>> Friday, July 24, 2009
Tell me if I'm wrong. Isn't Kaiso all about voicing the peoples' concerns and educating the masses about general vibrations of their society? Over the years, music trends in various genres have both aided and hindered those styles from reaching their highest heights. However, it's no surprise that throughout Caribbean communities the art of Calypso is falling out of fashion with the young, and in some cases losing some of its most potent elements.
Before reading any further, please listen to this poignant commentary by Ras Iley on the state of the Kaiso genre in Barbados and beyond.
Apologies for the external link, couldn't find it online anywhere else. I have a strict rule about not personally posting anyone's music online without their permission. (Biggie Irie, thanks for sending me the Mp3!)
So this post serves two purposes. First, I wanna send my kudos straight to the eyes and ears of Barbados Calypso Giant Ras Iley for the release of "Don't Let Kaiso Die". Also, lemme big up the Red Boyz, who have been incredibly selective about who they work with this year. Thanks for crafting this one. The entire team is a veritable all-star cast of Bajan music professionals. See the credits:
"DON'T LET KAISO DIE"
PERFORMED BY RAS ILEY
WRITTEN BY THE MIGHTY GABBY
ARRANGED BY KENNY WALLACE
PRODUCED & RECORDED BY DE RED BOYZ (Inspired by Eddie Grant, Nicholas Brancker, Chris Allman, Arturo Tappin, Adrian 'Boo' Husbands, Ricky Brathwaite, John Roett, Glen Johansen, Ian Alleyne, Smokey Roett, Andy Williams, Mike Sealy, Keith Ellis, Roger Gittens, The Festival Band, the many more keepers of the flame in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean and those who went before.)
MIXED BY DEEPU PANJWANI
MASTERED BY ELISEUS JOSEPH
PERFORMED BY THE BIG SHOW BAND
Bass - Julian Griffith
Drums & Percussion - Mikey Hulsmeier (with inspiration from Frederick Griffith)
Guitar - Michael Hope
Keyboards - Leonard Griffith
Trombone - Bernard Yearwood (Leader of the Big Show Band)
Trumpet - Ryan Blackman
Sax - Nicholas Timothy
Sax - Randy Eastmond
Background Vocals - Alison Gittens, Lisa Howell & Wynelle Lovell
Guitar Intro - The Mighty Gabby
Additional Percussion - Frank 'Foreigner Frank' Coppin (De Red Boyz)
Guitar & Keyboards - Scott Galt ( De Red Boyz)
Additional Background Vocals - Indra Rudder (Island Moon Magic)
Steel Pan - Terry 'The Mexican' Arthur (Square One)
Second, I want to address some controversy regarding the song that is going on in Barbados.
The talk on the streets of Barbados today is that the song has been banned from the airwaves on the Starcom and CBC networks due to references to their programming. I sincerely hope this is not the case. Although, most Bajans have yet to hear it played on these stations, I have not seen or heard anything from a credible source that would confirm an actual ban.
Lemme post my lil two cents for you on this matter. Don't ban the song. This music exists to call the nation to a higher standard. I'm not talking about this song alone. I'm talking about Calypso as we have known and loved it over the years. Imagine if our governments banned every calypso that ever spoke out about class divisions, sexual and spousal abuse, violence, governmental corruption, money mismanagement, military campaigns, corrupt leadership, etc, etc ,etc? What would be have left? Are we reducing the purest gem of our story-telling traditions to a dim and lifeless stone? Are the powers that be actually suggesting that the public stands to gain more from songs about big bam-bams and other such body parts?
If you deserve licks, take them and don't cry! The only changes needed in the programming departments are those that will begin to consider the lasting power music can have over its consumer. If de man is talking to you. Don't silence him. Listen.
As Caribbean people, we must pride ourselves in a heritage which marries our passion to our intellect. We must encourage the artist to comment on and edify their audience. We must respect all aspects of our creativity and provide forums within which they can grow and further develop, even beyond our shores. Stand up Barbados, and the Caribbean worldwide.
TELL DEM I SAY RAISE DE CALYPSO STANDARD
RAISE IT HIGH
TO DE SKY
TELL DEM WHAT THEY DOIN' IS GOIN BACKWARD
RAISE IT HIGH
DON'T LET KAISO DIE
~ Ras Iley "Don't Let Kaiso Die"
Love and Kaiso,