You are here
Riding the rhythm of the music
Carnival 2013 may be long over but the melodies linger on, despite being replaced by the feast of non-soca music now being foisted upon our collective audio apparatus on the airwaves since Ash Wednesday. I mean, how can one go cold turkey on Bunji Garlin’s Differentology, SuperBlue’s Fantastic Friday, Machel Montano’s Float, Iwer George’s Bubble or Blaxx’s Leh Go; just like that?
The experts in the music industry think that this was one of the better years for calypso and soca music, despite the increase in the quantum of releases “riding the rhythm.”
Gone are the days of music scores being available for musicians to accompany soca artistes on live shows, a development lamented by veteran musician/arranger Pelham Goddard.
This week, Goddard said he’d like to include some of the young soca artistes on the cast for his Thursday Caribbean Nights, which premiered last night at De Nu Pub (The Mas Camp) in Woodbrook, but cannot as there is no written music for their songs.
A musician since childhood, the crestfallen Goddard said: “Today, there is no written music again for a band to play. Music is now created on a “rhythm” built by the producer. The producer goes into a studio and builds rhythms. When built, someone is then invited to sing on the rhythm.
“Today, a producer doesn’t even have to know music, or even ever attend a music class. The music we now get for Carnival is restricted to a computer.
“Though I really miss authentic horns in the music, not to mention real drums and keyboards, I must admit that I do like much of the music I’ve heard for C2K13. I previously expressed my love of Differentology and Fantastic Friday, as well as Kenny J’s Jam Up To You, Kurt Allen’s Political Sin-Phony, Black Stalin and Steve Sealy’s Tell Dem, Black Stalin’s More Love and Destra’s Addicted.
“I also enjoy the songs that ride the rhythm. My favourite of these is the Future Riddim, upon which rides Blaxx (Leh Go); To D Future (Bunji Garlin); Whistle & Horn (Cassie); and, Jump Up Ting (Iwer George). It is a truly infectious piece.
“One other thing to please me with the music this Carnival was the collaborations between artistes. The list is long with these releases which featured most times two artistes and, in one particular case, as many as four. The latter is the remake of the late Maestro’s Gold, a sterling tribute to the nation’s heroes and heroines, the vocals shared between Machel Montano, Rikki Jai, Karene Asche and Duane O’Connor, all champion artistes.
“Another collaboration which made me sit up and take notice is Live Yuh Life (Like Yuh Playing Mas), by David Rudder and Kees Dieffenthaller. This ditty features two of our most charismatic male vocalists and carries a beautiful message and melody.
Other collaborations I’ve heard include Indian Gyul (Machel Montano/Drupatee); Monster (Machel Montano/Skinny Fabulous); Oh Lawd Oh (Benjai/Kernal Roberts); Love Me Carnival (Problem Child/Patrice Roberts); Crossover (Fay Ann Lyons/Edwin Yearwood); and, All Night (Cassie/Therapy).
And, after another year of Carnival, the beat goes on, good music, especially groovy soca pieces, to take us unto Carnival 2014. As can be expected, artistes like Kees and Machel can be expected to produce even more tracks as the year progresses.
Stroke of Genius
Invented in 1985 by Salmon Cupid, the E-Pan is one of the most revolutionary invention of the steelpan lineage. Five years after its birth, its virtual prototype version was produced and, 12 years later, in 2012, the first E-Pan CD, featuring one player playing all the tracks, was produced.
The history-making pan musician to record this CD – Stroke of Genius – is Duvonne Stewart, arranger of BP Renegades Steel Orchestra, Pan Elders and San Juan East Side Symphony, and one of the nation’s most versatile and talented steelbandsmen. History will also record that Renegades is the first steel orchestra to incorporate the E-Pan in its aggregation in a steelband competition.
In the linear notes for Stroke of Genius, Cupid champions the advantages of his invention. He said: “Back in the 1980’s, when the steelpan tone was incorporated into the keyboard, the steelpan player lost valuable work and has been doing so ever since. Several calypsonians and bands use the leyboard’s steelpan tone, as opposed to a steelpan player, due in part to the challenges which miking the steelpan has long presented, whether live or recorded.
“The difference now with this modern technology, is that pannists can regain work, in or out of the studio setting, while extending and expanding their musical and artistic versatility”
The E-Pan has 127 different built-in tones. On Stroke of Genius, comprising nine tracks, Stewart explores myriad tones, inclusive of the organ, sitar and marimba, all with the simple stroke of a button.
Produced by Cupid and Stewart, the tracks of Stroke of Genius are Steelband Time, El Comanchero, Mambo Caliente, Malika, Chicken, Quando Quando, Turkish March, Autumn Leaves and Trini to de Bone.
Another CD produced during C2K13, with a steelpan connection, was done by former Trinidad All Stars captain Hamilton “Web” Alexander, resident in Canada since 1977. Alexander, who captained the legendary steel orchestra for six years (1971-1977), and served also on the executive of Pan Trinbago, switched hats to become a calypsonian, singing as Calypso Web, winning the Montreal monarch title twice.
Currently the vice-president of Canada’s Organisation of Calypso Performing Artistes, Alexander’s CD includes his compositions Trinbago Gun Man, Grandpa I Can’t Understand and Celebrating Earth Day.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.