This post was created by Trevor Wood, a music aficionado and lover of Bajan music. He is an avid fan of Crop Over and provides the best summary of the festival 2014 I have read. Enjoy!
It’s official, the dust from Crop Over 2014 has settled and dub has re-taken the airwaves. I always detest the first week after Kadooment where you need to adjust from soca on the radio going from a flood to a trickle. I really enjoyed myself this year and I’ve heard many others make positive statements about the season. It would be interesting to hear a repeat visitor’s perspective. In any case, here’s mine:
- A mubba-ton of high-quality sweet soca. Again.
- Younger artistes beginning to establish themselves; not as one-offs but as consistent performers. Gorg, Imani, Leadpipe & Saddis, Ian Webster, Sanctuary – I’m talking about you.
- Having gone to a few tents on their judging nights and the Pic-O-De-Crop semis (which was burs’!) I was impressed by the social commentary. I think the competition was very keenly contested and the spat that between Headliners and All-Stars emphasised the importance of the tents in our calypso. I realised for the first time that the tents have their own cultures, followings and communities. Maybe that’s something we can emphasize more.
- Bashment soca aside, our up-tempo calypso is struggling badly. I am not sure what more can be done to stimulate it. Maybe a better question is whether or not it will be missed if it continues to disappear. After all, calypso wasn’t always 160+ bpm.
- Too much music from Trinidad Carnival is being played at Crop Over events. I was at an event where Maximus Dan was played more than Mikey. In my opinion Carnival music has an advantage as people are already familiar with it by the time Crop Over music comes out. I can understand why DJ’s use it since people respond to it because it’s seasoned in. This year in particular was a very good year for groovy music at Carnival, which is right in Bajans’ sweet spot. However, I think the DJ’s can and must do more to keep Crop Over music at the forefront.
- No music from any other island is being played at Crop Over events. I think there is room for it without suffocating our music.
Sanctuary performing Mega Monday at Soca Royale. I have been a Sanctuary fan for years. I love his voice and lyrics but I felt that his stage craft needed work. I must also say that I always liked ‘Mega Monday’ but up to that point not love ‘Mega Monday’. So when Sanctuary was scheduled to
take the stage last, and immediately after RPB, one of the crowd favourites, I was hopeful that he would be competitive but honestly not expectant.
Ironically, his performance made the song for me instead of the other way around. From the first note, I knew that something special was about to happen. Every second of Sanctuary’s performance captivated me. The choreography, the props, his energy, and yes, even his hair accentuated the song’s theme brilliantly. I don’t know the extent to which the arrangement of the song was changed for that performance, but it was as though I was hearing it for the first time and discovering sweeter and sweeter bits of it as the song progressed. It was a breath-taking spectacle.
Well done Sanctuary!
Being at a fete on the cusp of Crop Over weekend to being subjected to an extended dub session. The DJ indicated that the promoters gave
him permission so they were co-conspirators. I was on my way to the door when the madness ended. Two songs more and I would have made it outside. I may not return next year.
Dave Smooth’s and Dooley Unruly’s set at Scrawl-Up Illuminate. It was a breath of fresh air to hear predominantly Bajan music, past and present, being selected expertly and played at full-hype. The patrons lapped it up. I want more of this from local DJ’s.
Favourite Social Commentary
Don’t Know How To Win – Blood. This song was clever, funny, impactful and dealt with a wide cross-section of issues. It was written specifically for Blood and it fit him like a glove. Bravo.
Favourite Party Song
Ah Feeling – Leadpipe and Saddis. From the first time I heard it I knew this song was going to dominate at Crop Over. The thing is the embodiment of sweetness. I heard that it was submitted for the sweet soca competition and did not make the semis. I refuse to believe this.
10 songs that should have played more (in no particular order)
- Show Them Your Beauty – Basil
- This Is Why – RPB
- God Is a Bajan – Smokey Burke (Brilliant, irreverent stuff!)
- Next To The Rope (Pan Remix) – Mikey (Sweetest music of any song this Crop Over. I am not a pan fan but I found this version mesmerising.)
- Ah Too Love To Party– Verseewild (Verseewild the versatile. Who knew)
- Encounter – Sherwin Straker
- How Ah Like It – Edwin
- Rumpage – Philip 7 (This song makes me want to whistle. It reminds me of Day-O for some reason.)
- So Good – Hypasounds
- Doing Me – iWeb (The new RPB?)
I’m looking forward to a bigger and better 2015. I expect that the same cadre of artistes will represent well and others like Lorenzo and Big Red will continue the good work and really enter the spotlight.