Calypsonians vying to wear the calypso monarch crown will have to compete with two songs again this year.
This was confirmed to Newsday by Trinbago Unified Calypsonians’ Organisation (TUCO) assistant general secretary Shirlane Hendrickson.
In a phone interview, Hendrickson said the change had been agreed to by the group's general membership last year. For the last three years or so, she said, members had been asking for the Calypso Monarch final to revert to this format. The membership said having two songs would bring back “some quality to the competition.”
If selected to participate in the semi-final, competitors will be required to sing one of the registered two calypsoes at Guaracara Park, San Fernando.
“But on the final night, the same two registered calypsoes must be sung, once (the singer is) registered as a finalist,” Hendrickson said.
Finalists will not be able to write new calypsoes for the finals.
“You must have two calypsoes to enter the competition, and whatever you register is what you will be going with. No new thing, no old ones converted, nothing like that.”
Hendrickson said this does not mean if something happens a calypsonian would not be able to comment on it. He or she would be allowed to change two or three lines in a registered calypso to speak to a given incident, but cannot write an entirely new song on the topic.
She said the rule that one must sing a registered calypso has existed for quite a while.
“You sing whatever is in the preliminary round straight up to the final stage, if you make it through.”
Hendrickson said the rule will be enforced this year by the adjudication management committee, and TUCO had already met with tent managers on it.
An adjudication workshop was held on Sunday at the VIP Lounge, Queen’s Park Savannah, to which calypsonians were invited.
She said 11 finalists will meet reigning monarch Ronaldo London in the final which, Hendrickson said, will most likely be held separately again this year.
It was once a part of Dimanche Gras night on Carnival Sunday.
"Last year the National Carnival Commission (NCC) had agreed they did not want any competitive aspect in the Dimanche Gras. So TUCO would have taken the stance (that) we need to facilitate our competition. So we chose the Thursday before Carnival.
“I think that was done in 2014 again and prior to that."She said she had not heard anything to the contrary.
"So we still await. So far it is Carnival Thursday night.”