RPB: Think beyond Crop-Over
calypso king advises artistes to look further than the festival
by Kimberley Cummins
Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch, Stedson Red Plastic Bad Wiltshire is pleading with other artists to view Crop-Over in a bigger way.
He was speaking to Barbados TODAY yesterday at the official presentation of the Kia vehicles to the monarchs at McEnearney Quality Inc in Wildey, St. Michael. He said that while the National Cultural Foundation had played their part, in terms of giving the artists a platform to perform and hosting several workshops for them to improve their skills, artists themselves needed to view their music as more than just for the season.
“I would like to encourage the practitioners, the calypsonians, soca artists, who are making music to think beyond the festival so that when they are hired to perform elsewhere they would not have been hired to perform a one song.
“The market is getting really tight and when you have to pay a person’s travel, you have to put them up, you have to feed them, that person needs to do more than one song or two songs. So you have to build a repertoire that is palatable to as wide a market as possible so that you can do more performances.
“The reality of it,” he said, “is most of the people involved in calypso are working elsewhere, they are doing a 9-5, so they are not professionals in the business. Maybe they do not view it with the same level of importance as a person who does it for a living.
“The effort of the artists has to be of such that they view themselves as making music for the world, the sound quality what they produce must be able to match what is being played on the international stage”.
History making monarch, Mikey Mercer, was also in agreement with RPB’s comments. As a professional entertainer, he said he believed that one of the reasons he was able to win the Sweet Soca Monarch, Party Monarch, People’s Choice and Tune-Of-The-Crop this year was because he viewed music as his livelihood.
“I could say this is why I put so much work into it because win or lose competition I have to make sure that my music is consistent and of a certain quality because it really isn’t a choice of failure for me where the whole brand of the music is concerned.
“This is how I eat, this is how I feed my family so I had to approach it as a serious business – as a business. I took marketing classes and did some accounts to make sure I know what is going on,” he said.
RPB said he believed that the ragga soca, sweet soca, groovy soca type songs were the sounds which could take calypso music to the next level, but for that to happen it had to be viewed as important.
“We do Ragga soca music better than anybody else in the Caribbean, we do it better than anybody else because it comes natural to us and I think that we need to recognise that this is something that we do better than anybody else and it must be treated with the same level of respect and regard as we treat the faster side of the music and the slower side of music.
Ragga soca is the music that will take soca music, in general to the next level. It is more acceptable wherever I go, people of all ages can relate, they last longer, they go further and we just need to recognise that and give it the level of respect and regard that is due.
“I think it is a beautiful art form but in most cases it does not get the level of respect that it really should get,” he said. firstname.lastname@example.org