Calypso Monarch

The Calypso Monarch (originally Calypso King) contest is one of the two major annual calypso competitions held in Trinidad as part of the annual carnival celebrations.

History [ edit ]

While Trinidad's carnival has its origins in the 18th century, a singing contest was first held in 1911, when the Jubilee Establishment offered a prize for "the most original song on a local topic".[1] Further competitions were held after World War I, and the Calypso King contest was first held in 1939.[1] The first winner was Growling Tiger with "Trade Union", followed by Roaring Lion in 1940 and Mighty Destroyer in 1941.[1][2] After a break during World War II, it resumed in 1946, with Atilla the Hun winning the first of two consecutive titles.[1] Mighty Spoiler won the first of three titles in 1948, and Lord Melody the first of three the following year. The competition's most successful calypsonians, Mighty Sparrow and Chalkdust, have won the title eight and nine times respectively, the first in 1956, and the last in 1992 for Sparrow, and Chalkdust's reigns were between 1976 and 2017.[1]

While calypso had been traditionally a male preserve, the contest was won in 1978 by Calypso Rose, prompting the organisers to crown her 'Calypso Monarch', the gender-neutral title remaining from that day.[1][2] There was not another female winner until Singing Sandra took the crown in 1999.[3]

The late Mighty Duke is the only calypsonian to have won the title on four consecutive occasions between 1968 and 1971.

Rastafari calypsonian Black Stalin won the title on five occasions between 1979 and 1995.[4]

The contest is limited to Trinidad & Tobago nationals however similar Calypso Monarch contests are now held annually in other Caribbean countries and also in North America, Canada and United Kingdom.[5]

Winners [ edit ]

