Tuesday 27th March, 2007


Allan Goddard Little pioneer

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Nine-year-old Allan Clelland Goddard, this year’s Calypso Pioneer’s monarch shares a tender moment with his mother and song-writer Deborah Clelland. Photo: Jennifer Watson

By Avalene Harris

UST nine years old and with a double title of Calypso Pioneer’s monarch already under his belt, Allan Clelland-Goddard is considered as being old beyond his years.

Allan who attends the St Xavier’s Private School received the judges’ nod at the competition which was staged at the Jean Pierre Complex with a heart-wrenching song entitled, Street Children.

The social commentary which was penned by his mother Deborah Clelland, called on both the United Nations and the government of the day to step up and help address the issue of street children.

Speaking boldly during an interview at the Guardian, the little lad who spoke with much confidence said that the situation affected him so much that he wanted to send a strong message to the powers that be.

“The idea of the song came from my mother who was very interested in helping street children in this country,” said Allan during an interview on March 13.

“The song is a very positive one and I believe that once the message goes around people would realise that not only internationally there is a problem with street children, but in this country as well and we must all do our part to help them.

“Just think about what they (children) have to go through daily on the streets, going through the left overs in the rubbish bins and not being able to enjoy a good breakfast, lunch, dinner or even have clean clothes on their back and a shelter over their heads when the rain falls,” he said with a straight face.

His last year’s offering at the competition, The World We Live In, also a social commentary written by his mother, spoke of the some of the social ills which were plaguing the society and the world as a whole, such as crime, terrorism, rape and murders.

Both songs are now complied on a CD with music done by Ken “Brooker” Hutchinson and recorded at KBH recording studio in St Joseph.

A burning issue

Reminiscing on his performance at the competition, Allan who began singing at age six, said that he was very confident that he was going to do his best.

Accompanied on stage by his five-year-old twin sisters Kiona and Genevieve, Allan also got support from his classmates who assisted him with props.

“I want to one day get the opportunity to perform the song before Kofi Annan, so that he could report to the other UN secretaries that this issue is very important and that something has to be done about it,” the St Augustine resident said.

Allan added that when he heard his name being called as the winner, he felt a burning sensation run through his body.

“It was a great experience,” he said with a smile.

“When you sing and you know that you have done your best, you just wait to see what the judges think of it, you have to remain confident.

“Even if you make a mistake and feel that you did not do your best, you have to sing with faith still,” he advised. Eagerly, Allan mentioned that during his findings, he learnt that approximately 150 million children world-wide were living on the streets.

Some of the greatest numbers, he noted, came from Brazil.

Even his facial expressions could win the heart of anyone who is fortunate to come in contact with him.

Allan, who loves to listen to classic music and pop, was acclaimed as a prodigy on the national instrument.

“Last year I visited England where I represented my school at the Royal College of Music Children’s camp during the summer holidays,” he said.

The standard Four student who is expected to sit the SEA examination next year also enjoys playing the drums and piano.

Apart from his love for the stage, the self-confessed “A” student said that his favourite subjects includes music, math, physical education and social studies.

Heart of love

His mother, Clelland who felt passionate about street children said that she was moved to pen the song.

The song, which took her a year to complete, came to her while driving through Port-of-Spain.

“I did not know that I had it in me to write,” she said, with a burst of laughter.

“When I wrote the first song for him last year, I knew that I could do it again.

“I am very passionate about children on the whole and when I see them on television or on the streets my heart goes out, it touches me very deeply,” she said her tone dropping.

So much so, she said that she desires to have the song used as a catalyst to heighten the awareness among UN members about the burning issue of street children.

“Allan also feels very passionate about the issue and the fact that there are so many children world-wide who are forced to call the cold streets their home,” she said.

“No child in T&T or anywhere else in the world should have to be living on the streets.

“Children have rights too and that is one of the verses in the song,” she continued.

So what’s next for the diminutive singer?

“I could see myself singing next to David Rudder at one of his shows.

“He is a very serious and positive singer,” he said, his face lighting up.

His mother shook her head in agreement.

“I could actually hear them both singing with a very big choir too,” she said with a chuckle.

As for mentors in the music industry, Allan likes Shurwayne Winchester and Machel Montano HD.

Glancing across lovingly at her son, Clelland described him as a “true performer.”

“I still cannot believe it, but whenever he performs I cry.

“He is really doing me proud, many are called but few are chosen” she said

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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