Calypso analyst calls for new calypso judging system

Duncan Stowe

Calypso Analyst, Attorney Duncan Stowe, is calling for a new system of judging calypso.

The judging of calypso has attracted a lot of controversy over the years.

Stowe says he believes that in an effort to reduce discrepancies in the judging, in each round of the competition, judges should be drawn from two pools, those that are experienced and others who are less experienced.

He was speaking on a radio programme recently.

“If you have a panel of seven (7) you should choose at least 4 of the most senior persons and you could do that one of two ways, either an executive decide among themselves say, from that pool of 25 you are going to take 4 or people who are involved in coordinating, they could do a dipping process and 4 of the more senior judges for that particular night,” he explained.

“If you have 7 on the panel, maybe 4 could be chosen separately from the 3 least experienced, so at all times you would have at least one more experienced person…, Stowe added. “And the other pool of the least experienced/amateurs, beginners or newcomers you try to pull at least 3 of them so it will be a learning process.”

According to him, the least experienced judges could lean on the experienced or more senior persons.

He mentioned also, that there should be a post-mortem where judges should be held accountable and responsible for the decisions that they make throughout the season.

Meantime, President of the Dominica Calypso Association (DCA), Davidson ‘Observer’ Victor supports the suggestions made by Stowe and believes they are worthwhile.

He said this can be further discussed at the DCA’s next executive meeting.

Victor went on to say that the calypso association doesn’t interfere when selecting judges.

“What we do is that we have a judge’s coordinator; we also have an appointed assistant judge’s coordinator and we have one senior executive member who don’t compete. These 3 people are responsible for doing the dipping,” he said.

Victor made it clear that this doesn’t mean that the inexperienced judges are not doing a good job, “because we think that all the judges can do a very good job, but I think in terms of the experience, you cannot take away the fact that experience always stand strong.”

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12 Comments

  1. Colombo Thomas
    February 6, 2019

    Goodness peps don’t wasp your mind’s that everyone opinion is religated to political views. There is merit in the gentleman suggestions. However, if I may offer a few suggestions…. The system of selecting the artists is flawed. No Artists should be given a bye from one year to the next. It’s a new year and competition. Everyone should be judged at each level every year. The artist should not be singing one song from round to rounds. It’s a two songs competition. The judging of too many artists of one panel of judging does not give justice to lesser known or new artists.

  2. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    February 5, 2019

    Some valid points made here. What I would like to see is better musical arrangement that would enable our calypso songs to be aired in the international market. Going back to childhood, the same basic chords are being played year after year. Our art form suffers, because of that. This is where intervention is needed. As far as accountability is concerned, judging is highly opinionated and a personal choice. What sounds great to one judge, might sound like rubbish to another, in spite of the various categories that they are required to consider.

  3. iprotest
    February 5, 2019

    Area you a spokesman for the Calypso association?
    Are you trying to shove DLP King Dr wishes down Dominicans throats?

    You want to win election
    You want to win Calypso

    Why you don’t come out to speak about the very lucrative passport selling business adventure that you involved in?

  4. Current Snr Calypso Judge
    February 5, 2019

    As a current judge (senior at that), I support this move/open discussion. The simple reason is not to disenfranchise any calypsonian or junior judge but to bring more consistency to results that we produce through the shows we pass our collective judgements.

    We are not robots by any means. Judging calypso is not like adding 1 + 1 to equal to 2. I have witnessed judges being blinded/overwhelmed by 1 or 2 things in a song which overshadows the other criteria. With more experience usually (but not always) comes the wisdom to adjudicate fairly across all criteria. If we look at the panel who did the Quarters, they are mostly senior judges with 10+ years, some 15+ years. Mind you, years of service do not amount to quality judging. The DCA has access to the score sheets of years past and they can recognize quality and unbiased judging. What they should be doing is to sit with the calypsonians and judges to consider exactly what Duncan is recommending.

  5. Too late
    February 5, 2019

    I wonder if dice would make it through :-D

  6. Pipo
    February 4, 2019

    For goodness sake Duncan, calypso is a folk thing for the people to let of steam and make fun of who have a high opinion of themselves and sing abou controversial issues. We do not need different judging. You talking that thing too serious man. Let it be as it is. Next thing you want a commission of enquiry for judges to hold them to account for the way they Vote. This is not a high court you know. If those who do not like the songs they think are about themselves they should learn a lesson from that. Do not play superior and high and mighty, just be normal, that is good enough.

  7. Truth Hurts
    February 4, 2019

    What you are saying has some merit, but you know what is really need right now is for some of the so-called radio pundits like the station manager on the sunday night show to stop his nonsense of giving scores on calypsonians as he has been doing and making a complete fool of himself. The man is not and has never been a musician, singer or composer but thinks he knows more than everyone else but knows jack. During commentaries at the eliminations for instance he had a certain female singer at the head of pack yet that individual didn’t even make it in the 12 and had to have a petition (headed by guess who?) to be included in the quarterfinals only to be eliminated there. But I guess Tronada already has said it all in his song about these guys.

  8. Too
    February 4, 2019

    What I think they can do is just allow skerrit to select the judges so we have experienced peoole like alix Boyd knight tony astaphans align Lawrence etc. Would not that be great?

    • Dee Dee
      February 4, 2019

      Lol. I see what u did there! It would be great!

  9. DC
    February 4, 2019

    I definitely think the system needs to be reviewed. Quite often, songs with powerful lyrical contents are swept under the carpet, making it seems like the judges are only listening to political songs. Over the years, I have listened to some brilliant compositions only to find out the work of the writer was in vain due to poor judging. Please, let us try to evolve and stop making Calypso competition a political campaign or rally. I am observing again this season. Judges, please do not give the crown based on crowd influence. We have a young man, The Irish Kid, who is just a one of a kind. This young man will be on the International stage. Please do not discourage our future stars! Again, I am observing very closely this year.

  10. Justice
    February 4, 2019

    Sounds like more controversy to me.

    • Joseph John
      February 4, 2019

      Seems to me that someone is trying to stir controversy in an effort to gain celebrity status. Just let people enjoy mass without roro.

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