Home / View Point / Chalkdust slams child marriages to win record ninth Calypso Monarch crown

Chalkdust slams child marriages to win record ninth Calypso Monarch crown

Veteran calypsonian, Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool, became the most successful contestant in the history of the Calypso Monarch last night, after he copped his ninth title with his witty, biting social commentary “Learn from Arithmetic.”

The calypso targeted child marriages and, in particular, Maha Sabha general secretary Sat Maharaj’s defence of the practice, with the refrain that: “75 can’t go into 14.” The title carried a TT$700,000 cash prize.

Photo: Dr Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool performs “Learn from Arithmetic” at the Calypso Monarch final on 26 February 2017 at the Queen's Park Savannah. Chalkdust copped the crown for his record ninth title. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool performs “Learn from Arithmetic” at the Calypso Monarch final on 26 February 2017 at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Chalkdust copped the crown for his record ninth title.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Chalkdust, who is 75 years old, now has one more calypso title than the legendary Slinger “The Mighty Sparrow” Francisco.

Sparrow won his first seven titles during a 18-year span between 1956 and 1974 before he emerged from retirement to reclaim the crown in 1992—at the age of 57—with “Both of Them” and “Survival.”

In contrast, Chalkdust won his first calypso crown at 35 with “No Smut For Me” and “Ah Put On Meh Guns Again” in 1976 and has been a regular in the “Big Yard” ever since. His nine titles span a 40 year period.

Chalkdust was followed by three ladies last night as Karene Asche, Heather MacIntosh and Terri Lyons placed second, third and fourth respectively.

Asche sang “Caught in the Whirlwind”—a commentary on the country’s unsuccessful ‘war on crime’—and took home TT$400,000 while MacIntosh’s “Games” reminded the nation of the Trinidad and Tobago Gymnastic Federation’s controversial decision to take Marisa Dick to the 2016 Rio Olympics over Thema Williams. Third place was worth TT$200,000.

Photo: Hollis "Chalkdust" Liverpool poses in 1976 when he won his first Calypso Monarch crown with “No Smut For Me” and “Ah Put On Meh Guns Again”.
Photo: Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool poses in 1976 when he won his first Calypso Monarch crown with “No Smut For Me” and “Ah Put On Meh Guns Again”.

Lyons banked TT$75,000 with “The Phrase” which discussed the damage done by the words: “black and ugly.”

All the other contenders received TT$25,000 appearance fees. Defending monarch, Devon Seales, was sixth with “I Carmona.”

The full results are:

1st. Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool: Learn from Arithmetic

2nd. Karene Asche: Caught in the Whirlwind

3rd. Heather Mac Intosh: Games

4th. Terri Lyons: The Phrase

5th. Rondell Donawa: Lip Service

6th. Devon Seales: I Carmona

7th. Roderick “Chucky” Gordon: Wha Yuh Doing

8th. Victoria “Queen Victoria” Cooper: The Call to Prayer

Photo: Karene Asche performs "Caught in a Whirlwind" at the Calypso Monarch final on 26 February 2017 at the Queen's Park Savannah. Asche placed second from the 17 contestants. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: Karene Asche performs “Caught in a Whirlwind” at the Calypso Monarch final on 26 February 2017 at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Asche placed second from the 17 contestants.
(Courtesy Wired868)

9th. Lynette “Lady Gypsy” Steele: Plight of my People

10th. Anthony “All Rounder” Hendrickson: To Be an Icon

11th. Weston “Cro Cro” Rawlins: Final Send-Off

12th. Winston “Gypsy Peters: Angry Land

13th. Kurt Allen: My Corn Tree

14th. Sasha-Ann Moses: Main Witness

15th. Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd-Reid: Guilty

16th. Miguella Simon: Still Colonial

17th. Marsha “Lady Adanna” Clifton: Social Media

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  1. “Chalkdust said Maharaj had missed the whole point of the calypso. He told the T&T Guardian “it was never meant to be an attack on any one person or anyone’s religion. I was simply singing about an issue, I will never attack anybody’s religion.”

    Liverpool said he referred to “Sat in the calypso because when Al-Rawi spoke in Parliament he (Sat) is the one who attacked him.”

    He said Maharaj and others who feel that he was out of line are “missing the message of the calypso, it was meant as a warning to young girls to be wary of older men who like to fool them. The calypso is more than Sat Maharaj, it is a warning to young people not to be fooled, people feel teenage pregnancies involve two teenagers, but in most instances young teenaged girls getting pregnant because they are fooled by older men who prey on them.”

    Liverpool said he spoke to two “13-year-old girls and I asked them about the issue and they agreed that I was right to sing about it. It is an issue. The calypso is really in defence of young women, so that school children will understand they have to be wary of older men who only want to fool them,” he said.”

  2. To win a calypso monarch one must sing the praises of PNM or anti- UNC and about east indians.

    • You sound like a fool…Clearly this was your first calypso monarch…Since the inception the monarchs of calypso have been singing about pnm or anti unc?…That comment was pure bullshit

    • Would you marry your underage child to a man twice her age,pregnant or not?, if your answer is no then stay quiet

    • You sound more like uneducated fools. Who in this day marry a child in Trinidad? All you forget about the hundreds of girls that become pregnant. So both of you would perform abortion on your child, bcz most men especially mature men runs away from taking care of a child.
      By the way Ketch Up you agreed with my first statement.
      No originality in calypsoes nowadays. Calypso Rose, Sparrow better train the current ones and JUDGES.
      Where are the calypso tents? Are they thriving nowadays? Keep bashing East Indians. I hope the Syrians and chinese fill the tents.

