Zacari: King by Name and Destiny

This is a throwback to an article I did for the Calypso Association 50th anniversary magazine in 2007. In the interest of increasing awareness of the accomplishments of some of our iconic calypsonians and increasing appreciation for the art form, I figured I would share some of that issue with you. This particular article looked at the Anchors of Antiguan calypso – not the superstars covered in Over the Boundary but the reliable contributors known for their consistent play, providing a strong foundation for the growth of the art form. The first of these looked at Franco, the second at Calypso Joe, the third at Calypso Jim, the fourth Scorpion, and this one King Zacari. In this post, I’ll share the section of that article focused on Zacari. DO NOT repost without permission or credit.

Trevor ‘King Zacari’ King, who succeeded Scorpion as Calypso Association president has been another warrior in the trenches since at least the early 1990s. It all began when he ventured into writing, penning as he told the Sun back in 1998, ‘The Zulu Will Rise Again’ for junior contender, Pepperseed. But, he said, then, when he tried producing material for the seniors, he wasn’t taken seriously. “If somebody had sung the song I had written I wouldn’t be singing now,” Zacari said then; and this turn of events has, of course, been Antigua’s gain.

His Calypso has always tackled weighty issues, race and heritage and political bobol, while the poet in him experimented with devices like the literary pun.

“I never see such a thing since ah born
Tell me where de Fine-ants gone
Since bad govern-ants come along
Tell me whey de fine-ants gone
I search the town, I search the country
Tell me where de fine-ants gone
Ah search for they nest all in cemetery
Tell me whey de fine-ants gone”
(Fine Ants 2001)

But as the above example indicates the pun never hid his meaning or target, only illuminated it; and as ‘Guilty as Charged’ elucidates he was prepared to meet his adversaries head on.

“Is it true that you sing for this nation
Yet condemning our politician
I say guilty, guilty as charged
Is it a truth and a well known fact
You always riding on the government back
I say guilty, guilty as charged…”

Beyond these battle songs, Zacari who also operated the Cream of the Crop Tent, has nurtured a musical legacy of another kind with daughters Little Kimmie and Princess Thalia doing well at the junior level.

In addition to two Calypso monarch titles – 1991 and 2001 – Zacari also claimed the 1997 Leeward Island Monarch title.

Post note: Zacari is still singing as are his daughters with Princess Thalia becoming in 2014 only the second female to claim the calypso monarch title in Antigua and Barbuda after Queen Ivena.

As with all content on, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Fish Outta Water, and Musical Youth). All Rights Reserved. Seriously, a lot of time, energy, love and frustration goes in to researching and creating content for this site; please don’t just take it up just so without even a please, thank you or an ah-fu-she-subben (credit). If you enjoyed it, check out my page on Amazon, WordPress, and/or Facebook, and help spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

Leave a comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.