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EDITORIAL: Artistes must move past lewd lyrics


SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Artistes must move past lewd lyrics

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CROP OVER 2015 is about to heat up and already some songs have come under heavy fire.

It must be somewhat of a balancing  act by songwriters who must weigh the lyrical content against what is socially acceptable. Calypsos must not only be biting and gripping to draw listeners in and keep them hooked, but they must  also be in good taste, or they risk being offensive to some in society.

Already, such is the case with  Captain Sawyer, who is now facing the music for his calypso De Sugar Daddy, which has evoked the ire of women’s activist Marilyn Rice-Bowen and Member of Parliament James Paul.

Rice-Bowen, the outgoing president of the National Organisation of Women, said the song was demeaning to women, while Paul said the lyrics represented a “cannibalism of the spirit of generosity”.

In his defence, Sawyer said he never meant for his song to be offensive to anyone. He stoutly defended it, saying he would not be apologising nor would he be “taking back” any lyrics.

Also, just yesterday, it was reported that the song Sofa Kingz by John Doe and Peter Ram was banned from the airwaves at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.

As a calypsonian there is a measure of lyrical and poetic licence which the art form requires to allow those who pen music to produce clinchers that will hook listeners.

This “leeway” is needed to allow the creativity of artistes to flow as they comment on what is happening in society and keep the intrigue and interest of the festival through their songs.

Still, calypsonians have a duty to produce clean Crop Over music. And while criticism of lyrical content of calypsos is nothing new, as some songs have been placed under the microscope over the years, artistes must move past lewd language to get their message across.

They need cleverly written lyrics, including double entendre that would take a song to another level. It must be understood that the lyrical content of calypsos is for the consumption of the general public and as such, will be up for scrutiny.

Whether the songs are of a serious nature bringing social commentary to the fore, or offering comedic relief, certain tenets of songwriting must obtain.

There are some who are already lyrical geniuses who have mastered the art. Theirs must be the example to follow.

Calypsonians must, therefore, clean up their acts and make the clear distinction between what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to lyrics. Remember, calypso is still an art form which we all must appreciate.

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