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Another year comes to an end. While we note that for the first time in many years, we have put on hold the annual traditional DBS Christmas song contest, the Best of the Best continues to look at those who entertained us throughout the year.

We start off by saying that we have never including cuisine as part of our artistic evaluation but it is an integral part of art and entertainment and so Ma Boyd's Kubuli Bar on Goodwill Road that has served patrons well with various national delicacies particularly during the Independence season, is Number One.

Dominica's Male Artiste of the Year is none other than the king of Bouyon music, Asa Bantan as he continues to string lyrics after lyrics and to command the stage, sending fans into frenzy every time he performs locally and overseas. Asa's latest video release which, I understand, was filmed in St Maarten (a cover version of Justin Timberlake's "Holy Grail ") is the best, most professional, local music video.

Michele Henderson- Delsol has sealed the deal as Best Female Artiste of the Year having won the prestigious CARICOM Anthem Song Contest and for her sterling performance at the WCMF 2014 particularly. Her "Home" is also my choice for Album of the Year which really picked up momentum this year having been released in the latter quarter of 2013. In fact, the title track is the best local composition.

Meanwhile, manager Emile Depoter of the Triple k is the leading manager of any musical group in Dominica. His ability to keep the band together as a unit , solicit engagements, market the group and his teaming up with the Education Trust Fund to raise much-needed funds for students is an additional accolade. At the same time the band Triple Kay Global is undoubtedly Band of the Year as they continue to fascinate with their brand of Bouyon as well as their energy and showmanship at the WCMF and other regional stages they have had the opportunity to grace.

Meanwhile, WCK's 767, is the Song of the Year as it really took off though it was released late in 2013. The phrase has literally become a buzz word for everything Dominican. One can almost anticipate the same for Triple K with their new recording "Big Truck coming Round de Corner" doing likewise, next year.

Kasim Birmingham of QTS sensation who has, throughout this year thrilled audiences with his gifted vocals at functions, concerts, graduations -just name it - is Male Vocalist of the Year. He has joined Female Vocalist of the Year, Janae Jackson, now only 16, who has done equally well for herself .Despite being dethroned in the Junior Monarch competition in 2014, various organisations have called on her to perform regularly in a variety of genres. Her involvement in various shows at the Arawak House of Culture whether as a youthful trainer-mentor, as a performer with her alma mater Convent High or as Mary at the Christmas Folk nativity at Loubiere is testimony of her abilities. Together with Kasim, Janae was also chosen for the MMTS regional talent quest to represent Dominica next year in Bahamas.

Speaking of vocals, the best in execution I have witness this year was that of Sisserou singer, Marie Pascale Affana in the group's anniversary concert held earlier this year. She is a wonderful talent from the Motherland that one has to look out for in the future. The Sisserou Singers, not surprising at all is the number one Chorale Group of the Year and has exhibited the highest, most professional execution of a show in 2014 with Q95's talent search coming a close second. 'Aunty' Pearle Christian is music director producer for the year for her untiring efforts with the Sisserou while her deputy Leandra Lander is Poet of the Year having won and placed respectively the Independence English poetry and placed 3rd in the Creole category.

If 767 is the song of the year then Dice's "Time for Change" is the Calypso of the Year catapulted even further as it became the theme song for the United Workers Party campaign. Though another organization voted Chris B's "Just come" contributed by Ian Jackson, receiving an award suggesting that it was best written calypso, I take my hat off to ace writer Pat Aaron for Dice's winning composition.

Authors and local luminaries Steinberg Henry and Justice Irvin Andre documentaries on Calypso and Premier Oliver Leblanc respectively are treasures, and so jointly they are the Authors of the Year.

Miguel Labadie through his Mirror Entertainment is the Music Promoter for the Year. One of this gentleman's dreams is to award our local talents as the BET awards are done every year. He has been able to fuse local talents as Colton T, with Jamaican performers and others since he established his organization. As a DJ however, MR Mystic has raised the bar with his programme "21 Questions" where he does more than just featuring of songs as he does on Kairi FM, but goes behind music videos, with in depth interviews with various artists, producers and even videographers. For this reason and more Mr. Mystic is the DJ of the Year.

Well, by virtue of being the communications personality of the WCMF, it is not easy to upstage Wadix as an events promoter, and so for his untiring efforts and exuberance at leading the charge even in the absence of an official WCMF director Wadix has been outstanding. However, honorary mention must be made of Peter Prosper as a formidable promoter/PRO of local entertainment events in Dominica.

'Dada' Lawrence and Kendel Laurent of Triple Kay are joint Best Music Producers of the Year. The former's creativity is now making him one of the most sought after producers by calypsonians, Cadence legends, and other local and regional acts. Recently he introduced the world a new groove "Madras rhythm', on which various artistes such as Phillip Horsford, Harley and even Morgan Heritage's Grumps Morgan is featured. Kendal on the other hand, apart from recordings and engineering work for Dominica's leading band, also facilitates 90% of the work for the Junior Calypso Monarchs, creates a number of advertising jingles and produces other artistes at his Music Box studios.

Xtacy band is the Best up-and-coming Group in Dominica for 2014 while the National Youth Council's "Youth Camera Action" is the Best Produced Local TV Programme while Ferdina Frampton on Q95 is the Best Radio Talk Show Host. DBS's Terella Alexander the Best Newscaster and Felix Henderson's "Experience Creole "is rated Best Interactive Programme on Radio where a great variety of subject matter from casual discourse, interviews to the heavier socio-political themes are presented.

Best Entertainment Spot is Fort Young's "Happy Hour" on Friday evenings for its consistency, patronage, cuisine and music. Finally the "Swag dancers' are the best most exciting dance group on island for the year 2014 while Shenel Florant continues to be Best Gospel Act.

Obviously the above is just my informed opinion and not that of this newspaper; having been a writer on the arts unfailingly for 20 years, I trust my views are somewhat in conformity with yours, the readers, most of the time. Notwithstanding, I think it is time that an organization is established to award the movers and shakers of our budding entertainment industry.

Meanwhile, have a blessed Christmas and remember "Christ is the reason for the season"; get closer to Him and take some time to pray for families our Nation, while doing some introspection. God Bless!

By Ian Jackson


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