Chucky (Roderick Gordon) is the new King of Calypso.
The 26-year-old Laventille-born singer made a Usain-Bolt-like sprint to the finish line to beat an older more experienced field and take home the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) National Calypso Monarch title at the Dimanche Gras show on Sunday night at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain.
“It’s a bitter sweet feeling, working so hard for something and the man who really set the foundation not here to see it. This is for him,” an emotional Gordon said, following his victory, dedicated to his deceased father former calypso judge Roland Gordon.
There was no catching Chucky on the night. He won over the packed Savannah Grand Stand with the controversial “Wey Yuh Think”, a tongue-in-cheek ditty about all the reasons Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar deserves a drink. He later pulled well clear, of what was to that point a close competition, with one of the best stage presentations seen in a recent National Calypso final.
2013 Road March King SuperBlue (Austin Lyons), Chutney queen Drupatee Ramgoonai, ace steelband arranger Ray Holman, the Malick Folk Performers, The Shiv Shakti Dance Troupe, Malick Tassa drummers, North West drummers and members of the Skiffle Bunch Steel Orchestra combined brilliantly to breathe credible life into his rendition of “Marriage of the Century”.
The Norman Fullerton directed piece positioned cultural unity as the ideal nucleus to achieving real national unity. It featured Christian, Hindu and Muslim wedding elements during a colourful display that earned rousing applause that lasted a full minute after he exited the stage. The song incidentally was arranged by Holman for steelband Skiffle of San Fernando who placed seventh Saturday at the finals of the Panorama competition.
“We spent the whole day yesterday (Saturday) putting it together making sure everything was on point. We had people by lights, people by sound and by the video cue to ensure it was a tight presentation,” he said.
“I think the message was well received. The marriage between chutney and soca as primary forces, secondary forces of tassa and pan all aspects of our culture that immerse into each other at different points.”
Eleven calypsonians armed with this season’s best rated material challenged defending Monarch Pink Panther (Eric Taylor) for the most respected Calypso title in the world and $1 million in cash.
Kurt Allen led home the chasing pack with “Sweet Sizzling Summer” and “The Lost Psalm of King David”. The former contrasted the tourist paradise impression of T&T with the everyday realities and challenges nationals face. Calypso legend David Michael Rudder joined Allen on stage during his rendition of the latter to help reinforce the call for good cultural leadership.
With the exception of Allen the “second song” by the rest of competitors was nowhere near the quality of the song that got them to the final. Contestants were required to only sing one song in the semi-final round two weekends ago at Skinner Park, San Fernando.
Few suffered more from the effects of a mediocre second song than early favourite for the crown Mistah Shak (Selvon Noel) and veteran bard Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins).
Mistah Shak’s immensely popular “Bois” was the clear winner of the first round of competition but he failed to duplicate those heights with his second offering “Crime Round de Clock”. Cro Cro’s bashing of Sugar Aloes (Michael Osouna) titled “Poor, Pious & Proud” was also very well received by the packed audience. His second song, however, was so forgettable that even the experienced performer seemed to forget his lyrics as he made a real mess of “Goodness Delayed” leaving the stage after only three verses.
Defending Monarch Pink Panther, meanwhile seemed put off by the response, or lack there-of, from the crowd who seemed disenchanted with his offerings of “De Richest Man” and “Not Tonight”. He finished a disappointing 11th.
Bodyguard (Roger Mohammed), meanwhile, went for the jugular throwing pitch oil on his already burning feud with Sugar Aloes over his controversial “False Papers” calypso with a freshly penned rendition entitled “De Aloes Vendor”.
Bodyguard dressed like the Kalypso Revue Tent manager, jheri curls and excessive gold chains and all, and pushed a cart of Aloes plants on stage with a sign that read: ‘Aloes for Sale’. The response from the crowd was deafening. Their cheers subsided rapidly, however, with the realisation that his lyrics lacked the anticipated punch and barely applauded by the time he meandered his cart off stage.
Calypso King of the world The Might Sparrow (Slinger Franscisco) demonstrated that his voice is still in pristine condition with a rousing performance of his Jean and Dinah medley. Sparrow’s performance was the highlight of a special guest show that featured: former child star Natasha Wilson, The Malick Folk Performing Company and Junior Calypso Monarch Ronaldo London, among others.
How they finished:
1. Chucky (Roderick Gordon) – “Wey Yuh Think” & “Wedding of the Century”
2. Kurt Allen – “Sweet Sizzling Summer” & “The Lost Psalm of King David”
3. Mistah Shak (Sheldon Noel) – “Bois” & “Crime Round de Clock”
4. Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool) – “Ah Miss De Bards” & “De Guest List”
5. Brian London – “The Heart of A Warrior” & “Call Dem Out”
6. Queen Victoria (Victoria Cooper) – “A Political Affair” & “Congo Warrior”
7. Alana Sinnette – “Sea Lots” & “And Calling It Rain”
8. Cro Cro (Weston Rawlings) – “Poor, Pious & Proud” & “Goodness Delayed”
9. Skatie (Carlos James) – “Calypso Woman” & “Jack & Jill”
10. Myron Bruce – “One More Sip” & “First Black Prime Minister”
11. Pink Panther (Eric Taylor) – “De Richest Man” & “Not Tonight”
12. Bodyguard (Roger Mohammed) – “De Aloes Vendor” & “False Papers”