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Not serious

by Kimberley Cummins

8-12 Junior Calypso Monarch, Johari Taitt, in 2009 accepting her trophy from then Minister of Culture, Steve Blackett.

8-12 Junior Calypso Monarch, Johari Taitt, in 2009 accepting her trophy from then Minister of Culture, Steve Blackett.

One young singer believes young people are not interested in social commentary because it is too serious.

Former 8-12 winner of the Junior Calypso Monarch, Johari Taitt this morning told Bajan Vibes that young people just wanted to have fun.

”As much as I like singing calypso I don’t see myself singing it my entire life, she said. “It was fun and a good experience but I kind of want to move on from that. I have fun and I feel I can connect with sings that are more pop and not really so serious – I just want to sing and have fun with it,” the Queen’s College student said. Stressing that she did not believe commentary would die as a result, she noted that youth were not at all afraid to handle serious issues, however, they did not want to be serious all the time.

She added: “Being young you want to have fun, so as much as we would watch the news, or hear things on the radio or even read a newspaper, it is kind of depressing to be walking around thinking about all the serious issues all the time. You don’t really want to be so serious all the time and be ‘no this thing isn’t happening in my country and I am going to sing about it’ you just want to have fun with it. I think there are people who are called to do what they are supposed to do; many people out there are called to deal with these issues, but it is not everybody.

”Junior monarch has been going for so long and every year there are new people coming… adding to the basis that it has been operating. They have been a few to go on from Junior Monarch onto the older category like Sir Ruel,and Tiffany G, she is not in calypso but she is in the [Royal Barbados Police Force band] so she’s in music, it may not be necessarily be going to calypso but I think they are lending to music in general in Barbados,” she said.

Taitt was first introduced to calypso while attending the St. Paul’s Primary school. In Class 3, there was a calypsocompetition at the school and veteran calypsonians like: Gabby, RPB, Smokey Burke and Kid Site were the judges.

She told Bajan Vibes that she had so much fun that she was then motivated to enter NIFCA to perform the piece In My Bag which she competed with at school and was penned by John King. The now 16–year–old gained a bronze for her efforts and in 2009 she entered the Junior calypso competition for the first time and won with another King composition titled Yes We Can.

On the subject of junior calypsonians not writing their own music which some argue could lead to the demise of the art form, the youngster said that some young people were afraid to compose their own songs because of fear of ridicule. Stating that when King wrote both of her songs he did so with her input, she noted it was sometimes scary to attempt it on her own. ”In My Bag was about all the things that were happening at school so obviously he wasn’t going to school with us, he couldn’t write from his perspective we had to tell him what we wanted and what was happening and then we would give ideas so I wouldn’t say he wrote it by himself we gave ourselves to the songs. Yes We Can [had] my ideas that came from me, it was what I wanted to sing and not what he wanted me to sing but I guess people aren’t writing, it is kind of scary.

”You don’t want to be tacky, you don’t want to use cliché lines and then people be like ‘It’s Barbados so you know their standard, it is not up to the US or Europe’. Putting yourself out there, showing your emotions it is kind of hard because people always criticise it and people don’t want that. You don’t want people criticise what you have been through”, she said.

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