About Calypso in Dominica


Called Kaiso in Creole, Calypso is a uniquely Caribbean form of music, most commonly heard during the Carnival Season.
In Dominica, the first Calypso Monarch was The Observer who was crowned King in 1959. Calypso has evolved over the years, but there is no doubt that it is a highlight of Carnival Celebrations here in Dominica.

Competitions begin in January and culminate in the Calypso Monarch Competition, usually held on the Saturday before Carnival. The winner becomes the Carnival King and joins Miss Dominica, the Carnival Queen, in the Traditional Costume Parade on Carnival Monday.

Rules of a Calypso Competition


 

Calypso Song Scoring
Calypso songs are scored by a panel of Judges based on four key factors:

  • Lyrics – 35 Points
  • Melody – 35 Points
  • Rendition – 10 Points
  • Presentation – 20 Points

Each of these areas is explained in greater detail below.
This information comes from Patrick Pemberton’s article “Assessing Calypso” in the Commemorative Reunion Magazine of 2008.

Lyrics and Content
  • The title (story line) of the Calypso must be clear and summarized in the title.
  • The rhythm pattern for the verse and chorus must be consistent for the whole composition.
  • All the verses should maintain and develop the initial story line with the chorus, reminding people of the key elements.
  • Should the Calypsonian forget the words or ad lib lines that do not directly relate or support the story, he/she will lose points.
  • The Calypsonian tries to disguise the meaning that he wants to portray, giving the audience a hidden message as they interpret the lines. The hidden message is usually something related to local culture or events in the media.
  • A Calypsonian is expected to use their own original material; they are not to copy from artists or use lyrics from their own previous material.
Melody
  • The rhythm/melody that is suited for Calypso or Soca must be original and will score far better than a piece that sounds like a previous composition.
Rendition
  • The Calypsonian is judged on how well the words of the song are delivered and how well the audience understands the message.
  • The artist requires reasonable articulation with their song. When paired with great lyrics and melody, the calypsonian may not have the best vocal quality, but can still win the competition.
Presentation
  • The Calypsonian is judged on their stage presence: how they carry themselves and how they work with the audience.
  • Keeping in time with the rhythm, and band, as well as keeping the correct key and pitch, is essential.
  • Also taken into consideration with the judging is the repetition of the lines/verses, or simply forgetting the lyrics.
  • Props and extras for the performance are not included in the judging criteria. It has been said that “A Calypsonian, like a poet, should not need anything but his composition to win an audience over. It is all in the lyrical message and the way that the message is delivered.”

Calypso Writing Tips


This information comes from Freddy “Manhimself” Mendes’ article “Calypso Writing” in the Commemorative Reunion Magazine of 2008.

Introduction

The Introduction should give the audience an idea of what the composition is about.

The audience should know the theme of the calypso by the end of the first verse and chorus.

Body

The Body of the Calypso is there to develop the theme/story line.

The average length of a Calypso is about 3 verses long.

Final Verse

The Final Verse of the Calypso is where personal views or messages are presented.

Some Calypsonians outline the the story which has developed through the previous verses, then provide a solution in the final verse.

The 2017 Calypso Monarch is Karessah!

Here’s our list of Dominica’s Calypso Monarchs and winners over the years.

The 2017 Calypso Competition

The 2017 Calypso Monarch is Karessah!

Saturday, February 25th at Eddie Andre Carnival Cityking-karessah-2017

Karessah takes the crown for a second time with Second Round!

Karessah’s performances were filled with power Saturday Night as he performed “Hook in a Minor Key and “Second Round” to win the 2017 Monarch title.

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Tied for 2nd & 3rd Place – Dice and Daddy Chess

4th Place – Bobb

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2017 Road March Song

(Currently awaiting announcement.)

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Congratulations to all the 2017 Calypsonians and their writers, musicians and support teams!

This was a fabulous Carnival Season with so many great songs. Looking forward to Mas Domnik 2018 already!

 

The 2016 Calypso Competition

The 2016 Calypso Monarch is King Dice!

Saturday, February 6th, Pottersville Savanne

Once more, Dice has done it again!

For the eighth time, Dominica crowned Dennison “Dice” Joseph as the Calypso Monarch. He now ties the record with Trinidad’s Mighty Sparrow, who has also been crowned Calypso King eight times.

“Dominica Tradehouse.com” was Dice’s popular song this year, another collaboration with master songwriter Pat Aaron.

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2nd Place – Webb

3rd Place – Bobb

4th Place – Boople

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2016 Road March Song

King Dice – “My DominicaTradeHouse.com”

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Congratulations to all the 2016 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

 

The 2015 Calypso Competition

The 2015 Calypso Monarch is Lord Karessah!

Saturday, February 14th, Windsor Park Sports Stadium.

After one year away, Karessah came back with his usual enthusiam to capture the crown in a tight battle.

His songs were “Call Me Name” and “Flush It.”

Kudos to all the Calypsonians and in particular the top four who fought their hardest and gave us a wonderful show.

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2nd Place – King Dice

3rd Place – Daddy Chess

4th Place – Jamma B.

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2015 Road March Song:

A 3-way tie this year!

