11 to battle for Calypso Monarch supremacy

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Karene Asche performing her song Oasis at Calypso Fiesta at Skinner Park San Fernando on Saturday. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

THE battle for the Calypso Monarch title is on as the names of 11 finalists seeking to dethrone reigning monarch Terri Lyons, have been announced.

Lyons was in the audience at the history-making Calypso Fiesta competition on Saturday. Four women and seven men have advanced to the finals. Aaron Duncan has also been named as the reserve.

Reigning Calypso Monarch Terri Lyons enjoys some of the performances at Saturday’s Calypso Fiesta at Skinner Park San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Among Lyon’s competitors are two former Monarchs, Karene Asche and Roderick Gordon, as well as the NWAC 2023 Queen, Tameika Darius.

The return to the newly refurbished Skinner Park after two years was historic in many ways.

History was made as Calypso Fiesta 2023 set the stage for the first resident of YTC, Romel Lezama, known as Papa Mel, to debut with a powerful testimony of his journey as a young man who was “bad like crab” obsessed with “badness” but turned his life around behind the Walls of Renovation, his offering.

The nine-time YTC Calypso Monarch did not make it to the finals but secured a place in the hearts of many calypso lovers as he urged others to live well and not allow time to run out on them and do nothing.

Machel Montano pose for photos with fans at Calypso Fiesta at Skinner Park San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Duane O’Connor and Ta’zyah O’Connor were cemented in Skinner Park history as the first father and son to compete in a Calypso Fiesta competition.

Ta’zyah, one of the debutants and youths making the transition from the junior calypso platform to the senior category, has advanced to the finals.

Calypso Fiesta over the years has become associated with nation-building songs, social and political commentaries usually sung in a slow beat. Under the leadership of the Ainsley King-led Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation (TUCO) which managed the show, the park created the platform for a variety of up-tempo lyrically potent offerings.

The inclusion of soca artistes Olatunji Yearwood, an X Factor contestant and past Groovy Soca winner and Hall of Fame singer and writer Mical Williams (Mical Teja), brought a certain amount of energy to the crowd in the late stage of the competition.

Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons performed at Calypso Fiesta as a guest artiste at Skinner Park San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Ezekiel Yorke, another newcomer advanced an interesting view on being human as opposed to being a human being with a lyrically strong composition also titled Being Human, to secure one of the final spots.

So did veteran Maria Bhola who grabbed the attention of the audience and the judges with a thought-provoking take on the “outside woman.”

A lyricist, Bhola strongly executed her advice to the outside woman to bring a little donation when they “borrowing people man”, or find their own.

Another finalist, Mark Eastman who preceded his performance with the voice of the late Dr Eric Williams, speaking about Pride, the title of his song, had the national flags and aspects of the Trini culture represented by the different ethnic groups, complement his performance.

TV presenter Eunice Peters performed Shine Some Light at the Calypso Fiesta with Freedom on Saturday at the newly refurbished Skinner Park, San Fernando. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

Kerine Williams-Figaro known as Tiny in the calypso world, also had the crowd singing along with her as she paid tribute to the icons before they die.

The calypsonians will compete in the finals for an $800,000 prize, inclusive of $500,000 cash and a car valued at $300,000.

The second-place winner will receive $500,000, while the third-place winner will walk away with $350,000.


Carlos James

Duane Ta’zyah O’Conor

Ezekiel Yorke

Heaven Charles

Helon Francis

Karene Asche

Kerine Williams-Figaro

Maria Bhola-Paul

Mark Eastman

Roderick Gordon

Tameika Darius

Reserve Aaron Duncan