People Movers & Shakers- November/ December 2003 Carlos Acosta brings Cuban rhythm to ballet, Queen Ivena sings her way into calypso history, Herralal Rampartap proves his fans right, Pat Cumper makes a dramatic breakthrough, George Bovell swims like a shark, and D'Mello tells her Best Love Story By Various Contributors | Issue 64 (November/December 2003) 0 Comments George Bovell. Photograph by O' Lokai/ MEP LtdGeorge Bovell. Photograph by O' Lokai/ MEP LtdPat Cumper. Photograph by Adrian WilsonHeeralal Rampartao (at left). Photograph by Trinidad Publishing CompanyD' Mello. Photograph courtesy Warner Brothers/ Reprise RecordsCarlos Acosta. Photograph Angela Taylor Bravissimo, chico Born and bred in the barrios of Havana, the youngest of 11 siblings, Carlos Acosta was in and out of trouble from an early age. His father, determined to save him from a life of crime, enrolled him at the National Ballet School of Cuba. “My father didn’t know what classical ballet was, but he knew it was a way out of the neighbourhood.” Twenty years later, Acosta has reason to be grateful. The current star of Cuban classical dance, he’s performed at the Bolshoi and with Britain’s Royal Ballet, won the prestigious Prix de Lausanne, and earlier this year enthralled audiences with his Cuban tale Tocororo at Sadler’s Wells in London. D’termined Hailing from south Trinidad’s Phoenix Park, Winsome “D’Mello” Singh, 22, is the latest sugar-coated R&B singer-songwriter to emerge from the Warner Brothers stable. The eldest of seven children, she left Trinidad in her mid-teens and headed to New York in search of bright lights and a recording deal. Her soulful voice and distinctive style — a mixture of opera, gospel, and extempo — won comparison with divas like Mary J. Blige and Chanté Moore. After five years of hard graft in Manhattan recording studios, she finally got her deal. With her sultry debut album Best Love Story, D’Mello is making the dream come true. Rio hero Long before Heeralal Rampartap started winning prizes, he was adored in his hometown of Rio Claro in south Trinidad, where neighbours called him “Melody” and “Starboy”. Last August he rewarded his fans by bringing home the National Chutney Monarch crown, to complement the Chutney Soca Monarch title he shared with Rikki Jai earlier in the year. “After the show they started to announce winners,” said Rampartap. “When they reached second place and my name didn’t call, my supporters started to scream and bawl. That was the signal. I felt like I was floating in air. I knew I was the winner.” Enter stage right Pat Cumper was already one of Jamaica’s leading contemporary playwrights — best known for her 1978 play The Rapist — when she decided to move to the UK. But despite her reputation back home, and the awards under her belt, she found it hard to get her plays produced (“stories . . . that are not through mainstream characters and situations”). In 2002 she had her breakthrough, when The Key Game was produced in London by the Talawa Theatre Company. Now she’s preparing a new script for the prestigious Royal Court Theatre, and the UK Guardian recently declared her one of the top black and Asian women working in British theatre. Swimmer boy “I’m just looking to do my best,” said swimmer George Bovell III modestly, a few days before heading to the Dominican Republic for the Pan American Games. His best turned out to be better than anyone else’s: the 20-year-old, six-foot-five giant decisively put Trinidad and Tobago on the aquatic sports map by winning gold medals in the 200-metre free and 200-metre individual medley races, and silver in the 100-metre free and 100-metre backstroke, breaking records as he shot through the water. Swim fans all over the Caribbean can hardly wait till the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Her majesty In the 2003 Antiguan calypso season, Queen Ivena sliced through all comers with her sharp words, breaking records as she went. First she won the Calypso Queen competition, her third victory. “I feel great. I’m really feeling happy wining the competition three times,” said the nurse’s aide from Old Street. But she didn’t stop there. On Carnival Sunday night, at the Calypso Monarch competition, she triumphed again — becoming the first woman in that competition’s 46-year history to wear the crown.