WHO says perseverance doesn’t repay?
Ask Shamika Denoon and she or he’ll inform you that her victory within the Tobago Heritage Monarch competitors on July 29 was the end result of years of onerous work, sacrifice, dedication and willpower.
“I’ve laboured within the winery however I all the time remained true to my craft and my tradition,” a beaming Denoon, 39, advised WMN.
“I’ve labored onerous through the years to get thus far. So the victory, for me, is sort of a stepping stone for larger issues to return.”
Denoon has her sights set on successful the Nationwide Calypso Monarch title in subsequent yr’s Dimanche Gras present.
She’s made it to the semi-finals of the competitors at Skinner Park, San Fernando, on 5 events, however by no means superior to the Massive Yard.
The calypsonian stated the heritage monarch title has given her an added incentive to make that dream a actuality.
“We have been down for 2 years with the pandemic and I’m trying ahead to Carnival 2023. So the stepping stone now could be to look to the Dimanche Gras. All people will likely be bringing their A recreation. So this will likely be an incentive and motivation for me to push even tougher.”
On the Shaw Park Cultural Advanced, Denoon was a runaway favorite.
She delivered an impassioned model of the Sheldon Reid composition Reignite D Flames, an uplifting calypso about reclaiming Tobago’s heritage after the pandemic.
The mom of three, who celebrates her tenth anniversary of singing calypso competitively later this yr, stated the music resonated together with her.
“It’s a reminder, telling us as a individuals who we’re, as a result of to ensure that us to know the place we’re going, we now have to know the place we come from.
“In order that flame inside us, that facet of our tradition, our uniqueness, we have to maintain on to our customs and our norms, reignite it and maintain on to it.”
Denoon stated despite the fact that covid19 introduced loss of life and hardship, traditions won’t ever die.
“We are able to all the time return to traditions. That’s the reason I discussed within the calypso going again to the custom of fireplace on high and hearth under (for cooking). You don’t should exit the highway and purchase bread, to spend cash you don’t have.
“If we practise our traditions, we’ll make it as a result of that’s the flame inside us. If we reignite that, we’ll succeed as a individuals. We simply want to assist one another and we’ll all rise collectively in the course of the onerous instances.”
Denoon stated the calypso was additionally a clarion name for folks to show the heritage to their youngsters.
The Bon Accord native praised Jesse Taylor, a cultural officer on the THA Division of Tourism, Tradition, Antiquities and Transportation, for offering the fabric for the music.
She described Taylor as an envoy for Tobago’s tradition, saying he has all the time been considered one of her greatest cheerleaders.
“He was firing me up all alongside, telling me I’ve to sing and provides it my all.”
She stated all through her profession she has all the time made some extent of consulting the island’s cultural icons for materials for her work.
“You will need to me to get it from the individuals themselves who have been instrumental within the improvement of the Tobago heritage.”
Outdoors her efficiency within the calypso competitors, audiences caught snapshots of Denoon’s expertise at different occasions within the competition.
Throughout the Emancipation Day road parade, she narrated a compelling ancestral piece because the procession made its technique to the Retailer Bay Heritage Park, Crown Level.
Denoon additionally described the portrayal of one of many queens within the Junior Miss Tobago Heritage competitors that very same night.
Her highly effective vocals on the Ella Andall traditional Deliver Down The Energy heralded Pembroke heritage presentation, Salaka Feast, on July 27.
An completed dancer, choreographer, dramatist, designer and Carnival bandleader, Denoon minimize her enamel in performing on the Bon Accord Authorities Major College.
She stated her late instructor, well-known Tobago musicologist Michael Duncan. and his spouse Cheryl shortly recognised her abilities and nurtured it.
Duncan, whom she thought to be a mentor and good friend, died on Wednesday.
“He has executed a lot for my improvement culturally. Earlier than I sang on the night time of the heritage competitors, he and his spouse known as me and advised me they know I can do it as a result of I had saved my pulse on the tradition.”
Denoon recalled Duncan, who was additionally one of many lead actors within the native cleaning soap opera Flip of the Tide again within the Eighties, had launched her as a back-up singer within the calypso tents when she attended Scarborough Secondary College.
“Earlier than I used to be a solo singer within the calypso tents, I used to be a back-up. So I used to be the lead vocalist in a lot of his preparations. His passing has left an incredible void.”
