Saturday 28 November, 2020

What is the Barbados' Crop Over sound?

Some Bajans are calling for a clearly defined sound of Crop Over.

With some promoters and events being labelled as multi-genre or as summer parties instead of as Crop Over fetes, even in the last week of the Crop Over, it begs the question - What should Crop Over in Barbados sound like?

Before persons cry 'xenophobia' and 'discrimination', understand that being a multi-genre festival is not an issue. The issue lies in the fact that there is no distinct line or point of reference. If Crop Over is soca, kaiso, bashment and calypso - fine! But it is high time we get a definitive, clear cut answer on this topic.

With newer and younger festivals already carving out their niches and pushing their agendas, Barbados which has a veteran and well-established festival can not be wishy-washy on what is ours.

This article is not to bash anyone or any event, but to reiterate that the hour is at hand for Barbados to say truly what we want Crop Over to sound like.

It would be a sad day in BIM when to define the music of our biggest festival and one of the main drivers in our economy calls for legislation and policy. It should not require a law being passed in our Parliament to state that events must be all-soca to be included on the Crop Over calendar or there should not need to be a law that says Crop Over events are not mandated to be 100% soca.

Barbadians should be able to define our Crop Over sound without government passing a law.

Grenada has jab jab; St. Vincent and the Grenadines have jab too but they have the power soca, the oil, the fire and the absence of stush vibes; Trinidad and Tobago have the pan, calypso, kaiso, J'ouvert with two days of Carnival and they still have King and Queen of the bands and the diverse costumes to represent their pepper pot of cultural influences; St. Lucia has Dennery Segment and lyrics infused with French patois; Jamaica’s Carnival is still in its infancy and it too has carved its sound comprising Dancehall and Soca.

Barbados' Crop Over is the sweetest summer festival, but the definition of sweet music for the season is blurry.

This problem keeps cropping up yearly, especially during this last lap, this Crop Over week ahead of Grand Kadooment Day. It needs to be put to bed.

What musical diet will we feed crowds during Crop Over regardless of what they usually consume?

Members of the diaspora have also complained to Loop that they leave Barbados not knowing or never really hearing some of the new Bajan soca and then they have to learn it on their own before Labour Day and Miami Carnival. So it's not just some Barbadians lamenting about the menu of songs in fetes during Crop Over, but foreigners are questioning the ingredients in the Crop Over recipe. People are quick to blame the chefs aka the deejays, but the managers of the restaurants, the promoters are dictating the pace of the dishes being served. 

Therefore, again we ask - What is Barbados’ Crop Over sound?

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