SOCA crooner Voice (Aaron St Louis) made good of his National Calypso Monarch title threat Saturday, by easily qualifying for the finals of the Dimanche Gras kaiso showpiece.
The back-to-back reigning International Soca Monarch (ISM) champion made his ambition to win the coveted calypso crown and the $700,000 first prize clear at Army Fete on Friday night, at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
He sang: ‘Tell Chalkie and Aloes I’m coming for the title/Cause fire go bun dem.’
The San Juan singer then secured his first ‘Big Yard’ finals berth when he had the entire park singing his ‘Year for Love’ verbatim at the Calypso Fiesta semi-final on Saturday at Skinner Park, San Fernando. Never before has an ISM holder won calypso’s greatest prize.
Voice, 25, looks a genuine contender for both titles in 2018.
The two calypso veterans Voice singled out in his Army Fete freestyle will not be easy to beat, however.
Nine-time winner and defending Monarch Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool) has the requisite experience and understanding of the genre to best any field. Two-time winner Aloes, meanwhile, is a wily, sugar-toned customer capable of crooning his way to the crown on any given night.
Chalkie may be slightly disadvantaged, however, as he hasn’t had a regular platform to test his new material.
The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) Calypso Studies lecturer is a member of the Kalypso Revue which was founded by the lateLord Kitchener (Aldwyn
Roberts). The Revue shut its doors last month, after operating for 55 years, due to a lack of funding.
Aloes, manager at the Kalypso Revue, however, used the Skinner Park semi-final and online music outlet YouTube to introduce the calypso faithful to his pan infused tribute to Lord Kitchener ‘Finally’. He will be one to watch on Sunday night at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Sandra leads woman charge
Two-time monarch Singing Sandra (Sandra Des Vignes-Millington) heads a list of five women among the 15 finalists to challenge Chalkdust for the crown.
Sandra had a strong showing with her female empowering ‘Power in Song’ at Skinner Park on Saturday and will be a threat at Dimanche Gras.
Her protégé and former monarch Karene Asche with the nation-building ‘Song of Inspiration’; Stacey Sobers with the celebratory ‘Calypso City’; Alana Sinette with a passionate plea to absent fathers ‘Deadbeat’ and Tigress’s (Joanne Rowley) call for a one-on-one with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in ‘Rowley to Rowley’ complete what should be a strong showing by the women at the final.
They would all be advised to keep an eye on The Last Badjohn of Calypso, Kurt Allen and young upstart Helon Francis, however.
Allen, known for his unique kaiso perspective, warns of putting square heads in round holes in his thought-provoking ‘Circle Square Science’.
Francis, who shocked the competition with a second place finish on his debut in 2016, looks good again with his call to relook the way we do things at a national level with his melodic ‘Changes’.
Chalkdust (Dr Hollis Liverpool)
1. Voice (Aaron St Louis)
2. Alana Sinnette
3. Skatie (Carlos James)
4. Stinger (Dexter Parsons)
5. Helon Francis
6. Tigress (Joanne Rowley)
7. Karene Asche
8. Kurt Allen
9. Protector (Michael Legerton)
10. Sugar Aloes (Michael Osouna)
11. The Incredible Myron B (Myron Bruce)
12. Rondell Donawa
13.Singing Sandra (Sandra Des Vignes)
14.Mistah Shak (Selvon Noel)
15. Stacey Sobers Reserve – Chuck Gordon (Roderick Gordon)