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‘Foreigngitis’ taking toll on local music


‘Foreigngitis’ taking toll on local music

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Veteran entertainer Richard Stoute says that Barbados is afflicted with “foreigngitis” that leads them to not support local entertainers.

Speaking recently to a group of young people, he called on Barbadians to be more supportive of local entertainers.

“If you look at it carefully, not one single top name in this country or top entertainers can dare put on a concert. You know why? Because we suffer from something called foreigngitis. If you bring Cocoa Tea, Milo, Ovaltine . . . if you bring [certain entertainers] everybody’s going to that show.

“One night I lay down in my bed and hear, ‘Tonight at the National Stadium we have Red Rat, Elephant Man, we have Wolf Man, Bird Man, and they had a snake too – they had Cobra – and don’t forget we have Hypa Dawg and Peter Ram. So there were all animals at the Stadium. I’m being serious. When I passed by the Stadium you couldn’t pass . . . too many people. People went to support them.

He stated that if calypsonians Red Plastic Bag, the Mighty Gabby and the Mighty Grynner had a show at the Stadium it would be very likely that “you could run a rat through there”.

“Unless we do that, we’re going to find a lot of entertainment schedules coming right down the line all the time. It is changing. The music has changed, and I have no problem with the music being changed. I like what I like and you like what you like.

“I know a guy who said last year ‘take off something and pelt it way’ and they gave him $50 000 and the next year he came back and said ‘bend down, bend down, bend down’, $50 000 more … I wrote something like Goodbye Bajan Girl, the Best Part Of My Day, You Can Make It If You Try, Rocksteady Christmas, all the beautiful songs I wrote never got a dime.

“So you have to ask yourself what is going on? It has changed and you have to be careful not to let mediocrity destroy the progress of what music really is,” Stoute said.

The entertainer, who founded the Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest 41 years ago, also told the audience he was amazed that while Rihanna is the country’s principal entertainer, Crop Over, the “biggest festival is only loaded with calypso music”.

He explained that when talent scouts come to Barbados “looking for another Rihanna” they would not have a chance to hear anyone from his talent show but rather “the Mighty Zuzu and all those people”.

He suggested a forum for young people during Crop Over so they can be heard and discovered.

He reiterated that “the Government of Barbados has to understand you have to give exposure to the Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest” so that boys and girls who could sing well would have the same opportunity as the megastar. That, he pointed out, would not come from the calypso tents.

“At the last World Music Festival, they said they’re not interested in calypso at all; they’re interested in songs that can sell worldwide. So, we don’t fool ourselves. Calypso music lasts for two months; after that it’s finished . . . We are very seasonal people and you know one thing we don’t want to do in this country, we do not want to deal with the truth [but] the truth is a mighty sword,” he said. (GBM)