Not far enough
Bajan music is growing, but could do better
Barbados’ soca and calypso music is going places, but not fast enough.
According to some producers, artistes, deejays, the quality of the music is improving and gives lots of hope for the future.
Producer and entertainer Anderson Blood Armstrong said he was pleased with the level of music put out for 2014 and was glad to see the younger artistes learning from their mistakes.
“I think there is a fantastic offering right across the board this year. The young people did their homework from last year and brought much better music. They have realized that the songs with the proper melodies are the ones that are taking us far,” he said.
But he added that in order for Barbadian songs to me more marketable overseas, stronger support was needed from the Bajan Diaspora.
“While we get support now, a lot more is needed. But right now I believe that our music can compete in the region and, by extension, the world,” he added.
Peter Coppin, producer and radio deejay said he was happy that the standards were rising.
“If we take a look at Trinidad this year, most of the music was strong and [it has] forced everyone to step up in a good way. I am encouraged that a lot of young producers and artistes are coming out and putting forward what they believe is their best work,” Coppin said.
He continued: “I am happy that the established ones are still at it and haven’t given up yet.”
However, Coppin expressed his concern at the slow progress of the music.
“It’s a slow journey as it usually is for Barbados, but I would rather lean on the positive side. Whether or not I like a song for whatever reason, I am more excited about the future. I know it will get better. I know in time we can really move from being a market to an industry. So I remain hopeful and will not stop,” he added.
Coppin urged artistes, especially the younger ones, to treat their craft like a career and to do all that was needed to enhance their vocals, performances and writing skills.
Additionally, he said: “I do believe that we have a few very strong songs that can compete in the region and internationally. I look forward to when 90 per cent
of them can.”
Shane Stiffy Atkinson, one artiste who makes controversial music and has often been called out for making more dub-like songs, said he believed his music was improving and could compete all over the world.
“What I am singing now doesn’t stick to one genre or one beat; so they will still be relevant long after Crop Over pass; and that is what I always aim for,” he said.
But Stiffy said more needed to be done to expose the young artiste, in order for the music to progress.
“There is some good music this year, but the problem is there’s no way to hear all of the work done by the newer and less popular artistes. That’s where the Calvalcades used to come in. So they need to look into that,” he cautioned.
Another deejay, Shane DJ Ras Edwards, said that the music this year had been the best it had been in years.
“The artistes have perfected what we call sweet soca and they are definitely getting better all around, and can now compete regionally and internationally,” he said.