by Donna Sealy and Latoya Burnham
While calypsonian Adrian Clarke has drawn the ire of at least one religious leader with his song Sociable Jam this Crop-Over, he has won favour with another.
Barbados TODAY learnt today that Apostle Lucille Baird had expressed concerned about a song which mentions her and wants her name removed.
Clarke said he spoke to the Senior Pastor, CEO and founder of Mount Zion’s Missions this afternoon and while she made a case citing the work she did in a number of communities, he would not be removing any reference to her from the song.
He argued that wining, wukking up or some of the other forms of physical expression was evident on Kadooment Day as much as it was during events such as those which formed part of Gospelfest and in some churches during worship.
“If she [Baird] sees it as comical then that is for her. I don’t think it’s comical. I take everything I do seriously. I don’t know if she feels that it is derogatory, but as I continue to say, churches use calypso as well. They dance to calypso, and the Bajan terminology is wukking up. It may be gospel, but it is still calypso. I do not have an issue with Lucille Baird, as a matter of fact I think she does great work and I thank her for the work she does.
A verse and the chorus from the song say:
Apostle Baird better watch how she criticising,
Cause some churches does remind me of down Spring Garden
With lots of style, colour and fashion, and some of de movements I does see in de congregation
The rhythm does be de same soca music, only Jehovah’s name they put in it.
I ain’t fighting fire wid fire in defence of no Crop-Over, but I does see de same wukking up coming from de pastor and de flock
Admission a thousand dolla, just to keep out that low culture
Women formal and looking cute
Men in dem swizzle tail suit
Mr. Jones can conduct de orchestra
And Apostle Baird she could be de opera singer
No Mr. Dale, Edwin, Lil’ Rick or Mikey
Just pieces by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky
Clarke said he was contemplating changing the song for the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals on August 2.
“I only intended to do the song up to the semifinals. Whether or not I change it now, hmmm, but I intended to add and change some lyrics because the song is not mine. I spoke to the original writer and I said I was going to change some lyrics and that was okay. What I did is that I may have changed some words here and there,” the two-time Pic-O-De-Crop monarch said.
But in a telephone interview one cleric said that while religious expression was individualistic in many ways there was “no set way to respond to God or to respond to your sense of who God is”.
“One can make a judgement either for or against a particular person’s individual desire to express themselves in a particular way. [While] he talks about wuk-up that might be an exaggeration, the fact remains that people in the Caribbean are very musical and we inherited it from our African heritage.
“One of the problems we have in the western society is that we make a distinction between the sacred and the secular and within the context of the African tradition and the real context of religion and religious expression there is no such distinction,” he said.
The religious leader contended that difference is what led to some people taking the positions they did, but a look at the African heritage showed that religious expression and life were intertwined.
“We in the Caribbean are caught in another man’s religion… What we have inherited in the name of religion, whether it has come from up north in the US or across in England, it’s a very Eurocentric understanding of religion which sets it over and against the ‘secular’ so we have this problem. As an expressive people we want to express ourselves completely, whether it is before God or on Spring Garden and herein lies the problem.
“When the church doesn’t understand this and seeks to quarrel with society, it creates this further divide and then it causes society to speak against what it does. By attacking you open up the door to be attacked again,” he reasoned.
Clarke added that he did not think the song was meant to be “malicious”.
“Everyone has their own opinion, but I have no personal issues with politicians or anyone but if they do something and I can make known the things that people have problems with, I will do that. If the public is disgusted by things that they do, I will sing that, but at the end of the day I don’t have problems with them. Singing about what they do, that is my role.
“They talked about Jesus and I don’t see why I can’t sing about anyone else. As far as I’m concerned opinions were given [in the song] and praises were given. If someone sings about me, that is part of calypso. The question is whether they can handle the reply. My job is to not offend my mother, my wife, my daughter or any other female I associate with. I would not do that,” he said.
Repeated efforts to speak with Baird were unsuccessful.