~ Winner gets a cruise and regular $10,000 ~
PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will skip hosting a Senior Calypso Elimination for Carnival 50 and go straight to the Senior Calypso Finals finals with 12 singers who will challenge reigning Calypso King Ruminni “The Protégé” Rogers for his title. The Calypso Competition is once again branded as the Nagico Senior Calypso Finals.
The SCDF invited all Calypsonians to a recently held meeting to go over all details of the 2019 Calypso Competition and to gauge the participation level. The meeting was held on Thursday, January 10. Following the meeting, which was also attended by the reigning Calypso King, it was determined that an elimination round was not necessary. The SCDF will allow the 12 singers to move directly to the finals where they will still perform two songs each, giving Calypso a full night of social commentary.
“There are some very interesting newcomers to the Calypso arena who will be performing in the finals,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said. These newcomers include the current Soca Groovy Monarch Kenyo Baly, Ambassa Da Lion, Clara “Lady Rey” Reyes and Elton “Mighty LT” Richardson. Also competing will be the King’s brother King Rumer and his uncle known as The Pensioner. Zhaira “Z” Richardson, The Mighty Magic, Man George, Lady Upsetter, Mighty Pepper and Chip Man will round out the challengers to The Protégé.
“We have a full night of social commentary slated for April 22 in Carnival Village. We are eager to hear what the newcomers will bring to the stage and I’m sure the King himself is curious about all these new challengers to his crown,” Lourens said. “It’s also good to see younger singers step up to try the art form of Calypso especially for the 50 th anniversary of Carnival. We also have an initiative to announce soon that regards the revival of Junior Calypso Competition,” Lourens added.
For Carnival’s 50 th anniversary the SCDF will also be added some other prizes to the regular cash prizes the eventual winner, second and third runner up wins. The foundation announced that the King or Queen will receive a cruise along with the US $10,000 cash prize. The second and third runner ups win US $5,000 and US $3,500 respectively. Their other prizes will be announced at a later date.
Commenting on the choice of other Calypsonians not to participate this year, Lourens said it is “very, very unfortunate” especially for the Golden Anniversary of Carnival when veteran singers are depicted on the official Carnival schedule, in the soon-to-be-released children’s coloring book and so on.
He explained that the Easter holidays in 2019, like many other Carnival years, have forced the SCDF to work with a much shorter schedule. “It’s strictly about the calendar. Almost all stakeholders had to make sacrifices for 2019 because of how Easter fell. We experience this every few years, it’s nothing new to Carnival stakeholders,” Lourens said.
He added that it is not factual that the Calypso show is always held before Jouvert. In fact, he explained, whenever the show is scheduled the night before Jouvert, it records the smallest crowd out of any Carnival show.
“Last year, we tried it again and it was the least attended Calypso show in five years. “There isn’t a single show in Carnival that has a set date to where it will be held. In the past six years, the Calypso show has been staged before Jouvert just twice. The only events on the Carnival schedule that has set dates are Jouvert and the two Grand Parades. Everything else changes every year. That change is even more extreme when Easter falls late. So as a foundation, we really think it’s unfortunate,” Lourens said.
Lourens also made it clear that to date, the foundation has never received an official correspondence or such from any of the Calypsonians that have chosen not to participate. “Everything we know and have heard is through the media. That too is unfortunate,” he said.
Caption: Reigning Calypso King Ruminni “The Protégé” Rogers (center arms folded) will have to fend off challenges from newcomers such as Clara “Lady Rey” Reyes, his own brother King Rumer (second for left), the reigning Soca Groovy Monarch Kenyo Baly (third from right), Elton “Mighty LT” Richardson (second from right) and still worry about veteran singers such as Zhaira “Z” Richardson (far right) and more. The last two are father and daughter.