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NOW THAT two issues of concern about this year’s Crop Over Festival – the points system for the Pic-O-De-Crop competition and prevailing skimpy Kadooment outfits – have been addressed, there is one other tobe noted.
Last month, a letter writer to this newspaper drew to our attention to what he called: “An exercise into mindless bestiality, totally unbecoming of civilised beings.” He was referring to what is now called bashment soca, for which there is a competition in the festival.
His letter was a scathing condemnation of the degeneration of the quality of musical offerings that, as he put it, “pander to the lowest common denominator in youth behaviour, all for the sake of 30 pieces of silver”.
We endorse his views and commend them to the agency responsible forthe festival.
The Bashment Soca Competition is not only officially legitimised by the National Cultural Foundation, but also enjoys commercial sanction through sponsorship by a division of a major corporation.
But what is bashment soca? How does it better the staples of “soca” and “sweet soca”?
In the realm of calypso competitions for Crop Over, we have moved from having a time-honoured Pic-O-De-Crop competition to a Party Monarchcontest, to the challenge of creating the top song in a Sweet Soca competitionand now we have fallen into the depthsof theatre through bashment soca.
Unlike “kadooment” and “dooflicky” and similar Barbadian designations used for festival activities, bashment soca has borrowed an outlandish form of conduct and given it pride of place when, in truth, it is an obnoxious aberration with no moral compass and no known Barbadian nexus.
At its outset, “kadooment” was negatively regarded because it is used to describe a commotion, but as an expression of street dancing it is a word that spells genuine merriment.
We all know what a bash is – a social event. But bashment is nothing more than unconventionality. Add rebellious behaviour to that. Is this now to be celebrated as a highlight of our annual festival?
The introduction of bashment soca introduces abandonment of traditional and meaningful lyrics with emphasis being placed on a heavy bassline andan accelerated beat. It also emphasises many of the wretched trappings ofdancehall and dub music from Jamaica.The renditions convey decadent conduct, over-suggestive dance strokes and mimicking of the sex act.
It is not the finest example of Barbadian culture, if it is Barbadianor cultural at all.