One Dominican ambassador has blasted it as a music form that is almost on its last legs, on its way out.
But Cadence-lypso, the Dominican music created by the group Exile One and which influenced the emergence of Zouk in the French Islands and Bouyon here, is attracting powerful friends.
The National Cooperative Credit Union (NCCU) has taken the bull by the horns, and has officially signaled its intention to help make the Cadence a key priority.
The society – an amalgamation of the Roseau, La-Salette, St. Paul, St. David and Vieille Case credit unions, is on a drive to revitalize the Cadence Lypso.
Musicians and singers who love the cadence are being told that they stand a chance to win EC$15,000.00.
That’s the first prize in a competition the NCCU intends staging in October at the Newtown Savannah.
It also carries a second prize of $5,000.00 and a $2,500.00 third prize.
According to the president of NCCU, Dexter Ducreay, there’ll be 15 participants in the competition.
“We have had discussions with the private sector to partner with us…we are encouraged to know that they are enthusiastic about the show and we want to encourage others to come on board,” Ducreay stated.
The thrust to get Cadence-lypso back on track has garnered support from the Dominica government.
Culture Minister Justina Charles, Tourism Minister Ian Douglas and Chief Cultural Officer Raymond Lawrence have all expressed “delight” at the event.
“Cadence has helped to promote Dominica and has also helped in a big way in the life style of the people and now to have a private sector entity come on board and have this initiative is indeed heartening,” Lawrence said.
Culture Minister Charles who labeled the move “brilliant” and applauded the NCCU initiative, was optimistic that other partners will join with the credit union in making “this flagship event” a success.
She also sees it as a way of paying tribute to Cadence giant “Jeff Joe” of Grammacks, who toiled over the years in the promotion of the music.
He died last year.
Tourism Minister Ian Douglas sees the NCCU cadence competition as another opportunity for Dominica to “showcase and package its culture and heritage in other parts of the world.”
“We want to put our seal on this flagship event…it’s huge and we applaud NCCU, we pledge our fullest support for this event and want others to come onboard and make it grow bigger and better over the years,” he stated, looking ahead to the competition becoming an annual affair.
Leroy “Wadico” Charles has been employed by the NCCU to assist in co-coordinating the event.
The long list of popular cadence-lypso hits over the years includes Exile One’s “Nou Travail Pou Anyen”, “Rosita”, “Akiyaka”, “Ve-y Ou La”, “Gade Derrier-ou”, and “Don’t Bite the Hand that Feeds You”.
Grammack’s “Mi Debar”, “Ou Pa Bon”, “Pa Dansay Anbar Coco Sec” are some of the favourites of many, as is Midnight Groovers’ “Coco Sec” and “Milk and Honey”.
Cadence fans have difficulty forgetting too, Billomen’s giant hit “African Music”.
Listen below to the classic cadence “Mi deba.”