Kurt Allen is Trinidad calypso monarch

(Trinidad Express) – Calypsonian/soca artiste, Kurt Allen, dethroned defending monarch Chalkdust on Sunday to become the 2010 National Calypso Monarch.

Allen who in 1999 won the Soca Monarch title with “Dus Dem”, sang “Too Bright”, a scathing political commentary pointing out the shortfalls of the PNM administration as well as that of the Opposition.

He’s the second artiste to have won both the Soca Monarch and National Calypso Monarch titles. He also won the Calypso Young King title in 1993.

Allen coloured his presentation with a set representing Woodford Square and actors portraying various political figures and well known ’University of Woodford Square’ characters.

Dressed as a vagrant, Allen sang that the nation’s leaders were so bright they performed ridiculous feats in Parliament that boggled the minds of grassroots people.

Allen won the hearts of the audience which cheered as he exited the stage following his performance and he seemed to earn the vote of the judges who agreed that he deserved the $500,000 first prize. Allen told the Express he will use a part of the prize to give back to young entertainers on the island.

Chalkdust placed seventh, having performed a new song entitled “When Mas Was Mas” composed specifically for his defence of the title. Coming on stage dressed as a Midnight Robber, Chalkie adopted the character of a robber named Patos that boasted he was the owner of all he surveyed and anyone coming against him will be felled by just the words from his tongue.

Midway in the performance, the eight-time monarch changed costume, becoming a wild Indian that proclaimed he was the most terrible in the land and that if he and a lion were in battle people should be concerned for the lion. Alas, however, Chalkdust sang, although Bas could conquer a lion, he was incapable of fending off a lioness.

Brian London placed second with his performance of “A Calypsonian” in which London stated his opinion on what gives someone the right to consider him/herself a true calypsonian. People were confused when after the MC announced that London was next to perform, Brother Valentino took the stage as the orchestra played the music for “No Replacement”, which Valentino sang the first verse of.

The music suddenly stopped and London came on stage, hugged Valentino and proceeded to perform his own song. At the end of his presentation several veteran calypsonians met London on stage, hugged him, then escorted him off the stage to a lusty round of applause from the audience.

With a spirited performance of “In A Palace State Of Mind”, The Original DeFosto Himself claimed third place. For once DeFosto came on stage with very little props and relied on his charisma and vocal ability to impress the judges and patrons alike. He too received loud applause as he made his exit following his performance.

Entitled “El Cerro del Aripo”, meaning the hill of the Aripo after one of Trinidad’s highest mountain peaks, Dimanche Gras kicked off at 5.45 pm. with a special performance by Divine Echoes Orchestra, the brainchild of Prime Minister Patrick Manning, which presented a repertoire of vintage calypso.

They were followed by a series of opening performances incorporating dance, song and mas before the finalists of the King and Queen of Carnival competitions took the stage.

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