The Kaiso 365, the finals of the annual Calypso Monarch competition, was won convincingly last night by the reigning monarch, Macomere Fifi. Defending her crown at the packed Chinese Cultural Centre’s P.C. Ho Theatre, she not only won the coveted title for the sixth time, but also won in every category – Best Lyrics, Best Melody, Best Presentation, Best Vocal Rendition, Most Original, Best Composition on a Local Topic, Most Humorous, and Best Arrangement. To complete the clean sweep, Fifi also won the People’s Choice Award, where patrons got to choose their favourite performer by ballots distributed in the Kaiso 365 program booklet.
Eight finalists joined Macomere Fifi, each performing two original songs in hope of winning Canada’s top Calypso prize of $5,000. plus a trip to the U.K. to perform at the Notting Hill Carnival. Kaiso 365 official placings and song titles are:
1. Macome Fifi ‘Too Much Guns’ and ‘Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde’
2. Structure ‘ Lyrics Better Than Bullets’ and ‘Monkeyia’
3. King Cosmos ‘Ikea Monkey’ and ‘ Tell Them No’
4. Pan Man Pat ‘Mayor of Dodge’ and ‘Get Off The Fence’
5. Dennis James ‘She Mother Know Dat’ and ‘Gloria (When They Ole like Dat’
6. Connector ‘If We’ and ‘Respect’
7. Dynasty ‘Ducking’ and ‘Obeah’
8. Spivey ‘Ah Begging’ and ‘Cry for the Missing Children’
9. Redman ‘We Carnival’ and ‘Tell Dem Rasta’
Kaiso 385 host Itah Sadu did an excellent job in keeping the evening moving along and the house band, under Ossie Gurley’s direction, provided fine accompaniment for the cast of nine singers and special guests. Britain’s 2012 Calypso Monarch Sheldon Skeete was featured while judges were tallying scores and the young singer gave strong renditions of two songs that won him the U.K. top calypso prize in London in 2012.
While Fifi’s win and clean sweep of all the categories met with full audience approval, there was controversy over the judges’ choices for the other positions. The crowd’s favourite song for the evening was Macomere Fifi’s ‘Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde’, a Carlyle Bailey composition that cleverly pleaded for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to show his true identity.
The Kaiso 365 is held each year to give exposure to new Canadian calypso songs written for the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Calypsonians will gather this week on Wednesday, August 1st in the back patio of A Different Booklist, 746 Bathurst St., to celebrate with an ‘After Work Bottle & Spoon Lime’ acoustic jam session. It’s a free event and a good chance to hear calypsonians in an informal Caribbean setting.
On Monday, August 5th Macomere Fifi and a cast of top performers will be on the large open-air WestJet Stage at Harbourfront Centre at 4:00 pm for a final free concert to wrap the Island Soul festival.