An appeal by veteran calypsonian and the reigning Virtual King, Darryl “The Bobb” Bobb to have this year’s virtual calypso competition winner recognised as the official monarch has sparked a debate among fellow calypsonians.
The Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) recently announced that for the second consecutive year, the calypso competition would take on a hybrid format style show similar to 2021 which is expected to begin later this month.
Following news of this and a public appeal by The Bobb, Dominica News Online (DNO) has been informed that some fraction of the executive and the membership of DCA are in support of the two calypso monarchs whilst others believe only calypso should reign.
Speaking to DNO on the matter, reigning monarch, Jude “Jay Dee” Delauney says he is not in support of calls to possibly have him dethroned at the virtual competition because according to him, the two competitions are vastly different.
“The way calypso competition was before and how it is now it’s not the same. I won in 2020 in a two song competition like everyone else did before me so I cannot be dethroned in a one song competition under different circumstances,” he told DNO.
He said since the show has taken on a different format, the new title is suitable as the new style does not mirror that of the past.
Nine times King, Dennison “Dice” Joseph also weighed in on the topic contending that the virtual title should remain for the virtual competition.
“When you gained the title of calypso monarch this was done in a two-round competition in front of a large crowd with stage props and in grand style. But now we have a one round virtual show so this is not the same as the national calypso competition. So, the virtual title should remain due to the limitations that we have in the virtual competition,” he explained.
However, last year’s winner of the virtual show, The Bobb, who reigns alongside Jay Dee, maintains that having two calypso Kings does not serve the best interest of the association or future competitions.
While he praised the DCA for their efforts in keeping art form alive during the pandemic, he further posited that the association should bear in mind that the present situation with the pandemic is uncertain and DCA should accept the virtual show winner as the official monarch.
“If at all, this situation with COVID-19 does not get any better, are we just going to have a simulation of the calypso competitions every year? Are we going to work so hard to adapt to the situation, make the necessary changes and still not make the winner the official,” he questioned while speaking to DNO.
The Bobb averred that the virtual aspect of the show has long been in existence prior to the pandemic particularly to the outside audience hence, “it’s nothing new.”
While he agrees that Jay Dee should be given an equal opportunity to defend his title, he is also of the view that all calypsonians should be given the opportunity to take a grab at the crown which Jay Dee holds.
“The calypso association cannot remain in limbo for that long and represent calypso as it really should be. Why allow the official monarch to come into the competition and get blows from the likes of Sour Sour and Tasha P and others and he is still the official King,” The Bobb asked.
He says he will conform to whatever decision is taken through a majority vote of the DCA. However, he urged the members of the executive to move away from the unofficial title at the upcoming calypso season.
Meanwhile, another member of the DCA who spoke exclusively to DNO but chose to remain anonymous, supported The Bobb’s position.
The calypsonian said while there has been much debate over the possibility of the current monarch being dethroned in a one song competition, he argued, “this argument doesn’t make us go anywhere or move the association forward. The executive should have made a decision that is beneficial to all and having two monarchs does not benefit the association in any way.”
The calypsonian continued, “So if COVID-19 covid-19 is around for the next five years, we are going to have two monarchs until such time. As it relates to official functions, who do you send, all this is causing confusion and the DCA executive needs to [this] resolved before the start of the season.”
He said a suggestion was made to the association by a member to have the virtual king, The Bobb and the 2020 monarch Jay Dee, automatically advance to the finals to compete against the 13 other finalists and this year’s the winner would be crowned as the official monarch but that was rejected.
Instead, this year’s winner will again reign alongside Jay Dee.