From left: Vibrating Scakes, Lexi, Brother Ebony. (File photos)

ST. VINCENT:- The National Calypso Monarch competition, during Demarche Gras on July 4, will feature a blend of former monarchs, seasoned finalists, and bards who will be making their first appearance on finals night.

Ten artistes were selected from 22 contenders for a chance to depose reigning monarch Bridgette “Joy-C” Creese.

The four-time Queen of Calypso won the crown last year after a four-year hiatus in which she successfully battled stomach cancer.

The ten are:

  1. Fitzroy “Bro Ebony” Joseph
  2. Grantley “Ipa” Constance
  3. Kenneth “Vibrating Scakes” Alleyne
  4. Robert “Patches” King
  5. Ralph “Struggler” Richards
  6. Robby “Soharo” Hackshaw
  7. Glenroy “Sulle” Caesar
  8. Michael “Bosault” Daniel
  9. Maxwell “Tajoe” Francis
  10. Alexis “Lexi” Joseph

Fitzroy “Bro Ebony” Joseph won this year’s Best New Song Competition and is making his ninth attempt to secure what for him has been an elusive national title. Bro Ebony secured his place in the finals with “Haiti a Blessed day is Coming”.

On Tour Calypso Tent leader Grantley “Ipa” Constance will be making an attempt to reign again, having won the crown in 2007. While he made it to the finals singing “This Nation Needs a Healing”, his daughter, Sherikah Liverpool, a first time semi-finalist who sang “Mr. Carnival”, was one of two women, all of whom failed to advance to the finals.

The name Kenneth “Vibrating Scakes” Alleyne is practically a fixture in the line up on finals night. Scakes draws on 30 years of experience, 20 semi-finals appearances, and three monarch titles to deliver what is often a surprising performance during the finals.

The prolific artiste sang “Amnesia” on semi-final-finals night. He won road march in 1982 three years after he became the first Independence Monarch, when he sang “Our Nation is Born”, widely acclaimed “the second national anthem of St. Vincent and the Grenadines”. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)

Robert “Patches” King has been a consistent finalist and over the past few years have penned some elaborate double entendre pieces that could be interpreted as vicious criticism of the Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party administration.

“[Patches] “has been given a rough time for whatever reason,” a calypso enthusiast told I Witness-New just before the finals last year. Patches is undoubtedly hoping to have better luck this year with “Wey the good people gone”

Glenroy “Sulle” Caesar is undoubtedly one of SVG’s most consistent calyposonians, having made it to the semi-finals on 23 occasions and the finals 14 times. The two-time Monarch — 1997 and 2005 — was also Independence Monarch thrice and won the Best New Song crown in 2008. He secured his spot in the finals with “Congratulations in Order”. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)

From left: Patches, Sulle, Tajo. (File photos)

This will be Alexis “Lexi” Joseph’s seventh appearance in the calypso finals competition after 16 semi-finals picks. While Lexi bagged the Best New Song title in 2004 and was extempo champ four times, the national monarch title has so far eluded him.

The On Tour Calypso Tent’s Ralph “Struggler” Richards, will be among four bards making their first appearance in the finals of the competition. Struggler made it to the semi-finals on three occasions. He will try to take the crown with “Papa Sue”

Robby “Soharo” Hackshaw is making the finals 11 years after he got his first semi-finals pick in 1999. He won his place in the finals with “Papa Sue”.

His rendition of “Where Do We Go From Here” won “Michael “Bosault” Daniel his first appearance in the finals. He has made it to the semi-finals three times.

Maxwell “Tajoe” Francis of Graduates Calypso Tent has made it to the semi-finals three time I his six-year singing career. He secured his first finals appearance with “World Crisis”.

A notable absence from this year’s picks is 2009 “Bad John Calypsonian” singer lvin “Zion I” Dennie, who placed second in that competition. His “Let us Try” got him only to the semi-finals this year.