The New Today


Short and unsweetened

Yes, I promise that I will be short and unsweetened. First I want to thank the Independence Celebration Committee for staging the Virtual Calypso Show.

As an old calypso lover I missed my calypso diet last year and on top of that the Trinidad season was called off this year. So it was nice to witness a calypso competition after a long time. I also got to see my old school mate Raphael…the Croqueta on stage after a long break.

As happy as I was though I am very concerned based on what I witnessed. The guys had a full year to compose something decent. Most of what I heard though indicate that the calypsonians in Grenada need some serious assistance to develop their composing ability. I was frankly embarrassed for the most part.

There was little depth in the compositions. Such songs I call short cut calypsoes. One of the female calypsonians had some decent enough lyrics but the melody of the song was atrocious and she was visibly nervous. Apart from the young lady, only Scholar’s son and Sour Serpent sang anything of note lyrically.

The judging was also very underwhelming. The adjudicators of calypso in Grenada are really in need of help. Something must be done right away because they appear to be clueless when it comes to calypso adjudication.

The winner of the competition was so easy to select that getting that wrong took some doing. Scholar’s son was done a great disservice. He was decent in all the areas and he displayed great maturity and confidence.

Yes, Sour Serpent had a creative idea and a decent composition. But his melody is his Achilles heel. It is too same, too weak and scoring it more than 19 is being very generous in my viewpoint. I have played musical instruments all my life so I know a thing or two about melody. It will be interesting to see what scores he gets out of 30 for melody when he sings. I suspect it’s in the high 20s because he is winning titles.

His delivery was also shocking for one who is the National Calypso King. Of all the calypsonians who performed, himself and Teacher Eddie delivered the poorest. When you take all of that and put them together with the way he ended the performance….without music, reading from a phone, making long pauses, in a different key to the original song… he should not have even been in the top four much less to win the crown.

I would instead have placed the Top Cat in the top four. His composition about planting the land could have done with some development just as most of the songs in the competition, but his melody was good and he delivered the song excellently.

Fada Sounds was also done a great disservice in my view. His lyrical content was admittedly not strong and his originality can be questioned. However he more than compensated with a lovely melody…. the best of them all…and the power and conviction of his delivery…. also the best of them all. Second place should have been his without a doubt.

A word on my old school mate the Croqueta before I end. I thought he had given up competition to concentrate on his spiritual calling. Seeing him filled me with happiness because I always enjoyed his compositions and that rich baritone voice. In fact I thought he performed very well considering that he was out for some time and if he had placed in the top four it would have been well deserving.

I hope that the poor judging does not drive him away for good this time.

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