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Veteran Calypso Monarch

By SEETA PERSAD Monday, February 28 2011

Calypsonian Anthony Emrold Phillip, better known in the Calypso arena as “Brother Valentino,” will seek to defend his crown tonight at the Veteran’s Calypso Monarch competition.

The event, hosted by the National Action Cultural Committee (NACC), will be held at the SWWTU Hall, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.

Valentino will be competing against eleven other bards for the title this year. They include Sonny Francois (Power), Alan Fortune (Bro Mudada), Donric Williamson (Funny), Leydon Joseph (Oraniser), Sylvester Lockhart (Poser), Mark John (Contender), Samuel Abraham (Brigo), Francine Edwards (Singing Francine), Winston Henry (Explainer), and Rawle Titus (Axeback).

Bro Valentino took the title last year with his tunes, “No Replacements” and “Barking Dogs.” He has made a name for himself in the calypso arena in TT and is known for expressing his political and social awareness through songs such as “Life is a Stage,” “Stay up Zimbabwe” and “Dis Place Nice.”

The Mighty Power took the monarch title in 2007 with “My Intention” and “Line Up” which was a reflection on how people have to line up for everything, including justice. In 2008, he placed second with “Democracy” and “Yuh Wasting Time.”

Bro Mudada is another former Veterans Monarch, winning the title in 2009 singing a tribute to the first black President of the United States of America, Barack Obama. Attached to the Kaiso House tent, Brother Mudada beat Contender who championed the cause of the extempo singer in “You Can’t Buy One,” and “Young and Restless” that year.

Barbados-born Francine is a living legend and is known for serious social commentary, such the hard-hitting “Child Molesters.”

One of TT’s most humourous calypsonians, Funny (Donric Williamson) continues, after three decades, to be popular in the tents, where his outfits are often as entertaining as his songs. Funny’s patriotic ‘Sweet Sweet Trinidad’ in 1966 remains a nostalgic favourite even today.

Brigo (Samuel Abraham) began singing calypso in the 1960s and is famous for performing a number of ingenious compositions and for his ability to contort his face to emphasise the story in his songs. His many years of contribution to the art form and exceptional work with young, aspiring artistes, have made him one of Trinidad and Tobago’s true veterans. Some of his memorable calypsos include: “Doh Beat Mama Popo”, “Limbo Break”, “Do So Ent Like So”, “Obey”, “Walking in the Dark”, “After Carnival”, and “Voodoo Man”.

Tobago-born calypsonian Axe Back (Rawle Titus) who is a teacher by profession, will be doing his own composition at this contest.

Organiser known for his songs, ‘Trinbago Yankee’ and ‘Granny Ah Cyar Breathe’ is one of the strong contenders in this Carnival 2K11 event. He been singing Calypso for about 30 years, making his debut back in 1967 when he was an “Aunty Kay” student.

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