The Real Mas: Dominica's Carnival Winners

Kings, Queens & More! From 1999 to the Present

Dominica’s Carnival Royalty

Each year, as the Carnival Season approaches, competitors around the island ready themselves to show their talents and aim for the big win. The spirit of competition is alive and well in Mas Domnik, Dominica’s unique Carnival celebration.

Here we present the winners of Carnival and Calypso competitions over the years. Congratulations to all of the Winners and their support teams!

Jump to a year:

 

2017

Carnival Queen Miss Dominica Jade Romain & Calypso King Lord Karessah


king-karessah-queen-jade

Calypso Monarch 2017
King Karessah

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2017
Jade Romain

Miss Teen Dominica 2017
Cheyenne Dewhurst (Convent High School)

Carnival Princess 2017
Jewelle George (St. Martin’s Primary School)

Carnival Mother’s Queen 2017
Delah Gachette (Elmshall)

Miss Mas Jamboree 2017
Shyanne Dorsett

Junior Calypso Monarch 2017
Lemar “Irish Kid” Irish (St. John’s Academy, Portsmouth)

Calypso Queen 2017
Miss Janae Jackson (3rd time winner)

Bouyon Queen 2017
Carlyn XP (2nd time winner) 

Showdown Mas Camp’s Champ of the Camp
Sye  – Murphy Jno Jule s

Stardom Calypso’s King of the Tent
Daddy Chess – Chester Letang

And Congratulations to all the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

 

 

 

 

2016

Calypso Monarch 2016
King Dice

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2016
Miss Tasia Floissac

Miss Teen Dominica 2016
Tiffany Eloi

Carnival Princess 2016
Rayne Benjamin (Convent Prepatory School)

Carnival Mother’s Queen 2016
Erne Reynolds (Vieille Case)[/one_half]

Junior Calypso Monarch 2016 Lemar “Irish Kid” Irish (St. John’s Academy, Portsmouth)

Showdown Mas Camp’s Champ of the Camp King Dice

Stardom Calypso’s King of the Tent Shadow Flow

And Congratulations to… All the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

2015
Calypso Monarch 2015 Lord Karessah

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2015 Miss Odessa Elie from Bath Estate

Miss Teen Dominica 2015 Lecreesha Wallace (Portsmouth Secondary School)

Carnival Princess 2015 Lyteleen Julien (St. Luke’s Primary School)

Carnival Mother’s Queen 2015 Frances Lockhart (Vieille Case)

Junior Calypso Monarch 2015 Lemar “Irish Kid” Irish (St. John’s Academy in Portsmouth)

Showdown Mas Camp’s Champ of the Camp Charis D. – Her popular song this year was “Carnival Baby”

Stardom Calypso’s King of the Tent Sheldon “De Professor” Alfred

And Congratulations to… All the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

2014

Calypso Monarch 2014
King Dice – Dennison “Dice” Joseph

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2014
Miss Francine Baron from Grand Bay

Junior Calypso Monarch 2014
Lemar “Irish Kid” Irish (St. John’s Academy in Portsmouth)

Miss Teen Dominica 2014
Chari Peter (St John’s Academy, Portsmouth)

Carnival Princess 2014
Kitana Joseph (St. Martin Primary School)

Carnival Mother’s Queen 2014
Heather Vidal (Portsmouth)

Showdown Mas Camp’s Champ of the Camp
De Wave – John Bruno

Stardom Calypso’s King of the Tent
Chris B – Christopher Sylvester

And Congratulations to…
All the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

2013

Calypso Monarch 2013
King Dice – Dennison “Dice” Joseph

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2013
Ms. Leslassa Armour Shillingford

Junior Calypso Monarch 2013
Nacheal Walsh (Isaiah THomas Secondary School)
Her winning song “On the Brink” was written by Tim Durand.

Miss Teen Dominica 2013
Kaymaya Bertrand (Convent High School)

Carnival Princess 2013
Cherise Linton (Pioneer Prep)

Carnival Mothers’ Queen 2013
Kyishrma Victor (Sponsored by Jolly’s Pharmacy)

And Congratulations to…
All the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

2012

Calypso Monarch 2012

King Dice – Dennison “Dice” Joseph

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2012

Nadira Lando from the Kalinago Territory

Mr. Dominica 2012 NEW! Nigel Peters

Junior Calypso Monarch 2012

Janea Jackson (Convent High School) “Calypso Therapy” was her wining song, written by her father Ian Jackson.

