He has again demonstrated that he knows how to win. He understands what it takes to prepare his selections so that he maximizes the opportunities to score high points, in accordance with the criteria established by the Carnival Committee.
He is indomitable.
And that is why, without a sweat really, Konris easily added another crown to the coffers of his already impressive collection of royal jewelries. After being crowned early Saturday morning, it meant that Konris secured his sixth title, making him the second most successful calypsonian in the history of National Carnival in St. Kitts and Nevis. Second only to the ‘maestro’, King Ellie Matt, who caused so many headaches for konris’ father, the Mighty Contenda, during the calypso battles of the 1980s.
Ellie Matt has won 10 crowns. Now, it is like the young is taking revenge for the failings of his papa. The only problem, Ellie Matt is long gone and it is the current crop of calypsonians who are being made to feel the pain of an “angry” tiger, avenging the perceived wrongs meted out to the ‘father tiger’; who contended for so many years, but managed only his favourite spot…First Runner-up.
But now that Konris has six crowns, this is enough to share with both his dad and his uncle, Mighty Director; another consistent finalist of the 1980s and 1990s. These days however, they both “can’t find a ting to sing”. And perhaps that is a good thing, because were they to re-enter the calypso arena, Konris would have to be charged with “abusive behavior” to his own father and uncle; just that it would not be physical. It would be lyrical and dramatic.
Calypso fans were all hoping for a Final Show that would be entertaining, competitive and closely fought. It was. But the contest was confined, not for the position of king; only for the “runners-up” positions. This was evident from the very first round when Konris completed his performance with “Finish De Song”.
There were glimpses of hope from Rudder, who eventually made it to First Runner-up; Second Runner-up-Jackie, and Third Runner-up, Big Lice. There was some disappointment however that no place was found for Lady Diva, who was outstanding in both rounds, though in need of fine-tuning her diction and clarity. There were moments when one struggled to hear and understand the words of her songs. Some in the audience also expressed the hope that she would ease down on the very aggressive way in which she sings her songs…giving emphasis to almost every word. Others claimed that when they closed their eyes, they thought it was Anastasia on stage.
There is a future in store for Ace, another new comer to the Finals and he too would have just missed out on finding a spot in the top four positions; but the judges were of a different view. He is however a man with a bright calypso future. He has great stage presence, sings well with outstanding clarity and a very confident artiste.
The option to use audio visual props, as was done by Craig, instead of the traditional on stage cast of supporters and hard props, is not a wise one. The impact was and could never be the same; as Konris and Rudder demonstrated. Rudder too has a successful future ahead. He managed to get the audience on his side, pulling them into the song and having them sing along with him. His position of First Runner-up was not surprising. Next to Konris, he was the best.
As some would describe it, the veteran Jackie was “flat”. Nice lyrics, nice groovy moves across the stage with good usage of props and supporting cast, but not with the same impact as Konris, who obviously learnt his craft in this area, from his father and uncle.
Godfrey was strong in the first round but dropped somewhat in the second, not making the same impact with the audience. It was not a good sign though when he walked off the stage during the coronation after realizing that when the First Runner-up was announced, he was not selected for any of the top positions. He was also the last calypsonian to arrive on stage, after almost 10 minutes of repeated calls from the MC, Calypso Reggie.
I-Soursop however failed entirely to present himself on stage for the coronation. His was a performance not at the usual high standards. He wore the same outfit, (short jean pants, sneakers, cap and top) for both rounds of his appearances. This gave the impression that he was either not prepared or had lost interest. In the end, his approach was reflected in the final decisions of the judges. This was unfortunate for a man who is one of the best writers in this genre of music.
The huge crowd that turned out at the Sugar Mill, Warner Park, on the football field, was not disappointed at all because the contest this year was superb. And the weather cooperated very well.
It was an audience that was fully engaged. They remained behind in their thousands until the coronation was completed. There was not the usual exodus following the final artiste. It was strange because the results were obvious. Perhaps the curiosity was connected to who would be First, Second and Third Runners-up.
It was the type of audience that any calypsonian would have wanted. But it was Konris who best exploited the atmosphere. In both rounds, even before his name was announced, the crowd was screaming his name, as many got to their feet, and remained standing for the entirety of his performances. They sang his lyrics as though they were carrying “hymn sheets”. They danced and celebrated. It was electrifying. It was a moment reflective of times past when the man from under the Breadfruit Tree, (Ellie Matt), reigned supreme in St. Kitts and Nevis Calypso. The big difference; konris’ support is not limited to the people from the West, in the Village. It is national; man and woman; young and old, Labour and PAM; and haters and lovers. And it is deserving!
His brilliance is not confined to St. Kitts and Nevis. He has also made history, becoming Leeward Islands King, for a record three times, in the competition held each year in Anguilla. He was the first person in that contest to successfully defend his crown. Facts are truly stubborn realities. The fact is, Konris is Number One.
When the final moment came and he was being crowned by the Minister of Carnival and Culture, Ms. Marcella Liburd, with the assistance of the newly crowned Carnival Queen, Zinga Imo; it brought the country’s Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas, to his feet, in a dance of celebration. But then too, so were hundreds of other fans.
Six crowns in six competitions. This is an accomplishment only dreamt of by calypsonians. However, the charges remain, as was written in a recent calypso magazine, that on Konris’ head lies the crown of two female contenders-Jackie and Anastasia. And Jackie reminded the audience of that during her second hard hitting song in the competition when she harshly criticized Konris and the style of his calypso. Of course the King had the last say.
So the question being asked by calypso pundits is, who can beat Konris? Perhaps Pungwa on a good night. He came the closest, in 2010, to bringing the type of on stage presentation that can rival Konris. He also has the voice, the diction, the clarity and the powerful lyrics to make it happen. Some say that is why Konris “ran” from the competition in 2010, when Pungwa was at his finest. Fans of Pungwa have claimed that konris ran because he knew that he was afraid of Pungwa who at the time was ‘hanging them high’ and ‘taking off the clothes’ of the other calypsonians. We shall see. There is still Calypso Finals 2013 to come.
Another potential successor to Konris is the young Takeover, who though he failed to reach the finals this year, has a great future ahead. He even has a slight voice similarity to Konris, some say; and his presentations on stage are dynamic, as he has shown in the Soca Monarch Competition, (winning both the Groovy and Power versions this year). He also defeated konris last year in the Power Soca Competition. So he has already demonstrated the ability. It is just for him now to establish a network of managers and ‘handlers’ to finish the job in the Senior Monarch Calypso Competition. No one should be fooled that Konris’ success has all been exclusively of his doing. No. He is successful also because of the experienced and creative team working with him…his father, uncles, wife and so many others. In other words, if you want to beat Konris, adopt his approach to preparation and better him.
Unfortunately, too many calypsonians have still not learnt that the time has come to step up their game.
They ought to, and fast; because King Konris is simply magical on stage. The man is truly an unstoppable force.
- King Konris (420; 444=864 points)
- First Runner-up Rudder (402; 384= 786 points)
- Second Runner-up Jackie (357; 371=728 points)
- Third Runner-up Big Lice (351; 372=723 points)