Tribute to the Maestro Kenrick Georges – A Nevisian Perspective

Charlestown, Nevis August 30, 2019:  Kenrick Georges, a musical genius from St. Kitts and who will be more fondly remembered, as the composer of the national anthem of St. Kitts and Nevis, passed away on Monday 26th August, in New York City, USA, where he resided for quite some time.

His impact on the music industry was not limited to the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, but through his very popular studios in New York, he impacted the wider world as well.

Three of Nevis’ finest calypsonians found time to pay tribute to the great man:

Cliff GINGER Walters:
“Well, Georges’ first recording studio was known as GT studios in the Bronx and I was the first to record there in 1990.  GT really meant Georges and Tony (Hendrickson). Georges was the arranger, musician and producer and Tony was the ‘pay-ducer’ who provided equipment and such.  My first two songs were ‘No retreat no surrender’ and ‘Party animal’.

Cliff Ginger Walters

I was a little hesitant about recording there, as it was very small. I said ‘Georges how de horns men and de drummer goin’ fit een here?’  I was accustomed to studios with drum booths, grand pianos, massive speakers, and 12-inch reel to reel machines.   He said ‘We don’t need them. That was then, this is now, the computer age’.

One thing about Georges that you’d appreciate, is that he fought for perfection.  Not just in his music, but the lyrics that an artiste sang on tracks that he arranged. Georges was like an English teacher in his studio. Your diction or choice of words must be appropriate to the context in which they are used or he wouldn’t record your song.

I remembered King Dis and Dat had a big fight with him in 1993 and after that year ‘De King’ never went to GT studios anymore.  Dis and Dat had a song about Nevis that started like this: ‘Capped with a snow peak.’ Hear Georges: ‘Nevis have a snow peak? Fix it. I ain’ recording dat. Look oo trouble… Fighting!!!

I recorded 34 songs with Georges, his favourite was Saga Boy.   He tried to get me to change a few lines in ‘Rain’ but I quietly resisted and he gave up and recorded the song but told me not to put his name on the CD. He did not like the flow of a line or two – ‘Lakes and streams and rivers flow’.  ‘Lakes don’t flow. Lakes are dead bodies of water.’ He said: ‘Change ‘lakes’ to ‘creeks’. Creeks? Lakes sounded better.  Georges’ favourite quote was: ‘I bright, das why my mother call me SON’.

‘Rain trickling thru the cobblestones’, irritated Georges as well. Georges contended that Rain does not trickle through cobblestones. Rain is only what’s falling. After it falls, it’s WATER. The man was a perfectionist to the ‘T’.   I’d say Kenrick Georges recorded at least 400 albums over the years: Trinidadians, Antiguans, St Lucians, Grenadians, Nevisians, Fung Fat and his Gang of Guyana and American Rappers and so many others.”

Crefton MEEKO Warner
“Kenrick Georges- a mystical, musical genius; very helpful, most times jolly, love joking around but very serious when it comes to his music.  I will miss him so much. He has provided me with some beautiful music.  He is the one who arranged ‘Nevis nice.’  May your soul rest in peace, my brother.”

Oscar ASTRO Browne:
“I can say a lot of things about Kenrick the musician.  I can say that he was the composer, arranger and producer of the greatest national anthem that was ever composed.  I can further say that he arranged and produced a few of my songs.

King Astro

I can end this tribute right here and say that back in 2011, he composed, produced and arranged what I thought was one of my finest works, my ode to Nevis, entitled ‘Praises’, but I know most of us knew that side of him.

I’ll rather speak of Georges the man. Georges the number one musician.  I met this great human being, back in 2009, when Pencheon suggested that we get Georges to arrange one of my songs for the national carnival.  From that day onwards, Georges and I built a rock-solid relationship.

A relationship that blossomed into a brotherhood. A brotherhood that saw me and my family travelling to Binghamton to stay with him.  Upon reaching there, my brother Kenrick said boastfully: ‘Bro, your wife and my wife will share the bed, our sons will share my son’s bedroom, and you and I will take the floor.’  It was a fun visit.

Georges and his wife Bernice and his son Kenijah, then visited me in Nevis.  He will often shower praise on Judith Liburd and Joseph Gajor.  He will share stories of when his instruments were burnt in St. Kitts, that Nevis, through folks like Gajor and Judith, is how he found refuge, peace and solace.

He was a great teacher to me.  He took the time to teach me how to phrase my lyrics properly.

He was a great teacher to his son Kenijah.  Georges was able to teach him to play the saxophone in just six months.  At age nine, Kenijah was blowing on my tracks.  In the song PRAISES, he blew the solo parts.

He was also a great teacher to many.  He would often tell stories of how he did the same thing with STAN, as he did for Kenijah.  He was selfless, kind and caring.  Georges was a friend to me; a mentor and most of all, my brother.  May your soul rest in eternal peace. Am going to miss you, brother.”

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