    • The calypso came across as if Sat Maharaj promotes child marriages. How ridiculous is that?

    • I have freedom of expression rights just like yourselves and calypsonians.

  3. Child marriages is not the problem as they are very infrequent and parental consent is required. The problem is :
    The law is clear about statutory rape but the justice system does not want to do their duties.
    Teenage pregnancy is a socio/ economic problem where we are reaping its ugliness with respect to gang crimes and murder rates. A survey needs to be done on gang members and those under 35 that are involved in crime or murder victims to find a correlation with teen pregnancy.

  4. Why they comparing he to sparrow who didn’t sing racial song to win any of his crown, chalkdust and friends no creativity

  5. Look at comments all damn racist making….. Watch all d names,…. 75-14…..one song hotting allauy head….. Alluy like Ramsingh Dharma….D village ram.

  6. Sad dat an educated teacher can portray such negative sentiments to the young listeners…only promotin race!!

  7. This is so sad, chalkdust is making it seem that its old Indian men in Trinidad that’s marrying these young girls and is insinuating that that’s what Mr. Marahaj is about. All I will say is keep on looking after the SDMS schools, they called these schools “cow sheds” now these schools are producing scholars.

  8. U could a sing bout Rowley outside children or Farris own…alyuh just cyah leave Indian outta alyuh ting eh.. Next yr I coming with a chutney fuh u cro cro and aloes and the entire PNM cabal… I hope alyuh say is culture too when the style drop

    • He did not slam hindus,he did bring to the fore that the policy makers within the faith are actually supportive of child marriage,

    • Please bring yr evidence. B4 u talk. The law can’t be so cut and dry. There are situations where young ppl make mistakes. Where the law has to make provisions. Eg. If two 16yr olds have sex and the girl gets preg. Wat do u do charge the young man for rape. Now if it’s an adult who takes advantage of a young girl. By all means nail him to the cross. But everyone feels it’s such a simple issue. Especially wen events like carnival promotes promiscuity and young ppl get influence into wrong doing. Wat if a 20 yr old female gets preg for a 16 yr old male. That child must grow knowing the mother in jail for sex with a minor. Doh get me wrong I agree that no one under 18yrs old should engage in sex. But the law had to make provisions for situations like these. Having said that. Chalkie making ppl feel is only the hindu community to blame. Many other religious ethnicities are practicing child marriages. Why focus on Hindus. I know the answer but I’ll leave it here

    • Praky, the law says you will be charged for rape only if more than two years older than the minor. So your example of two 16 year olds really shows that you should brush up what you are debating.

    • Lasana Liburd if you think I’m anti Hindu guess again,

    • The hindus may appear targeted cause the other main group the Muslims were smart not to make waves, and let hindus take all the jamming

    • Trini Max, I don’t follow. I was responding to Praky for a flawed analogy. Don’t know what gave you the impression that I was calling you anti-Hindu. I wasn’t.

    • Lasana Liburd thanks for the correction. But I think u should understand what I was trying to put across. It’s not a simple cut and dry solution to this problem.

    • Ok then 16 and 18 yr old. Then.

  9. People if you listen to that song carefully it’s a message he sending to rowley

    • Earl Best

      To Rowley? And what, pray, is the message? Rowley is several years away from 75 and the girl whom he wined on – or who wined on him may be more accurate – was rather more than 14.

      Maybe you’re suggesting that he would still have indulged himself if she were 14? And maybe Chalkdust agrees. But on what evidence, Sid? You know something we don’t know? Want to share with Wired868 readers?

  10. Better? Sparrow?
    He cud win 100
    Cant better sparrow mathematicaly or otherwise

  11. One of the few remaining real calypsonian

  12. Cro CRO and Aloes sang over the same melody until ppl get fed up…When will the judges get fed up of chalkie. Seem like the only well composed international song by Lyons went unnoticed.

  13. Did he slam child marriages or Sat Maharaj?
    With all due respect, I don’t think the composition was worthy of capturing the monarch title.
    Can anyone point me to any previous monarch who sang a poorly composed song as Chalkie’s 2017 offering?
    Btw I respectfully submit that anyone from amongst Karene Asche, Heather McIntosh, Terri Lyons or Rondel Donawa – who were runner-up to 5th respectively, would have been a far more worthy winner.
    Won’t you agree?

  14. I remember when they said Sparrow won enough n he should retire. Wonder if this same sentiment will be applied to Chalkie. Chalkie has more wins now but who has the better average?

  15. Earl Best

    I don’t know if it is accurate to say that Chalkdust’s calypso is a condemnation of child marriages. What it indisputably is is a condemnation of the Maha Sabha’s position on child marriages.

    As commentary here on Wired868 has made very clear, the issue is very complex and its treatment in the Parliament and elsewhere in the public domain has not really plumbed it s depths.

    Of course, I also have a problem with it being described as “witty” but that opens up a whole new can of worms which cannot satisfactorily be dealt with here.

    • Scotty Ranking

      There certainly is a dearth of calypso classics coming from recent finals. Although I didn’t find his song to be as witty as some claimed, Chalkdust still was head and shoulders above the rest last night. That in itself speaks more to the lacklustre field of contestants than it does to Chalkie’s songwriting prowess.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Hahaha. Touche Earl. I tend to agree with Scotty though. Not sure that I say that often. Haha. Kidding