Changes excite calypsonians

A great move! That’s how reigning Sweet Soca Monarch, Mikey, sees the inclusion of a live band for the semifinal stage of that competition.

He was speaking with Barbados TODAY after the launch of Crop-Over 2013 this morning at Hilton Barbados, during which Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley announced that the semifinal round of that competition was headed for the Party Stand on Prescod Boulevard before a live band.

There will also be an admission fee.

Mikey, real name Michael Mercer, said: “It will lend a lot to a better performance from the artists because it’s a better feel. Performing to a track is very limiting to what you can do so you can work the song better and the fact that it will be a paying function, I’m happy with that.

“The Sweet Soca Semifinals was the only [one] in Barbados you didn’t have to pay for and for a national competition I think it almost dumbed it down a bit. I’m glad that there is some kind of contribution to the festival that [people] can come a listen to, what people have argued is the sweetest music of the festival. There will be about 20 of those songs so it will be worth the money.”

He was one of the 17 Sweet Soca semifinalists who performed at the event held at the Pork Lime in July and afterwards stated his preference for performing before a live band.

Mikey also successfully defended the Party Monarch, won the Tune of the Crop title this year and tied for second place with Lil’ Rick for the inaugural Jam Tune for Foreday Mornin’.

Blood was another entertainer who shared his views on some of the plans announced by Lashley, describing them as “pretty innovative”. He said he was looking forward to a “good” festival next year.

On the live band and venue he said: “The venue is one we have been using for various fetes and one of the things is that they have expanded the venue so that you can use the outside as well and the capacity has increased.

“[Having] a band is what we’ve always wanted. I’m not sure if they’re going to go with the same format which is choosing from a CD, which isn’t bad and then you go to the semi-finals and perform with a band. That’s one of the things the calypsonians and artists have lobbied for, so it’s a good thing and I think everybody is going to be happy with it.”

What Blood is calling for is an increase in the number of Cavalcades from four.

President of the Barbados Association of Tent Managers, Sinclair Gittens, was optimistic about the proposed changes to the festival.

“I don’t normally knock things ’till I see them work. Let us try them if they work good, if they need fine tuning we will go back and fine tune them. You have to be open to innovations and new concepts because our festival is growing and we need to get it going further and further and building on what we have,” he said. (DS)

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