*Nah Going Home is actually 11 years old but born after the school year…;)
Since 2005, and the explosion of Rihanna, Barbados has had its fair share of showcases.
Since the economic slowdown these have thankfully slowed down but they still do occasionally turn up with talking heads with American accents saying the same thing.
As I have been to a few of these and done a fair bit of reading on the American industry scene, I consider it my civic duty to tell you why these showcases make no sense and will make no difference to your career unless you require 1 hr of free air conditioning.
It is hoped that those that read this save themselves the trouble, including the suits with the government checkbooks.
So check this list as to why these Showminars make no sense.
They are not going to sign you.
Listen up artist, some might say this directly but they are not going to sign you. So ladies save your short skirts and designer hair for another occasion,
the guys that come here seldom have the power to sign unilaterally.
In fact, they are not going to take a risk on an unknown artist with no following from a tiny island, Rihanna is there already, see # 2.
Rihanna is there already
There is no next Rihanna, she is there already. The industry has changed so much in 12 years and they certainly do not need another unknown Caribbeanish artist who does hip-hopish, rapish, EDMish, and whatever ish Rihanna cares to dabble with. They certainly do not want to take that risk and expense, especially given the corporitization of the American music industry complex.
You know what they will say already.
They are going to tell you build a fan base and they are NOT going to help you do it!
By the way, this is a favourite workshop topic so let me break down what they will/wouldn’t say and then what you should do.
(a) What they will say –
Go online! Post, tag, share then post agian. Do it like Justin Beiber and this indie group or that indie group on YouTube/Vimeo/Mashable and hashtags.
What they didn’t tell you –
(b) Content creation is expensive and time consuming. No rich uncle? Forget it.
What you should do – Read this Kindle book instead.
They are not going to network with you. GET LOST!
These ‘execs’ do not want to hear from you. They do not want to hear from your manager either. They already have their artist stable and are currently hustling any which way to survive in the new music territory they are now in. So guys, they definitely do not want another email clogging up their inbox or another CD or poster to recycle. You are merely networking with their spam folder.
You are not going to get the acclaim for the next Rihanna (governments only).
These execs are not going to sign anyone, see #1. Therefore, in your report to the boss government official, while you may highlight the promise the exec said local artists have, that is all you will be able to write.
And if by pig flight they did sign an artist, that artist will be relocated with the maximum benefit going to L.A or New York.
So that my friends is the 5 point list as to why the exec showcase seminar or Showminats make no sense.
The only worthy showcses are those with a direct objective, that is those which are looking for talent for specific events/shows etc. So a NACA and cruise ship audition make far more sense for everyone than sitting with a guitar and an uncomfortable musician playing a cajon in front of A & R from Atalanta/MotownWhatever records.
You are welcome
Caribbean Music Man
* NACA is the National Association of College Activities
I am working on a documentary on the Bajan duo Contone and Pong along with the team from 13 Degrees North and Stuart Hall. For those who are wondering why, it is because this year marks 10 years since Contone’s mega-hit My Car Brek Down and we want to show what happened after.
Look out for a realease late in the year.
Edwin Yearwood emerged to real popularity in the mid 1990s with his band Krosfyah. Since then, he has produced some of the biggest popular music hits in Barbados. He simply rocks, here is his Top 10.
10. Sak Pase
Done with co-lead singer Khiomal of Krosfyah, this duet uses “hello Haitian style” as its hook. It actually uses a blues form as well which is rather different (along with copious cowbell which is not very different). The Sak Pase dance was also huge and when this song is played in Barbados it is mandatory.
Edwin Yearwood won the Pic-O-De-Crop competition which is primarily a calypso competition using this up-tempo soca number. It was also on his seminal album with Krosfyah, Ultimate Party/Pump Me Up, which was a massive seller for the genre. Due to its significance it gets a place here.
Krosfyah Massive is from the same period as Obadele and for me it marked the first time I heard the group doing their own material. This turned out to be Edwin’s first hit of many.
Nah Missing Me
Edwin Yearwood is one of the major innovators of the sub-genre Ragga/Groovy/Sweet soca. This song was released years after the genre came into popular existence and typifies Edwin’s style with call and response and short motifs.
This song was one which came after Pump Me Up in the early days of Ragga/Groovy/Sweet soca. It is still popular throughout the region despite being nearly 20 years old.
5. Down the Road
Edwin Yearwood won the Barbadian Party Monarch competition with this song. This one is the other spectrum of his material and is a typical Brancker fast soca of the late 1990’s. Once again it typifies his strong call and repsonse style chorus and verse.
4. In the Middle of the Road
The Road March song is the most popular song played by bands at the climax of Carnival. Edwin won several in the mid-noughties all speaking about roads. This song shows a departure from his late 1990s work as he basically sings over a rhythm track.
This is another Ragga/Groovy/Sweet soca. Call and response is heavily used again with the trademark Brancker style.
Yardie was released for the 1990s Congaline festival. This song is one of the biggest nostalgia party songs for the over 30s and it still rocks a fete to this day. It also spawned a Yardie Graduate 10 years later which though cool, could not make this list.
1. Pump Me Up
This song is possibly Edwin’s biggest. It spawned a new vocal approach to singing soca and ushered in the Ragga/Groovy/Sweet soca genre.
A massive song!
Check out a great review of the Trinidad and Tobago scene from musical brother and fellow blogger Nigel Campbell.
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Thanks for your interest in Caribbean music and culture.
I really value every comment and view so keep stopping by.
Stefan ‘Caribbean Music Man’ Walcott
This blog has been recommended as a source for the CAPE Performing Arts’ music module. It also has been added to the reading list of the Critical Foundation of the Arts course at Cave Hill, EBCCI.
