Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 25th 2016 Contents A27
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
The Swedish Academy, which selects
the winners of the Nobel Prize in litera-
ture, has condemned an Iranian death
warrant against British writer Salman
Rushdie, 27 years after it was pro-
Two members quit the academy in
1989 after it refused to condemn Ayatol-
lah Ruholla Khomeini's fatwa, or religious
edict, against Rushdie for allegedly blas-
pheming Islam in his book The Satanic
Verses. Citing its code against political in-
volvement, the academy issued a state-
ment defending free expression but
without explicitly supporting Rushdie.
However, in a statement posted on its
website Thursday, the academy for the
first time denounced the fatwa and re-
ward money for Rushdie's death as "fla-
grant breaches of international law."
It didn't specify what prompted its
change of heart, but cited state-run Iran-
ian media outlets' recent decision to raise
the bounty by US$600,000.
"The fact that the death sentence has
been passed as punishment for a work of
literature also implies a serious violation
of free speech," the academy said, adding
that literature must be free from political
control. Rushdie responded on Twitter,
saying "I would like to thank the Swedish
Academy. I am extremely grateful for its
After 27 years, Nobel panel condemns Rushdie death threats
Local music stakeholders
their own worst enemy, says
promoter William Munro
"Let us hope and pray the music will play,
and we will really get serious about local
So said businessman and former
director/owner of the International Soca
Monarch brand, William Munro, when asked
about the state of local music.
Munro ran the Soca Monarch competition
for over 23 years, making it a premiere event
before Carnival Monday and Tuesday. He said
stakeholders have to get serious about pro-
moting local music and musicians.
He said there is a constant battle to get the
right attitude and support to invest in our
own culture from key stakeholders.
"It is tiring for someone to be trying to
push, promote and sell what is bred right here,
when the fight from those---who should be
helping---is constant, and really non-sensible,"
He asked: After so many years since the
first calypso song was recorded, why are we
still talking about trying to convince people
to support our own?
"We are still fighting to hear local music
on radio throughout the year. Why is that?"
Munro said we have become too dependent
on the outside world, when we should be
looking in our own back yard.
He noted it was not just music, but agri-
culture, sport and other areas in the creative
sector that were still suffering.
He said all the talk about economic diver-
sification over the years by various governments
was just a farce and we are nowhere close to
diversifying anything. He said we should look
at islands like Jamaica which has made good
on its indigenous music---reggae---and sport,
through its athletes.
"You know what kind of foreign exchange
Jamaica gets through Usain Bolt alone? And
look at what Bob Marley did for Jamaica. The
whole world knows Jamaica because of its
music. Had (Jamaican leaders) seen no impor-
tance in promoting these two areas, what,
then, would they have depended on---just
bauxite?" asked Munro.
He said local music stakeholders talk to no
purpose---and end up back at square one. He
explained that it would need a psychological
reconditioning of the minds of people to really
get the ball rolling on local content.
He said he tried to do that with the soca
monarch brand, where the opportunity for
soca tourism was in the palm of the govern-
ment s hand, but no one ever saw its impor-
"It is difficult to work in Trinidad," he reit-
He said if we were really serious about diver-
sifying the economy and promoting our music
and culture, then all the Caricom nations
would have got together to create inter-island
year-round events that would promote and
market Caribbean music, fashion and food.
"What s the age of Caricom? You going to
tell me after all these years, you cannot get
transportation---not even a ferry, moving
through the Caribbean? With all these Carnival
events and other festivals every month, you
cannot move the population around? You have
business that comes out of the movement of
people. So long as people gather together,
business flows out of that," said Munro.
He said better inter-island transport would
foster regional integration.
"If we just nurture what we have, the sky
would be the limit for us to achieve."
Too much selfishness, not
enough quality, says
producer Leston Paul
Long time producer and musician Leston
Paul, who has travelled the Caribbean and
abroad pushing calypso music, believes artistes
and musicians must take themselves and their
music seriously, and stop having that "eat ah
food" mentality when it comes to their craft.
He said it is because of this attitude and
approach, that the situation does not change.
"We, the people who are producing, have
to do our job at a professional level to compete
with the products from outside. Since back
in the day (and it is still happening), when
you buy local, the quality is always substandard.
So we ourselves must get with the programme
and do our groundwork, so that whatever we
put outside there is of a certain standard."
Paul said the industry has to get out of the
seasonal music mentality. He said artistes also
needed to start looking at making music for
outside of Carnival, because the music that
is made for Carnival may not always click
with the outside ear.
"When you are outside there and you re
listening to music, it is like a totally different
vibe to the Carnival spirit here."
He explained that international music trends
easily leave other genres behind.
"So we have got to start looking outside of
soca music or finding more creative ways of
fusing soca with what is trending," said Paul.
He also found that the radio stations had
a lot to do with the type of music that is
deemed acceptable or a "hit."
"They play a huge part, because after you
do a production, whether it is good or bad,
and you have friends who have friends at the
side, then any number can play." He said dee-
jays often push songs that should have never
left the studio, but because they are helping
a friend, the nonsense prevails.
"Sometimes the song is not even good, but
the constant bombardment of it being played,
it becomes acceptable in one s psyche. I see
that with a lot of songs. The production is
not all that great but as it continues to play
on the airwaves, it becomes liked by the masses
and eventually labeled a hit. And when it
becomes a hit, therein lies the problem: because
other producers and songwriters follow suit
and believe that s the way to go. And the music
is dying. So we all have to look at what we
are doing," said Paul.
He believes the time has come for there to
be a real home for music training in T&T.
As the T&T Guardian continues its look into buying local, today
we look at music, and hear from a music promoter, a producer-
musician and a radio deejay.
William Munro, businessman and former
director/owner of the International Soca
Producer and musician, Leston Paul.
...A look at music (part 1)
CONTINUES ON PAGE A28
Angela Hunte and Machel Montano at the
2015 edition of Machel Monday.
PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
Links Archive March 24th 2016 March 26th 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page