in Montserrat on December 18, ready for the battle with her female counterparts. Among her challengers, the defending monarch from Barbados Crystal Beckles Cummins, a songwriter and music arranger, and Montserrat’s representative Silvina “Kandie” Malone.
Menell and her writer Nahum “Happy” Jn Baptiste carefully chose two songs for her to perform and execute on the night. Performing in position number 3, she sang “Just Tickets” in the first round. She was dressed in a police uniform and gave a powerful performance as a radio commentator stated, “Sweet melody, good performance and good crowd response”. In the first round Crystal Beckles looked liked the one to beat.
In round two Menell sang “So So Love”, a song she performed in Saint Lucia in 2013 (winning the crown) with lyrics about the love of the calypso artform.
Dressed in a sultry evening gown she belted out the song in a very confident and passionate manner. At the end, she rejoiced “Long live Mighty Arrow and Mighty Pelay,” paying tribute to two Calypso greats: “Arrow” of Montserrat and “Mighty Pelay” of Saint Lucia.
The consensus was that the judges had a tough decision to make. It was interesting that just 20 minutes after the final performer in the competition, the results were announced. The results:
2nd Runner-up - St. Lucia’s Menell Delice, 1st Runner-up - Montserrat’s Silvina ‘Kandie’ Malone and Winner - Crystal Beckles from Barbados.
Though disappointed, Menell took the results in stride and vowed to return to Montserrat next year more prepared, with more Caribbean oriented songs and with more national support. It was a learning experience which would make her a better artiste and competitor.
She is also looking forward to gaining some exposure and experience in 2015 in the land of Soca and Calypso - Trinidad and Tobago - where she is yet to perform.
The winning calypsonian performing one of her songs.
Saint Lucia’s Calypso Queen Menell in