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This week I feature an article from Signal Band member and calypsonian Sheldon "De Professor" Alfred aka "Shelly", who took time from his studies in the USA, to write this article in response to the "Spotlight" (SUN-July 25th) and which preceded discussions on the same issue on Vibes Radio's Rhythm and Rhyme:

Let me start by saying that I strongly agree that the Bouyon genre is at a point where its bands, artists, producers, promoters and even patrons should ask "What's next?" Not just because we haven't witnessed any tangible advancement through international recognition and things of that nature, but because the lives we live should always be progressive and we should always be prepared for that next step.

Figuratively, anything that ends up at the crossroads needs some form of order or guidance to find its respective route. Without intending to stray, let us quickly ask the question of WHO or WHAT form of guidance does this "clueless" genre need? From my point of entry into the industry, I can say that I have been tremendously fortunate: having my brother Delly, a member of WCK and being introduced to a wider spectrum of consistent performances and travelling with Triple Kay at 16 years of age. Thankfully, I could've made the most out of these opportunities and pass on the understanding to my peers, more specifically my band, SIGNAL.

Let me start by saying that I strongly agree that the Bouyon genre is at a point where its bands, artists, producers, promoters and even patrons should ask "What's next?" Not just because we haven't witnessed any tangible advancement through international recognition and things of that nature, but because the lives we live should always be progressive and we should always be prepared for that next step.

I give this piece of information to lead me to my main point of Bouyon being at the crossroads: How much do we believe in our youth as being the actual future of this art? So many young people are involved in Bouyon today, to name a few: Lega C, XS Groove, Danger Band, SickBerry, Expression Band, Infinite Band, Kros Vybz, All Starz Band, Outta, Virtual Band, TruRiddim and Signal Band. So many young drum machine programmers producing for the more senior bands and artists. So it is safe to say that the young people are even more interested in our homegrown music than they interested in industries such as Agriculture.

SO WHY NOW? Why now that we see more criticizing and less of the capitalizing? Why are we not capitalizing on the tremendous interest by the young people? Can we guide ourselves? Who are our teachers? Who are our after-hours tutors? Who are our motivators? Majority of patrons see the young bands and artists as mediocre; in our defense, I strongly believe we are just babies of a genre that needs parental guidance. I don't believe we are meant to take on this battle on our own when we are blessed to have its creator's alive, well and even still gracing the stage.

Moreover, it is factual that the genre doesn't produce enough music yearly. Despite that fact, among what is being produced currently, I am particularly concerned about the medium that sits between the entertainers and the patrons. I am in no way solely blaming our local DJ's or radio stations as the genre itself is inefficiently marketed; however, I think there is some sort of barrier that results in well-written Bouyon songs being sidelined and the ones branded as having negative influence is often more heard. Singling out NO PAIN, by Kros Vybz; and THERE THEY STRONG by Signal Band, these lyrically inclined songs almost struggle to reach the ears of people and it's scary that we are not paying attention to these pockets of positivity so that they can multiply and eventually overpower the "negativity" that is associated with the genres lyrical content. In conclusion, I'd like to just remind people that the crossroads is never a destination.


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