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Calypso: My Views on the Artform

by: - March 7, 2017
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Dice performing ‘Flowers’ at the 2017 Dominica Calypso Association’s finals on 25 February 2017

By: Sherniah Charles
Dominica State College student, Majoring in English

Calypso is an art form that Dominicans and the Caribbean by extension have embraced and cultivated into their own. It is social commentary that the people can not only relate to but are made aware of what is going on in their country. It varies from the talk on the block to more serious political issues. The art form is known for containing numerous puns and satyr. The calypso that I have chosen to critique is one penned by Mr. Pat Aaron and sung by 8-time calypso monarch King Dice. He begins the first verse of his song saying:

“I come this year to deliver flowers, royal home-grown, the best for the upright and honest
Citizens who uphold their moral grounds in this times of lies, mischief and corruption.
Flowers on the shelf awaiting delivery, calling all good people back to honesty
The bad seems to reward bad people then good must do that too
Though the names are numerous to mention
I’ll do my best to deliver flowers one by one.”

In this verse Dice is stating why he is rewarding persons gone unnoticed in Dominica. He commends those who have contributed to the upbringing of the country amidst corruption and deception. In this society where the wrongdoers recognize those who do wrong, he is suggesting a change for people in general to do good and to be good. Dice admonishes us to acknowledge and reward persons deserving of it and whereas the list is a long one, he will ensure that they are not over looked.

He goes on further to say in the chorus:

“Flowers, Flowers
Is what we have to give
To citizens government did not honor because of what they believe
And whereas, whereas
The nation could always count on your honest opinion
Ossie Lewis, sir the people of DA
Ask me to deliver to you this bouquet.
Flowers to you sir before you go away.

Referring to the common saying “Give persons their flowers while they are alive”, he makes mention of persons such as Ossie Lewis and in the 2nd chorus, Gordon Emmanuel whom he wishes to give “flowers” for their much appreciated service to our country. Whereas they may have experienced injustice and were not treated with due diligence, the people of Dominica are forever indebted to them.

A well written and delivered calypso that conveys a meaningful message to the long list of persons who committed their lives to our country, reassuring them that though they may not have been recognized on a national platform their good deeds have not been overlooked.