Songwriters and Performing Artists are invited to register for the competition by downloading the registration form at www.nichbelize.org or contacting their House of Culture Coordinators or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 227-2110/2458 Bliss Centre for more information.
The song competition is an anticipated event in the calendar of national celebrations for budding as well as established artists. The judges look for originality, presentation and performance by the competing artists. The competition headed south this year and was hosted in the culture capital Dangriga, which provided the perfect setting for the occasion. Cynthia Najarro, Ernestine Carballo and the duo of Denise Castillo and Alexander Evans had a successful night on Saturday. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
Over twenty-six artists, including the Gilharry Seven Band from Corozal, participated in this year’s National Song Competition, organized by the National Institute of Culture and History, as part of the September Celebrations Calendar of Events. The titles in the junior and senior category for the Belize/patriotic song and the carnival song for seniors were up for grabs. Aside from the originality of the tracks, the judges were looking for several things from the artists.
Neil Hall, Communications Director, NICH
“There were several aspects such as the musical score, the actual words of the song and the stage presence and presentation.”
The night was exciting and dynamic—the wind was right, the mood was right and the turnout was amazing. Some of the heavy hitters including Ernestine Carballo, Leslie ‘Bastic’ Jenkins, Wilson Grinage and Jeanie and Gafaar Brooks were among some of the competitors in the senior category. In the end, the first and second place winners were announced as well as the Breakout Artist and People’s Choice per category.
“Heart to Belize by Cynthia Najarro who won first place, second place was “We Are Belizean” with Garif Junior and Jamir Valentine and then we got into the seniors starting off with the Belizean category. Denise Castillo with Alexander Evans who got first place; second place went to Jeanie Brooks and Gafaar Rodriguez for only in Belize. Brandon Flores sang we are Belizeans and that was the song that actually became the People’s Choice; received the highest number of votes in terms of popularity on our website, www.mynationalsong.bz. And the breakout artist for 2017 on the Belizean Song Category was Shania Garnett with her song unconditionally. At the end was the last round and that was carnival songs; that was electric. We actually had carnival groups coming with the singers and being represented. Breakout Artist for this year was Tyrel Pinks with Punta Carnival. And we then had the People’s Choice, the most popular song, was Leslie ‘Bastic’ Jenkins with Feel It. The second place for that category was actually last year’s champion, Wilson Grinage with ‘Carnival Link’ and the winner for this year was ‘On the Road Again’ by Ernestine Carballo.”
The seniors walked away with in ten thousand dollars cash plus prizes, a music video for their tracks and an opportunity to represent Belize at an international music festival. Meanwhile, the junior winner received three thousand dollars, prizes and a music video. Duane Moody for News Five.
Congratulations to all winners of the National Song Competition 2017
Cynthia Najarro, Ernestine Carballo and the duo of Denise Castillo and Alexander Evans win at the National Song Competition 2017.
This year we saw the crowning of new Champions. In the Junior’s Category Ms. Cynthia Najarro won first place with her song “Heart to Belize”. Garif Jr and Jamir Valentine received second place with their submission “We are Belizean”.
The Carnival Song segment featured original songs which will be used for celebratory purposes during the September Celebrations and throughout the year. This year’s winners for the Carnival Song segment of the competition are:
Winner: Ernestine Carballo, “On the Road Again Wave”
Runner Up: Wilson Grinage, “Carnival Link”
People’s Choice: Leslie “Bastic” Jenkins, “Feel It”
Break Out Artist: Tyrol Pinks, “Punta Carnival”
The Belize Song segment highlighted an original song reflecting a strong Belizean
identity, flavor, and rhythm and should inspire a sense of national pride and unity. The song should
evoke a blessing or celebrate the history, traditions, and diversity of the Belizean Culture. The Belize Song winners for 2017 are:
Winner: Denise Castillo and Alexander Evans, “Umoja (Unity)”
Runner Up: Jean Brooks & Gafaar Rodriguez, “Only in Belize”
People’s Choice: Brandon Flores, “We are Belizeans”
Break Out Artist: Shanya Garnett, “Unconditionally”
The winners received prizes as follows:
Senior Division (Belizean and Carnival Categories)
1st Place - $10,000 in cash and prizes (including a music video and an opportunity to represent
Belize in the Region) and a trophy
2nd Place - $3,000 and a trophy
1st Place - $3,000and a trophy (this includes a music video)
2nd Place - $1,000 and a trophy