As we approach the climax of Vincymas ’23, one can safely say that the most pleasing aspect of the Festival thus far has been the confirmation of the emergence of a new set of players on the ‘Big Stage’. In every field of Carnival endeavour, new markers, pointers for the future, are being set down. On reflection, the signs have been flashing for a few years now, but 2023 is confirming not just the potential, but the emergence of a new generation, new trends in the evolution of Vincymas.
One of the most remarkable feats is the unprecedented achievement by the well-known Cupid family of Calliaqua of three members of the family, a Calypso Trinity, reaching the finals of the coveted Calypso Monarch competition on Sunday night. Talented sportsman Gosnel Cupid has not only demonstrated the breadth of his talents by winning selection for the finals, but he will be joined by two of his offspring, daughter Shaunelle Mckenzie who has already made her mark and young son, Omani. So far, calypso aficionados are yet to find a precedent throughout the entire Caribbean. It certainly bodes well for calypso in the region and its future. And speaks volumes not only for the rich talent in the family, but also the extent of its commitment.
While on the calypso theme, it is pleasing to note the positive developments in this much maligned area. This relates especially to the confirmation of the place of women in this field. Long considered objects of sexism, our female calypsonians have led the way in combating this negative trend and raising the standard of calypso generally. This was confirmed by the large number of female calypsonians to reach the semi-final stage. It opens up a new era in the evolution of this art form here.
Another most encouraging trend has been the continued rise of the young calypsonians who are beginning to demonstrate that they can match their seniors while creating a solid platform for the future. Their topical creativity is certainly something that the more established calypsonians can learn from them.
But perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the Festival thus far has been the prominence of young people and those from the rural areas as well, including what were once considered “far-flung” areas. In this the indigenous community of Sandy Bay leads the way, providing repeat champions in calypso and outstanding young performers in soca monarch. In addition, in spite of all the odds, that community was able to organize a steel band to compete in the Junior Panorama. Hats off to Sandy Bay and the other rural performers.
Honourable mention must also be made of the efforts of rural bands from the Leeward area in leading the way in the reintroduction of original presentations in junior mas. At a time when there are concerns about the disappearance of traditional elements of our mas, bands from the North and Central Leeward areas took the initiative to lead the revival. All credit to them too.
All in all, in spite of the challenges, one fact has been established from Carnival 2023. The new junior Calypso Monarch Omani Cupid has summed it up succinctly in the title of his winning number, “This is my time”. The new pioneers, our youth, our women, our rural participants, have made the claim that this is now THEIR TIME. They need all our support, from fans, communities, schools, and above all the business community, the Carnival Development Corporation and government in order for them to continue to shine.