Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Two million dollars poorer

Ravi B was a spoil sport, a bad loser. He showed his true colours. Never mind that his song was "sweeter" than Rikki Jai's White Oak and Water.

The question that we need to consider, however, is what are we promoting/ developing when the first prize for the Chutney Soca Monarch is two million dollars (as it will be for the Soca Monarch on fantastic Friday March 4)? Especially in the context of the second prize at one hundred thousand dollars.

Not making any excuse for bad behaviour (except we need to understand how we provoke bad behaviour), but just trying to figure out if the top song could actually be ten times better than the second. Understanding that the intention of big prizes is an incentive to attract the best - all of the best contenders - for the best compositions, arrangements, renditions and performances. But where's the balance? Surely we appreciate that music for the road, the fetes, the season, the nation, is never built on one song. Music for this season in which our culture blooms - extravagantly and to excess like the poui or  immortelle - comes from pan, kaiso, chutney, soca, and the proliferation of artists and extraordinary music-makers coming out to  express themselves.

What do we affirm by making our best artists compete for such disproportionately inequitable rewards? A mirror of a society in which a ten percent of top earnings might actually make life more comfortable for a considerable sector of persons living under the poverty line? Do we have to make the brothers and sisters in soca and soca chutney kill each other to get to the top? Where is the understanding that an artist, even a genius, stands on the shoulders of his peers, that peers support and push the best of their company up; that the winner - head and shoulders above, but firmly and confidently in the arms of those right next to him/ her - enjoys the view for all his fellows.

The tall tree grows in the forest buttressed by all the other trees in the canopy, in the understory, right down to the vines and leaf litter, the fungus and microbes and the soil.

I am partial to Ravi B's rhythms, and sorry that he had to make a fool of himself over mere money!
Likker/ Cyah come

1 comment:

  1. Insightful, Pat - and it's good to see you engaging with carnival again - like the old days.