This country is being urged to make better use of Extempo.
Former President of T&T, Justice Anthony Carmona said this country must use the art of calypso to promote its development.
“I see Extempo as a medium to internationalise calypso. Many of our calypsoes cannot be sung outside of T&T. We need to look up to Kitchener and Sparrow. Through the medium of calypso, we can internationalise the positives of T&T. With all these cruise ships coming in, we should have a cadre of Extempo singers ready to greet them when they come off the ships. Then we will have sustainable jobs,” he said.
Carmona, who was the keynote speaker gave his address on Saturday night at the finals of the 5th National Extempo Monarch Final, held at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies, Valsayn.
Josiah Kennedy, 16, who is a student of St James Secondary copped the first prize-winning TT$10,000.
Jania Morris, a student of San Fernando East School won the first prize in the Female Category. Kennedy who spoke to the Guardian after the competition said he felt “exhilarated” after his victory. He took part in last year’s competition and finished in the third position.
Kennedy intends to be back in the competition for 2021.
He had the audience, students and adults in an uproar with his witty lyrics and quick beats during his Extempo performance on the topic of owning a mobile phone. The Minister of Culture, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly who also spoke said she hopes to see more girls perform in the future. “We want all aspects of our culture to be pervasive across genders.”
Brian London, National Extempo Monarch and Founder of the group Friends of the Youths of T&T told the Guardian that he remains satisfied with the work he is doing by encouraging young people to enter the world of culture and music.
“For the first time we were able to have the primary schools and females taking part and we have been able to raise our prize money from $5,000 to $10,000 for the first prize. We have been consistently growing.”
Looking towards the future, he wants to go to more schools and do more workshops.
“The aim by 2022 is to have a Caribbean Junior Extempo Monarch. We are supposed to go to Jamaica this year as they asked us to go across. But of course, we need to have better funding. I see this going far and wide,” he said.