Breaking the norms of Calypso
Finally, after 70 decades since Calypso music found its way here in Dominica, some goes as planned no longer will Calypso be a seasonal thing. limelight has finally been shone on the genre outside of the carnival season, and if all
For the first time ever, Dominica on May 27, 2021, celebrated 'Calypso Day' an intuitive conceptualized by the reigning virtual Monarch Daryl "The Bobb'' Bobb.
On that day, all radio stations were encouraged to only play the music which has been used by Calypsonians to provide socio-political commentary and online news outlets, and patrons were encouraged to post something about the genre on social media.
The day culminated with a grand Calypso Extravaganza, which featured some of the best-of-the-best at the Old Mill Cultural Centre including veterans Sye, Checko, Observer, Karessah, Hunter, The Bobb, Daddy Chess, Sour Sour, nine-time king Dice, reigning monarch Jay Dee and first-ever female monarch Tasha P.
"It was a very promising vibe. The climax was wonderful. The spirit was nice, the people were together," Bobb stated when asked for feedback from the Sun. "I have devoted my year as the reigning virtual monarch to put my effort into ensuring that there are more activities of that nature and I am committed to doing more as the patrons have asked and the people are asking for it."
Labeling this year as a precursor of the things to come, the virtual King further revealed that he alongside the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA) is taking things a step further with a Calypso festival, which will be similar to the World Creole Music Festival (WCMF), in an attempt to bring more recognition to the art form which in the 1950s became very popular in Dominica.
"During the execution of the activities, we realized that so many people wanted to have events for the same day and it was not a very practical thing. It is not how we would like the event to go down, we would like everyone to have an equal opportunity to benefit from the activities because Calypso is a people thing, so we realized that one day, one evening is not enough," he explained.
The goal, he says, in 2022 is to commence the activities on Thursday and carry the festive spirit to Sunday, giving the patrons four days of strictly Calypso activities.
"So it gives all the other promoters who wanted to do stuff an opportunity to choose a day. Those four days will include training, educational activities, and fringe events and on each day we would have a sort of climax in the night with a grand concert and that is going to be the Calypso Festival of 2022."
At the moment, discussions are also being held to cement a spot during the independence celebration for the genre, which Bobb says they will use to officially launch the Calypso Festival.
In an attempt to further decentralize the art form, more activities are being added to the summer calendar, many of which, he says, will take place in and out of the city.
He thanked the media and others who supported his idea of the Calypso Day and called on other stakeholders to join in the effort to create the much-needed awareness, on the culture and lifestyle of the music which was developed in Trinidad in the 17th century from the West African Kaiso and canboulay music brought by African slaves imported to the Caribbean islands to work on sugar plantations; they used the art to mock the slave masters and to communicate with each other.