The top calypso bands in St. Kitts and Nevis will be placed in the spotlight next week, when the National Carnival Committee launches its first ever Icons Sugar Mas Virtual Concert at the Carnival Village in Basseterre, on Monday, 21st December, starting at 8:00pm.
It will be streamed live on the social media platforms of the carnival committee and aired on local radio and television.
Fans at home in St. Kitts and Nevis and those overseas, are being encouraged to organize “Watch Parties” to log on, or tune in to their radios and television sets to witness this music festival styled presentation.
The concert comes at a time when all street activities, such as J’ouvert, Parade Day and Last Lap, have been cut from the 2020 celebrations of the annual Sugar Mas celebrations, due to the Coronavirus.
Carnival officials have indicated that the Icons event will feature former carnival Road March winning bands as well as the Kore Band of Nevis, which has copped a number of Road March titles during past Culturama festivals on that island.
In concert will be the Small Axe Band, which has won 12 Road March titles, Nu Vybes Band International with four (4) titles and Grand Masters, which has had 10 winning titles to their name.
It was back in 1987, when the Grand Masters captured its first title, with a tune called “Masters’ Jam”.
The band continued its winning ways in 1998, 1999 and 2004.
Then it achieved the difficult task of a 3 Peat, winning back to back in 2007,2008, 2009, and again in 2011, 2016.
Its last victory was in 2019, with a ‘jammer’ called “Lift Off De Stress”.
When the Nu Vybes got its first break in 1996, with “Hand Signal” it capitalized on its momentum, and repeated its triumph in 1997 with the hard hitting “Street Style”.
The band would go on to win two more titles in 2001, with the popular “People’s Sugar” and with “Step Up” in 2002. It has not had the opportunity of another victory for the past 18 years, though it came very close in 2019.
In the 49 years of carnival, the Small Axe Band has been the most dominant of all bands and individuals who have secured the title, including the icon, King Ellie Matt, (7).
They hold the record for the Most Road March Titles…Twelve (12).
It is the only band to have won four (4) consecutive times, (2012-2015). Ellie Matt also won four crowns from 1976-1979).
Had Small Axe not lost the title in 2016 to the Grand Masters, they would have won back to back, for seven (7) years. But that was not to be, and the Grand Masters stopped that runaway train with their “Wuk U Shift” song in 2016.
However, Small Axe returned in 2017 and again in 2018, but was again stopped in 2019 from another 3 peat, by Grand Masters.
The first Road March for Small Axe was in 1988, with “Big League”, 1989, “Who is De Dan”, then in 1990, “Pan Man”.
After 1990, they were made to wait until 2000 for another title but was not able to defend the crown in 2001, when Nu Vybes stepped in, winning back to back in 2001, (People’s Sugar) and 2002, (Step Up).
Small returned to their winning ways in 2006 with “Masquerade” but again went into the wilderness for six-years, without another title.
Small Axe Years of Victory
Grand Masters Years of Victory
Nu Vybes Years of Victory
Other major carnival events that are scheduled for this month are Panorama, Steelband Competition on Wednesday, 23rd and Senior Calypso Finals on Tuesday, 29th December.