We should always treat our hard-earned income with the respect that it deserves.
Eric Taylor (Pink Panther) claimed his first National Calypso Monarch title at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Thursday night. Singing Travel Woes and Crying In The Chapel, the 1992 Young King and nine-times semi-finalist dethroned Duane O’Connor to take the $1 million first prize in the National Calypso Monarch Competing.
In the process, Panther also relegated Kurt Allen to second place for a second successive year. O’Connor only managed a seventh placing for his contributions — Building A Wall and Seeking Sparrow's Advice — despite having the Calypso King of the World, the Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco), appearing on stage with him in the second round in perhaps the longest stretch limousine ever seen in T&T.
Panther, too, surprised members of the large audience by bringing a casket on stage, on which there was a large wreath, crying mourners and a hearse as props for the showcase of Crying In The Chapel, a mournful ditty that paid tribute to the many cultural icons the country has lost, especially around the Carnival season. Travel Woes meanwhile, was an artful composition that made liberal use of the word “ship” to tell the story.
The Last Badjohn of Calypso (Allen) copped the $500,000 second prize for his renditions of Political Sin-phony and Black Stalin Say. The former holder of Calypso Monarch (2010) and Soca Monarch (1999) titles, Allen made use of elaborate props to support his songs. In the latter, in which he became an embodiment of Black Stalin (Leroy Calliste), he also had Stalin appear alongside him in the song's final stanza.
Third place went to Heather MacIntosh. In clean, uncluttered presentations, the 2002 National Calypso Queen skilfully delivered her selections — The Old Man's Lament and Invisible — to take home $250,000. Mr Chucky (Roderick Gordon), the 50th anniversary of Independence Calypso Monarch, earned fourth spot and $150,000 with Bear With Me and The New Addiction.
Finalists placing sixth to 12th, and taking home $60,000 each, were:
Eunice Peters (None of the Above and Keshorn D Javelin Champion); Duane O'Connor (Building a Wall and Seeking Sparrow's Advice; Alana Sinnette (No Moral Authority and Pathological); Chalkdust (Prodigal Son and Virginia's Alzheimer); Kizzy Ruiz (In the Age of Blog and T&T Forever); Marvellous Marva (Marva Joseph) (Come Back to What and Woman's Contribution to Trinidad and Tobago) and Victoria Cooper (D Betrayal and Club 35).
Sheldon Reid sang the National Anthem to open the programme shortly before 8 pm, after which newly-crowned 2013 Junior Calypso Monarch Marc Pierre performed his winning selection, titled What If We Knew. During the interval of what turned out to be quite a long show, which finished just before 2 am, tribute was also paid in song to late calypsonians Power (Sonny Francois) and Penguin (Seadley Joseph) by David Bereaux.
Making guest appearances were Mighty Shadow (Winston Bailey) and Black Stalin.