In honour of Bag

Kids, police band pay tribute to 'calypso intellectual’

Barbadian musical legend Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire was last night recognized for his contribution to the calypso art form as the Pinelands Creative Workshop, in collaboration with the Royal Barbados Police Force Band, staged Sweet Soca Songs: A Tribute To RPB.

The event also featured the close to 50 campers from the PCW’s annual Camp Fusion Programme.

Camp director Rodney Grant told a standing-room only audience in Parkinson Memorial School hall that the event was the PCW’s way of honouring a man who had done much for Barbados.

Singing sweet soca with the campers.
Singing sweet soca with the campers.

“Last year we would have honoured the Mighty Gabby, and this year it is the Red Plastic Bag.

“This man Stedson Wiltshire –– the Red Plastic Bag –– this gentleman in my mind is a calypso intellectual, and we have to understand the contributions that calypsonians make to Barbados in terms of writing our history and capturing the important social issues that help us to move forward as a people and to understand ourselves.

Bag, [you’re] an outstanding son of the soil. We are very happy to be doing this for you as an outstanding calypsonian.  This is also important because if we, as a country, are talking about where we want to take cultural development, what we want to do in terms of the cultural industries, then we have to begin somewhere. We have to begin to experiment with our children,” he told an audience that included the Mighty Gabby, the National Cultural Foundation’s Chief Cultural Officer Andrea Wells and St Michael South-East Opposition MP Santia Bradshaw.

Wiltshire, on accepting the award, while being surrounded by the campers, dedicated it to the people of Barbados.

“It is always sweetest when you are recognized by your own. I have received awards all over the world, and whenever I receive an award from my own, it makes me feel proud to be a Barbadian.

“I just want you to know that it is because of you that I do what I do. People ask me, ‘Bag, where do you get the inspiration?’ It is you who give me the inspiration to continue doing what I am doing.

“When I conceptualize and I sing a song, and I see that you can relate to what I am saying. For me, that is victory.  Sometimes my victory comes long before I go the National Stadium or Kensington Oval.

“My victory is with you; and I hope that I can continue to make my contribution to this country that I love with all my heart,” the Bag declared.


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