Miss Teen Dominica 2012 Mernel Christmas (Isaiah Thomas Secondary School)

Carnival Princess 2012 Adicia Burton (Salybia Primary School)

And Congratulations to… All the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

2011

Calypso Monarch 2011

Tasha P

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2011

Jacintha Fagan

Junior Calypso Monarch 2011

‘De Professor’ Sheldon Alfred

Soca Monarchs 2011

Daddy Chess & Carlyn Xavier

Miss Teen Dominica 2011

Nicole Rodriguez from the Isaiah Thomas Secondary School

Carnival Princess 2011 Takenya Merrifield from Grand Bay

And Congratulation to… All the revelers and many more winners not mentioned here!

2010

Carnival King, Calypso Monarch 2010
Lord Karessah

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2010
Marcia Baptiste

Junior Calypso Monarch 2010
‘De Professor’ Sheldon Alfred

Congratulations to:

Miss Teen Dominica 2010
Colette Ambo
Carnival Princess 2010
Selena Cuffy
Road March Song 2010
Murphy “Sye” Jno Jules with “Dr. Finger”

2009

Carnival King, Calypso Monarch 2009
Lord Karessah

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2009
Kayan Toussaint

Soca Monarch 2009
‘Daddy Chess’ – Chester Letang

Junior Calypso Monarch 2008
‘De Professor’ Sheldon Alfred

Miss Teen Dominica 2009
Kelcia Righton

Carnival Princess 2009
Chrislin Tavernier

2008

Carnival King, Calypso Monarch 2008
Dennison “Dice” Joseph

Dice is King again!
For the fourth time in five years, Dice has done it again. He captured the crown at the Dominica Calypso Finals held in the National Stadium on February 3rd, 2008.

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2008
Marah Walter

Soca Monarch 2008
“Daddy Chess” – Chester Letang

Road March Song 2008
Daddy Chess “Forward We go!”

Junior Calypso Monarch 2008
Donna-Lee “Duchess” Peters

Miss Teen Dominica 2008
Kari Panthier

Carnival Princess 2008
Curdijah Baptiste

2007

Calypso King
Derrick “Hunter” St. Rose

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2007
Leandra Lander

Junior Calypso Monarch 2007
Donna-Lee “Duchess” Peters

Carnival Princess 2007
Tamika Hurtault

Soca Monarch
Derrick “Hunter” St. Rose

2006

Calypso King:
Dennison “Dice” Joseph

Carnival Queen, Miss Dominica 2006
Nakita Bruno

Miss Teen Dominica 2006
Samira Joseph

Junior Calypso Monarch 2006
Donna-Lee “Duchess” Peters

Carnival Princess 2006
Nicaise Robinson

Mothers Queen 2006
Shana Felicite

2004

Calypso King 2004

Congratulations to Dice!

Dennison “Dice” Joseph won the Calypso Monarch title and became the Road March King with his great songs “Animal Farm” and “Minding My Own Business.”

Carnival Queen 2004

Congratulations to Miss Elhannah Alexis, a mathematics teacher at the Goodwill Secondary school.

2003

Calypso King 2003
Congratulations to The Observer!
For the second year running.

Carnival Queen 2003
Congratulations Minerve Lewis!
From the village of Good Hope.

Princess Show
Congratulations Carnival Princess Miss Gabriella Shillingford

Teenage Pageant
Congratulations Miss Teen Dominica Nissa Williams

Carnival Monday
1st Place: Carnival Corner (139 points)
2nd Place: Thunderbirds (135 points)
3rd Place: GoGirls (127 points)

Schools Section
1st Place: Convent Preparatory (131 points)
2nd Place: St. Mary Primary (118 points)
Carnival Tuesday
1st Place: Thunderbirds (128 points)
2nd Place: Carnival Corner (86 points)
King of the Band: Carnival Corner
Queen of the Band: Carnival Corner
Individual of the Year: Andy Carter
Best J’ouvert Band: Roseau Cultural Group
Congrats, to all the winners and participants of this years Carnival :)

2002 - A visitor's Review

Carnival in Dominica — “Jammin’ for True in 2002!”