Year Winner Winning song(s) Title #
1939 Growling Tiger "Trade Union" 1
1940 Roaring Lion "Rise and Fall of the British Empire" 1
1941 Mighty Destroyer "Adolf Hitler" 1
1946 Atilla the Hun "Daily Mail Report" 1st
1947 Atilla the Hun "Million Dollar Jail" 2nd
1948 Mighty Spoiler "Royal Wedding" 1st
1949 Lord Melody "Glory Mama Glory" 1st
1950 No competition held
1951 Lord Melody "Jonah and the Bake" 2nd
1953 Mighty Spoiler "Bed Bug" 2nd
1954 Lord Melody "Second Spring" 3rd
1955 Mighty Spoiler "Pick Sense Out of Nonsense" 3rd
1956 Mighty Sparrow "Yankees Gone" 1st
1957 Lord Pretender "Que Sera Sera" 1
1958 Striker "Don't Blame the PNM", "Can't Find a Job to Suit Me" 1st
1959 Striker "Ban the Hoola Hoop", "Comparison" 2nd
1960 Mighty Sparrow "Mae Mae", "Ten to One Is Murder" 2nd
1961 Mighty Dougla "Lazy Man", "Split Me in Two" 1
1962 Mighty Sparrow "Model Nation", "Sparrow Come Back Home" 3rd
1963 Mighty Sparrow "Dan Is the Man in the Van" 4th
1964 Mighty Bomber "Joan and James", "Bomber's Dream" 1
1965 Sniper "Portrait of Trinidad", "More Production" 1
1966 Mighty Terror "Pan Jamboree", "Last Year's Happiness" 1
1967 Mighty Cypher "Last Elections", "If the Priest Could Play" 1
1968 Mighty Duke "What Is Calpyso", "Social Bacchanal" 1st
1969 Mighty Duke "One Foot Visina", "Black Is Beautiful" 2nd
1970 Mighty Duke "Brotherhood of Man", "See Through" 3rd
1971 Mighty Duke "Mathematical Formula", "Melvin & Yvonne" 4th
1972 Mighty Sparrow "Drunk and Disorderly" 5th
1973 Mighty Sparrow "School Days", "Same Time, Same Place" 6th
1974 Mighty Sparrow "We Pass That Stage", "Miss Mary" 7th
1975 Lord Kitchener "Tribute to Spree Simon", "Fever" 1
1976 Chalkdust "No Smut For Me", "Ah Put On Meh Guns Again" 1st
1977 Chalkdust "My Way Of Protest", "Shango Vision" 2nd
1978 Calypso Rose "I Thank Thee", "Her Majesty" 1
1979 Black Stalin "Caribbean Man (Caribbean Unity)", "Play One" 1st
1980 Lord Relator "Food Prices", "Take ah Rest Mr Prime Minister" 1
1981 Chalkdust "Things That Worry Me", "I Can't Make" 3rd
1982 Scrunter "The Will", "Ah Lick E Thing" 1
1983 Tobago Crusoe "Don't Cry Now", "South Africa" 1
1984 Penguin "We Living in Jail", "Sorf Man" 1
1985 Black Stalin "Ism Schism", "Wait Dorothy Wait" 2nd
1986 David Rudder "The Hammer", "Bahia Girl" 1
1987 Black Stalin "Mr Pan Maker", "Burn Them" 3rd
1988 Cro-Cro "Three Bo-rats", "Corruption in Common Entrance" 1st
1989 Chalkdust "Chauffeur Wanted", "Carnival Is the Answer" 4th
1990 Cro-Cro "Political Dictionary", "Party" 2nd
1991 Black Stalin "Black Man Feeling to Party", "Look on the Bright Side" 4th
1992 Mighty Sparrow "Both of Them", "Survival" 8th
1993 Chalkdust "Misconception", "Kaiso in the Hospital" 5th
1994= De Lamo "31 Years Old", "Trinity Is My Name" 1
1994= Luta "Good Driving", "Licensed Firearm" 1st
1995 Black Stalin "In Time", "Tribute to Sundar Popo" 5th
1996 Cro-Cro "All Yuh Look for Dat", "Deh Cyah Stop Social Commentary" 3rd
1997 Gypsy "Rhythm of a People", "Little Black Boy" 1
1998 Mystic Prowler "Vision of T&T in the Year 2010", "Look Beneath the Surface" 1
1999 Singing Sandra "Voices from the Ghetto", "Song for Healing" 1st
2000 Shadow "What's Wrong with Me", "Scratch meh Back" 1
2001 Denyse Plummer "Heroes", "Nah Leaving" 1
2002 Sugar Aloes "Contribution", "Jubilation" 1st
2003 Singing Sandra "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Ancient Rhythm" 2nd
2004 Chalkdust "Trinidad in the Cemetery", "Fish Mongrel" 6th
2005 Chalkdust "A When I Vexed, I doh Rhyme", "In Town Too Long" 7th
2006 Luta "Check The Foundation", "Kaiso Kaiso" 2nd
2007 Cro-Cro "Nobody Ain't Go Know" 4th
2008 Sugar Aloes "Reflections" 2nd
2009 Chalkdust "My Heart and I" 8th
2010 Kurt Allen "Too Bright" 1
2011 Karene Asche "Careful What You Ask For", "Uncle Jack" 1
2012 Duane O'Connor "The Hunt Is On", "Long Live Calypso" 1
2013 Eric "Pink Panther" Taylor "Travel Woe", "Crying in the Chapel" 1
2014 Roderick "Chucky" Gordon "Wey You Think", "Wedding of de Century" 1st
2015 Roderick "Chucky" Gordon "The Rose", "I Believe" 2nd
2016 Devon Seale “Respect God's Voice”, "Spirit of Carnival" 1
2017 Chalkdust "75 can't go into 14" 9th
2018 Helon Francis "Change" 1
2019 Ronaldo London “Imagination” 1

Multiple Titles [ edit ]

Only a few Calypsonians have the honour of being crowned multiple-time monarchs,

Winner Years # Of Titles
Atilla the Hun 1946-1947 2
Mighty Spoiler 1948, 1953, 1955 3
Lord Melody 1949, 1950, 1954 3
Mighty Sparrow 1956, 1960, 1962-1963, 1972-1974, 1992 8
Striker 1958-1959 2
Mighty Duke 1968-1971 4
Chalkdust 1976-1977, 1981, 1989, 1993, 2004-2005, 2009, 2017 9
Black Stalin 1979, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1995 5
Cro-Cro 1988, 1990, 1996, 2007 4
Luta 1994 (Tie), 2006 2
Singing Sandra 1999, 2003 2
Sugar Aloes 2002, 2008 2
Roderick "Chucky" Gordon 2014-2015 2

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, pp. 4-5
  2. ^ a b Winer, Lise (2009) Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago, McGill-Queen's University Press, ISBN 978-0773534063, p. 159
  3. ^ Ferguson, Isaac (1999) "Trinidad's Women Set Tone of '99 Carnival", Billboard, 20 March 1999, p. 8, 87. Retrieved 16 September 2013
  4. ^ O'Brien, Glenn (1985) "Calypso", Spin, June 1985, pp. 42-45. Retrieved 16 September 2013
  5. ^ Mason, Peter (1998) Bacchanal!: The Carnival Culture of Trinidad, Temple University Press, ISBN 978-1566396639, p. 51
 6. Donovon Samkissoon (2017)
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