Calypso Monarch

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The Calypso Monarch (originally Calypso King) contest is one of the two major annual calypso competitions held in Trinidad as part of the annual carnival celebrations.


While Trinidad's carnival has its origins in the 16th century, a singing contest was first held in 1911, when the Jubilee Establishment offered a prize for "the most original song on a local topic".[1] Further competitions were held after World War I, and the Calypso King contest was first held in 1939.[1] The first winner was Growling Tiger with "Trade Union", followed by Roaring Lion in 1940 and Mighty Destroyer in 1941.[1][2] After a break during World War II, it resumed in 1946, with Atilla the Hun winning the first of two consecutive titles.[1] Mighty Spoiler won the first of three titles in 1948, and Lord Melody the first of three the following year. The competition's most successful calypsonian, Mighty Sparrow, won the title eight times, the first in 1956, and the last in 1992.[1]

While calypso had been traditionally a male preserve, the contest was won in 1978 by Calypso Rose, prompting the organisers to crown her 'Calypso Monarch', the gender-neutral title remaining from that day.[1][2] There was not another female winner until Singing Sandra took the crown in 1999.[3]

Rastafari calpysonian Black Stalin won the title on five occasions between 1979 and 1995.[4]

The title was won in 2013 by Eric "Pink Panther" Taylor.[5]

The contest is limited to Trinidadian nationals.[6]


Year Winner Winning song(s)
1939 Growling Tiger "Trade Union"
1940 Roaring Lion "Rise and Fall of the British Empire"
1941 Mighty Destroyer "Adolf Hitler"
1946 Atilla the Hun "Daily Mail Report"
1947 Atilla the Hun "Million Dollar Jail"
1948 Mighty Spoiler "Royal Wedding"
1949 Lord Melody "Glory Mama Glory"
1951 Lord Melody "Jonah and the Bake"
1953 Mighty Spoiler "Bed Bug"
1954 Lord Melody "Second Spring"
1955 Mighty Spoiler "Pick Sense Out of Nonsense"
1956 Mighty Sparrow "Yankees Gone"
1957 Lord Pretender "Que Sera Sera"
1958 Striker "Don't Blame the PNM", "Can't Find a Job to Suit Me"
1959 Striker "Ban the Hoola Hoop", "Comparison"
1960 Mighty Sparrow "Mae Mae", "Ten to One Is Murder"
1961 Lord Dougla "Lazy Man", "Split Me in Two"
1962 Mighty Sparrow "Model Nation", "Sparrow Come Back Home"
1963 Mighty Sparrow "Dan Is the Man in the Van"
1964 Mighty Bomber "Joan and James", "Bomber's Dream"
1965 Sniper "Portrait of Trinidad", "More Production"
1966 Mighty Terror "Pan Jamboree", "Last Year's Happiness"
1967 Mighty Cypher "Last Elections", "If the Priest Could Play"
1968 Mighty Duke "What Is Calpyso", "Social Bacchanal"
1969 Mighty Duke "One Foot Visina", "Black Is Beautiful"
1970 Mighty Duke "Brotherhood of Man", "See Through"
1971 Mighty Duke "Mathematical Formula", "Melvin & Yvonne"
1972 Mighty Sparrow "Drunk and Disorderly"
1973 Mighty Sparrow "School Days", "Same Time, Same Place"
1974 Mighty Sparrow "We Pass That Stage", "Miss Mary"
1975 Lord Kitchener "Tribute to Spree Simon", "Fever"
1976 Chalkdust "Three Blind Mice", "Ah Put on Meh Guns Again"
1977 Chalkdust "Juba Dubai", "Shango Vision"
1978 Calypso Rose "I Thank Thee", "Her Majesty"
1979 Black Stalin "Caribbean Man (Caribbean Unity)", "Play One"
1980 Lord Relator "Food Prices", "Take ah Rest Mr Prime Minister"
1981 Chalkdust "Things That Worry Me", "I Can't Make"
1983 Scrunter "The Will", "Lee Kee Ting"
1984 Penguin "We Living in Jail", "Sorf Man"
1985 Black Stalin "Ism Schism", "Wait Dorothy Wait"
1986 David Rudder "The Hammer", "Baha Girl"
1987 Black Stalin "Mr Pan Maker", "Burn Them"
1988 Cro-Cro "Three Bo-rats", "Corruption in Common Entrance"
1989 Chalkdust "Chauffeur Wanted", "Carnival Is the Answer"
1990 Cro-Cro "Political Dictionary", "Party"
1991 Black Stalin "Black Man Feeling to Party", "Look on the Bright Side"
1992 Mighty Sparrow "Both of Them", "Survival"
1993 Chalkdust "Misconception", "Kaiso in the Hospital"
1994= De Lamo "31 Years Old", "Trinity Is My Name"
1994= Luta "Good Driving", "Licensed Firearm"
1995 Black Stalin "In Time", "Tribute to Sundar Popo"
1996 Cro-Cro "All Yuh Look for Dat", "Deh Cyah Stop Social Commentary"
1997 Gypsy "Rhythm of a People", "Little Black Boy"
1998 Mystic Prowler "Vision of T&T in the Year 2010", "Look Beneath the Surface"
1999 Singing Sandra "Voices from the Ghetto", "Song for Healing"
2000 Shadow "What's Wrong with Me", "Scratch meh Back"
2001 Denyse Plummer "Heroes", "Nah Leaving"
2002 Sugar Aloes "Contribution", "Jubilation"
2003 Singing Sandra "For Whom the Bell Tolls", "Ancient Rhythm"
2004 Chalkdust "Trinidad in the Cemetery", "Fish Mongrel"
2005 Chalkdust "A When I Vexed, I doh Rhyme", "In Town Too Long"
2006 Luta "Check The Foundation", "Kaiso Kaiso"
2007 Cro-Cro "Nobody Ain't Go Know"
2008 Sugar Aloes "Reflections"
2009 Chalkdust "My Heart and I"
2010 Kurt Allen "Too Bright"
2011 Karene Asche "Careful What You Ask For", "Uncle Jack"
2012 Duane O'Connor "The Hunt Is On", "Long Live Calypso"
2013 Eric "Pink Panther" Taylor "Travel Woe", "Crying in the Chapel"
2014 Roderick "Chucky" Gordon "Wey You Think", "Wedding of de Century"


  1. ^ a b c d e f Thompson, Dave (2002) Reggae & Caribbean Music, Backbeat Books, ISBN 0-87930-655-6, pp. 4-5
  2. ^ a b Winer, Lise (2009) Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago, McGill-Queen's University Press, ISBN 978-0773534063, p. 159
  3. ^ Ferguson, Isaac (1999) "Trinidad's Women Set Tone of '99 Carnival", Billboard, 20 March 1999, p. 8, 87. Retrieved 16 September 2013
  4. ^ O'Brien, Glenn (1985) "Calypso", Spin, June 1985, pp. 42-45. Retrieved 16 September 2013
  5. ^ Bonn, Donstan (2013) "Pink Panther is 2013 Calypso Monarch", Trinidad Express, 8 February 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013
  6. ^ Mason, Peter (1998) Bacchanal!: The Carnival Culture of Trinidad, Temple University Press, ISBN 978-1566396639, p. 51