Calypsonian Caston Cupid used "Potions, Deceptions and Lekitoe Beads" to walk away with his fifth Tobago Heritage Calypso Monarch title last Friday at the Scarborough Esplanade, Milford Road.
Cupid's song, which discussed the spiritual and supernatural beliefs that surround the village of Les Coteaux, impressed the judges enough to dethrone former champ Gilbert “Happy” O’Connor, who had to settle for second place.
Dressed in a black and white tuxedo suit and a black hat, Cupid's vocals, presentation, originality and lyrics pierced the hearts of judges and spectators to earn him a deserved crown.
No stranger to the calypso arena in Tobago, Cupid has captured a number of other titles, including the Tobago Soca Monarch. He is a regular finalist in the Tobago Calypso Monarch.
He told Newsday this victory was the hardest to capture.
He said, “I feel really good about winning this for a fifth time. It was hardest title of the five to capture, especially since I didn’t win the title for four years. I think it was time for the crown to return home with me.”
On the composition, he added, “The song was a tribute to the village of Les Coteaux which is known for folktales and superstition; and not only that, it highlighted some of the traditional foods and stuff that folks of yesteryear would have used to ‘capture ah man.’ It was to show the things women may have done to keep her man. I just put a modern twist to it, like a man could be a womaniser and feel he’s above what Les Coteaux (people) do because he is within Les Coteaux. It showed this can happen to anyone.”
He said organising his performance to portray the elements of his song was one of his challenges. He told Newsday he was satisfied with his presentation.
Cupid, a sports journalist, said when he is not reporting he spends time building his music career.
“I think the second round really brought me out, that’s where I gained a lot of points. Just in 2020 expect more from me not only in calypso but in soca. I intend to take the Tobago Calypso Monarch and head to Skinner Park (for Calypso Fiesta).”
Cupid’s second song “Stick man” in the vintage calypso segment was both comical and entertaining.
Runner-up O'Connor said even though he didn’t win his focus was always to entertain, send a message and make the crowd happy. He said this was accomplished and he was pleased with his participation. Renee Alfred followed in third and Khalen "Ja Moi" Alexander was 4th.
The show was off to a smooth start in the contemporary calypso segment with a performance by Ayesha Nicholas singing "How quickly we forget.”
Ja Moi, a first-time contestant, shone during his performance and became a highlight of the show. His performance was confident and his lyrics were relevant to the heritage’s theme, “An Authentic Educational Experience.”
Newsday was told Alexander, who is a drummer, has played for top soca artistes such as Bunji Garlin and Sherwin Winchester but has never performed solo.
While Samuel Morris “Ringo” reminisced on the “The Old Times Days,” Shamika Denoon expressed the need to resurrect the Tobago Heritage Festival with “Help from the grave to save we heritage.” Alfred sang “Dear Sat.”
During the show, patrons complained of the lack of chairs to cater for over 300 people present and many were left standing. Nonetheless, they described the show as entertaining and packed with high quality performances. One patron told Newsday the heritage and culture of Tobago remains alive and well.