Emogene Creese, known on stage as as “Blakness,” emerged from calypso obscurity to capture the coveted Monarch title Friday at Island Center for the Performing Arts in front an enthusiastic packed house.
This was Creese’s first time competing in the Calypso Monarch competition. She is best known for her reggae vibes. When Creese stepped before the audience to deliver her first rendition, “Wat More”, she firmly established herself as the one to watch, leaving the crowd on their feet as she exited the stage.
Her second song, “There’s no place like the Caribbean,” sealed her victory.
Also competing were Keno, Mr. 340, Rasco, King Kan, Moonark, Mighty Pat, JohnDi, Lady Jinger, and the reigning 2018 Calypso Monarch, Caribbean Queen. Two contestants, Lady Mac and Spade, were unable to take part in the competition. When the votes were tallied, Mighty Pat was second runner up, Caribbean Queen was first runner up. The three top contenders were given trophies on stage by show organizer, Dean “Mean Dean” Baptiste.
Lyrical content seemed to be Creese’s strong suit. That, coupled with her strong vocals, made her a clear and early crowd favorite.
“I’m elated. I’m so happy,” Creese said after accepting the first-place trophy. She said the inspiration for her songs came “from the people.”
“I listened to the people and what they had to say; the people in (Estate) Whim and the people in the markets. I got their words,” she said.
In her first song, “What now?” Creese tackled some of the ills facing the islands today including the condition of the roads, the schools, poverty and health care.
“The government have all the money spent, while the seniors can’t even pay their rent. It’s plain to see that it’s we, killing we,” she sang. The chorus asks the question, “What now are we hoping for, what now are crying for, what now for these islands I say?
Her second song, “No place like the Caribbean,” spoke of the ancestry and accomplishments of Caribbean people, emphasizing that we are all one people descended from Watusi and other African nations and tribes as well as Arawak, Carib and more.
“If you don’t know who you be, why don’t you google yourself and see?,” she sang.
“We needed to get that message through,” Creese said in her interview. “My people felt it and they responded, and I am very appreciative.”
Creese wrote all the words to her songs and was assisted by Marsvyn David, a Crucian musician with more than 50 years of musical arrangement and performance under his belt.
“I just put the dressing on,” David said. “She is such a good musician.”
David describes Creese as a “Caribbean song stylist.” “She transcends musical genres such as jazz, reggae and calypso. She is an eclectic musician.”