A Visitor’s View of Carnival in the Commonwealth of Dominica
by Corinne Mah

[dropcaps]M[/dropcaps]y first view of Dominica is breathtaking. The rugged mountains covered with lush, impossibly green rainforests drop sharply into the brilliant blue of the Caribbean Sea. Then, my breath is taken away by the small plane’s dip-rise-bank-then-dive landing into Melville Hall airport. The passengers applaud as we breathe a collective sigh of relief.

“The Nature Island,” as the Commonwealth of Dominica is called, is a wondrous place. Not as touristy and developed as other Caribbean islands, it is a diamond-in-the-rough. The natural beauty of the island — waterfalls, rivers, jungles, hiking and diving — must be experienced, but I’ve arrived to experience Dominica’s annual Carnival festivities.

Dominica is a relatively small island (29 by 16 miles, pop. 70,000), so its Carnival celebrations cannot rival those in Trinidad or Rio de Janiero, but what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for with enthusiastic, island-wide participation. The official language is English, and Kweyol, a French-based patois, is also spoken. The Dominican people are friendly and helpful … and they love to party. Their Carnival has two unique offerings: sensay masqueraders and bouyon music (more on these later).

The September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S. have resulted in a devastating drop-off in the island’s tourist industry, and the overall mood seems subdued. But as Carnival approaches, homecoming Dominicans arrive from England and other Caribbean islands, and Roseau (the capital city) starts buzzing with activity. Whether you stay at the upscale Fort Young Hotel or a budget guesthouse, getting around is easy. The minibuses are cheap and convenient, or you can hire a driver for tours and taxi service. My favorite drivers are Ninja and Kello — ask for them near the Old Marketplace — who take good care of me by providing pick-ups, drop-offs, sightseeing, hints, tip, good times and friendship.
The Events Leading Up to Carnival

The songs of Carnival are released before Christmas and the music blasts from storefronts, minibuses and bars, becoming a key part of the Carnival experience. From the political commentary of Calypso and kaiso to soca music’s invitation to jump up and party — the songs carry a message and the locals debate the merits of songs and artists with as much fervor as for political or sporting events. By the time Lent rolls around, you’ll know all the songs by heart, and hearing them in the future brings back your Carnival experience. Right away, I have three favorite tunes: the old-style “Calypso For Me” (by Scratchie), the political cry of “Give Me Back My Vote” (by The Observer), and the scandalously humorous dance anthem “Osama Say” (by the Mighty Pawol).

Masqueraders dressed as ‘Taliban’.

At a free street concert in downtown Roseau the singers showcase their talents and receive plenty of feedback from the audience packed into the narrow streets. The Swinging Stars band provides great musical backing for all the artists until a torrential downpour halts the show. Performing for nearly two decades, the Swinging Stars is Dominica’s most versatile band. The group seems to be everywhere this Carnival: backing the Calypso shows, providing music for the Carnival Queens Show, and playing at venues large and small. Their appeal is universal and they play well in any style (soca, calypso, pop), with a full sound, tight arrangements and strong vocals.

A visit with Marcia Dublin at the Movement for Cultural Awareness (MCA) educates me about Dominica’s cultural groups such as the Waitikubuli Dancers, traditional Caribbean drummers including “La Cel Difference” or “Ti Bois,” and steel pan bands like “Fanta Pan.” There are big events throughout the Roseau area, and Ms. Dublin informs me that the smaller communities also celebrate Carnival with their own sensay parades, contests, Lapo Kabwit (goat skin drum) bands, and jump-ups behind music trucks. Plus, the Arawak Theatre successfully premieres “Ma Pampo,” a play about Dominica’s most famous citizen, 127-year-old Ma Pampo. There is so much talent on this small island! I listen to the radio for the latest Carnival news, and stop by Frontline Bookstore in Roseau to buy tickets to the shows and hear about the hottest events.

In the two weeks leading up to Carnival, the energy builds and there are non-stop shows, contests and parties. Carnival means competitions and there are plenty: the Soca and Calypso Monarch showdowns, as well as the Junior Monarch, Mother’s Queen Show, Miss Teen, and National Queen contests. I have to pace myself so I can enjoy as many events as possible.

At the Stardom King of the Tent concert, all the contestants perform, striving for the Calypso and Soca Monarch title. They put on an enjoyable show for a large, appreciative audience. In the end, The Observer is crowned Calypso Monarch – his call to the politicians to “give me back my vote” has struck a chord with the people.

