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Reviews needed for calypso, pan 2018

Published: 
Friday, February 9, 2018

This year there was the tremendous consternation over the lack of adequate State funding for the calypso tents and certain competitions as well as for Panorama.

The money problems have been profusely ventilated but there are other aspects of the carnival that needed media attention. My concern has been the requirement for reviews of our music. Reviews are an important aspect of expanding audience awareness and education. And when we ignore such fundamentals we are doing our artistes and our country a great disservice.

I have written previously about the lack of music criticism in the national media regarding calypso and pan. I took a cue from what Mr Liam Teague said about Panorama 2017.

He said, “What can actually help Panorama is educating the masses. A lot of people come into the panyard and sit and listen but aren’t aware of the intricacies and subtleties of the music. We can spend five or ten minutes speaking to the audience to give them a greater appreciation and a lot more people will be inclined to visit panyards because what they are hearing won’t be a mystery.”

To that I added, “His comments are applicable to the other music and competitions that come with each carnival (and throughout the year). So in addition to pannists speaking to audiences at the panyards, I ask that we also have a consistent body of work from critics who can rouse people to visit the calypso tents where at tendance has been declining for years.”

Again this year we have missed the mark. There has not been, to my knowledge, any reviews of what has been happening in the tents, at any of the competitions or at Panorama. We have had reports which are commendable but not enough effort has been made to alert the population to what Teague said are “the intricacies and subtleties of the music.”

Take the 2018 Stars of Tomorrow (Ages 19-35 years) competition. This was won by Mark Eastman (The Ladies Man) who went on to win the Young Kings Calypso Competition. There was no report far more a review. Five of the contestants were eventually chosen for the Calypso Monarch semifinals! They were Ezekiel Yorke, Renaldo London, Alana Sinnete-Khan (Lady Watchman), Kerine Williams-Figaro (Tiny) and Curlissa Charles-Mapp.

Where Panorama is concerned, steelbands performed a number of calypsoes from the new generation artistes like Kes, Nailah Blackman, Patrice Roberts and the Ultimate Rejects. The public appreciates these calypso/soca artistes, but where is the analysis of their works?

Apart from some public relations articles and a few personality portraits the public does not have a clear picture of what our current carnival music industry has offered nor the changes that have taken place from an earlier era. This is why I wrote last year, “At one point there were useful critiques of calypso and calypso tents from Derek Walcott in the Trinidad Guardian, Keith Smith in the Express and there were also

Mark Lyndersay, Terry Joseph and Debbie Jacobs.”

“In addition there have been several articles by Professors Gordon Rohlehr on Calypso and the late Orville Wright about pan and Panorama in the Trinidad & Tobago Review.”

I have seen no review of the Chutney Soca Monarch competition. Furthermore, I remain disappointed with the radio and TV journalists. They don’t do their research and then they use the same language year after year, especially when it comes to Panorama. It is all about the introduction, the verse and chorus, the reharmonisation, the jam and dynamics ad infinitum.

On the eve of Carnival 2018, I repeat, “Unless the analysis of our music is addressed we will lose precious time in the quest for the development of the Creative Arts Industry which is an important aspect of our economic diversification.”

Aiyegoro Ome

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