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King Kan Again Named Calypso Monarch

Campbell “King Kan Fu Plentae” Barnes retained his Virgin Islands Calypso Monarch title from a field of nine calypsonians at the Lionel Roberts Stadium Thursday night. The night was filled with songs that highlighted the problems of society and the Virgin Islands in particular, with the present government officials receiving most of the blame.

The calypsonians were judged on lyrics, melody, clarity, creativity, rendition, originality and presentation in two rounds of competition.

King Kan emerged as the winner with his song “Put Down the White Man’s Gun,” in which he sang about young people’s love for guns, and he blamed white people and Arabs for providing weapons. He began his performance by singing “where have all the young men gone,” and claimed that “it’s a conspiracy.” He wondered who will be the leaders of tomorrow if they all die from gun violence.

King Kan was dressed in fatigues with a toy gun slung over his shoulder. In his second song, “The 4Kings Calypsonians,” cleverly composed and more humorous, he confidently indicated that he would be winning the crown for the fourth time and urged the leaders not to mess with him. King Kan was also awarded Best Political and Social Commentary.

The 1st Runner Up was Toby “Toby Dee” Derima, who sang “Black Man,” in which he honored great African-Americans such as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Jesse Jackson and others. His message was that if you are a black man you are strong. His second song was entitled “WTF," in which he told about the use of abbreviations for everything and informed the audience, who were paying close attention to his lyrics, and to their amusement, that WTF stands for “We Totally Frustrated.”

Mighty Waggy was awarded 2nd Runner Up and Most Humorous, and he had the audience roaring with laughter throughout both of his selections. His first song “Hi Tech” told about his frustration with a woman who was obsessed with technology and making his life “a mess,” because she was using it for everything including cooking and lovemaking. In his second song, “Waste Management,” he urged everyone to “sweep up” and get rid of corrupt government officials. On stage, he had a cleaning crew, who were sweeping up all of the “waste.”

The other calypsonians who competed were Caliste “Reflector” Fahie, who won the award for Most Improved Calypsonian, with his songs “Why”, which voiced his concern for all of the suffering, and “Focus”, in which he played with the word and pointed fingers at government officials. Amere “Mr. Smooth” Dewindt made his debut with his songs “Stay off Layoff” and “V.I. Rise Up”.

Also competing was veteran calypsonian Samuel “Mighty Pat” Ferdinand, in a festive mood with his song “Sixty Years of Carnival” and got more serious in “God Bless Our Land," dressed in a long robe and clutching a bible. Another veteran competitor was Cedric “King Spade” Brookes with his selections “We Ain Gon Tek No More," in which he urged everyone to demonstrate against the politicians, and “Our Sons Dying Too Young”, singing that he could not sing anything festive because of all of the injustice that was taking place at home and around the world.

The female calypsonians were a hit with the audience too. Newcomer Tish “Nikki Smith” Leonard impressed the audience with her performances, and showed that she would be a force to be reckoned with in the future. She sang “Enough is Enough” in which she urged the women to “rise up” and get rid of useless men. In her second song “Blows," she showed her confidence and told the crowd that she was sharing “blows” that night.

Female veteran Jackie “Singing Jackie” Leader sang “The Teacher in Me," claiming that she had to forget about revelry because the future of her students was looking grim because of all of the hardships. In her second song, “Time for a Calypso Queen,” she told of the discrimination against female calypso singers.

Master of Ceremonies was George Silcott, who had the audience roaring with laughter throughout the night, and musical accompaniment was provided by Popojito and the Puppet Masters. The Virgin Islands Calypso Monarch Competition was sponsored by Da Vybe 107.9fm, MSI Building Supplies and Guardian Insurance.

The Calypso Competition was keenly contested and all of the calypsonians must be commended for their dedication to this cultural art form. True lovers of calypso were treated to a night of great performances and clever lyrics.

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