Guest Comment: WORD BOSS CALYPSO

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From the judges’ stand, three nights in a row this week, I have sat and listened intently to this year’s slate of calypsos hoping for extraordinary compositions, replete with interesting word play—the essence of true calypso. Music has been commendable, however, my hopes have been dashed again: Use of Language/Word Craft has proven to be weak, generally—as elusive as the Barbudan deer!
And I find that simply sacrilegious having been bequeathed a vernacular rife with idiomatic expressions, a nation with vibrant local colour (social experiences) and a treasure trove of iconic calypso masterpieces! Without a doubt, lyricists and calypsonians must begin to do more to improve the quality of the compositions. Perhaps they can begin by ‘conversationing’ so that the calypsonian can ‘own’ the songs, get into character and deliver masterfully.
In many cases this year,  I have noticed interesting titles that lent themselves perfectly to presenting fresh /unusual interpretations of themes, however,  compositions tended to lack coherent and logical development of themes. Additionally, word choice has been mostly substandard, very infantile in many instances. I find that even when local colour was added, it was not incorporated effectively. Calypsonians seemed to be singing from local newspapers!
The language of the newspaper is not the language of the calypso.
Good calypso writing employs the use of satire, puns, wit, humour, irony, double entendre, rhyming, the ‘gapped’ phrase, poetic licence, and more devices. Calypso allows the writer to be inventive…He can ‘conversate’! A calypso should be a work of art…crafty.
One of my pet peeves is that artistes have been leaving nothing to the imagination when it comes to smut.  Certain calypsonians have been ‘sending me’ and the audience distasteful messages. I admonish them to stop all that ‘nastiness’. If they take time to ‘think deep’, even their ‘one shot’ can be fruitful. ‘Raise the bar!’’
I don’t advocate the censoring of calypso; however, I suggest that some mechanism be put in place to assist artistes who need help with word craft because patrons to Tent City have been coming night after night drawn by nostalgia for times past, when we celebrated greatness–not to hear unpolished songs. These diehard calypso fans and patriots return year after year like salmons back to their natal river, where Calypso serves as the electromagnetic sensor that guides them as they ‘home in on’ their spawning ground.
And remember, Massa day nuh done! Use crafty word play, mask your ‘drop word’ and tell it to Massa with a smile.
Who ‘owns’ the word is boss, so bring it on!

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