Head of the Barbados Association of Creatives and Artistes (BACA) Sean Apache Carter has applauded the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) for having three separate genres judged in the 2022 Junior Monarch Competition.
He described the decision to add soca and bashment soca to the traditional calypso category as a progressive step, despite criticism in some quarters that children should not be encouraged to sing bashment soca because of the lewdness usually associated with it.
Carter agreed with the NCF’s Chief Executive Officer Carol Roberts-Reifer who, in defending the inclusion of the genre, said the youngsters being involved in it could change its image.
“I think that if you start bashment at that young level, you have an opportunity now to develop it and take it in the direction that you want to take it in,” Carter told Barbados TODAY.
“Bashment does not necessarily have to be the content. For these youngsters, it doesn’t have to be the content that you would hear coming from the established Bajan dancehall artistes or [what people in the] current bashment soca arena would be singing.
“I think it’s progressive, I think it’s a good move and I think it would be good for bashment soca. It would bring more creativity in terms of writing and bringing more stories,” the BACA head added.
He also pointed out that it made no sense for the NCF or any other stakeholders to bury their heads in the sand and ignore that the youth are involved in bashment soca.
As far as the structure of this year’s competition is concerned, Carter said that the dynamics of soca, bashment soca and calypso are completely different and should rightfully be judged using different criteria.
However, he was not in agreement with the decision to eliminate the age categories when the competition returns next month after a two-year break, and instead judge by genre only.
“It is a welcome change to have the three sections. The only thing I don’t necessarily like is that there is no longer the categories as far as age is concerned. I don’t think a seven-year-old should be competing with a 17-year-old.
“I would say thumbs down for there being this one open thing without the age, but thumbs up as it relates to separating the different categories or sections of the music,” he said.
The reigning Junior Monarchs in the 6 to 10 and 11 to 14 age categories – Kenaz The Mighty Bit Bit Walker and Shontae Alleyne-Clarke, respectively – have confirmed participation in this year’s competition.
Cultural Ambassador, Dr The Most Honourable Anthony The Mighty Gabby Carter, who mentors Walker, said the now 11-year-old will be returning to the calypso category.
He said the pre-teen’s social commentary piece has already been penned and rehearsals have started.
Meantime, Alleyne-Clarke’s mother, Shontelle Alleyne, declined to say in what category her daughter would be performing.
However, she said the young calypsonian was “excited” and ready to compete again after winning her title in 2019.
“We are already prepared for the competition. We have been waiting for a while – two years has been a long time. She wanted to get back on stage and now she has the opportunity to,” she said.
Alleyne said she had no issues with bashment soca being added to the competition, as she noted that the world was changing and young people were not exposed to calypso alone.
“It is an opportunity for them to showcase their talent and art. Let the young people shine. Once they are not being lewd, let the young people shine. If you look at the other Caribbean countries the young people are not being restricted to just calypso,” she said. (AH)