At home I would not dream of going to a beauty pageant, but I like to try new experiences when I travel, so I find myself at the National Queen Show standing with new friends in Pottersville Football Field (a strange place to hold a pageant, but the only place large enough to accommodate the crowd). As the rain comes and goes, a sea of umbrellas opens and closes sporadically. The elegant, formal affair progresses through the talent, traditional dress, bathing suit and evening gown competitions with much commentary and critiques from the audience. At the end of the night, Miss Samantha Doctrove is crowned Carnival Queen 2002. On another night, I attend a charming Carnival Princess Show in the village of Pointe Michel, where little girls compete in their own pageant to the rousing support of the villagers.

Jouvay Morning
It’s here at last! My favorite part of Carnival is Jouvay Morning (The Opening), on the Sunday night before Carnival Monday. In the wee hours starting from about midnight onward, revelers take to the streets to commence the two-day national holiday they’ve been waiting for all year. The rhythmic beat of Lapo Kabwit bands (a mix of African-style drums with English bass and snare drums, blaring horns and other noisemakers) accompanies the groups of celebrants through the dark streets in Roseau as well as in the villages. There are people everywhere, some dressed “come-as-you-are” and others in a variety of costumes — the Mighty Pawol’s group dresses in “tropical Osama gear,” people wear bathrobes, baby outfits and I even see some incredible cross-dressers. Anything goes and there are no restrictions! Jouvay is the “people’s celebration” that’s more spontaneous and natural than the more formal parades. We dance through the streets well into the morning, when I stagger home to catch some rest before Monday’s events.
The Parades

Costume Band
There are different flavors to the Carnival masquerade. One part is the Ole Mas Parade featuring traditional Carnival themes such as the Fancy Sailor group, flat-bed trucks carrying steel pan bands, cultural dance/drum groups like the captivating “Tanbou Bo Kannal” from Martinique, and glittery costumed groups including the Thunderbirds, Carnival Troopers and Carnival Corner. The parade also includes community groups, celebrities and the Carnival winners. Later in the day, the sound system trucks come out to provide the danceable beats of soca and bouyon music, at ear-shattering levels. I dance through Roseau amid the surging crowds until the 11 p.m. curfew stifles the celebration.
I finally get to see the incredible sensay on Carnival Tuesday. The village of St. Joseph has a sensay festival that, sadly, I missed. But there are plenty of sensay mas players in Roseau, and they are a magical sight.
Sensay BandTheir impressive costumes are huge, shaggy, head-to-toe outfits made of strands of rope, shredded colorful fabric, straw, or black satin covered with mirrors, worn with ugly face masks, massive horned headpieces, and big boots that have bottle caps or noisemakers on them. As they swirl and bob down the road, looming toward little children, they are amazing to watch, especially considering how hot they must get in those heavy costumes under the tropical sun. The sensay are part of the Carnival Corner masqueraders. This group has the most fantastic costumes and their music is in the wonderful, swinging Calypso style.

Carnival Tuesday then brings out the “t-shirt bands.” After the fancy costumes in Monday’s parade, it’s a more casual day of street dancing. Because I’m staying in Pointe Michel, I had enrolled to jump up with the local band, First Serenade, and for a small fee, I received a T-shirt to wear, a rag to wave, and drink tickets. It’s time for everyone to jump up with the sound of Dominica’s bouyon music. The most popular bouyon bands are WCK, First Serenade Band, and Raw Riddim, and their sound trucks arrive in Roseau mid-afternoon, loaded down with speakers and musicians. Based on ragga-soca music, bouyon adds a twist: its beat is furiously fast, and there’s a banjo-like melody running through the songs. It’s loud and energetic and the crowds love it, dancing, jumping and flinging themselves around to “wine up” behind the bands’ trucks as they snake through the streets. It’s a non-stop party through the streets, and we move from band to band to sample different kinds of music, right up until the 11 p.m. end to the street bacchanal.

Tewe Vaval

Most Caribbean Carnival celebrations end at midnight on Tuesday, and Ash Wednesday is the time to atone for your sins. But in Dominica, there is the Tewe Vaval ceremony on Wednesday. In the Carib Territories and the village of Dublanc, people gather to “bury the spirit of Vaval.” At mid-day, a mock funeral procession begins to make its way through town, with “mourners” carrying an effigy and coffin as the centerpiece for people to pay tribute to Vaval with chanting, drumming and dancing. The procession gathers more people and intensity as the day progresses. As darkness falls, a huge bonfire is lit and young men jump over and through the fire. The ceremony climaxes with the burning of the effigy, which signifies the close of this year’s Carnival celebration.

