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Aaron, Melina rule Schools Chutney Soca

By Janelle De Souza Wednesday, February 26 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Chutney Soca champs: First place winners in the Schools Chutney Soca Monarch competition Aaron Duncan and Melina Smith after the final at Queen's Park...
Chutney Soca champs: First place winners in the Schools Chutney Soca Monarch competition Aaron Duncan and Melina Smith after the final at Queen's Park...

After a rough Carnival season for young entertainer Aaron Duncan, he yesterday successfully defended his Primary School National Carnival Chutney Soca Monarch title and won his first national competition of the year.

“I felt very proud because this year was rough starting with the Junior Calypso Monarch, but I know when God is with you, everything comes back to normal. So I’m very proud that I won back my title,” Duncan told Newsday after winning the competition at the Carnival Village, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain.

Duncan, a student of Trinity Junior School, won the crown and $10,000, beating ten other contestants with 253 points. He said his competitors did a very good job and he intended to try for a hat-trick next year.

Duncan entered the stage seated on the arms of his four backup dancers, wearing a red pants and jacket, a white T-shirt and a scarf of the national colours, red, white and black. He sang the song “Never Let You Go” which speaks of his love for Trinidad and Tobago. “I want the world to know I would never let you go... Doh mind what they say I ain’t going no whey,” he sang. He gave his usual energetic performance, exciting the crowd with his antics. At one point he stood in the middle of the stage and trembled his whole body, eliciting cheers from the audience.

In second place was N’janela Duncan-Regis from Eshe’s Learning Centre. Her song, “Real Unity” earned her 248 points and $8,000. Dressed in a red gharara, she gave the second best performance, and asked everyone to look for the good, and stop looking for the bad in the country.

Tyrese Williams, of Arima Boys’ RC School, placed third with “Trini to the Marrow”.

The winner of the Secondary School’s category was Melina Smith of Guaico Secondary School. She won the competition, as well as Best Lyrical Content, with a score of 243 for her song “Indian Words.” Her prize was $12,000.

Wearing a blue and pink sari, Smith sang of how she wanted to start singing chutney, and felt she needed to know Hindi words. She rattled off a few which very few actually understood but she engaged the crowd and danced with her dancers and was well received.

Smith said it was her first time in the competition, but not her first chutney song. “I’m very proud of myself and I thank my school and family for coming out and supporting me,” she said.

The defending monarch, Arindel Suraj of Hillview College placed second to win $10,000. His song, “Chutney in Trouble” called for more support from the National Chutney Foundation to reestablish traditions and noted that many chutney artistes do not or could not sing a verse in Hindi.

“Two million (dollars) to give away for songs with rum and bread. If this continue chutney surely dead,” he sang, referring to various hit chutney songs over the years that focussed on drinking alcohol, and one more recent song about a man buying bread for his mother-in-law.

Jerrisha Duncan-Regis, older sister to the primary schools second place winner, placed third, gaining 239 points and $6,000 with “Chutney Madness”.

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