On the heels of the announcement of the line-up for World Creole Music Festival (WCMF) 2016, there are voices of discontent that local calypsonians were not included to perform.
The line-up was announced on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Dominica Calypso Association, Davidson “Observer” Victor, said he is not happy with what he said is the continuous non-inclusion of local calypsonians at the festival.
“It is something that I have been noticing throughout the years. Calypso has been sidelined for too long and what I find over the years, Calypso has never actually gotten its true place in the festival,” he argued. “I just find that calypso has to get its rightful place, not a side act thing… I find for too many years that have been going on and nobody talks about it and it just continues.”
But Executive Director of the Dominica Festivals Committee (DFC), Claudine Springer, said the event is a Creole festival and it must be true to its identity.
“We have to remember, it’s a Creole Festival and we want to be true to the identity of Creole music wherever it is from,” she said.
Actually, local Calypsonians have performed at the festival in the past. In 2012 reigning Calypso Monarch, Dennison ‘Dice’ Joseph, formed part of the line-up. In 2013, he also performed alongside other calypsonians such as Tasha P, Daddy Chess, The Bobb, and Deryck “Hunter” St. Rose.
A calypso segment was announced as part of last year’s line-up, however, the festival was cancelled due to the passage of Tropical Storm Erika.
Victor believes the inclusion of local calypsonians should be an annual thing.
He explained that while he doesn’t expect every calypsonian to be included but at least the reigning calypso King of Dominica, ‘Dice,’ should have made the list of those to perform this year.
“What I am saying is that for something that we claim to love so much, we always say that during Carnival there is no Carnival without Calypso, this is how big we look at Calypso during Carnival, but when comes to the festival, Calypso can never seem to penetrate to get the true recognition,” he stated.
He explained that whenever calypsonians are chosen to perform during the festival, they appear on stage and “rush to sing” then rush to leave the stage or they are treated as side acts.
“We have enough good calypsos and good calypsonians that can match up to any acts that are being put on,” he stated.
Springer said she understands the concerns but noted that the festival is a Creole one.
“It’s a World Creole Music Festival and Creole music takes different forms across the globe,” she told DNO. “You know in Jamaica patois is their Creole, so dancehall is Creole music especially in these islands, in the Francophone islands Creole music is patois music, so I understand the question about Calypso music but when we speak of Creole music here, you know Creole music is the music that we have on the line-up.”
She stated that the matter is something that will be taken into consideration.
“I will definitely take it into consideration and forward it to my board,” she noted.
Springer suggested that “maybe” the Carnival season, which is also the Calypso season, could be extended.
“It’s something we can look at but in terms of it being at Creole Music Festival, I think we are very true to the fact that it is a festival to display Creole from across the world,” she stated.
Some of the major acts for the festival this year include; Reggae heavy weight Morgan Heritage and Dancehall star Popcaan from Jamaica, Kes, the Band from Trinidad, Mr. Killa from Grenada, Kreole La and T-Mickey from Haiti and Timaya from Nigeria.
Also hitting the stage will American rapper and singer Akon and Wyclef Jean, Haitian rapper, singer, and songwriter.
Local groups and artistes such as Triple Kay Global, WCK, Original Bouyon Pioneers, Ophelia Marie, Breve and More, Midnight Groovers, Extasy Band, Michele Henderson and Asa Banton are expected to perform.
The festival will be held from October 28 to October 30, 2016.