Hi Readers of Spotlight, now we can talk honestly in the post-Carnival season. I had to literally run from scores Calypso fans who supported my contention that Female Calypso Queen Janae should be allowed to sing again because of the many problems she and her backups encountered with the sound system which seemed to have been worst when she sang in the first round. No one came to her rescue and as she told me she wanted to stop but feared the massive and sometimes unforgiving crowd would conclude that she forgot her song. As her father I protested but to no avail; I was told by the stage and events manager that the judges said they heard her!
Obviously hearing was not enough as the song was prevented from making the necessary impact and, therefore, depriving her of a level playing field and eventually she was penalised for something completely beyond her control, denying her a top position over the one-song Boople, who presented what I think was the worst composition in the Finals.
I completely ignored the comments of many persons who cried sabotage. Of this I am not sure as immediately afterwards the system return to normal. Normal meaning the system proved desperately inadequate to do justice to such a grand Calypso event. Not only this, two prominent calypsonians from Mas Camp among others were of the view that there was a plot to destroy Janae's efforts as the only credible threat to the crown. No one is yet to deny that Janae got the worst from the sound system that night.
The judges and the stage management crew know full well that poor sound impacts on performance, voice quality and rendition, hence, one of Janae's best attributes and as the only female, at 17 years, was not given a fair chance in round one; no one came to her rescue- though I, her Dad, tried to no avail! It would also seem that some judges have a certain political agenda and leaning towards anti- government calypsos and have little regard for songs which are patriotic or even those giving gratitude to God! I dare say this would not be allowed to happen to the eventual monarch.
All sorts of irrational claims have since been made such as lack of experience, standing behind monitors; none of which can serve as justification for the backups or her voice not being amplified. What is even more disturbing is that the engineer said on air that no sound check was done while members of Swinging Stars verified they sound checked for the Finals! Is this not cause for concern?
Eight crowns to the Dice-phenomenal! And guess what, I see no one stopping him as he is the best Calypso performer and singer in Dominica's history. I also agree and have articulated in several articles that he needs persons to step in and market his great talent. But let's not be fooled talent is not all; to achieve altitude one must exhibit the correct attitude. Fans won't tell you this, only supporters will.
Between the eight times crowned king and his writer alone (over the past decade) they have grossed in the region of a quarter million in prize money. I have learnt in Dominica that people only invest in you when one begins with self. This is fundamental when preparing business plans.
On the other hand, King Karessa might still be wondering 'did it have anything to do with his missing shoe' as he tried to add stage props and antics to add some impetus to mediocre compositions, but not even an' Ian Douglas' entrance could save him this time.
Shadow Flow was merely a shadow of himself, and just did not flow, getting everything wrong, singing his test piece last (one of the best lyrical compositions of 2016) and losing its appeal having messed up in the first round.
In the Stardom King of the tent too, the judges got it all wrong when they denied Lugars the top prize. He presented a composition which better suited the criterion for King of the Tent. A slow social commentary void of wit or humour has never won that accolade over the 25- year history of the tent. I trust this is a misguided precedent and must be seen for what it was – a mistake.
I have observed that for six of the past eight years finalist are basically fighting for one place; the top three positions are controlled by the trio of King Dice, Bobb and Webb; this has been a fixture every year. With respect to the latter two, ironically they are not the most popular calypsonians and fans do not seem to know or understand clearly what they present.
Their arrangements and compositions however seem to go over the heads of the people they sing for but not the more 'intelligent' judges. While rendition does help a good composition, this trend suggest that there is no room for lyricist such as Pink Panther, Cro Cro or Chalkdust or even Pat Aaron in his day as the art is becoming more of a Q95 song contest. Not just that but one which has to be critical of government as a subtle criterion- no room for patriotism or good social commentary.
Observer or Sye could have gotten the last spot based on consistency, though the former was a bit flat at times in the verses of the first song but I thought in the summation of both rounds, they did more than the Boople. Again rendition probably gave him the edge as composition is taking a back seat in competitions. There is no doubt that the judging or the system needs an overhaul.