Association to address concerns of Calypsonians raised at weekend forum
(From left) Dr Cleve Scott - Facilitator, President of the SVGCA - Earl Bennett, Colette Myers - calypsonian and song writer
April 26, 2024

Association to address concerns of Calypsonians raised at weekend forum

The general consensus of participants in a judges workshop, organised by the executive of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Calypsonians Association (SVGCA), last Saturday, April 20, 2024, is that it was a fruitful and worthwhile exercise.

Among those who shared that view was Colette Myers, a relatively new female calypsonian and song writer, who goes by the stage name “Colette Shun”.

Myers who entered the competitive arena in 2022 with the Graduates Calypso Tent, before moving to the Upstage Experience, while lauding the decision to elucidate some of the issues pertaining to judging, also felt there were still some grey areas.

“One of the major issues that I have as a participating calypsonian is that you are not given the score sheet after the performance which will point out your strong areas, and areas where you went down,” Myers pointed out.

“You are given one score, and for me that does not help the calypsonian going forward.”

Expanding she said, “ A calypsonian should know if they went down in lyrics, rendition, in your melody, in your performance, in your presentation”.

In response to Myers’ concerns, president of the SVGCA, Earl Bennett, acknowledged that specific feedback is critical as calypsonians strive to better their craft.

“ We will be relentless in our pursuits of trying to address this matter,” he promised,”it is a matter of urgency and priority because we think it is pertinent to the development of the art form…it is something that we have to work hand in hand with the CDC (Carnival Development Corporation) to address soonest.”

Another of the issues raised at last Saturday’s workshop, was the non -provision of rules for calypsonians, from the preliminary phase of judging.

Pointing to that concern was facilitator, Dr Cleve Scott, and it elicited the full support of Myers.

“Competition starts from the preliminaries, so if something happens in the preliminaries that.. prevents you from advancing to the semi-finals, no one can be held accountable for that,”Myers said.

Bennett, however, assured all that rules will be provided from the preliminaries.

“ I can assure calypsonians who have this concern that rules from the preliminaries onwards…”, but “it has to be first dealt with at the respective tent levels, then the Calypsonians Association,” Bennett noted.

The workshop brought together artistes from the various genres- Calypso, Soca, Ragga Soca, as well as judges and other adjudicators who also shared experiences about compositions, performances, and examined the judging criteria for Calypso, Soca, and Ragga Soca Competitions for 2024.

Additionally, the workshop examined the role of the auditor and how the judges points are used to determine the results.

Bennett in his assessment, thought that the knowledge and format presented by Scott, helped in making the workshop “ fruitful and worthwhile”.

“I want commend him for doing an excellent job from beginning to the end…he brought context and different aspects of the art form, that is- Calypso, Soca and Ragga Soca…”.

Bennett also commended the judges for “their openness”.

He added that such workshops are pertinent as the art form continues to evolve.

“Like any other profession, nothing is stagnant, therefore, you need to refresh…you need to re-examine what is before you,” Bennett told those present at the opening.