Exhausted but exhilarated, I decide to stay on to experience the quieter side of Dominica, and plan on returning to enjoy another Carnival celebration on the beautiful Nature Island.
(Corinne Mah is a freelance writer and publishing specialist who has a passionate interest in Caribbean music and dance. You can e-mail her at cm@corinnemah.com.)

1999

Calypso King 1999

Branker John, De Brakes, recaptures Calypso King title

With a screeching sole-burning performance, De Brakes was literally slammed into the Big Four at the Calypso Finals Saturday evening. De Brakes (Branker John) with his hit songs “Keep the Candles Burning” and “Jam De Brakes on Dem” put a sudden stop to De Hunter’s search for his second Calypso King Crown.
This was no accident, Brakes earned his second crown in two years.

Brakes also caused De Hurricane to blow himself out and left Scrunter scraping at the number three position while De Ghost was actually made visible at number five.

Thousands of calypso lovers jammed the Carnival City grounds to witness one of the best calypso shows ever, and the last for the century. When the winner was announced just past 3:00 am on Sunday morning, there was hardly a voice of dissent. After the six-hour show any of the BIG FOUR could have been named King. “You see what candle can do, boy,” a weary calypso lover said after the show, “ Doh trust candle”. He was referring to De Brakes’ opening song, performed admirably while dozens of candles flickered their messages of hope in the crowd and on stage. Brakes delivered his lines strongly, confidently:

“You never know what prayer can do
Keep the candles burning
For the children who go astray
Pray for the nation
If you believe in miracles
Light a candle.”

Indeed many of calypsonians felt that societal ills of drug abuse, violence, unemployment could be solved if the nation became more spiritual and caring. Ghost with “Let us Pray” who, according to him, was “not a preacher but a humble Rastafarian” dedicated his song to the resuscitation of the nation. Black Starliner (Ian Jackson) asked for a war to be waged against violence and crime. His props included graves and crosses and he began his rendition by naming the many gruesome crimes of 1998.

De Hunter, who in 1998 won the crown from De Brakes, put on the performance of his life. Like the other calypsonians, De Hunter lent his powerful voice to the quest for ‘A Gentler and Kinder Nation’. Hunter’s “Anything for a Dollar” may have earned him the crown if one were to measure the prancing, jumping and waving of the crowd when Hunter gyrated and whined while he sang:

“Things tight, tight, tight.
They don’t care if they kill or rape
Anything for a dollar”

One of the Big Four, De Scrunter, on another day during another competition could have won the crown.

His political tune “We Ain’t Voting Dem Again” maligned the United Workers Party Government for their “empty promises” and because “Dominicans feeling de strain, we ain’t voting dem again”. Scrunter said the party gave him a job on “ de port to keep my mouth shut. But anytime Edison doing something wrong he should expect me to correct him in my song.”

De Hurricane urged Dominicans to respect themselves and promised to give back as much as he gets. He sang:

“The harder dey came the harder dey fall
This my duty
So it is”.

De Brakes won the Best Diction Award while “Anything for a Dollar” was named the most appealing calypso.


Carnival Queen 1999

Miss Vanessa Isles

In a burning costume of flames leaping out of a red crater, 18 year old Trafalgar beauty, Miss Vanessa Isles, literally burned her way ahead of her competitors to win the 1999 Miss Dominica crown. She pranced with gay abandon in a Danley Guye costume to a Swinging Stars rendition of “Defay Mama Defay,” and this single event way have won her the crown. It was thus not surprising that Miss Isle, Miss Dominica Water and Sewerage Company won the Best Costume Award. Her First Runner Up, Miss Natasha Bellot of Grandbay, was also given the award for Best Evening Wear.

However, it was the talent of Syle Durand of Petite Soufriere which rocked the large crowd at the Festival City last Friday evening. Dressed in white cricket gear, Miss Durand gave a hilarious recap of the West Indies Cricket Team recent demoralising performance in South Africa.

“Imagine me, a woman, having to come to save West Indies,” she mocked. “Lara wearing the wrong pads. He should be wearing Confidence and his shot would sound like Tampax. West Indies should change their name to Lost-Indies,” she said as the crowd rocked with laughter. She ended with the story of a father who asked a little boy who he’d prefer to live with after his parents separation. He answered: “I’d like to live with the West Indies because they can’t beat nobody”. It was a stunning performance.

