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Aaron “Voice” St Louis’ 2018 hit Year for Love was voted Calypso of the Year at the Top 20 Stars of Gold award ceremony held at the Auditorium of the Government Campus, Richmond Street, Port of Spain, last Friday. St Louis was not on hand to receive the award which topped off a great year in his career. The event was hosted by the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC) in conjunction with the National Youth Action Committee (NYAC).

Everyone on hand showed support for the decision, even the other thirteen awardees or their representatives on stage went up in a roar of approval at the announcement.

In St Louis’ abscence Lerissa Taylor received the award on his behalf and KV Charles performed Year for Love as the audience sang and danced along.

Friday night award was the icing on the cake for Voice as Year for Love captivated the entire nation. It won him his third consecutive Soca Monarch title, he placed second in the Calypso Monarch competition and bp Renegades won the National Panorama title with Duvone Stewart’s arrangement of the song.

Year for Love was chosen from the top five songs which included Kees Dieffenthaller’s Hello, Aaron Duncan’s One nation, Helon Francis’ Change and Devon Seale’s Not Red or Yellow.

Voice was not the only absent awardee as both Dieffenthaller and Patrice Roberts (Sweet Fuh Days) were in Antigua for the finals of the ICC Women’s T20 tournament, Naila Blackman (Sokah) was in Sydney, Australia, Tigress (Rowley to Rowley) was in the US while Blaxx (Hulk) and Chucky (D Campaign Truck) were also absent.

The Top 20 Stars of Gold was a show with plenty talent on display but was marred by some electronic glitches and a band which was too loud for the venue. Each performer had to tell the band to take it down for the audience to actually hear their performance.

National Calypso monarch Helon Francis suffered the most as he fought through his performance with the band trying to get the right groove.

Newly elected president of Pan Trinbago Beverly Ramsey-Moore was the guest speaker of the night and she thanked the NACC and NYAC for inviting her to speak on the occasion.

Ramsey-Moore said she was pleased that the organisation dedicated the show to Winston “Shadow” Bailey and Winston Scarborough: “The Original De Fosto Himself.”

Ramsey-Moore, the first female head of Pan Trinbago, said she had followed Bailey since he started as an unrecognised singer at the PSA Hotel in Tobago. “I called him Mr Perseverance because of his will to survive. Even after almost being devoured by the big sharks in Trinidad in the calypso arena, I was still in his corner. This will to survive saw him rise to the top and he has left us a rich legacy.”

“Shadow was the true messenger of the down-trodden and oppressed people, he presented their plight in touching songs and he was always a beacon of hope for them. All done in his own unique style.”

Ramsey-Moore also quoted Calypso Rose saying “Calypsonians are the mouthpiece of the nation. Calypsonians are reporters, they might not report with a pen and paper but they report in song.”

She also noted that thirty per cent of the recipients were women and the youth content was even greater saying that it was commendable.

“Pan Trinbago supports year-round opportunities to showcase talent, promote entrepreneurship and strengthen our partisanship within the cultural industry and with Government. We are willing to partner with all organisations and groups (private sector and NGO) to operate as positive change agents in the promotion of our diverse culture locally regionally and internationally.”

She continued, “The creative industry is a billion-dollar enterprise worldwide and we should be using our unique art form to establish a niche in that market. Our style of Carnival is becoming increasingly popular in Europe and North America providing a ready market for the music of Calypso and steelpan. Therefore, in this time of scarce financial resources, all interest groups must unite now so that we can grab quickly the opportunities that will enable us to strive towards sustainability.”

Ramsey-Moore also said Panorama 2019 would honour cultural icons Ken Professor Philmore, Bailey and Scarborough.

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