Thank you readers, you make it all possible.
Keep dropping by and sharing.
Firstly, let me say that I, of course, would recommend my book, Caribbean Composers’ Handbook on Amazon.com for all of those interested in the actual music of Caribbean music but outside of that, here are some others. 🙂
1. Cooper, Carolyn. Noises in the Blood: Orality, Gender, and the “vulgar” Body of Jamaican Popular Culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.
Carolyn Cooper is one of the premier academics on Dancehall culture in Jamaica. This book is seminal in how it seeks to re-examine the common perspectives on Dancehall. Even though she is an academic, the book is generally accessible and Cooper’s points are still valid some near 20 years later.
2. Bradley, Lloyd. Bass culture: when reggae was king. London, Viking 2000.
Bradley’s Bass Culture is one of the best overviews on Jamaican Reggae music I have ever read. Bradley takes the reader from the pre-sound system of the nineteen forties to the emergence of Dancehall. All the major figures are there from the three big sound system operators of the 60s to the early Dancehall pioneers like Yellowman.
3. Cowley, John. Carnival, Canboulay, and calypso: traditions in the making. Cambridge [England]; New York, NY, Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Cowley presents a well-researched book on carnival. Cowley provides a great volume of historical information on early Carnival. He also gives many 2nd hand references on important events, such as the Carnival riots and early Calypso competitions. A good one for those who have to teach calypso history.
4. Pérez Fernández, Rolando. A. La binarización de los ritmos ternarios africanos en América Latina. Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba, Casa de las Américas, 1987.
Pérez Fernández’s book is in Spanish. However, this should not put off persons who do not speak the language. Pérez Fernández ideas are fascinating and unlike many other academics, he deals with the musical sounds of Caribbean music. His main idea is that there was a process which changed African music into the folk music of the Americas we know today. The influence of this work is obvious as he is frequently quoted.
5. Guilbault, J. Zouk: world music in the West Indies, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1993.
There are few texts on Zouk in English, Guilbault’s book is one of them. Guilbault details the origins of this music as well as the identity implications it creates as a French Antillean identity emerges through Zouk. Guilbault also interviews the important players within the movement and provides transcriptions. Another plus is the inclusion of a CD which is also fantastic when dealing with music as a subject.
6. Kenneth M. Bilby and Michael D. Largey. Caribbean currents: Caribbean music from rumba to reggae. Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1995.
This book seeks to be an overview of Caribbean music in general. It does a decent job within the introduction of describing the conditions which led to the creation of many genres. It also seeks to detail the important regions within the Caribbean giving summaries and identifying important figures. This book is a good entry into the multi-faceted world of Caribbean music.
7. Rivera, Raquel Z, Wayne Marshall, and Deborah Hernandez Pacini. Reggaeton. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.
Reggaeton is possibly the youngest popular genre to have a book about it in the Caribbean region. This book is excellent and through the different perspectives of the contributors, we get a wide view on Reggaeton from its sexual to musical implications. If you want to know anything about the genre, seek out this text.
8. Lesser, Beth. Rub a dub Style: The Roots of Modern Dancehall, 2012.
This book is the only one that is available online free of cost as a pdf download. Beth Lesser said she did this to avoid the usual accusations leveled at outsiders who write about other cultures. Lesser’s book is good though and she details all the important figures in the genre; from U-Roy to Beanie Man. Pick it up!
9. Rohlehr, Gordon. Calypso and society in pre-independence Trinidad. Port of Spain 1990.
Rohlehr, like Cooper, was an academic from the University of the West Indies. Rohlehr is a literary scholar and in this book, he provides thorough analysis and documentation of the literary form of the Calypso. Rohlehr also details important historical events and how they impacted on the Calypso. It is a formidable text in terms of length so be prepared for the long haul.
10. Mauleon, Rebeca. Salsa Guidebook: for piano and ensemble. S.I. Sher Music 1993.
This is another book which deals with the sounds of the music. Mauleon is fantastic at providing the necessary listening for the genres she is looking at. She also provides direct transcriptions from these songs. As it deals with Salsa, Mauleon also transcribes from the lesser-known Puerto Rican genres of Bomba and Plena.
So there it is. Remember it is only “a” list and there are other fantastic books out there. Leave a comment for other books you would recommend.
The best thing about being an educator is seeing your former students grow.
One of them, Randy ‘Joe’ Moore, has gone into media and is currently producing a web series on Barbadian and Caribbean artists.
I asked Randy to answer a few questions on what the series is about. His extract is below along with a clip featuring the Bajan duo Porgie and Murdah a.k.a. Lead Pipe and Saddis from the show. Enjoy!
Being Featured started in January 2014 by Randy Moore (Host) after many years of constantly watching and being blown away by many of the talk shows on the international scene. After
completing a course in mass communication at the Barbados community College, an interest also grew in videography/photography and Randy decided to put the knowledge and resources
together and start an interview series called “Being Featured”. This series is here to further highlight talented individuals in their respected field (fashion,
music , film ,sports etc) and also an alternative medium to get talent out to the world. The program seeks to ascertain from the guest, information pertaining to how they got into their
field and any information fitting to influence a young person who would be interested in that area. The show has featured many well known persons which includes; Rhaj Paul ( fashion) ,
Biggie Irie ( reggae and soca artiste) , Sherwin Gardener( Gospel singer). In the future, viewers can expect to see and hear from those people who influence each and
every one of us and hopefully it will be an inspiration for some person to start to work at living their dream.
One of the pages on this blog features words from the masters. These masters are Caribbean music practitioners who whave all contributed significantly to their respective genres. Just click on the link above. It will have constant updates.