“…Anybody who in their right mind would look at me and know that I am somebody who understands this whole thing about Calypso and the artform”.
Those were the words of an elated 9-time Calypso King, Edison “Ajamu” Mitchell who spoke with reporters in the wee hours of Monday morning after successfully defending his Calypso Crown, to capture the 2015 title at the National Stadium, Queen'[s Park St George.
Ajamu also answered those critics especially calypsonians who concentrate on attacking political figures in their songs especially the Prime Minister of the country.
“… To show disrespect – I don’t think it’s called for because in any other country there are certain things you don’t go up on stage and say…I would not dare come on the stage and say anything negative about the Prime Minister even though (I may not) like him. I would not do it – you know why? Because he is the Prime Minister and I will respect that.”
Ajamu is the only Calypsonian to win the Calypso crown on so many occasions, but somewhere along the way, he believes he has lost the respect of a few Calypsonians and numerous attacks have been forthcoming in his direction.
After staying away from competition for a number of years, Ajamu, who started singing in 1983, decided to retaliate with what he does best – Calypso music and decided to re-enter the competition in 2014.
The man from Mama Cannes responded with a song called, “Tune in they rukung ku tun tun” and “When Calypso was Calypso” to win the crown last year for the 8th time, breaking the record of 7 that he shared with Findley “Scholar” Jeffrey.
With this year’s selections, “Provocation” and “Sparrow“, Ajamu topped the judge’s list again in this year’s night of competition, which could be described as a bit more intense as the stage was used as the venue for what he believes was another form of disrespect thrown his way by fellow calypsonians.
“…Even when I am not in the competition, people just refuse to leave me alone,” Ajamu said .
He noted that even this year “a lot of people were saying that I was not going to win because I would forget my songs, because I made a few mistakes on stage last year.”
However, King Man pointed out that even though “it’s been one of the most hectic seasons for me ever, my hard work paid off in the end.”
The 9-time Calypso Monarch went on to say that he wound be doing certain things differently, which will be as a result of the treatment being meted out to him by his fellow Grenadians.
“Certain things would be done differently… I realise it have some people that you have to leave them aside because they are non-productive and you are going to have to leave them on the side…but in terms of my principles and how I handle myself, it is going to be basically the same way”, he said.
“I know who I am and I believe in who I am and what I stand for – principle I stand for, what I stand for…so it’s not anything negative I always try to keep a positive spirit,” he added.
The King Man who established himself as the “Calypso Warrior” when he won his first crown in 1987 wanted everyone to know that “Ajamu means a man who fights for what he wants”.
“That means that I am a fighter and my fight is musical…and not physical,” he told reporters.
He went on to say: “So you want to challenge me musical let’s go and that’s what it is…I keep telling them that but they hard-headed. People like Scholar they should learn because if you doing this thing over and over and it coming to bite you in the butt (that means) you should stop. So I hope that this year they (are) going to stop because if they stop they would not hear a warrior song like Provocation.”
According to Ajamu, if they refuse to stop disrespecting him, the next song he intends to pen would be “The invention of a next warrior.”
When asked how he feels having achieved such admirable successes in the Calypso music industry, Ajamu told reporters in his usual humble way: “I feel great, I feel wonderful”.
The accomplished musician also lauded the achievements of his tent member, Kelly Clyne known as “Rootsman Kelly” who was celebrating his first major accomplishment ever at the Dimanche Gras event, placing 2nd with his selections “Fete to Fete” and “What good for the goose good for the ganda”.
“The most beautiful thing tonight for me, was not for me and the victory, but for Rootsman Kelly,” said Ajamu, who is the current producer and arranger for Rootsman Kelly.
“I feel really great tonight coming 2nd to Ajamu…I would rather come second to Ajamu than to anybody else,” said Kelly who also spoke to reporters.
“It’s a great improvement from last year,” he said, adding, “last year I was standby in the finals and I decided to go back to the drawing board and work hard. I listened to all the critics and I learned from my mistakes last year. So I feel really happy tonight”.
However, Rootsman Kelly was quick to add that he “would have felt (a lot) better being in the first position.”
“All respect and big up to Ajamu,” he quipped.
It was a night of stiff competition Sunday when 10 Calypsonians graced the big stage at the National Stadium to showcase their talents and compete for the 2015 title.
Micha “Baracka” Joseph from River Road, St. George, who has been in involved in the Calypso business for the last 3 years, finally made his debut on the national platform with his songs, “Slavery” and “Control”.
“I came out and did my best. I did what I had to do. The people were pleased with my performance and the judge’s decision was final. I came in 3rd which was excellent (this being) my first time. Now I have to just go back to the drawing board (and) up my game for next year,” Baracka told reporters.
He sought to assure his followers that he is not loosing sight of the title and his fans can look out for greater things in Spicemas 2016.
“I am a very creative writer (you can) expect something creative, wonderful and fun,” said the 30-year-old.
Placing 4th was Nashanda “Shanda” Charles with her renditions “My Conclusion” and “Ah Wonder,” while the 7-time Calypso Monarch Scholar copped the 5th spot with his hard hitting selections “Failing grade” and “Silence”.
The pre-competition favourite, Georgia Charles-Mc Intyre known as “The Messenger” after topping the semi-final round of competition, came 6th with her selections, “Just One mile” and “The Voice” and was followed in 7th position by Jerry Baptiste “Papa Jerry” with his renditions, “State of Mind and “Eight Commandments of Calypso”.
Phelon Blackette “Smallies” came 8th with his songs “Mr Positive” and “Cecilia”, while Kelvin Celestine “Otis” came 9th doing “Pan is the Spirit” and “The world needs love”.
The final position was occupied by Basil Bernard who sang “Step son” and “Her Peas”.