Chalkie snatches title with My Hart
Veteran kaisonian Dr Hollis Liverpool, better known as Chalkdust, was billed to perform Ah Not In Dat at Dimanche Gras, 2009, at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Sunday night. Sung nightly at Calypso Revue on Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, it was a satire that referred to “two aristocrats”—Prime Minister Patrick Manning and former trade minister Dr Keith Rowley. But when the patrons saw a bunk with Dr Rowley’s operations, they knew they were getting more than they bargained for—My Hart and I.
Again, this satire on Manning, Rowley and newcomer, Udecott chairman Calder Hart (Call de Hart) worked its magic. Liverpool, too, got a lagniappe, since this satire, devoid of malice, but laced with humour and puns on Hart, hat and heart—earned him his eighth calypso monarch title—and $500,000. It was a distinction shared by another veteran calypsonian, Dr Slinger Francisco, aka Sparrow. Chalkdust’s victory followed title wins in 1976, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1993, 2003 and 2005. Close on Liverpool’s heels were Joanne Rowley, aka Tigress, with Yuh Ent See Wajang Yet, and Winston Scarborough (de Fosto), who questioned Could We Rise Again?
Victory for Duke
Moments after he was congratulated by Culture Minister Marlene McDonald and her party, Liverpool said he was dedicating the victory to his dear friend, the late calypso icon Kelvin Pope (Duke). He also revelled in the knowledge that his feat was on par with Slinger Francisco’s. Standing on a carpet of red Valentine hearts, Liverpool said: “I am dedicating my victory to Mighty Duke...my good friend. I know he was there watching, and he would have been proud.
“This victory gives me the same number of wins as Sparrow.”
But he could not say whether or not he would continue entering competitions. Quizzed on the change from Ah Not In Dat to My Hart and I, Liverpool said: “I needed a song that would catapult the Queen’s Park Savannah—and it did.” In the past, Liverpool’s created incisive works, such as St Joan of Arts, Chauffeur Wanted, Carnival Is The Answer, Ah Fraid Karl and Somebody in White Hall Mad.
Mayhem in My Hart and I
“If you don’t want to feel my wrath, Don’t touch d Hart.”
That was a directive Liverpool issued to Dr Rowley (David Munroe) who cut up everyone mercilessly. “You de cut (Udecott) up Joan,” he sang, perhaps referring to former culture minister Joan Yuille-Williams. “Put them hearts where the sun doh shine,” he advised. There were more surprises ahead. “You black like a moonless night, but “My Hart is white,” sang Liverpool.
Patrons clutched at their hearts when they saw Hart (played by culture researcher Ray Funk). He emerged wearing a yellow hard hat. In his instruction manual on handling the Hart, he made reference to Local Government Minister Hazel Manning, Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday, Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, businessman Lawrence Duprey and President George Maxwell Richards. “Sat Maharaj is a Hindu to his heart.” “Colm Imbert heart get stuck in traffic.”
In the case of National Security Minister Martin Joseph, Liverpool noted: “It was heartrending; his heart was not in it at all.” All was not lost between Rowley and Manning. “We could still be sweethearts, If you don’t touch my Hart.” Hanging on to every line, calypso connoisseurs keeled over with laughter, some almost developing weak hearts.
Sharing in Liverpool’s heartfelt performance, were his ward attendants, Michael Swann and Mervyn Patterson, Irvin Rauseo and Nurse Giselle Francois. Swann said: “We didn’t rehearse. We just built the props from Thursday. But we are grateful to God everything worked out. Chalkie always say ‘when the band begin to play, begin to work right away.’” Among those who congratulated the bard were Joanne Rowley, first runner-up, and other members of his fraternity.