Divisive calypsoes harming art form

Calypsonian Cro Cro - Marvin Hamilton
Calypsonian Cro Cro - Marvin Hamilton

THE EDITOR: During the Carnival 2023 season, we heard Winston "Cro Cro" Rawlins’s Another Sat is Outside Again, in which one could have easily interpreted that a popular businessman was allegedly involved in car theft.

The businessman got angry and decided to take the matter to court for defamation and Justice Frank Seepersad ordered Cro Cro to sing a sanitised version of the song.

Now I have often heard rumours about certain activities in the used car industry in the Bamboo, but I would like to know if Cro Cro has any actual evidence of such.

Also, I need to ask why do some calypsonians continue to sing divisive songs and what is the benefit of doing so? Who exactly do they need to impress? Are they singing for their proverbial party supper?

Calypsonians are to represent the voice of the grassroots people. Calypso is also a powerful medium that has been used to educate and edify the masses and even in 2023, calypso still does not get the amount of respect it really deserves – it is a gem like no other.

However, for years many Indo-Trinidadians have stayed very far from calypso competitions, tents and other events due to calypsonians like Cro Cro and Sugar Aloes singing songs that may be deemed as segregating or divisive, or even borderline racist.

For example, the Calypso Monarch – or the Skinner Park lime – was and is still seen as a PNM stomping ground for singers to bad talk the UNC in the nastiest way possible and I don’t recall any PNM official ever doing anything to distance the party from the mudslinging.

Of course, the diehard PNMites or Red Army folks would have enjoyed nothing better and sweeter as they lapped up every nasty lyric about past and present opposition leaders. Many supporters of the UNC view the mudslinging as an attack on their ethnic group so they continue to have absolutely nothing to do with calypso – and perhaps with Carnival as well.

I am thankful that many calypsonians, especially the younger ones, have chosen a different path and write and sing calypsoes that are more uplifting and satisfying to the ear.

How do we expect calypso to thrive if divisive songs continue to be the agenda of a few? Yes, calypsonians have every right to sing on various topics and inform the masses accordingly, but there is much to learn from the legends like Singing Sandra, Black Stalin, Shadow, David Rudder, Sparrow and Kitchener, to name a few.

There are ways to tell a story and use double meaning in a classy manner. Singing calypsoes that may cause others to dislike the art form is not the least bit progressive in any form or fashion.

Cro Cro is big and has sense, he has been doing his thing for years and may not stop just because some folks complain, but he can certainly raise the standard. There are many people of different ethnic and age groups who are not impressed with his style or attacks, although he has had some brilliant songs.

I am not a real fan of the businessman per say, but Cro Cro, raise the standard, for God’s sake.


Port of Spain


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