Denoon recalled a situation the place her abilities have been examined.
“I bear in mind one music competition we have been working late and Mr Duncan stated he wanted somebody who might dramatise and can also be a vocalist in order that the opposite youngsters might feed off the vitality. Mechanically, he simply chosen me.”
She stated beneath Duncan’s tutelage, she grew to become a cultural ambassador for Tobago at 11, having attended cultural exchanges in Guyana, Canada and different elements of the world.
At Scarborough Secondary, Denoon was additionally a founding member of what was recognized then because the Youth Quake Folks Performers.
The group happened throughout a lecturers’ strike within the midst of preparations for a Greatest Village competitors.
“We have been so keen about performing and we weren’t getting the help from the lecturers. So we determined to kind our personal little group to organize for the competitors and to show the youthful ones developing.”
Denoon joked that since these years she has by no means left the stage.
“I’m concerned in 99.99 per cent of the actions in tradition in Tobago, from January to December.”
Saying she has devoted her heritage calypso victory to Duncan, Denoon stated individuals who have excelled of their respective fields should be honoured whereas they’re alive and may admire it.
“They should scent their roses earlier than they cross on.”
Though the calypso monarch title has eluded her, Denoon continues to make her mark in tradition.
She has received calypso monarch competitions in Laventille, La Horquetta and San Juan in addition to the T&T Idols. She additionally received the Tobago Junior Band of the 12 months title in 2012.
Denoon stated late Tobago musician Sherwin Cunningham, Calypso Rose (McCartha Lewis), Ella Andall, David Rudder and Tigress (Joanne Rowley) have influenced her work tremendously.
She additionally admires the work of late calypsonian Singing Sandra (Sandra Des Vignes Millington), Leslie-Ann Ellis and Giselle Fraser Washington, who positioned second on this yr’s heritage monarch competitors.
Denoon stated assistant secretary within the Division of Tourism, Tradition, Antiquities and Transportation Megan Morrison has all the time supported her profession.
Requested how she fared in the course of the pandemic, Denoon stated she skilled “a critical tabanca.”
Her work within the dance group Sisters in Tradition, which she based some years in the past in Canaan/Bon Accord, was notably affected.
“I’m additionally a dancer and choreographer and in the course of the pandemic, I couldn’t educate, I couldn’t carry out. I couldn’t do something, so that actually affected me as a result of the stage has all the time been my life.
“I used to be craving for that performing house as a result of after I carry out, I specific who I’m and my feeling.”
Nevertheless, the self-professed “Carnival child,” who additionally has her personal mas band Vogue Promotions, stated she launched a jewelry enterprise in the course of the lockdown.
“Covid got here proper after Carnival 2020. So I used to be seeing all of this fabric and beads and it was haunting me. Though I used to be locked down, I stated I can’t simply be stagnant. I’ve to search out one thing to do. So out of this, I took all of my beads and fabric and began a jewelry enterprise.”
She stated the enterprise has been flourishing.
“I used that lockdown as a platform to additional improve my expertise. as a result of I’m excellent with my arms.”
Now that in-person occasions have resumed, Denoon is trying to the longer term with renewed hope.
She was overwhelmed by the participation of younger individuals within the heritage competition.
“I used to be merely blown away. There have been performers in Pembroke who have been between two and 5 years previous dancing. They have been within the rehearsals, devoted and devoted. So I used to be glad to see the youthful ones taking part in an element of their heritage.”
The October Carnival, Denoon believes, couldn’t have come at a greater time.
“I’m very a lot enthusiastic about October, as a result of it will give us the popularity to showcase what Tobago has and may do.”
She stated Tobago is quick turning into the occasions capital of the area.
“So if we are able to strengthen it from a Carnival facet, we’ll goal home tourism, the Caribbean diaspora and even that worldwide house in order that we may very well be recognised .I hope that October could be a stepping stone to a Carnival that will likely be of nice significance to Tobago’s tradition.”
Within the meantime, Denoon is busy getting ready for her performances within the Greatest Village competitors. She is collaborating within the African devotional and native fusion classes on August 17 and 18, respectively.
“Tobago introduced their A-game this yr. We’re in quite a few classes.”