Here is a video to go with the article “White People Can’t Dance” currently on this blog.
Here is a video to go with the article “White People Can’t Dance” currently on this blog.
Crop Over is finished for 2022.
Here is my personal highlight:
the Barbados National Youth Steel Orchestra, led by Lowrey Worrell doing my arrangement of an Alison Hinds medley sung by Ambassador Alison Hinds herself.
Here is to a great Crop Over 2023.
Are you a social media creator, film or tv producer, marketing officer or an artist who needs Caribbean music and is tired of getting those takedown requests?
Then this is for you.
Head over to
and take a look and listen to my royalty=free albums.
There’s something there for you.
Look what came through yesterday.
The program to Handel Festpielle in Halle with Handel’s Caribbean Messiah as a featured production for the 2021 run.
I wrote and was executive producer on this work since its inception and what a ride Handel’s Caribbean Messiah has been. Here is a clip of me going through the process of composing for the debut show.
So here are the THANK YOUS!!!!
2. All of the Barbados Museum crew especially Kevin Farmer who brought us over in 2018. BCIDA for supporting the album production in 2018.
3. Jewel Forde and everyone at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation for the success of the 2018 run.
4. The Caribbean Export Development Agency National Cultural Foundation for their support in 2019.
5. The original management team who assisted in the growth of the production, the original Bajan cast and our expanded cast in 2019.
This started as an idea on a page and ended up being accepted by Handel Haus, I am truly personally humbled and I have learnt soooo much.
We might not get there as a group but the production shows there is a global demand for what we do in these tiny islands once there is co-operation.
Eventually, I will be writing and blogging on this experience outlining where we can improve as cultural industry people.
But for now.
Thank you Barbados for allowing me to create Handel’s Caribbean Messiah.
Here is my orchestral re-arrangement of the Barbados national anthem to celebrate what has been a challenging year.
On vocals is the amazing Allison Norville!
A .pdf version of the arrangement is available to download under my Books and Arrangement tab.
Thank you, Barbados for everything.
Caribbean festivals (including Crop Over) are propelled by spirits with the biggest fuel being rum.
Over the years many artists have dedicated songs to this deity. Here are 10 of the best:
Chutney Soca is possibly the rum genre of the Caribbean. This one by Ravi B from 2010 also manages to include the marriage scenario, another common theme. One of my favourite songs period.
Contone was a part-time singer and full-time car washer from Barbados. Through the years he has scored some massive hits at Crop Over with his rum lyrics. This Bashment Soca number, “I Like Drinking Rum,” is fairly direct. You also get a two for one in this video as he throws in, “Fire in the Hole” (Live I may add).
The first of our Christmas rum songs is sung by Barbadian DaCosta Allamby speaking of how important it is to consume rum in large quantities. *Warning, drinking a gallon of rum is never advised.
Lord Kitchener, another artist from the Trinidad carnival canon, is not to be left out. This one is another Christmas song and rum classic. The name speaks for itself.
This song from 2014 comes from the biggest soca artist from St. Lucia, Ricky “One to Dem” T. As it is new, it does not have the legacy of the others on this list. However, this is still a ‘big tune’ from the Helen of the West.
The Mighty Sparrow is one of the most prolific artists in Calypso and Soca. This one is a favourite among the mature crowd throughout the English-speaking Caribbean and speaks to being drunk and disorderly. It won the Road March in 1972, showing that unruly behaviour fuelled by alcohol has always been part of carnival.
USVI Soca has one of the most fascinating soca sub-genre scenes. This riddim is just called Rum and Rave.
To back up my point about Chutney’s relationship with rum, here is another one by Adesh Samaroo where he confirms his “undying” relationship with it.
Gorg is known as the drinks boss in Barbados and this song from 2014 is but one in his catalogue. Borrowing from the Chutney approach, Gorg uses the rum-troubled-relationship theme.
Machel Montano is another massively popular Trinidadian artist. Here is Bottle of Rum, a soca song off the hugely successful 3Zero riddim from 2012. Love and/of rum are again the themes.
