Call to save calypso after minister makes scathing criticism

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Deputy Director of Culture Gavin Christopher has called for calypsonians and other stakeholders who are interested in the development of the industry to come forward and reshape the dying artform.
“Let us come together and dialogue openly and come to some conclusions and resolutions on how to fix the issues. We can no longer keep saying that calypso dead and soca taking over … let us fix calypso,” Christopher said.
His comments came after Minister of Culture and National Festivals EP Chet Greene expressed his frustrations on the state of the local music industry at a workshop organised by Christopher.
In his scathing review of the performers’ work ethics, Greene said that the “mediocrity” extends further than soca artistes and calypsonians.
“In short, we are addressing a national problem, that of mediocrity. We are actually at mediocrity and we find great pleasure in reveling in, with, and at mediocrity.”
Greene also spoke to the content produced by the artistes, saying it lacks social commentary and argued that what is produced is not a true representation of the nation’s social issues.
“If properly packaged and presented, calypso will continue to be the voice of the poor and suffering, of the voiceless, but the truth is those who are presenting on the part of poor people, the voiceless as you call them, they are not doing a good job.”
Calypsonian, Dulcie “Lady Smooth” Horsford-Watkins shared her reaction to the minister with OBSERVER media and said his comments, though valid, were unfair.
 “All he had to say is the artistes need to step up their game, which for the most part is true [but] when you have artistes prostituting themselves politically and otherwise so as not to rock the money tree … that’s where mediocrity comes in.”
She added that if the minister’s recommendation of the content reflecting the mood of the people and country is valid, then: “I hope when it’s truly done that the artistes and their music won’t be stifled.”
Christopher, who is also a musician and producer, said having worked and rubbed shoulders with many of the artistes he is aware of their issues and that is one reason for orchestrating the workshop series which started in April.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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