NCF sworn to saving classical calypso

The National Cultural Foundation (NCF) remains committed to the traditional calypso art form and the Pic-O-De-Crop competition, its development, growth and preservation. This was the assurance from NCF chief executive officer Cranston Browne today at a Press conference.

Browne said it was the NCF’s aim to ensure the art form did not die.

“The NCF will continue to create opportunities for the education and development of the artistes and this art form. The National Cultural Foundation, as an institution, will ensure that this form of calypso does not die; and this is why we pay so much attention.

NCF CEO Cranston Browne
NCF CEO Cranston Browne

“Yes, the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch will attract bigger numbers, but we feel that it is incumbent on us, as the protectors of cultural heritage, to make sure that Pic-O-De-Crop and, by extension, social commentary live on,” he said.

Browne explained that the social commentary was a form of music that would tell stories for a long time to come.

“What is important about this competition is [the calypsos] serve as oral records. Embedded within the lyrics of the song is a story of a particular period. Years from now, we will still be able to follow what is happening in society from these songs.

“I have always been a staunch advocate for the archiving posterity and for regular exposure of this art form on our radio and TV stations, and now in our social media phase,” Browne added.

He acknowledged there was still a segment of the community, especially the younger generation, that had not been inculcated in the tent culture or even
the Pic-O-De-Crop.

National Cultural Foundation CEO Cranston Browne (second from left) shaking the hand of Terry Vaughn, brand manager of Mount  Gay Distilleries, welcoming him back on board, as MQI sales and marketing manager Margaret Hoyte, MQI marketing intern Chenea Waithe and Pic-O-De-Crop producer Adisa Andwele look on.
National Cultural Foundation CEO Cranston Browne (second from left) shaking the hand of Terry Vaughn, brand manager of Mount
Gay Distilleries, welcoming him back on board, as MQI sales and marketing manager Margaret Hoyte, MQI marketing intern Chenea Waithe and Pic-O-De-Crop producer Adisa Andwele look on.

“This is one of the reasons why we have joined with Barbados TODAY to actually do an online component of the judging. Because if we can get the judging of the competition and the social commentary aspect of it online as well, that would create some interest. So that is one of the avenues we are using to help keep social commentary alive.”

The CEO said the NCF was committed to doing what it would take to save the art form.

“Earlier in May, we had a workshop with the veteran Chalkdust, and it was said to be inspiring. We also held Junior Monarch workshops, and more recently the first of two judges workshops. These are all aspects
of the developmental aspect of the festival,” he explained.

Event producer Adisa Andwele told the media he believed Barbados had the biggest and best calypso finals in the Caribbean, and that all should be done to save it.

“We feel there has been a decline, and the National Cultural Foundation has taken this situation very serious. We did a songwriters workshop with Chalkdust a few months ago; we also had a meeting with tent managers.

“Already, I know, All Stars was recorded by CBC. A lot of the calypsonians this year recorded their songs as well. I’m hearing a lot of kaiso songs on air, and that is good,” Andwele said.

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