Calypsonian Menell Third in Re­gional Com­pe­ti­tion

The Star (St. Lucia) - - ENTERTAINMENT - By

STAR Re­porter

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


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