Another notable talent display was given by Miss Velda Wade of Newtown (Miss Caribbean Packaging Company). Her excellent showcase of the sinister King Bwa Bwa and the Darkies of long-ago-carnival sent a frightened chill down one’s spine. Dressed in night black she danced around on stilts which seemed to touch the dark sky. Arguably her talent and those of the other six contestants was the best part of the Carnival Queen Competition in 1999.

Miss Dominica’s performance in the question and answer section of the competition may also have given her the edge in what many believe was one of the more closely contested Queen Shows in recent times.

In the set question section, Miss Isles answered fluently to the question: If you could grant a wish to your country for the 21st Century, what would that wish be? And why? Like most of the other competitors, Miss Isle said she wished for a country free of violence and drugs where people respected each other. Miss Ariel Williams of San Sauveur said she wished “all politicians in Dominica would become one, so that the country can move forward.”

During the first round of the question and answer section, Miss Williams faltered several times due to nervousness. She could not find the words to answer the question: Why should greater emphasis be placed on computer education in schools.

The competitors were also judged on their performance in Swimsuit and Evening Wear. Miss Natasha Bellot (Miss Cable & Wireless) received the award of Miss Amity; Miss Catherine Irish of Marigot, was judged by the photographers as Miss Photogenic.

Meanwhile, Miss Dominica 1998, Kamala Jno Baptiste, ended her reign as Dominica’s Carnival Queen and almost simultaneously began her reign as Miss OECS. She made good her earlier promise to win the title for Dominica by defeating the seven other young ladies during the OECS Queen competition which took place at Festival City on Thursday evening.


Carnival Princess 1999

Malia Charles of the St. Martin’s Primary School is this year’s Carnival Princess.

Malia took over the reign of Miss Ashley Grove, also of the St. Martin’s Primary, at the Princess Show Sunday at Festival City. She won a trip to St. Lucia, plus accommodation.

Miss Adella Proctor of the Massacre Primary School is first runner-up and won the prize of best dress. Second runner-up is Vernelle Mark who won the prize for best costume.

Former Princess Ashley Grove crowned the 1999 Carnival Princess; Malia Charles.


More Carnival 1999 News

Mas Domnik ’99: Road Parade Results

Carnival Monday

Costume bands:

1st – Carnival Corner, 232 points, $4000.00;

2nd – Thunderbirds, 177.5 points, $2000.00;

3rd – Pioneer Prep, 173 points, $1000.00.
Tuesday Parade

Costume bands:

1st – Thunderbirds, 153 points, $1000.00;

2nd – Carnival Corner, 141 points, $500.00.

Best individual – Andy Carter, 169 points, $200.00.

Best Advertising bands – Old Street Posse, $500.00.

Special Prizes

Fanta Pan, $500.00;

Newtown Lapo Kabwit – Jouvert Morning $300.00.

Best Float – DEXIA $500.00


President of the Dominica Calypso Association sings: Let Us Pray

Kelly Williams (De Ghost) has been the President of the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) for six years and the job has become boring. He intends to quit this year.

“I think this will be my last year. I actually told them (the calypsonians) this will be my last year,” De Ghost said. However, he said he will not be invisible since he has a wide experience to share.

But he is happy he is leaving the DCA in a firm financial position although last year was “a poor season” because of rain. That’s why Ghost is praying for good weather when the finals of the competition is held on February 13, 1999. It will be the last Calypso Show of the century.

“We hoping that this year being 1999 the last year of the century people will come out and really enjoy calypso,” he said.

Ghost said he is not only praying for fine weather and a large crowd, he wants Dominicans to join him in prayer.

“Let Us Pray” is De Ghost’s hit song for the 1999 competition.

“Dominicans should think more of the Creator. All we think about is money,” Ghost said. He believes signs of the plagues of the Book of Revelation are staring us in the face.

His song mentions the alarming increase in suicides, murders, AIDS and abuse of crack cocaine. But that’s not all.

“If you listen to the chorus I praying for the politician too,” he said.

But do not make the mistake to think that De Ghost has suddenly become religious. He has always been spiritual but will never be religious which he describes as attending denominational services religiously.

“From the beginning of the day to the end of the day I giving thanks and praise,” Ghost said.

