A cultural activist who has been involved in the calypso industry in Dominica for over twenty years has identified the infiltration of partisan politics in the art form as a major threat.
Alex Bruno, who has also served on the executive of the Dominica Calypso Association for ten years, said in an interview with Dominica Vibes that calypso is getting its “fair share” of political infiltration.
“I’m not going to accuse any side; red, green, blue, yellow or pink, but it would take a blind man or woman not to see that the party politics bickering is finding its way in calypso…I’m not sure where it is coming from but it’s coming and it’s there”.
He acknowledged that there will be politics in calypso; but said the addition of “party political bickering” is detrimental.
“When you add the party political bickering with that, you’re looking for chaos and division and sidelining and you’re looking for a diminishing calypso product”.
“I’m really, really perturbed and bothered about it, it’s really threatening to destroy the livelihood of many and a fine art, a cultural past time, a wonderful piece of our heritage. If we let politics destroy our calypso, we will live to regret it and I see this happening,” Bruno added.
He said something needs to be done from all sides; from the Association level, fan base and from the calypsonians themselves to try to neutralize this party politics in calypso.
“That is what I fear in terms of going ahead with Dominica Calypso, we have to as much as we can, try our best to stamp out the infiltration, the proliferation of party colour politics into the administration, into the practice, into the discussion of Dominica calypso,” Bruno noted.
A contributor to the infiltration of partisan politics in calypso is that people do not allow calypsonians the latitude to sing on any and every topic.
“Let the calypsonians breathe, let them do the calypsos and from all sides too”. The government, he said, should “be less sensitive” because there are songs that are frowned upon based on its lyrics.