This week we compliment Spicemas Corporation (SMC), the organiser of a conference for Calypso, Groovy, Soca Artistes, Managers of Artistes and Music Producers. We are glad that calypsonians are included because that art-form seems to be on its way out. People who have been following the work of artistes in calypso have been asking the question over and over “what is happening with our calypsonians.”
Well truth be told, some of the songs had powerful political messages that did not get the blessings of our politicians; so they ended up not being in the spotlight. Even radio announcers and Disc jockeys, when there is the mood for calypso, choose the foreign songs especially from Trinidad and Tobago. The likes of Black Wizard, Darkie, Tangler, African Teller, Squeezy, Scorpion, Mantis and others are gone with the wind.
The conference takes place tomorrow (Saturday May 14, 2022,) at the VIP Lounge 2nd Floor Kirani James Athletic Stadium from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm with the theme: “Visioning the Future of Our Music”. Presentations will focus on Professionalism, Copyright Issues, Contracts, Artistes Challenges and more. Calypsonians, it is our hope that many of you will attend and ask pertinent questions which might help bring back calypso in the spotlight. As the Mighty Sparrow once said in an interview, the artistes must find ways to stay relevant as times change. Genuine calypso lovers know that our artistes had reached a high standard in documenting events. Can anyone remember when Squeezy sang about Sadam Husain’s bombing of Kuwait; or Black Wizard on the fall of the Berlin Wall?
Unfortunately, the modern Disc Jockeys refer to them as old school songs; but it’s quite interesting that they continue to big up songs from Bob Marley and others from that era. Is it a question that our media houses who depend on local support, do not understand their role in promoting local artistes? Quite often one hears “Now let’s take something local” when they play one or two songs by Grenadians.
Inspector’s recent award at the Mother’s Day calypso show at Spice Basket is a step in the right direction. We need to see more of that in keeping calypso in its rightful place. As an ode to calypso this week, we present the transcript of one of the more powerful songs produced after the fall of the Revolution as Grenada returned to democratic rule. The song, Uncle Sam, satire in nature, by Black Wizard was produced in 1991. It documented the twists and turns, some of which are still relevant today as it unfolded the period immediately after the Revolution and the chief players.
Economic pressure engulfed the nation, the people bawling murder they can’t take the jam.
Some blaming the PRG, NNP and TNP; others in the land, they blaming me Uncle Sam.
Grenadians they lying on me they say I don’t like the NDC. So, I ent giving them aid because I don’t want them make the grade. But, my own deficit is five hundred billion and on top of it I spent fifty on Desert Storm.
And, you must remember blood thicker than water so all them Kurdish refugees must get priority.
Businessmen despondent everywhere you go, you hearing one comment, boy things really slow. After the intervention everybody hopes start to rise, their expectations – I would have made here a paradise.
Yes when I came here in 83, everybody jumped up with glee because they thought I will just give willy a heaping set of yankee money;
some even relate that here will be the 53 state, the kind of status core I ent even give to Puerto Rico. The rescue mission was a damn big sham all you should have known I just wanted to get rid of Castro.
Young folks disillusioned with the government, the nation’s on a time bomb cause there’s no employment. The people complaining that they can’t see a project yet, the government saying they owe a whole set of foreign debt.
And the talk around the country is that I should play back Plessy; they say it’s only just because I land on Point Salines first and during construction was destabilization all over the place I call it the Soviet base. But right now is one love with me and Gorbachev; so remember I say don’t get involve in super power play.
Consumers can’t keep up with the inflation, prices for export crops hitting rock bottom. The recession biting and the people suffering. But, what is insulting they saying I ent do a thing.
I took your warring politicians, I brought them up to Union Island; I join them up as one and then I give them the election. By 1990 they split up in three, so you showing me that you ent have no stability.
If you want your country prosper, go plant more nutmeg and banana, and don’t sit there on your bottom and depend on Uncle Sam.”