He is also praying that the judges do not “forget their objectivity” and “listen to my song” as, he said, they did at last year’s finals, by placing him near the bottom of the table.

Nevertheless, in his second song of the competition, De Ghost will be taking yet another jibe at the long-suffering judges.

“My second song will be about the judges trying to determine my future and not my lyrics, my melody, my ability and not the judges and their political nonsense,” he said. One thing is certain in the business of Calypso, De Ghost makes himself clear.


Calypso Finalists on the mark

The other three calypsonians to come up against King Hunter are Singing Sandy, De Scrunter and De Ghost.
De Brakes
“Every time Brakes is on the stage, something different happens,” say Branker ‘De Brakes’ John. De Brakes began his calypso career in 1995 where he at once made it to the finals. He won the crown two years later.

He always loved calypso and enjoys listening to Hurricane and Sparrow, and was taught music at school by ‘De Rabbit’.

As a Field Officer in the Local Government Department, he gets inspiration for his educational songs by interacting with people and “listening to their cries,” he says.

De Brakes promises his fans an extremely good show at the finals. Black Starliner
Ian Jackson, ‘Black Starliner’ has, for the past three years, been performing in calypso competitions. But, he has been in the music industry much longer. He has written quite a number of conscience calypsos for performers such as Observer, Black Panther and Lady Edna. He is also the leader of Phase 5 Steel Pan and enjoys listening to music of David Rudder and Chalk Dust.

The Black Starliner says that he has a natural talent for calypso and on the night of the finals, “I’m going to give it my best,” he says.

Lady Edna
Edna Laronde, ‘Lady Edna’ began her calypso career at 13 at the Laplaine Primary School. She went on to participate in the village calypso show where she placed first runner-up in 1979 and won the crown one year later.

Lady Edna considers herself versatile and says she decided to sing calypso. “God has given me a gift, my voice, so I decided to sing calypso. When I did so well, I decided to continue,” she said.

De Hurricane
Cliff ‘De Hurricane’ Jean-Jacques began his calypso career in 1986 reaching the semi-finals only once, in 1988. He was inspired to get into calypso by listening to performers such as Roots Man, Ency and Sparrow.

He enjoys singing social commentaries. He gets the ideas for his songs by listening to people and reading the papers.

Superior Castle
Hilaire ‘Superior Castle’ Jno.Baptiste has been taking part in calypso competitions for eight years. He won three consecutive competitions in Portsmouth from 1992. He describes the calypsos he sings as special songs dealing with social issues.

He gets his ideas for his songs from looking at problems in society. “I feel I can contribute towards solving those problems I see in the country by saying something in song,” he said. Superior Castle’s songs are not up- beat. “They are kind of slow because I like people to listen to the lyrics of my songs.”

Man Himself
As a teacher at the St. Martin’s Secondary School, Albert ‘Man Himself’ Mendes has been in calypso business since 1983. His calypsos are mainly social and political commentaries, and he enjoys listening to Sparrow and Chalk Dust. He gets his ideas for his songs by listening to people and reading newspapers.

He has always been a fan of calypso music, following exposure from his father selling records.


Gaiety glitter and glamour at opening parade

Mas Domnik ’99 opening parade from the Goodwill Savannah to Festival City Saturday has been described as one of the biggest if not the biggest ever witnessed in the capital city.
Through careful, elaborate planning, the Carnival Development Committee was able to attract participation from groups and individuals from various parts of the island.

The event, a spectacle of color, gaiety, glitter and glamour, featured masked and costumed groups, darkies and other ole mas groups, lapeau kabwit bands including Mas La from Guadeloupe, and artistically decorated floats.

In the parade, enlivened by music from WCK and First Serenade, were Carnival and other show contestants in ravishing attire.

The committee responsible for the parade’s organization was headed by Clement ‘Baba’ Richards, who, with CDC Chairman Jeffrey Brisbane at the helm, was very much there at the parade.

At Festival City where the parade ended, there was much fun, music, and dancing. This followed the handing over by the City Councilor Philomena Pond (standing in for Mayor Bernadine Dinnard-Williams) of the key to the City to CDC Chairman Jeffrey Brisbane.

And there were addresses from the Queen Show Committee Chairman Steve Hyacinth, Chief Cultural Officer Raymond Lawrence, and DFC Executive Director Edmund Toulon.