Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The best part of summer: the music of the Crop Over Festival

Tomorrow night I'll be on the internet TV talk show "Reason Deep" on CaribFyah TV discussing this season's musical offerings for Crop Over. Since there is never enough time during these things to say all the gazillion words in my head, I thought I would preempt the accusations of oversight by sharing a list of 15 of my favourite tracks for the season. This list is not exhaustive and is not necessarily in any particular order of preference. Or it might be.

Ooh. Intrigue.

Go Dung - Lil Rick
No Cheating - Tony Bailey
Sweet Soca Song - Red Plastic Bag
Charge Up - Skinny Fabulous
Mekkin It - Bobo
Serious Wukking - Gorg
Drop It - Mr. Dale
My Party - Mikey
De Way You Wine - Peter Ram
Foot on Fire - Blood
Sun Come Up - Statement
La La - Red Plastic Bag
Neighbour - Edwin and Patrice
Can't Stop - Brett Linton
Bounce - Lorenzo

Honourable Mention*
Strong Rum Something - Skinny Fabulous
Too Drunk - Statement

*Actually this mention isn't so honourable. The first two songs here are about not just alcohol, but alcoholism. And while they are extremely well written and delivered, the content is problematic. More on this in a subsequent post.

Look out for the discussion on www.caribfyah.com tomorrow Wednesday at 10:00 p.m.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful music recs! Looking forward to hearing these. I'm always happy to find Caribbean music (I use this descriptor because I'm not picky: ska, reggae, calypso, soca, dancehall, I loves it all!) that won't annoy the hell out of me (I'm looking at you, Beenie Man). :)

  2. Your list caught my eye...Charge Up by Skinny Fabulous from St. Vincent is playing all the time on the radio now, if it doesn't get burnt out by kadooment it might even get road march...!
    I saw his performance in St.Vincent when he won the monarch a couple weeks ago and was struck by all the young men 'wild up' close to the stage, there was barely a female in sight, and I don't blame anyone for not wanting to get into that jam, it was wild. Some lyrics from Charge Up:
    I under me rum
    I under me liquor
    Drinking up me vodka
    like a pack of duracell
    we charge up
    when you see we coming
    move out de way
    cause we full of energy
    we wicked and we wild up
    you have no idea what we have been drinking since morning

    So my thinking(and its only a thought) is that while the lyrics might not be politically correct and so this song will not get produced in Barbados, but the style still really appeals to youth, and it'll probably be the song playing in the Roberts band going down the road, surrounded by police...and it might get road march.

    Skinny Fabulous btw is a very articulate 27? year old who is doing or has just finished a degree at Mona in Media & Communications...

  3. @alldaydoodler: So many things. First, politically incorrect music is produced in Barbados all the time. There is quite a bit of it on the radio this season. The 'drunk tunes' as I call them are out in abundance, written and recorded by some of our own (see: Statement, Gorg). The theme is popular, so everyone wants a piece.

    Second, Skinny is brilliant. I first saw him perform about 6 years ago at The UWI Cave Hill Campus. I had no idea who he was, but as soon as he took the stage, it was his. And everyone fell in love with him. He is what performance is all about. And the man's ear for music and rhythm is no small thing. There is a lot more to come from him.

    Third, you don't have to make an extended argument that Charge Up might win Road March. We who have been at all the Crop over fetes for the season are on board. But go Dung by Lil Rick may edge it out.

    @Cait: you can find them on bajantube.com. I'll send you some links. Let me know what you think.

  4. Hmmm....yes but the drunk tunes don't quite have that (violent) edge you still find in Grenada and St. Vincent, there's a difference. This is not a drunk tune, it a wild tune. We're not drinking to have fun, to dance and frolic, we're drinking and we're wild...

    It also gets very personal in the 'islands', reference Skinny's alleged line during his performance to his opponent getting a bullet, in his spine...

  5. Well, it is both. The difference for Bajans, I think, as you highlighted, is that even though the association is made in the song between drinking and getting wild, it isn't made in their minds, at least not yet. When people here party to this song, they definitely focus on the "charged up" part, which itself has been a popular theme in soca music, especially of late. Being charged/wil' up need not be violent, in their interpretation, although obviously it can be, and might be in the Roberts band. (But that band has never needed a song specifically dedicated to the idea to get wil' up.) "Mash Up" by Blood and Mikey is similar in theme and atmosphere. Let's see what happens with both on the road.

  6. Oh, MADE. OF. AWESOME (Go Dung, among others)!

    I foresee my music purchasing taking an upturn. Always like to buy music when it's someone I really like. :)

  7. I feel certain that it is my about-to-be 50 sensibility that makes me just cringe listening to some of these oombinations of words and noise, aka songs. The generation gap must be more like a chasm.

    For me there is something just execrable about so much of this that passes for music. The sheer monotony of it, the absence of vocabulary (use a thesaurus for crying out loud),the absence of poetry.

    Despite the narrow context in which this music can be appreciated (like maybe under the influence of alcohol and/or in the company of really light-hearted, lovely, open-minded, non-judgmental, having a good time, friends), it is puzzling that soca artists complain that the music is not capturing international interest.

    Well, they would have to work harder at it, harder at lyrics that say something besides wine, wuk up, fat botsy, ad nauseum.

    Go Dung. Do you think the spelling is meant to be ironic?


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