Nasty Business or Cadence
Dominicans must choose
Leroy "Wadix" Charles currently faces the stiffest challenge in his three-decades-long career promoting Cadence music.
Wadix and Creole Heartbeat, the organization he founded, has planned a three-day Cadence music show dubbed the Cadence Lypso Golden Jubilee and Gospel Festival.
Scheduled to be staged at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium Forecourt this Emancipation weekend, from August 4 to 7, Wadix worries that the private sector and the government of Dominica are not supporting the show as enthusiastically as the promoters expected.
"I was promised support, and it hasn't materialized," Wadix told the Sun. "I sometimes wonder whether it is because of Wadix or people are just not interested in this."
Charles insisted that the Golden Jubilee show is not "a Wadix thing" but another of his many efforts at getting the population to appreciate their culture.
He believes Dominica missed an ideal opportunity at the July 3 to 5 CARICOM Heads of Government regular meeting in Trinidad & Tobago to promote the 50th Anniversary of Cadence music.
"I believe it would have been so fitting at the 50th Anniversary of CARICOM that Dominica is observing the 50th anniversary of Cadence Lypso to have a Cadence All Stars at the Cultural Extravaganza Cultural Night," Charles said.
Dominica rapidly losing Cadence and Kwéyòl
Wadix is worried that based on Dominican youth's lukewarm attitude towards the Kwéyòl language in general and Cadence music in particular, the nation is just one generation away from losing that aspect of its culture.
Nevertheless, what worries him more is that Cadence is being replaced by what he describes as "nasty music", the increasingly popular blasting of sex and profanity-laden lyrics in public places.
"I believe if we are not careful, we will lose that aspect of our music, and our music will become just nasty business," Wadix said. "We will be consumed by nasty business and become a nasty society."
Wadix said that some Dominican private sector entities hesitant to support the Creole Heartbeat Golden Jubilee events are putting their money behind shows that promote "nasty business".
The Golden Jubilee and Gospel Festival features the top performers of Cadence music in Dominica, including Midnight Groovers, Rah Peters, Michele Henderson, Signal Band, First Serenade and others. At the show, the Ladies of Cadence will present a tribute to Ophelia Marie, the Queen of Cadence Lypso, who is currently on tour in La Reunion.
Groups and individuals from the neighbouring French islands, such as Georges Decimus, are also scheduled to perform at the festival.
Monday's event (August 7) is dubbed Creole Gospel Night. Performers include a Total Praise Mass Choir from Martinique and choirs from various denominations in Dominica. That aspect of the Golden Jubilee and Gospel Festival is free.
In addition to the music aspect of Dominica's Creole culture, Creole Heartbeat is planning an expo, fashion shows, painting workshops and a conch shell competition.
Asked why he is doing this weekend's event and other activities promoting Creole, Charles said he is a Pan-Africanist chosen by "the ancestors" to promote and preserve the country's Creole heritage, especially Cadence Music.