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Rootsman Kelly dethrones Scholar

Rostman Kelly – the new Calypso Monarch was crowned by the winner of this year’s Carnival Queen Amonai Francis

I am overwhelmed…the outpouring of love and support from everyone, sometimes I get emotional…it feels good to see the appreciation that people have for my work. It makes it worthwhile, it makes me want to continue putting in the effort and producing good music.

Those were the words of Kelly Clyne known in the calypso artform ‘Rootsmam Kelly’ in an interview with reporters moments after he was crowned the 2023 Calypso King just after 2 a.m. this morning.

It was the third national title to be captured by the virgin parish of St. David, so far, this Carnival season.

Dimanche Gras night was filled with entertainment and tight competition as the 11 calypsonians took to the big stage for this year’s title at Progress Park in St. Andrew.

After two (2) rounds of 22 tongue-biting Calypsos, Rootsman Kelly was the one who stood tall as he captivated the crowd and impressed the judges with his two selections ‘Dia Nut’ N’ and ‘De whole Place.’

Singing in position 10, Rootsman Kelly, who is a member of the Hubbards Kaiso Bards Calypso Tent dethroned the reigning monarch Scholar, and Tent leader, with 527 points to capture his second national calypso title.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Most High God because I can’t be ungrateful to Jah, the Most High, and to all my fans and well wishers, family (and) even my enemies…” said the 2023 Calypso Monarch, who is associated with the Scholar-led Calypso Tent.

The first time he won the Spicemas Corporation-organised competition was when he dethroned Scholar in 2017.

In a shock defeat this year Scholar, who has won the crown 10 times tied with Randy Isaac in the seventh position.

The defending monarch started the show performing in position Number One, singing a song called ‘Help’ and another kept secret leading up to the competition, entitled ‘Dia Something’, which launched a scathing attack on Rootsman Kelly.

“I am surprised, very surprised but that’s how competition is. I do not feel like someone who came 7th…I have done all that I can do, achieved all that I can achieve – there’s nothing else to produce so, whether (I place) last or one before the last my body of work will always be there to speak,” Scholar commented.

The former monarch believes that ‘Help’ is one of his “best compositions in a very long time…in terms of its poetic structure…”

“Tallpree made it big with ‘Ole Woman but it never surfaced here…so, sometimes it happens like that…. it’s a strange result but it’s one that you have to accept,” he remarked.

The 10-times Calypso King, who returned to competition this year after declaring last year was his last, did not confirm whether or not he will grace the stage again in next year’s competition.

The 2nd position went to another former Monarch Sean Niles ‘Sour Serpent’, who also hails from the Virgin parish of St. David’s.

Sour Serpent, who is a member of the Hubbards Fireworks Calypso Tent won the title in 2019 and was very hopeful about capturing this year’s title.

He performed in position seven (7) and amassed 519 points with his selections ‘No Ears’, which touches on social issues, and ‘The Scholars of Calypso,’ which highlights the scholars in the Calypso art form.

“I am happy with the results. Rootsman had a sensational song, and he just edged me out but I am happy. St. David’s all the way,” the 1-time Monarch told reporters.

The third place was captured by another St. David resident, Jason Joseph ‘Big J’, who is also associated with Hubbards Fireworks, and has been knocking on the doors of the Calypso final for several years.

He competed in second position scoring 507 points with his renditions ‘We men getting licks’, which encourages young men to step up and take their place in society, and ‘Sing nice’, which touches on the way he has been treated in the past.

Big J has been singing for over 13 years, and made it to the final five (5) times and the semi-final nine (9) times.

Northwest Bridgade’s Valene Nedd ‘Valene’ and Kaiso Kingdom’s Germaine Simon ‘Superstar’ tied in fourth position with 498 points, with their selections: ‘Transformation’, ‘Overstay’, ‘Women of Power’ and ‘Something ain’t right’, respectively.

Newcomer in competition Glendon Joseph known as ‘I Am G’, from Fireworks placed 6th with his renditions ‘The Fundamentals of Calypso’, and ‘Next thing stupid so’.

Michael Prince ‘Prince’ placed 9th with 480 points with “Get the song right” and “State of state”, Jerry Baptiste (Papa Jerry) took the 10th  with his songs “The Letter” and “Selling Tea”.

St John’s resident Carlos “Pecos” Lewis placed 11th on 467 points with his renditions “One hand can’t clap”, and “Whine up on me”.

This year’s Calypso final, which has been dubbed “one of the best to take place in a long time” by the hosts, commenced with entertainment from Elimus Gilbert ‘Inspector’ and the two times Junior Calypso Monarch Christian Niles ‘Mothy, who successfully defended his title in the recently concluded Junior Calypso Monarch competition.

It was indeed a proud and momentous occasion for the people of St. David as the new Calypso King was crowned by the winner of this year’s Carnival Queen pageant, Amonai Francis, who also hails from the Virgin parish.

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