Monday, August 11, 2014

The night calypso won!

IT SADDENS me that so many people in Grenadian life see things only through the prism of politics.
  It is one thing to have a position, and to even have favorites: it's another thing to make an infantile jump using the weirdest of conspirational theories embed in a political sauce.
   It is also one thing not to agree with the judging of a simple calypso contest; but it is a jump to suggest motive -- such as outright dishonesty or something as political influence.
   When Scholar sung last night that -- words to the effect -- NNP brought back Ajamu to win; I took no offence. I saw it, and assumed it was just carnival picong.
   That the likes of Randy Isaac now believe that -- from his comment to me on jouvert morning --  is really sad; and perhaps explains his gullibility that has stopped him from reaching his full potential as a calypsonian.
  For Kem Jones to say as much on social network is neither sad nor surprising however. The twisted logic just confirms the lightweight status of a political commentator wanna-be who does not have the personal maturity, nor intellectual grounding or yearning; nor for that matter that analytic honesty to be what he is seeking to be -- a social and political commentator worth his salt.
   His positions are fine, and he has a right to them. But it is almost fraudulent to try to systematically make a living from the miseducation of Grenada.
   Commentators must be allowed to come to any conclusion they want to, but that must be based on some undisputed fact; not some fairy tale or made-up story.
  As per the calypso, it is OK to have a horse in the race. And it is also OK to be naturally disappointed if your horse did not pull it off.
  But if we are to be fair to "our horse", we have to dispassionately dissect the competition, and if that person would listen, help them assess the success and failure, so as to use it as a learning experience to -- as the ground will say -- reel and come again.
   As much as I am glad that Ajamu won, I take no pleasure in the fact that Scholar or for that matter anyone else lost.
  Both are not just great calypsonians -- and their multiple crowns are testimony to that fact -- but great people, who thankfully my impression of them as people came long before I saw them on a calypso stage.
  Before I knew Edson as Ajamu; I knew him as Ms Lyris' son, an aspiring musician who practiced with a band four buildings from my house in Munich; and a cricketer who tried but failed to help Mama Canne beat Munich at cricket (he knew I had to take that friendly dig, lol).
  I knew Scholar when he was just Finley.  I had no inkling that he would become a calypsonian, because as a high school student, he was so quiet, when I first met him as one of the best friends of one of my best friend.
  And so for through all these years, I have taken personal pride in their successes -- both as calypsonians and persons.
   But it bothers me that we as a people have a penchant to want to bring down one man, so that they can "big up" another; as if we are so deficient and poor that we cannot have more than one hero at a time.
  And even heroes have bad nights.
  Scholar had a relatively bad one last night; and the best man on the night won.
   That fact does take away neither from Scholar's talent nor contribution to local calypso. Last night was only just as it was -- another night of a contest -- where not for the first time -- he did not win.
   Great for him and his family, for every failing as the one last night, he has seven solid nights to savour -- more than any Grenadian on this planet save Ajamu.
   Those so-called fans, such as the likes of Kem Jones, do a disservice to Scholar's contribution and worth to impute some political conspiracy; as if in the history of men such had stopped great contributors anyway.
  Not only that such comments are inherently disingenuous; it has no basis in anything except societal mischief.
  That doesn't mean that the judges do not have some explaining to do -- as  for example, how Rootsman Kelly was left out of that final spot, or how Superstar came 10th last night, after in many experienced views, including mine, she gave a top three, if not a top two performance.
  But I suspect that had as much to do with the experience -- or lack of it  -- of some of the judges; and maybe in some cases technical know-how.
  We cannot assign sinister motives. To cast such aspersions is to question people's character -- something we are too quick to do in this society.
  Scholar's legacy has already been confirmed-- not just in his many victories -- but in songs such as Voices and Heroes that will stand the test of calypso times.
  Neither his nor Ajamu's depended on a win last night.
  Anything they do now will be perhaps for bragging rights.
   If Scholar desires to return to competition, he can still win again. For the heck of it -- in what was not even one of his best nights -- he placed second to perhaps the greatest Grenadian calypsonian of all time.
  As a general comment,; while Sunday's Dimanche Gras was not technically one of the greatest nights of Grenadian calypso;  it was certainly perhaps the most competitive of the last 10 years or so.
    And, far removed from the battles of last night; when all the passion has died down; and reasonable men will be able to reason again -- I will have a talk with Ms Lyris' son, and with Finley.
   I know we will all agree eventually -- nobody lost last night. Calypso won!


  1. Great article. As a people we need to understand that the belief that "in order for me to increase you must decrease" is greatly flawed. Just because someone did not win does not mean that there was a sinister plot in play.

  2. Crazy article. I was born in Grenz and lived there until 14 before moving to the UK. I enjoy soca - whenever I get a chance to hear it. However, what I find really, really odd is the kind of furrowed brow seriousness offered to a dance form that itself offers little to the intellectual life of Grenz or any other country. Calypso is a mostly lets-dance-and- leave-your-brain- at home music. What political content it can muster is mostly weak and inarticulate satire. The commentator is using the tools of forensic analysis on a cuddly toy....laughably inappropriate. Grenadians should be encouraged to make and analyse serious art that can really enrich the intellectual life of the country and columnists like this should perhaps be more detached and ironic when dealing with soca? lol and as we might say in the UK, you guys are bonkers over calypso!

  3. Hamlet, I see you still got it man!!! Well said and well written. I still enjoy reading your pieces.