Cecil Jenkins, known on stage as “Cocono Bwai”, is the first place winner of the National Song competition 2016.
The National Institute of Culture and History (NICH), held the competition at the Fort George Memorial Park on Saturday night, gathering 19 competitors in two categories: National Song, and Carnival Song. A panel of five judges chose Jenkins for his song “Border to Border” which addresses the issue of the Belize/Guatemala territorial dispute.
“I’m just going to continue pushing,” Jenkins said, “pushing and promoting ‘Brukdown’ music, which is truly Belizean cultural music.”
Jenkins recently released Border to Border on his first studio album entitled “The Prince of Brukdown.”
Other winners of the competition included Wilson Grinage, first place in the Carnival Song competition, and Jean Brooks, second place winner of the National Song competition and Breakout Artist of the Year.
All first place winners won a trophy and $6,000. Jenkins, now a three-time winner of the competition, will now be required to sit out next year’s competition.
Music Ambassador Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow explained that the event represents the type of cultural promotion NICH and his office are pushing for in Belize. Barrow said that he has worked with many of the participants, however was impressed by the efforts of many of the artists with whom he had no previous interaction.
The event was momentarily disrupted by a violent outbreak at the front of the stage, which lasted several minutes. In the outbreak, at least four people were injured. With the heavy police presence at the event, the situation was quickly contained and police detained five people. No one was seriously injured in the ordeal.