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LADIES in Calypso
By Ian Jackson

Since the Mighty Kon Lambi of the 70s we have seen a proliferaion of women in the art form. Avis “Lady A” Bruno stood alone in the late 80s but with the Junior monarch competition among Secondary Schools serving as a breeding ground for calypsonians, this was about to change. Cauliflower was awarded joint Road March honours with “Wedding Ring” in 1988 and this served as a stimulus for the Ladies in Calypso.

Jahlee of South City Grand Bay became the first female monarch in 1987. Then calypsonians like Vicky and Cauliflower dominated in fierce rivalry in the schools competition. Notable names such as Mystic Rose, Swinging Janice, Marvellous M, Brown Sugar, Silver Sands, Singing Janet, Mighty Suzie Bouncing Bonnie along with the persistent and consistent Yakima all contributed to the initial growth of females in calypso. When the name was rechristened from Calypso King to Calypso Monarch in 1995, this paved the way once more for the women to compete alongside the men. Lady Edna and Christine were particularly fierce and found their way into the finals on separate occasions. Meanwhile Black Panther and Yakima kept knocking and provided solid entertainment in the Stardom Tent.

Then came Sandy by the turn of the century and she was to become the most potent force as a female calypsonian being a competitive finalist for three straight years. When Sandy migrated, Diva Nioka held the fort well as a finalist for two years until Sandy returned to place second in the year 2007.

In recent times quite a few other women have emerged including Lady Star and the late Charmer. Many others have come and gone but Yakima remains unrivalled as a true calypsonian by heart with a career spanning two decades in good and bad times.

Article source: “Lyrics and Melody:50 years of Calypso, 30 years of Independence” published by Ian Jackson

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.

1 comment to Ladies In Calypso

  • Janet Miriam alexis

    Jaco nice to see your work making leaps and bounds. Can you find anything in Gramma school calypso days with myself sister jan, brown sugar and swinging janice? Would love to see a video

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