Calypso semi-finalists clash this Saturday


The last two weeks have tested Susan G.’s strength and resolve.

The calypsonian, whose real name is Susan Grogan, has spent most of the time close to her only child, 14-year-old Lamar, who is recovering at home after undergoing emergency surgery a day before graduating from public school. He suffered an abdominal injury while playing in a soccer tournament in London, Ontario last month.

A collision with the opposing team’s goalkeeper resulted in the Scarborough standout student-athlete taking a knee in the stomach. He was rushed to hospital where he had ultrasound tests done before being released a few hours later.

The teenager later experienced severe abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea, prompting his mother to whisk him back to a medical centre where a computed tomography (CT) scan revealed internal bleeding from a damaged bowel.

“The surgery went well and he’s now resting comfortably,” said Susan G. minutes before she was named a semi-finalist for this Saturday’s Organization of Calypso Performing Artists (OCPA) National Monarch competition. “I was on the verge of pulling out of the competition to spend more time with my boy, but he told me I should go ahead and do it.

“He’s my biggest supporter and he would have been here tonight, rooting for me to make it to the semi-finals. Lamar, the group here at Kaiso Forum and prayer have kept me going in this difficult period.”

Beginning in Barbados as a background singer with the Battleground Calypso Tent – which included top calypsonians Red Plastic Bag, Gabby and Gryner – and as a lead vocalist with the dance band Sauvage, Susan G. came to Canada in the early 1990s and joined the local group, A Taste of Madness. She’s the lead vocalist and bandleader with Neu Jenarashun and a member of the Collective of Black Artists.

The talented artiste has made the semi-finals every year since she started performing in the OCPA competition four years ago, and she’s one of eight performers from the Kaiso Forum Tent to reach the competition’s penultimate round.

The others are four-time champion Structure (Bryan Thornhill); 1995 winner King Cosmos (Henry Gomez); three-time Caribana Soca Monarch winner Connector (Joel Davis); two-time Montreal Calypso Monarch The Web (Hamilton Alexander); Redman (Michael Thomas); Spice (Denise Alexander) and De Carra (Leslie Carrabon).

They will join Professionals Tent performers Spivey (Newton Lewis), Crooner (Bill Newman), Penshioner (Trevor Quammie), Panman Pat (Pat McNeilly), Naki (Nzunaki Tuitt) and five-time winner Beginner (Michael Moore) in Saturday’s semi-finals at the Steelworkers Union Hall, 25 Cecil St.

The event starts at 8 p.m.

The top eight performers will join defending champion Macomere Fifi (Tara Woods) in the final on July 18 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

Though he did not qualify for the semi-finals, newcomer Black I (Aubrey Dember) stole the spotlight at the Kaiso Forum Tent last Sunday at the CAW Union Hall with his Road March jump-up rendition, Jouvert.


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