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Karene takes $2m Calypso Monarch title

Published: 
Monday, March 7, 2011
Carnival 2011
Karene Asche performs at Dimanche Gras at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Sunday night. Photo: Edison Boodoosingh

Karene Asche, 27, is the 2011 National Calypso Monarch and winner of the art form’s record-breaking $2 million first prize. The two-time Junior Calypso Monarch gave highly polished performances of her two selections, Careful What Yuh Ask For and Uncle Jack at the Dimanche Gras show at the Queen's Park Savannah, on Sunday night to get the judges’ approval. In the process, she dethroned defending monarch Kurt Allen, relegating him to sixth position, and pushed former monarchs Sugar Aloes (Michael Osouna) and Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) into second and third positions, respectively.

Aloes’ two selections, De Cause and Not One Word, earned him $500,000, while Chalkdust took home $250,000 for singing Wounded Pride and a new composition titled Power Of The Pen. Allen’s choices were titled Do So and Tribute To Attila The Hun. Fourth position and a $150,000 prize went to Devon Seale doing Ah Need Meh Carnival and Retrorama, while Stinger (Dexter Parsons) placed fifth with Mystic Revelations and Two Million Reasons, to walk away with $100,000. Appearing in position one on the programme, former monarch Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins) did not impress the panel of adjudicators with his offerings of  Compare And Contrast and Kam Lie  and had to settle for 11th position.

Newcomer Tameika Darius, singing Tomorrow and Ungrateful placed eighth, ahead of her more experienced competitors, Kizzy Ruiz (The Anti Corruption Cure and De Engine Stall) and Tigress (Joanne Rowley)  (Mature Woman and Woman To Woman) who were ninth and tenth, respectively. Brian London’s seventh placing was disappointing, as the contents of his creatively original We Fed Up and skillfully composed Fly High were apparently overlooked by the adjudicators.  It was no surprise that Benjai (Rodney Le Blanc) ended up in the cellar position given the limited lyrical content of his songs, but he won tremendous support and generated joyous reaction for renditions of his hugely popular selections Wine To The Side and Trini.

Contestants made use of elaborate and at times too-long presentations as props for their contributions, with motor vehicles seemingly the item of choice. Even Stinger, who came on stage riding a bicycle, left in a stretch limo. Calypsonians placing sixth to 12th won $60,000 each. Justice Malcolm Holdip chaired the adjudication panel comprising Junior Howell, Bernadette Roberts, Ewart Serrant, Jeanette Johnson, Lambert Phillip (Music); Melvin Charles, Canute Spencer, Sheila Warner, Dianne Marshall-Holdip, Carl Jordan (Lyrics); Claudia Lewis, Sigler Jack, Khisha Mark, Phyllis Cumberbatch, Arlene Mc Donald (Presentation).