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.
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.
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
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