A departure from the staid concert halls of the recent past? Or a return to a community hall with the kaiso vibe? Take your pick to describe the Calypso Monarch competition that will be staged on Sunday at the Latvian Centre – a building where many a monarch has been crowned in grand ole West Indian style.
Financial issues and dwindling support from both the calypso fraternity and the calypso community may have injected some common sense into this year’s planning by returning the show to an environment where the audience can share an intimacy with the performers, buy a drink,” eat ah food,” mingle, and back their singer without missing a beat. It will be a “kaiso lime,” as it always should have been.
With the tents not doing as well as they used to, except the Professionals tent, the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes (OCPA) dispensed with the old format of prejudging calypsonians at the tent to decide which eight singers would qualify for the finals, each to sing two songs. Instead, they picked all 15 singers who performed at the tents to sing one song each, and the devil take the hindmost. Many singers will get their chance to compete in the finals; and they are not likely “to go gentle into that good night.”
The singer who holds his/her nerve while delivering a decent tune will likely prevail, because this time around there will be no second chance. Furthermore, this may a good year to prevail after the FMC (responsible for running the Caribbean Carnival) finally promised to pay OCPA last year’s grant plus the current year’s subvention.
This year many of the usual suspects will aim to take the crown from reigning monarch Macomere Fifi; and any one tune delivered well could spell trouble for Fifi. There are bound to be a few good ones to get the judges thinking. Town say to look out for Web, Connector, Dennis James and De Carra.
The finalists and order of appearances: 1.Web (Hamilton Alexander), 2.Dynasty (Alfred Caton), 3.Dennis James, 4. King Cosmos (Henry Gomez), 5. Loveman Ken (Ken Merchant), 6.Scotty (Hamilton Scott), 7.Lady Scorpio (Norma Coar), 8. Mr.Wonderful (Steve Clarke), 9. Macomere Fifi (Tara Woods), 10. Brown Sugar (Colleen Trotman), 11. Antz (Wendell Ramdeen), 12. Connector (Joel Davis), 13. Kenny C (Kennedy Caliste), 14. Special T (Troy Sheppard, 15. De Carra (Leslie Carrabon)
Place: Latvian Canadian Cultural Centre, 4 Credit Union Drive (off Eglinton, west of Victoria Park in East York). Doors open at 4.00 p.m. Show starts at 5.00 p.m
Tickets: $35, $40 at the door. Call Frances at 416-284-4021, Glenda at 416-445-3919 or Tara at 647-347-5936.