Thursday, April 18, 2024

Young kings


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Myles and Jazz. They are brothers.  That’s where the similarities end.  Big brother Myles Myles-Z Gittens won the Junior Monarch competition last Sunday ahead of his little brother Jazz Jazz-Z, clinching the title for the second time in his calypso career.The 12-year-old Harrison College student possesses an inner peace that belies his age. Admirably self-disciplined, Myles said he practised every day during competition and followed the regimen set out at the National Cultural Foundation-sponsored workshops for his craft.“There is no eating for at least three hours before presentation, and drinking is restricted to water (not cold).”
He said on the night of the finals he was very nervous backstage but overcame it by concentrating on the words of the song and the movements.  “I perform in the moment. I don’t focus on the crowd or anything like that. Once I’m finished, I’m relieved.”  He said that it usually took him only one day to memorise the lyrics.  The reaction of the crowd made little difference to this football enthusiast, who was able to share in the winning celebration of his favourite World Cup team, Spain.  Asked how much influence his dad Roger Gittens, an established musician, has on his singing calypso, Myles said: “I’d say 50 per cent. We talk about the songs, decide which one I’ll sing, and, if necessary, work on the melody.”Friendship have also been created within this grouping; Myles has a good rapport with all the contestants – some of them are even Facebook mates.
Myles’ pick for the crown was Little T, and he said the older group had favoured him. He said that next year his competition would come from winner of the 13-18 category, Li’l Az.  Jazz, on the other hand, had picked himself to win, if not his brother or Little T. And he speculated that with Myles out of his group next year, he now had little or no competition.  The nine-year-old Hilda Skeene pupil (he’s hoping to make it to Queen’s College after 11-Plus) was not so lucky with his World Cup pick.  “At least they (Netherlands) got to the finals,” he said.  There is no long discussion between the brothers before competition. “Yes, we talk about it, but only generally. He’d ask if I’m ready, I would say yes; ask him if he is, and that’s that.” He usually took two days to memorise his song, he said, adding that his dad accounted for 80 per cent of getting him ready to perform.
Their mum, Sharon-Rose, has the task of preparing their wardrobes. Remember the suspenders Jazz wore last year? Cute, nuh? Well, everybody liked them except Jazz.  Like Myles, he becomes nervous before competition, but he handles his anxiety differently.“I had to go to the bathroom.” How does he cope with singing in front of a large crowd? “I visualise it as a food I like . . . so it’s like I’m singing to a bunch of burgers.”  On crowd response: “It doesn’t really matter to me if they cheer or not. What matters is what the judges think of my performance.”  So, with that in mind, Jazz was asked what he would have done if he was booed like TC: “I would just ignore it.”
He, too, has Facebook peeps within his kaiso circle, and a close friendship with Candy Princess, who attends the same school.  Placing second behind Myles was no problem for Jazz, but he did express some surprise at the final placings of Adonis and Young Marc Hollingsworth

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