Dub is de force

by Donna Sealy

Dandy Lion
Dandy Lion

Revo-Dub-A-Lution is back.

At least that’s what producer David Prophet Clarke is working towards.

Still in the initial stages, he is hoping for a great response to his call for people to get involved in one of the five aspects of the show which was very popular in the 1980s.

“I don’t see it as just going out there and putting on a show. I see it as a calling. I see it as a commission. The first show I did wasn’t called Revo-Dub-A-Lution but it was the first attempt at promoting anything reggae or dub was in 1983 and that was won by Kid Site,” he told Bajan Vibes.

“Then due to family commitments, in terms of having to support them, and even the pursuit of your own agenda and education. We took a break and then we started back in 1987 and went straight down to about 1994 but due to financial constraints we couldn’t continue. I then started back in 2004-2005 and now we’re starting again.

“I would say at this juncture, it’s timely because the next major revenue earner for this country, I believe should be the cultural industries and outside of that, a number of individuals were calling for the competition saying that not only soca has taken over but there aren’t any avenues for people who express themselves within the genre to stage their craft or gain exposure. A number of chanters and other patrons who know of the event were asking me all the time when I will restart it.

“It is always the financial constraints that hinder you from moving forward. Years ago nobody was investing in the art form because when I did it I was against society. There was experimentation with illegal drugs, much of the sings being played had sexual overtones and other negatives.

“The word Revo-Dub-A-Lution if you take it apart, really means a dub revolution and it was really designed to address the ills of the society but that was by getting the guys to inject positive content into their competitions. What was happening then was that we were importing a lot of songs from Jamaica that were very slack those are the songs that used to play on the mini vans which would have been impacting on the youth in a negative way,” said the owner of Marketing Innovations/Basun Entertainment.

Jah’n I
Jah’n I

He added that his aim then was to revolutionise the dub culture and because of its mass appeal across all sectors of society, there are competition rules that participants must follow.

“You can’t do any songs that promote illegal activity or drugs or songs with sexual overtones. I believe that the art form is powerful enough to attract any age group including seasoned campaigners because I believe if it was promoted it would have been bigger than calypso. I believe that the artists even stand a better chance of succeeding on the international market.

“For example, if you’re pursuing a career in Rhythm and Blues they might look for a particular being with particular features but if you notice in the reggae industry you could be ugly, you don’t have to dress in the best clothes but once the music is sweet, I believe that natural appeal to the drum and bass is there and people respond to that. …We’re dealing with a genre that is internationally acclaimed and recognised. The road has already been paved and I believe it is a very good investment from the governmental perspective,” he said.

Clarke, who wants to see the Revo-Dub-A-Lution Five Art Festival as a fixture on the entertainment calendar, is hoping for governmental support.

“[The festival] is designed to develop the music industry by grooming and showcasing local talent, through five competitions. The dub showcase, dancehall/reggae contest which is the singing element, rap and dance contests, and a DJ showdown,” he said adding that he included the rap component not only because of the similarities but to give those artists who produced music the opportunity to be heard.

He said as it was, radio stations played little or no locally produced rap musics.

The producer said that the festival was not just a talent showcase but was “built on three pillars of development to impact the music industry”. Those are: The Competition, The Workshop and The Production of a Music CD.

“The competition is a nursery for young artistes and provides an avenue for them to nurture and perfect their performing skills in the disciplines of chanting, dancehall singing, rapping, the art of Deejay playing and dancing. It provides opportunities for participants to gain experience and exposure, and to showcase their artistic skills, especially in music which is the driving force of the programme.

“The artistes get to benefit from 10 weekly workshops which act as a precursor and postmortem to each preliminary or semifinal round of the competition. They will be trained in the disciplines of performance, vocal dynamics and the professional components of the music industry. This should assist in helping them in the effective delivery of their presentations and in understanding the business of entertainment.

“It is our objective to record and promote the best of the items from each annual competition. Our music industry can only thrive on the creation of new and fresh material, and through a deliberate and focused effort to develop the rap, reggae, dub and dancehall entertainers. Revo-Dub-A-Lution offers an opportunity for artistes to enhance their craft. It also serves as an instrument for maintaining a constant supply of material,” the producer said.

Clarke wants anyone interested in participating in any of the five competitions which Kid Site, Lil’ Rick who gained national recognition with his song De Yutes (which was popularly referred to as Me Nah Know How De Yutes Get So) and 2011 Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch Popsicle were a part of, to contact him at 252-8902. donnasealy@barbadostoday.bb

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