Veteran calypsonian the Mighty Chalkdust (Hollis Liverpool) created history when he beat 17 finalists to win the 2017 Calypso Monarch title for the ninth time at the Dimanche Gras show on Carnival Sunday night- breaking Sparrow’s (Slinger Francisco) record of eight National Calypso Monarch titles.
Sparrow achieved his eight victory in 1992, with “Both of Dem” and “Survival.”
Chalkdust equaled the record in 2009 with “My Heart and I,” after which some calypso fans asked him to retire from competition out of respect for Sparrow.
This year marked, Chalkdust 50th year in the calypso arena, having started singing as a professional in 1967.
He won his first National Monarch title in 1976 with “No Smut For Me” and “Ah Put on Meh Guns Again.” He retained the title the following year.
Chalkdust was awarded T&T’s Humming Bird Medal (Silver) at the Independence Awards in 1976 for his contribution to calypso.
He is recognized as a historian and researcher.
Commenting on his victory Chalkdust said the victory was doubly significant as it coincided with his 50th year in the artform.
This year the finalists in the Calypso Monarch competition were only allowed to sing one song, unlike in the past when they had to sing two songs
Chalkdust dethroned Devon Seales, the 2016 Calypso Monarch, who placed sixth. Second place went to Karen Asche, who performed “Caught in a Whirlwind” and in third position was Heather McIntosh who sang “Games.”
Chalkdust took the title with “Learn From Arithmetic” — a well-crafted composition of the Child Marriage Act that the government passed in Parliament recently.
The hook line of the song is “75 can’t go into 14.”
This year the competitors were only allowed to sing one composition unlike in the past they were required to perform two songs.
Winston “Gypsy” Peters took the Extempo title from eight other competitors at the National Association for the Performance Arts (NAPA) last Thursday night.
The former culture minister under Kamla Persad-Bissessar administration has now won the title on 10 occasions.
In the other major competitions reigning International Soca Monarch, Aaron “Voice” St. Louis regained his title on Fantastic Friday at the Hasley Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
“Voice” was followed by Orlando Octave in second place; Devon Matthews in third spot and Iwer George fourth.
In the Panorama competition on Saturday night Massy All Stars took the National Steelband finals at the Queen’s Park Savannah playing “We Jammin Still” in a fiery performance.
Placing second was Desperadoes and third BP Renegades. It was the band’s 10th title.