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by Donna Sealy

Crop-Over has being hijacked, says Classic who is celebrating his 30th consecutive year in calypso.

He told Barbados TODAY that the six-week festival has been “hijacked to the extent that people believe it is an opportunity to get popular, and get fame” and therefore there was “an onslaught” of 600 songs annually.

The seasoned artist said that songs should have messages and while there is no shortage of bumper, wining, grinding and party songs, there should be some degree of creativity.

“If I’m going to do a party song I believe it should be different in terms of how I approach the subject. I think that people need to be a little more creative. Crop-Over had been virtually hijacked and you have a lot of young people, who I don’t have a problem with, getting involved in the Festival, but they just want their five minutes of fame.

“They’re not interested in developing the art form or knowing the rudiments of the art form or knowing how to structure a song. Even if you’re going to write a party song, try to write the best one you can write. Don’t just believe it is just about getting on a riddim and repeating something 50 and 60 times and that’s a song, I believe there are certain elements that go into song writing that are missing and that is why they are not sustainable because when you hear them three of four times, you’ve had enough and that is why people are complaining about the ‘music’,” he said.

The calypsonian, real name William Waithe, noted that the basics had to be covered before anything was done.

Those include a good melody, a story line which did not have to be serious issue.

“Everybody has a different role in the Festival but I think what is missing is that a lot of the people who are involved in the festival just want their five minutes of fame and they are not really interested in the developmental aspects of the art form and this is reflected in the ‘quality’ of the music that you find coming from some of these people,” he contended.

He noted that when he started back in 1984, he got ideas and techniques from artists such as Gabby, Romeo who had been there before him. Those pointers helped with his writing and to help him develop as a calypsonian.

“A lot of these youngsters believe they just have to get a song and once they get it and their friends play it on the radio that they’re super stars. They don’t really have a proper foundation and that is reflected in what you’re getting and passing for music.

“I’m not knocking them, I think that the music has to evolve. We are not going to be here forever and we have to pass on the baton. If they’re going to come to the table, come with at least the basics covered. … A lot of [young people] have the mentality that they could get a song that would play on the radio and they would become popular.

“If they’re interested in developing as an artist, they would learn how to structure a song, get a melody and get the hook line working. They will find an arranger that will make the song sound sweet, get some sweet music. … They don’t want to be calypsonians and go in a tent. They want to have a song out to tell their friends,” he stated.

This year, Classic joins the cast of De First Citizens/Digicel Big Show, and he is looking forward to the first show for this season on Sunday night.

“I believe that it will go well. I have confidence in my material this year. I think that the presence of De Big Show would help me because of the professionalism, the quality of the musicianship, the atmosphere that is conducive to social commentary, I think that the ambience would be suitable for me. I believe that singing in Big Show is an asset for me this year,’ he said.

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