Feb 21, 2011 News
For the second time in three years, Region Ten’s ‘De Professor’ taught his opponents a lesson in calypso, to be crowned the 2011 local Calypso Monarch.
‘De Professor’, whose real name is Lester Charles, with his rendition “Dem got it so”, cleaned up the field of 13 calypsonians, who were vying for the coveted crown at the Banks DIH sponsored Calypso Final, which was held last Saturday night at Thirst Park in a steady drizzle, sometimes interrupted by sharp showers.
The catchy song, which blamed the government for the present ills in society, was well delivered by ‘De Professor’, and at the end of his performance, Master of Ceremonies Basil Bradshaw was forced to wait a few minutes before restarting the action as the crowd kept calling for an encore.
They had to wait until the winner was announced to get another lesson from ‘De Professor’.
But while his calypso was obviously a crowd pleaser, the judges had an unenviable task of separating the top four contestants, all of whom raised the bar of local calypso, which many would agree, is now right up there with other exponents of the art form around the world.
And with the Mingles Sound Machine providing top notch accompaniment, the future of calypso in Guyana is certainly assured.
And it was no wonder that most of the calypsos were not being aired on local radio, since all of them in true calypso style, ‘hammered’ the government for the state of affairs in Guyana.
Junior Calypso Monarch, Diana Chapman, with “Bring back Brer Anancy”, another crowd pleaser, copped the second prize.
It was the first time that the Junior Monarch performed alongside the seniors in competition and Chapman proved that the gap is certainly not as wide as many would want to think.
The ‘Mighty Believer’ from Region Six came third with his crafty “Never mind”, which also forced attendees out of their seats.
Rounding out the top four was the veteran Lord Canary with “Sex demons”, which dealt with the treatment of sexual offenders.
The remainder of the field, on another day might have challenged for a top spot but such was the level of competition that no one murmured any displeasure at the final outcome.
As usual, the programme did not start on time but at the end, about 01:30 hours, despite the drizzle and intermittent showers, no one complained.
Prior to the calypso competition proper, the audience, which included Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr Frank Anthony, was treated to performances from some of the top junior calypsonians, and this whetted their appetite for what was to come.
And as always MC Basil Bradshaw did not disappoint, maintaining a lively atmosphere throughout with the usual humor from his seemingly unending repertoire.
Sure enough the first contestant of the final, Diana Chapman set the tone for what turned out to be a highly competitive showdown of the 13 finalists.
‘Mighty Voter’ was next, imploring the judges to “Crown me for king”, which was delivered with the skill of an experienced calypsonian.
‘Mighty Duke’ with “Insanity” and ‘Sniper’ with “Corruption” both kept the theme of the night.
“Mighty Believer”, gave the judges some food for thought when he entered the fray, as the crowd ensured that he was one of the early frontrunners.
Following ‘Believer’ was a hard act as Queen Makeba found out with her “Give me the crown”, as did former Monarch ‘Young Bill Rogers’, singing “What you sow you reap”.
His act ended the first half of the competition and maybe it was a good thing that the organisers decided to invite Trinidad kaiso artiste, Baron, who performed during the break, keeping the audience in a state of rapture as they waited for the rest of the local calypsonians.
By now a steady downpour began but it was not enough to move the audience, many of whom were carrying umbrellas while other used the tables on hand to shelter.
On the resumption, ‘Princess Patricia’ with “Bam!Bam!” got things off with a not so hot rendition, which was followed by newcomer ‘Young Fire’s’ “Crime rate getting high”- his voice drowned out by the music.
However, he could be forgiven and should use the experience to better his performance the next time around.
There was a sense at this stage that the anxious audience was of the view that there was something spectacular to come.
They were not too disappointed when Guyana’s present longest performing calypsonian, ‘Lord Canary’ performed his “Sex demons”, dubbing them “bad, bad”.
‘De Professor’ was next and for the next five minutes the entire Thirst Park venue was rocking.
Not only was his rendition well delivered, it was in the controversial mould of the man who separated his two victories in the past three years’ competitions, the ‘Mighty Rebel’.
‘De Professor’ lashed the state-owned radio and television station for not playing his song among other digs at the administration during his rendition.
Another former champion, “Oie”, Winfield James tried his best and although his love affair with the local calypso audience continued, his performance of “Train de youths” was not enough to place him among the top four.
The final contestant was three-time former monarch ‘Sweet Kendingo’, whose calypso “Koonce” touched sarcastically on the fecal attack on popular columnist Freddie Kissoon.
At this point, the audience was certain that they knew who the winner was as they waited through special performances from the local Groovy Soca Champion, Jomo ‘Rubber Waist’ Primo and Michelle ‘Big Red’ King among others.
The surprise package of the night was the presentation of a plaque to local calypso legend Geoffrey Phillips popularly known as the ‘Mighty Rebel’ by Minister Dr. Frank Anthony.
‘Rebel announced his retirement from competition this year but judging from an encore performance on Saturday night, there is still a lot of kaiso left in him.
He did not forget to tell the audience that he was happy to pass on the baton of controversy to the new monarch, who many believe will be another ‘Rebel’.
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