Best Calypsos and Calypsonians…Ever: Feedback
Hi fans of this column! As it pertains to last week's issue it would seem that calypso fans and knowledgeable pundits who are old enough to know agreed that Dice is the number one calypsonian of all time. Nonetheless, they presented Lord Breaker of Gaylords fame as the one to occupy the number two slot. It was argued that although he only won two back-to-back crowns he could have won more had he remained a competitor because since the Idol ceased competing there was none in his class. Not only this, but it was also said that Lord Breaker is the only calypsonian, to date, to rival King Dice in vocal quality and stage performance. He is also deemed the most popular, second only to Dice himself. Therefore, instead of the Solo or NC occupying 2nd and 3rd positions or vice versa, then Lord Breaker should be number two of all times, as a performer of the Calypso art.
In making comparisons, one has to remember the focus in those days was compositions of four to six line verses compared to the 8-10 lines of today and the fact that lyrics then was more based on "beff and tory" as opposed to today's socio-political commentary.
An argument for Lord Tokeyo's 'Tennis Shoe Tongue' to be included as one of the top 12 was also raised, when you consider the impact and longevity of this song; but again at the expense of which song listed in the previous article?
However, it is interesting to note that this composition was one of the first Calypsos ever recorded on wax (lp- record) in Dominica, hence not only a trail blazer but together with Chubby's "Ma Doe suck it to me" and Bingo's "Pointe Michel Girls" have the prestige of the longest serving road marches only to be surpassed by Solo's "Mas in de Cemetery", which ironically never got road march but still plays up to today, three decades and a half later!
Then again one can argue that road marches were more obvious and were engineered by the pan players, costumed revelers and gangs. Today Hi-fi and electronic bands rule the day and most need to utilize their time on the road to market their own music. The power and the following is much greater now than back then although our population has gone down by some ten thousand from the 70-75 thousand that was once on island.
So we can conclude from my own assessment and feedback received, that Dice and Breaker in that order, are Dominica's two greatest calypsonians ever. If we use this bench mark of rendition/voice quality and performance then Super L (though he never won a crown), Trini (the original Observer who won a few unofficial crowns), Hurricane and Hunter, would be up there also in the ranking.
I have also been told by many persons that De Idol (my dad) would be in any top five; this I cannot argue since I was only a toddler and the respect I have for the analyst who have made such an assessment.
Nonetheless, we can safely conclude, then that Dice and Breaker are the best Dominica has produced, though it is difficult to really compare eras in the art form and it may all depend on the criteria used. If it's about records and dominance, for instance NC and Solo would be above Breaker but not based on rendition or as a performer.
In conclusion, just as King Dice and Rabbit have been dominant winners of road march titles, five and four respectively, it must be said that Superior Picky has won the most Independence Crowns (4). One which was, by default, Dominica' shortest reigning Monarch ever, De Haxey( less than 48 hours) was dethroned by the Norman Cyrille DCA administration, for failing to sing or making himself absent in the position of #1, which he dipped.