Can you add any more?
* Stefan Walcott does not condone mass consumption of spirits of any kind. This post was not sponsored by any beverage retailer, the Holy Spirit or any other related product (although a donation would now be welcomed…;)
I am very proud to announce that Handel’s Caribbean Messiah has been selected for the Handel-Festspiele in Halle Germany for 2021.
The Handel-Festspiele is an annual festival celebrating Handel’s music in his birthplace by local German and international acts.
I am incredibly moved by this selection as we were chosen based on my re-imagining, orchestrations and in some cases compositions, with the performances executed by a 100% Barbadian cast.
The fact that this was done by a panel of Handel experts makes the achievement even more rewarding. Also, the fact that the negotiations began through my completion of the Caribbean Export process, which involved some sacrifice, made me more reassured in my music business decisions.
Handel’s Caribbean Messiah is one of the only locally created indigenous works that brings the strands of Caribbean culture together and even though we might not make the last financial hurdle to reach Halle, the fact that it has been looked at as having international quality by unbiased experts shows how we should rely on our own confidence as Caribbean cultural practitioners in what we do.
I encourage all who are in Barbados this week, December 20-22nd, to come out to the Frank Collymore Hall and see this production that will soon be leaving these shores by the 100% Bajan ORIGINAL cast.
Thanks to my team who supported the dream and to Fran Wickham and Ronald Grant whose support allowed for the first staging of the production in 2017. Also to Carol Roberts who was enthusiastic about it when it was only an idea and suggested the use of a Bajan nation language narrator who is now Jabari Prince Browne.
One of the biggest hits for Carnival 2019 is Mr Killa’s Run Wid It.
For those unfamiliar with the style, it is referred to as Jab, a sub-genre of soca which I posted on before. In terms of soca, there are no better musical sub-generes suited to talk about spiritual possession more than Jab because Jab, for all intents and purposes is possession/trance music. It ticks all the boxes. For example:
To see what I mean check the music from Cuban Santeria below:
It is obvious, Jab is meant to induce possession.
The psycho-acoustic explanation for this is that the repeated patterns lead to less distraction which in turn can manipulate the trance-like state. For the more spiritual, these rhythms carry with them certain deities and given the reaction to this song, I think the latter definitely has a point. Check below:
So that my friends a brief look at Jab and its relation to possession music. Whenever this song plays, just be careful, it is meant to take a HOLD of you.
The early results from the Soca competitions are in.
This means that Barbadian radio rotation will now be based around the competition songs chosen to go forward
leaving the other 600 to die.
Before these songs go into the afterlife altogether though, let me try to keep five of them alive. Here is my Lazarus 5 of Crop Over 2017. a.k.a 5 songs that didn’t make it into the next round of competition.
I was introduced to this guy earlier this year when my Caribbean Ensemble from the Barbados Community Collge did the National Cultural Foundation’s Cavalcade. I was immediately blown away by his voice. Check this one produced by Quantum Productions.
2. Jafar – Bang
Like Makka Tree, I met this guy in person on the Cavalcade gig. This Bajan Dub song, although not progressing further, has all the qualities of a really good Bajan Dub song.
3. Aidan – Life Nice
This song, written by the Waterstreet Boyz and produced by super-producer Chris Allman, is in the tradition of the modern Ragga Soca. With a great hook and super saccharine melody, it should not be thrown on to the rubbish-heap. A good rendition by Aidan as well.
4. Chenice – Sweet Carnival
Like Life Nice, this is a modern Ragga Soca. Chenice does a good job here as well.
5. Contone – Come Back Tomor
Contone has been around a long time and has of late been battling his own demons. This year he reconnected with long- time producer, Anderson ‘Blood’ Armstrong to produce this. Like My Car Brek Down and 2 Sir Grantleys, this is Contone at his Bajan Blues best.
These are not all the songs obviously.
And I would be glad to hear more suggestions.
What are your five?
Here is my group’s offering featuring the super talented Jabari Browne. We didn’t compete with this but keep checking it anyway.