Beware calypsonians, for Macomere Fifi (Eulith Tara Woods) promises to be better and stronger next year.
Coming from the six-time and reigning calypso champion, that’s hard to believe.
Despite winning the most Organization of Calypso Performing Artists (OCPA) titles, including the last three, Macomere Fifi is not about to rest on her laurels and admire her hardware.
That is not good news for the rest of the competition.
“As the calypso season comes around, I start to think seriously about what I could to do to improve on my last performance,” she told Share at the OCPA awards ceremony last Sunday in Scarborough. “I treat every performance like it’s the first. If I am doing the same song, the audience must feel like it’s the first time they are hearing it. That’s what I strive for.”
In addition to the crown, Macomere Fifi won the Most Original and Best Rendition individual awards for “God Bless Toronto” and the Best Lyrics and Most Humorous Calypso prizes for “Before Yuh Gone”, which was a tribute to eight-time Trinidad & Tobago calypso king and road march champion, The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco).
Macomere Fifi captured her first crown on her debut 16 years ago and had to wait a decade before regaining the title. Tracey Ann (1989 and 1990) and Lady Pearl (1992) are the only other female calypso champions.
The People’s Choice Award winner will appear in concert tomorrow at the United Steel Workers Union Hall with two-time T & T calypso monarch, Singing Sandra (Sandra Des Vignes-Millington).
“This is an opportunity for me to share my vast repertoire of calypso over the years and diverse vocal abilities with my calypso fans and also the stage with someone who I admire as a performer,” said Fifi. “Singing Sandra, Singing Francine (Francine Edwards) and Calypso Rose (Linda Sandy-Lewis) are female calypsonians that I look up to. They blazed a trail for me.”
The OCPA awards honour calypso’s best performers in 2014.
“This is our Grammys, yet there are far too few calypsonians here to celebrate with us,” said five-time champion, Beginner (Michael Moore) who was the runner-up in this year’s competition. “It’s really disheartening they are not here to support this event.”
Beginner, the nephew of the late Lord Beginner (Egbert Moore, who composed Cricket, Lovely Cricket after the West Indies cricket team’s first Test victory in England in 1950), has every reason to express his frustration and disappointment.
The seed that eventually became OCPA was planted in 1980 in a barbershop Beginner owned at the time in the Bathurst & Dupont Streets area. Frank Cuthbert, the proprietor of the now defunct Cutty’s Hideaway nightclub overheard Beginner and other calypsonians, including Juno D’Lord (Juno Kanhai), Protector (Mike Legerton) and Smokey (Cleive Henry) boasting about their singing prowess and challenged them to organize a competition with the promise that he would put up a $500 prize for the winner.
Smokey clinched the prize and Beginner won his first of five titles the following year at the Masonic Temple Concert Hall.
The Preston Shepherd Memorial scholarship was presented at the awards ceremony.
This year’s recipient was 13-year-old Elijah Alexander, the grandson of calypsonian Web (Hamilton Alexander), who was fifth in this year’s event.
“My grandfather introduced me to calypso last July and I love it because of the rhythm,” said the Grade Eight French Immersion student.
A former OCPA president, Shepherd passed away in 2010.