Three former monarchs, a young king and a handful of would-be queens are among the 11 who will vie for the right to claim the title of Calypso Monarch on Dimanche Gras night next Sunday.
Former winners Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool), Cro Cro (Weston Rawlins), and Kurt Allen will have to contend with former young king Brian London, among others, as well as reigning Monarch Eric “Pink Panther” Taylor.
Forty contestants sang from their souls on Saturday during the Calypso Monarch semi-finals (Calypso Fiesta) at Skinner Park, San Fernando, hoping to qualify for a chance to shine on the big stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain on Carnival Sunday.
Chalkdust has held the title a record eight times—in 1976, 1977, 1981, 1989, 1993, 2004, 2005, and 2009--tying with self-styled “Calypso King of the World”, Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco).
Cro Cro has won four times—in 1988, 1990, 1996, and 2007—while Allen held the crown in 2010.
The first competition was held in 1939, called the Calypso King Competition, and the name had to be changed to the more gender neutral Calypso Monarch when Calypso Rose won in 1978.
The finalists for the 2014 Calypso Monarch competition are:
Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool
Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins
Victoria “Queen Victoria” Cooper
Sheldon “Mistah Shak” Noel
Roger “Bodyguard” Mohammed
Roderick “Chucky” Gordon
Carlos “Skatie” James
Morel “Luta” Peters (reserve).