Young Bull – “Pastor Bull”

Comforter – “De Speaker”

Lugars – “de Lugurz back again”

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Congratulations to all the 2015 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2014 Calypso Competition

The 2014 Calypso Monarch is King Dice!

Saturday, February 9th, 2014,Windsor Park Sports Stadium

King Dice with his seventh Calypso Monarch crown!

His songs this year were “Complete Dominica Story” and “Beat Me Mama.”

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2nd Place – Bobb

3rd Place – Webb

4th Place – Hunter

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2014 Road March Song:

A tie for Road March this year:

Wok Sok – ‘Tomato Burst”

Omee – “Murderer”

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Congratulations to all the 2014 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2013 Calypso Competition

The 2013 Calypso Monarch is Dice!

Saturday, February 9th, Pottersville Savannah.

King Dice with his sixth Calypso Monarch crown!

His songs this year were “Complete Dominica Story” and “Beat Me Mama.”

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2nd Place – Karessah

3rd Place – Webb

4th Place – Bobb

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2013 Road March Song

Babalen by Deros!

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Congratulations to all the 2013 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2012 Calypso Competition

The 2012 Calypso Monarch is Dice!

Saturday, February 18th, Pottersville Savannah.

Making history once again, King Dice grabbed his fifth Calypso Monarch title.

His songs this year were “Stand Up For Teacher” and “Back to Country (True Confession).”

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2nd Place – Karessah

3rd Place – Webb

4th Place – Bobb

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2012 Road March Song

Sye “Burn, burn, burn”

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Congratulations to all the 2012 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2011 Calypso Competition

The 2011 Calypso Monarch is Tasha P.!

Saturday, March 4th, Pottersville Savannah.

The 2011 Calypso Monarch is Tasha P! Tasha’s second song “Woman Time” carried her through on this evening – true to her lyrics – as she became the first woman in fifty years to be crowned as Dominica’s Calypso Monarch. Tasha P. made more history this season, becoming the first Calypsonian to win three titles: Calypso Queen, Stardom King of the Tent and Calypso Monarch.

Her passionate performance of “Let the Children Be Children” brought tears to the eyes of the audience.

She defeated four-time King Dice and defending King Karessah.

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2nd Place – Dice (Send Me & The 10 Commandments of Calypso)

3rd Place – Karessah (One Set of Cutlery & Reach)

4th Place – Checker (King Maker & Broken Covenant)

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2011 Road March Song

Sour Sour “Yow Yow”

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Congratulations to all the 2011 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2010 Calypso Competition

The 2010 Calypso Monarch is Karessah!

Saturday, February 13th, Pottersville Savannah

The 2009 Monarch successfully defended his crown, making it two in a row for King Karessah. His song “Dogs on the Track” was a huge fan favourite and the Final’s performance featured a cameo appearance by Portsmouth MP Ian Douglas.

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2nd Place – De Bobb (Fugitives & Let People Talk)

3rd Place – Tasha P. (Justice & He’s a Boy)

4th Place – Soul Puss (Haiti Never Give Up & Respect of a People)
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2010 Road March Song

Sye – Murphy Jno Jules “Dr. Finger”

 

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Congratulations to all the 2010 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2009 Calypso Competition

The 2009 Calypso Monarch is Karessah!

Saturday, February 21st, Pottersville Savannah.

Karessah thrilled the crowd with his rendition of “Pastor’s Rod.” This was performed as his second song – his first song was “Calypso Too Patriotic.”

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2nd Place – Observer (Shut Up Legislation & EIO)

3rd Place – Tarina (Endangered Species & Gwayé)

4th Place – Scrunter (Confessions & Manifesto)

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2009 Road March Song

De Energiser – Llyod Wayland “Carnival is Colour!”

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Congratulations to all the 2009 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2008 Calypso Competition

The 2008 Calypso Monarch is Dice!

Denison “Dice” Jospeh does it again!
Saturday, February 2nd 2008 – National Stadium

A three-time Calypso Monarch at the start of the night, Dice performed with passion and clarity to earn himself the Calypso Crown one more time – the fourth time in five years.

His performances of “Rolle de Dice and See” and “On My Own” had the crowd rocking the new stadium — singing and dancing along with their soon-to-be-crowned King.

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2nd Place – Daddy Chess (Amazing Grace & Forward We Go)

3rd Place – Scrunter (Who Feels It Knows It & Calypso is Big Man Thing)

4th Place – Hunter (Succeed)

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2008 Road March Song

Daddy Chess “Forward We go!”

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Congratulations to all the 2008 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.

The 2007 Calypso Competition

The 2007 Calypso Monarch is Hunter!

Derrick Hunter St. Rose became the 2007 Calypso Monarch with his songs “Government Focus” and “Typical Dominica Man.”

Both songs threw the crowd into a frenzy at Idol City (Festival City’s 2007 name in tribute to an icon) at the competition held there last night (February 17th).

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2nd Place – Singing Sandy

3rd Place – Daddy Chess

4th Place – Dice

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Congratulations to all the 2007 Calypsonians
And thank you for providing Dominicans & Calypso fans everywhere with a stellar year of Calypso songs & performances.