April 29, 2005 Older heads prevailed on the calypso music stage Thursday night as St. Croix's Cedric Brooks, known as King Spade, took the title of 2005 Virgin Islands Calypso Monarch. Brooks left music fans in the stands at the Lionel Roberts Stadium pleased with the judge's decision.
He donned the crown around midnight, after four hours of competition. Friends and fellow calypsonians circled the winner, offering congratulations.
Brooks was among ten contenders vying for the crown worn for the last year by Allan Fortune, known as Brother Mudada.
Brooks won the crowd's applause with a song called, "Too Old for Dat," chastising fellow performers for some of their on-stage antics.
He was also awarded a trophy for delivering this year's best social commentary.
"This is my seventh crown. I won six on St. Croix over the years," Brooks said as he accepted a handshake from another Crucian calypsonian, Mighty Pat.
Samuel Ferdinand, the Mighty Pat, was named first runner-up. Pat sang a song called "Cry, Cry, Senators," about how voters vented their wrath about conditions on St. Croix when they kicked out six members of the 25th Legislature in last year's election. Like Spade, Pat has worn multiple crowns on the calypso stage.
"One thing, Pat, he brings out the beast in me,"Brooks said. "Any time he gets on the stage and I'm on the stage I expect to work. I cuss and carry on and thing, but that doesn't come between us in our personal relationship. I started singing because of Pat."
Ferdinand offered a similar sentiment, saying the better man won. "This year the judge's decision was final. This year I came ready for them," the Mighty Pat said, adding, "The judges still decided that Spade was better and I don't have any problem with that. Spade is a good musician," he said.
Brother Mudada tied with St. John perennial, Myrel "Super T" Tonge, as second runner-up. Super T was also honored for Best Political Commentary with a song called "Overthrow Them."
At one point during the judges' deliberations the tie was announced to the crowd and both men were invited to compete in an extra round to decide the title of second runner-up. Mudada and Super T declined, deciding instead to divvy up the prizes between them.
Prizes are $5,000 to the winner, $3,000 for first runner up and $2,000 for second runner-up.
The reigning king going into Friday night's performance entertained the crowd with a song called "2K5 Alive," sounding this year's theme: "Carnival is Alive in 2005."
Backstage, lounging with his wife during intermission, Mudada waxed philosophical about the night's outcome. "I don't feel excited … I've been doing this for 29 years. To me, this is a night's work," said the soon-to-be former king.
The stadium was filled to the brim for this always popular event. Attendees filled seats on the field in front of the stage and extended the sides by setting up folding chairs they brought into the stadium slung over their shoulders. The audience listened attentively to all performers, hailing their favorites with hearty applause.
"I've enjoyed the calypsonians so far," said spectator Pablo Turnbull.
Yvette Nisbett said she came to the stadium to cheer on her favorite. "I came to see Super T win the crown, and also listen to the others."
Another man, who didn't give his name, said he came to support the show, "just because it's local."
Most of the palaver on the field and in the stands was the kind where old friends meet and catch up on the times with the show serving as a backdrop.
Sen. Liston Davis shunned a status seat in the front row with the other dignitaries opting instead for casual clutches of neighbors and friends.
"I'm not a Carnival man," he said, but mentioned his parents were with him at the show, taking advantage of the VIP view from the front. Davis said he liked some of what he heard on the stage, and said some of the later entries showed promise.
At the end of the show the judges registered their appreciation as well, naming Curtis "Coach" Braithwaite the Most Improved performer, giving King Spade the title for Best Social Commentary, and Super T the title of Best Political Commentary."
Also appearing on stage Friday night were: Moses "Mose-I" Foster, Samuel Hodge, "de Lollipop Man," Joseph "Joey B" Brown, Lloyd Rennie, also known as Renegade, Campbell Barnes — "King Kan Fu' Plentae," and Morris Benjamin, known as "King Generic."
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