"If I get back on the stage, I will have them trembling"
Norman "NC" Cyrille, Former Calypso Monarch
For thirteen years Norman "NC" Cyrille commanded the Calypso stage in Dominica; he won the Calypso crown four times: in 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1988. He was also the Road March King in 1982 ("Bombers from South"); 1984 ("Humble Servant") and 1987 ("Watch Your Bottom"), a song about the AIDS epidemic.
In the era of the Independence Calypso competition, NC won three times in succession: in 1980, 1981 and 1982.
NC then migrated to the United States of America in 1995/96 where he plied he trade as a contractor. But never lost touch with the Calypso in Dominica by continuing to write top Calypsos.
"NC", as he is popularly known returned to Dominica in late 2019 and although he is suffering from a medical condition, he is still sharp and witty and remembers his days on stage.
When the SUN asked for an interview he unhesitatingly welcomed the idea.
"Sure, you know I am not afraid to speak and I am ready to speak with you," he said.
"It feels great to be back in Dominica…and if there is another word greater than great I will use it. When you are out of Dominica for all those years and then you hop on a plane and come back home. On arrival you see this green light diamond in the sea. It is beautiful and you get all this nostalgic feelings and memories. It's like a girlfriend you cannot leave," he said.
Life in the US was pretty good.
"My wife is in the States, I am just a troublesome guy who likes to dwivè; here I am back in Dominica," he said. "To be honest with you there is no place like Dominica. I am not saying home; I am making it specific, there is no place like Dominica," NC said.
NC said he attended the Quarter and Semifinals of the 2020 Calypso season.
"People think that I am too old to sing Calypso but look at Mighty Sparrow he still sings. Others sing until they drop...I am 66 years old and I have no problems in giving a few numbers back on stage. When you are doing something and it is good you don't walk away from it. In fact very few people do that and most times they have regrets. I can write calypsos, so why can't I sing?
He continued, "If I get back on the stage, I will have them "trembling", refereeing to "I have them trembling", his 1989 Calypso.
Most of the young calypsonians do not know NC but he says he has the God-given gift of being able to put memorable words together.
"Everything that I have accomplished I give God thanks," he said, with the usual grin on his face.
"The calypsonians during my era and now are just different. Those now need to take advice. It's not because you are succeeding and have a great song that you see yourself as a superstar. I never saw myself that way. Never think you are great, always see yourself as a hungry man looking to get somewhere, that way you stay sharp when you keep yourself that way".
NC added: "Never take things for granted; always give your best and while the iron is hot take it. Calypso is not football. You can sing when you are 100 years. Singing is not a sport, it's a talent and you can sing until…music takes nothing away from you".
NC's Calypso Career
1978 – We Don't Want You/Victory March – Finalist
1979 – Tell the Judges/Stand Tall – Finalist
1980 – O Evil Man/Unless – 4th Place
1981 -Patron Alright/New Revolution – 3rd Place
1982 – Investigate DBBA/Bombers from South –Calypso King
1983 – I Know/Give and Take – Calypso King
1984 – Who You Fooling/Humble Servant – 2nd Place
1985 – Issues and Facts/Consider Me –Calypso King
1986 – Before You Chant Me Down/Don't Rock the Boat – 2nd Place
1987 – I'll Speak My Mind/Watch Your Bottom – 2nd Place
1988 – I Must Sing About It/Reunion 88 – Calypso King
1989 – I am What I Am/ Trembling – 3rd Place
1990 – Did not participate
1991 – Massa Days Gone/Look Who Is Marching – Finalist
(Source: Dominica Calypso Association website)