Kaiso: Bits and Pieces
Beno and Janae launch music videos
Have you seen Beno's music video? Well, it's a first time for the artiste, just as it is his first time in the Calypso Finals with a global song promoting peace.
This song was composed by Michele Henderson-Delsol and Beno, with his wonderful vocal ability, has taken it to the Kaiso Finals. Apart from being well-executed and arranged, the video script presents a historical element, in black and white for effect, reminiscent of the mid- Fifties to Seventies when the world was faced with tyrants, wars, famines and also the liberation struggle of Malcolm x ,Martin Luther King and Marcus Garvey.
A week later Janae Jackson released her video titled "Convent Rule" for the school's 156th anniversary. This is a song that many Convent students and graduates love and one that others, for obvious reasons, begrudge. Whatever, it is a song that promises to be an anthem of sorts as it highlights the Convent as a learning institution, second to none in the island having graduated persons of excellence such as Pearle Christian, Dr. Shillingford –Ricketts, Dame Mary Eugenia Charles, PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne as well as prominent Carnival Queens such as Leandra Lander, Samantha Doctrove and Dianne Francis. The video is now on YouTube and can be found on Janae's Facebook page firstname.lastname@example.org. This video is only the second by a junior monarch, the first was released by the reigning junior monarch, the Irish Kid.
Junior calypso monarch
Irish Kid, in his 4th year of the competition demonstrated growth when he got the nod of the judges on February 20th 2014 at the Harlem Plaza. While I congratulate the young talent, it is without fear of contradiction that I hasten to say that it was one of the greatest injustices ever done in Dominican Calypso. Never has a performer been so dominant in every category and that competitor was given second place. Janae, who is hard to beat at her level in presentation, diction and rendition, was eventually beaten by a young man who sang flat and out-of-tune at times and was found wanting in diction. I was as distraught as hundreds were particularly as I reflected on comments made by Minister Ian Douglas at the opening of Carnival where he said everything in favour of crowning the Irish Kid.
Is there a connection, I ask, between Mr. Douglass's statements the results? But I quickly dismissed it on grounds of incompetence because there were no musicians on the judging panel. How then could they distinguish such subtleties as being flat or off-key? Moreover Janae won two titles in two months; the Christmas song and Female Calypso Queen Contests.
In recognition of her sterling performance two private citizens have further rewarded her. So much for a year when those tribute songs were well-executed but were not rewarded as they should. Nonetheless, Janae, unperturbed as usual, has taken solace from Lugars 'Tribute to Nurse' just as Convent's tribute was relegated unjustly to second best. All being said, I genuinely congratulate the Irish Kid for persistence, a good song and for his stage flair. The judges' decision is indeed, final.
The Leo club should receive high praises for their level of organization, even as far as providing snacks for the young participants at the end of rehearsals. The combination of Triple K, Swingin' Stars and 8th Note horn section was a first for such a show and certainly boosted the accompaniment. However it was sad that not one senior calypsonian were present at the three practices to support the juniors, with the exception of Freddy Mendes. It's no wonder that over the last decade only three calypsonians have graduated to the next level- Lady Star, Dice, and Duchess to a lesser extent.
Is me the pan use to mek you jam and jam
Is me de pan use to run tings in de land
It was pan and lapo when carnival start
Revellers jumping to mass of class
It was me the pan down Queen Mary Street
Moving and grooving to de beat
But now it's time to play
You calling me pan by de bay
Is me you loving pan
But you doe love de pan
Is me you loving pan, pan pan
Where is de pan
(By Black Starliner, 1999)
The above is my tribute to a man who's second to none in the development, tuning, tutorship, and playing of Steel Pan, particularly with Fanta Pan Steel who passed ironical during the Calypso season. This column pauses to reflect on his passing. Pan was Eddy Andre and Eddy was pan…nuff said!
Well, it is so ironical that calypsonians have a lot to say on honesty, integrity and unity but they can't come together to have a joint tent. The truth is the tents could do with financial assistance from the private sector; it is certain that more calypsonians will be crying foul after the season as they ask for part- payments and otherwise. No one is bigger that Calypso and it is time these "Dominican alone known" act more maturely and face the bigger regional reality.
Until next time!