Veteran calypsonian and promoter George Leroy Straker has love on his mind. The artiste, who is known as Georgie in the entertainment arena, released I Saw A Wife In You and has high hopes for the song and its longevity.
And although there was no official Crop Over this year, he still felt the need to pen a song which he told Bajan Vibes came to him when the country was on restrictions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“It’s a love calypso. I’m hoping that it can be played at engagement parties and weddings long after Crop Over to make couples love and appreciate each other much more through the tough times. I am hoping to get men to see the worth their wives and girlfriends possess.”
Georgie, who has been singing since 1984, said he penned the song hoping it would bring couples closer together. “Just before COVID 19 brought closure to activities island-wide, this young engineer/producer, Terrence Griffith, sent a rhythm to my phone and asked me to compose a song for Crop Over.
He added: “Two weeks passed before I listened to the rhythm, but when I did, I wrote the song in 20 minutes. The island was under curfew and I realised husbands and wives and families were brought closer to each other. Boyfriends and girlfriends became more tolerant of each other. So I wrote this song, hoping it can connect us together more lovingly.”
Georgie, whose name has been synonymous with performing in tents such as Romans in 1984, Soca Explosion in 1985, Alien Forces in 1986 and Contenders in 1993, had recorded music every year between 1986 and 1993. Since then, he has written articles and been on radio programmes dealing with the kaiso art form.
Georgie is hoping that Bajans use this dreadful COVID-19 period to be their brother’s keeper and spread more love. “We are facing some economic woes. We have high unemployment. So we must be on the look-out for those who are liable to fall through the cracks because of loss of income. This will affect their ability to get food and possibly shelter.
“My wish is that those of us who can afford to help do so unconditionally. Luke Chapter 6 vs 38: ‘Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over.’”
I Saw A Wife In You was recorded at Kolaiah Studio, Roebuck Street, St Michael, by Griffith and background vocals were done by Suzette Goring, former Cat Attack girl from the now defunct Contenders.
“I registered the song with COSCAP [Copyright Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Incorporated] and it was released at the end of May 2020. I also made a music video of the song and it has got thousands of views on the YouTube channel.”
He explained: “The video production was done locally also by Life, a young videographer with a business in West Terrace, St James. I have three music videos on YouTube channel all recorded by Life and I get many inquiries about the good quality of the work.”
Georgie pointed out that he actually released two music videos. The other one is called Shake It. He is working in the studio with Griffith on a gospel reggae song he wrote. He is hoping to release it in September and will also be producing a music video for this reggae tune.
“I have come to the realisation that a video does wonders for the artiste. Your music is seen and heard by a wider demographic, your posture and maneuverability on the video say a lot to your audience and the actual pictures of tourist attractions on the island speak volumes.”
He continued: “For example, my daughter who lives in the US encouraged one dozen friends to visit Barbados for this year’s Crop Over just because they saw beautiful pictures of the island on my video. Another friend had organised three couples, who had their passages booked for Crop Over but had to be refunded. So videos sell the artiste and the island.”
The singer is hoping that his music video can get a push on CBC TV8. However, he doesn’t hold out much hope with radio. “I’m hoping to make it a local anthem for lovers who intend to get married whether they be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, anyone. I am hoping, too, that CBC TV can give it some legs. I have found that radio stations don’t do justice to the lesser known recording artists.”
He added: “Even though there were fewer recordings this year, the quantity of airplay received for my song was negligible. If your song doesn’t fit the playlist of a station or you don’t know a deejay personally to give it rotation, ya song dead. But I’m still doing my promotion and hoping I can sing it at some weddings or engagement functions. It has a motivational component about it.”
Georgie was pleased with the number of artistes who still created, produced and released music for Crop Over.
“I am in high praise of the artistes who made the bold step and recorded music for the Crop Over that never happened. I took that step along with Mr Blood, Donella, Rusty, Nathalee, Skung yung, Jus D, Coopa Dan, Hypasounds and others. I must congratulate Marzville for his bold initiative in having shows to lift the spirits of his followers. I am sure we will never make our studio costs back, but the music will live longer than the artistes,” he said.
However, the veteran chided some of the others who he said enjoyed the fatted calf that is Crop Over but did not look to give back this year.
“This is the first time in nearly 50 years that there was no Crop Over. But this festival paid big dollars to many popular big name calypsonians every year and now that the festival was lying on a sick bed none of these powerful calypsonians found it necessary to produce a song,” Georgie lamented.