After a three-year hiatus, Susan G. (Susan Grogan) is ecstatic to be back in the Calypso Monarch final.
She and reigning champion Macomere Fifi (Eulith Tara Woods) are the only females among nine contestants competing for the coveted title at the annual Organization of Calypso Performing Artists (OCPA) Kaiso 365 event on Saturday, July 26 at the Chinese Cultural Centre, 5183 Sheppard Ave. E.
After managing a mas’ band for two years, Susan G. was set to return to the competition last year.
“I was rearing to go, but there was some misunderstanding at the deadline and I did not get in,” she said. “I am ready now.”
Making her debut in 2005, Susan G’s best finish was third runner-up the following year. She clinched the Ottawa and Miami Carnival crowns in 2007.
Best known for her smash hits “Soca Addict” and “Gimme Pan”, the Barbadian-born entertainer launched her musical career as a background vocalist with the Battleground Calypso Tent and a lead singer with Sauvage, a dance band.
In the past few years, she has collaborated with some of the Caribbean’s top calypsonians, including Red Plastic Bag, who wrote “I am Not Surprised”, which is one of two compositions she will perform in the final.
Carlyle Bailey – who also writes for Macomere Fifi – penned her second rendition, “Tribute to Nelson Mandela”.
Five-time winners, Macomere Fifi and Beginner (Michael Moore), are among five champions in the highly competitive field.
The seed that eventually became OCPA and Kaiso 365 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 De Lord, De Vibrator, Protector and Lord Smokey, 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.
Beginner captured his first of five titles the following year at the Masonic Temple Concert Hall and retained his crown in the 1982 competition that was sponsored by British tobacco manufacturer, Rothmans International.
The rest of this year’s field comprises 1995 winner King Cosmos (Henry Gomez), Guney (Guney Cedeno) who won the crown 14 years ago, two-time champion Panman Pat, DeCarra (Leslie Carrabon), Web (Hamilton Alexander) and Yellows (Carlos Morgan).
Connector (Joel Davis) is the alternate.
The top four will share $10,000, while each contestant will receive a $300 appearance fee. The final starts at 7 p.m. and the price of admission is $40 in advance and $45 at the door.
Entrepreneur and raconteur, Itah Sadu, is the MC.
By RON FANFAIR