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BARBADOS - music

Government needs to do more for our artistes

Web Posted - Fri Jun 04 2004

I HAVE recently been reading and hearing reports of the piracy issues surrounding Crop Over. I appreciate that piracy is everywhere but surely the Government can do something to support and protect the hard-working artists whose livelihood this affects. As far as I am aware very little is done to those caught selling pirated music and to deter these people from doing it.

I know new music has been written and is in the process of being written and I am disturbed by the fact that when I come over to Barbados for three weeks for Crop Over this year that I may be unable to hear any of it. I am concerned about what may happen to the calypso tents, the competitions and the regular fetes leading up to, and including, Kadooment Day itself. Will we have to listen to last year’s tunes or music from Trinidad carnival instead, which is all that is currently being played on the internet radio stations?

I have spoken to some musician friends and there is definitely a black cloud overhead, one saying that this issue has really put a damper on the whole thing, at a time when he is usually getting geared up for the season.

These artists need help to keep soca growing and become more popular worldwide, not just in the Caribbean, and this is not helping them at all. This is their job, not just a hobby that comes out in the open once a year. These musicians live and breathe soca and are putting in a lot of money to produce this new music. They are having their livelihood taken away and the Government are just standing by watching it happen.

My husband and myself have been coming to Barbados regularly since 1994, sometimes twice a year, and our visits are mainly for the music-based events, whether it is Crop Over, Congaline or over the Christmas period when a lot of the artists are back on the island. I was first introduced to soca by a Bajan friend and since then we have supported Bajan music, building up a large collection of CDs over the years and attending as many fetes as we can whilst on the island. Most of the money we spend on the island doesn’t go to the fancy restaurants and gift shops, but is used to purchase CDs, entrance to fetes and tickets for Crop Over events.

Coming from England, I cannot hear soca or attend fetes as often as I would like to and whenever any of the Bajan artistes come to England we always make a special trip down to London to support these hard-working musicians. I constantly play soca in my car and at home and feel as though I will be short-changed if I get to Barbados in July only to find out that there will be no new music for me to listen to.

I cannot imagine what Crop Over will be like without any new music and I hope and pray that this matter can be resolved very soon to bring Crop Over back to being, as it says on the poster in my kitchen, “More than a carnival. Sweet Fuh Days”.


Compliments of the Barbados Advocate.e



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