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Duane coming strong to defend calypso monarch

Published: 
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Reigning calypso monarch Duane O’Connor

Reigning calypso monarch Duane O’Connor, 33, is optimistic about retaining his crown with two bombshells—Building A Wall and Seeking Sparrow’s (Slinger Francisco) Advice.

 

 

Last Carnival, he clinched the coveted title with two selections—The Hunt Is On and Long Live Calypso at the final of the Calypso Monarch Competition staged as an element of the Dimanche Gras show at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain. 

 

He had also clinched the Young King Calypso Monarch title. Asked how he felt about his chances, O’Connor, a leading member at the QPS-based Kaiso House cast, said, “Definitely. I would be defending strong. What I am doing in the final differs from the tent. I will be dropping two bombshells for the year.  

 

“The songs I have chosen have the quality to be winners. But before I entered Carnival season, I knew the topics were winning ideas. I am 100 per cent sure I would retain the title.” 

 

Although he refused to divulge too much information, O’Connor said his songs are “not in a political vein. I think the country needs to focus on issues other than politics. It’s about everyday challenges that people face in life.” 

 

He kept mum on Seeking Sparrow’s Advice. “The most I would say is it is about issues in calypso.”

 

The songs were composed by Larry Harewood and arranged by Pelham Goddard and Kenny Phillips.

 

But he paid kudos to veteran/ calypsonian extraordinaire Sparrow for his sterling contribution to the art form. Sparrow has returned from his New York base and is headlining the cast at Kaiso House.  

 

“Working alongside him in our tent is truly a pleasure. He is singing two of his greatest calypsoes—Good Citizen and Congo Man. It is sounding as good as gold. Sparrow could enter the monarch with these two songs again. His voice is as solid as a rock. He is not able to move around but he still commands the stage like a lion.” 

 

On a lighter note, he said, “I don’t think he knows me. But he does. He always pokes a little fun at me. I think from Thursday, it would be constant love.” Before he hits the Big Yard, O’Connor will be performing as a guest artiste at Kaisorama Finals. 
 

‘Wonderful reign’
Asked about his C2k13 reign, O’Connor boasted it was “wonderful.” Patting himself on the back, he said, “I had beautiful trips. I enjoyed every moment of it. I think I carried the crown with honour and pride and respect. It would be an honour to carry it again.”

 

In the aftermath of his victory, O’Connor said he had plans to build a home for his mother Shirley O’Connor. “I would say 5 per cent that I am there. As you know $1 million is not enough to pay for a house. I have most of the money in investment.”  

 

In May, he hosted a thanksgiving celebration at City Hall, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain. About 250 people were invited. He gave God thanks for his fans, supporters, well-wishers and his fiancée Vanessa Wickham and Duane Jr, ten. 

 

“I had to say thanks for all the love and support I got from my fans. I still have plans to get married. I want my son to develop a love for the art form. I will put him in junior competitions eventually. I want him to complete SEA first. I want him to concentrate on his studies,” said O’ Connor. 

 

Asked about the future of the art form, O’Connor felt it was in capable hands with young men like Aaron Duncan, Helon Francis, Devon Seale and Roderick Gordon (Chucky).

 

“There is a lot of talent that is up and coming. All of us may not be able to write. But we can definitely perform and command a stage and an audience,” he said. 

 

Doling out advice to young people excited about calypso, he said, “Perseverance overcomes all obstacles.”

 

He listed his mentors as the late Mighty Duke, Mighty Sparrow and Lord Nelson.

 

 

Sparrow happy to work with O’Connor
Asked about collaborating with O’Connor, Sparrow, 77, said, “He is one of the young hot ones. He is cool. I’d be happy to work along with him.” Then he turned his attention to the late Sedley Joseph (Penguin), renowned for Ah Deputy Essential. 

 

“Ah Deputy Essential was one of his big songs. When I heard he passed I felt sort of sad. I know he was dealing with situations like me. I am dealing with diabetes. It knows no control. It does whatever it feels.”

 

Meanwhile, his son Sergio Francisco has been getting encores nightly at Klassic Ruso tent, at Knox Street, City Hall, Port-of-Spain. He placed third in the finals of the Young Kings.  
“He is going very good. I wish him all the best. I am expecting him to triumph someday,” he said. Vebration at City Hall, Knox Street, Port-of-Spain. About 250 people were invited. He gave God thanks for his fans, supporters, well-wishers and his fiancée Vanessa Wickham and Duane Jr, ten. 

 

 

“I had to say thanks for all the love and support I got from my fans. I still have plans to get married. I want my son to develop a love for the art form. I will put him in junior competitions eventually. I want him to complete SEA first. I want him to concentrate on his studies,” said O’Connor. 

 

Asked about the future of the art form, O’Connor felt it was in capable hands with young men like Aaron Duncan, Helon Francis, Devon Seale and Roderick Gordon (Chucky).

 

“There is a lot of talent that is up-and-coming. All of us may not be able to write. But we can definitely perform and command a stage and an audience,” he said. 

 

Doling out advice to young people excited about calypso, he said, “Perseverance overcomes all obstacles.”

 

He listed his mentors as the late Mighty Duke, Mighty Sparrow and Lord Nelson.

 

 

Sparrow happy to work with O’Connor

Asked about collaborating with O’Connor, Sparrow, 77, said, “He is one of the young hot ones. He is cool. I’d be happy to work along with him.” Then he turned his attention to the late Sedley Joseph (Penguin), renowned for Ah Deputy Essential. 

 

“Ah Deputy Essential was one of his big songs. When I heard he passed I felt sort of sad. I know he was dealing with situations like me. I am dealing with diabetes. It knows no control. It does whatever it feels.”

 

Meanwhile, his son Sergio Francisco has been getting encores nightly at Klassic Ruso tent, at Knox Street, City Hall, Port-of-Spain. He placed third in the finals of the Young Kings.  
“He is going very good. I wish him all the best. I am expecting him to triumph someday,” he said.

 

About DUANE O’Connor 

He is no stranger to the calypso art form. His list of credits are many, and includes:

• winner of Stars of Tomorrow in 1994 and 1999
• seven-time Stars of Tomorrow awardee
• two-time Stars of Gold awardee
• eight-time Young Kings finalist
• five-time National Calypso Monarch semifinalist 
• five-time Unattached Calypso Monarch finalist
• winner of the Emancipation Calypso Monarch title in 2003.

In addition to holding the Young King Calypso Monarch title, he is also the reigning Tuco North Zone Calypso Monarch and winner of the 2012 Social Commentary category.

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