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Socatronic is serious business

Femi Mascoll

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Comedic calypso, but serious business.This is how young artistes Nard (Justin Ward) and John Mahameed (Renee Nelson) see their music.We have heard their songs on the radio and maybe even seen them perform, but who are they?The two childhood friends have broken away from the traditional through their music, which they call “socatronic”.John Mahameed, the more vocal of the two, said that the comedic side should not be underestimated. “We choose the more difficult path . . . It is harder to be funny.” Speaking of the new sound the duo have brought to the soca arena, John Mahameed said that they are “not trying to change soca” but “people expect something different from us”.  Citing Michael Jackson as his inspiration, he said the difference in genre is but a minor factor.Despite the immense popularity of their songs over the past few years, the pair have chosen not to compete, but rather to focus on promoting their music.John Mahameed said that competition would be “just another avenue”, not necessarily a “step forward”.But these two calypso “characters” also have broader views on the festival.For instance, Nard sees the recent controversy at Sunday’s Soca Royale as adding to the differences between this season and previous ones. He added that the “difference” of Crop-Over 2010 could be attributed to the changes which had been made and many persons were “still adjusting”.Nard also voiced his concerns about the Soca Royale competition. He said that on Sunday the crowd, the artistes and the judges were all “victims” of the contest.Nard continued that people who were making decisions which determined the direction of the festival should “try attending fetes” to become more in tune with what the people wanted. Otherwise, it is like “living in Barbados and making decisions for the United States”.Responding to the wave of criticism about the standard of music this year, the young artiste said that while everyone was entitled to their own opinion, such comments should be delayed until the end of the season in order to offer a fair assessment. He stated that this constant negativity toward the art form was a major demotivator for younger artistes.

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