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by Ian Jackson

Many calypso pundits would agree that Dominica has produced quite a number of charismatic calypso kings.  There are those who were blessed with great voices as Super L, Ventura, Picky, Breaker, Scratchie, Idol, Wizard, Dice, Solo, Booplay and a few others.  They were those who were very charismatic and like a magnet pulled people with their stage presence and personality as Tronada, NC, Rabbit, and Hunter, while others were very unique in their presentation and stage antics like Liberator, Man Himself, Ghost, Spider, Mico, Shakey, Natty and Son of de Saint.

However very rarely over the past decade that calypso kings have possess both the voice and charisma of King Hurricane, Brakes and De Scrunter.  Cleve Jean-Jacques a musician turned calypsonian is the country’s best example of an artist who made successful the transition to Calypso.  A leading guitarist, bassist and vocalist for top Dominican groups, the Hurricane is tall, elegant crystal clear, captivating on stage and the ladies dubbed him at one time as the most handsome Calypsonian,  His dreadlocks added to his mysticism on stage.  In 1996 one of his biggest hits “Unarmed and Dangerous” penned by Pat Aaron won him not only the National title for the third time, but he was crowned Caribbean Monarch in St Maarten that same year amongst top Trinidadian acts.  It is no surprise then that three time Calypso King Hurricane will go down as of the most awesome Hurricane forces on the calypso stage.

Every Dominican will remember “Keep the Candles Burning” “Malaway” and the mega road march “Workers” of 2000.  Brakes was certainly one of the most, if not the most lovable and pleasant personalities on and off stage.  Branker John cricketer, youth worker, politician, calypsonian now in the pursuit of the priesthood was not as complex an individual as his various vocations seem to indicate.  One could not help supporting Brakes even though in your heart you had your personal favourite for the crown.  Brakes had an ease, a never ending smile and charisma on stage with a captivating pleasing voice which for most was irresistible.

In contrast it was Scrunter’s flair and lavway which kept one spelled bound from his first appearance on stage with 1988 road march “Catholic”.  The hits kept coming “Farmer Banana”, “Venus”, “Kaiso Kaiso”, “I’ll Look Into It”. Andrew Bazil identified with the rural class from the east Morne Jaune and Riviere Cyrique.  He became the “mouth piece of the nation”.  His call to patriotism his sing along “Na Na Nay”, almost on every occasion his theme of love for country moved him to marry Dominica on a couple of occasion in full view of thousands of patrons who echoed his cry “My God” or simply “Dominica, anything to do, I do it for you, for I am in love with you”.  At the same time Scrunter was renown for controversy as he states in kaiso “I can write a song to throw a government down” Scrunter is one of the few calypsonian who can take a mediocre song and present it with such flair and conviction and convert it to final material.  Was it his voice, or the stage antics of having his arms thrown behind his head while he spinning on one leg, one may ever know.  It’s probably a combination of all.

As a three time king Himself and one to have made it to the finals the most in Dominica’s calypso history, the Scrunter and Hurricane rivalry will be remembered as the fiercest, the art from has experience notwithstanding the duels between the Brakes and Hunter of Hunter’s recent battles with King Dice.

Ian Jackson is an established writer who has published numerous books of poetry and prose. He regularly contributes articles on various aspects of Dominican culture to local newspapers and other publications. His most recent publication is the book entitled “Lyrics and Melody: 50 years of calypso, 30 years of Independence. from which the above article is taken.  Ian is also a popular calypso artist known as Black Starliner

12 comments to Awesome Trio

  • cynthia p winston

    i would like to know were is king venture two times king and oecs king 1987 and 1986 national king whats with that.

  • admin

    King Ventura currently resides in New York City. Has had limited involvement in Dominica Calypso in recent years.

  • Sharon D

    This woman must be obviously a retard or simply wants some kinda of attention since she supposed to be his wife. Tell us where exactly the guy is ms p winston.

  • Anthony osmael

    Where can I find these calypsoians?

  • Draxy Green

    Who sang Banana Now or Never in 1996 when Hurricane was crowned. I think I was at the semi finals when I heard it? I think Tim Durand wrote it?

  • admin

    Will research this one for you and revert.

  • Adrian James

    These are calypso kings in mask eruption road march song like bug in the budget, passing gas, what you want in life, nothing to do duty and come out

  • Adrian James

    The calypso kings of the brakes in 1995 to 2000 the performance that singing in 1996 song the Make a change and Hurricane Charlie, In 1997 songs the Malaway and My Plan,In 1998, the song are Something to Believe In and Don’t Vex With Me, 1999 the songs are Keep the Candles Burning and Brakes On Dem and the 2000 songs are Between You And Me, Hanger for your jacket, and workers i want the download the calypo songs

  • Adrian James

    Many Calypso Kings the Scratchy songs are Calypso For Me, One day at a time and That I Vex About

  • Adrian James

    These are 1996 Calypso In Unarmed And dangerous, pull the country up, come again, one party state, moo moo talking, for kate, one comesse, Make A change, and more calypso songs for 1996

  • Adrian James

    Many Calypso in 2006 Songs are Resurrection, We go see, they know, real pirates of the Caribbean, passing gas, i feeling to come, spider, something to be proud of, spider in my dreams, fraid of them, fire, amazing grace, let do it again, the bishop, and more

  • Adrian James

    Many have the 2017 songs are Calypso Injustice, De Cell, Panama Hat, Nothing to do with duty, Robbing, con farmers, dominicans will vote, takes on to know one, DBS On the Road, Demons in the Speaker, Resuscitate Me, family feud, back to the garden, sign up for the paro, sea food, play with the cat, big jeff is robbing, equal creation, obeah and politics, friends, carnival fever, and more

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