Friday, April 19, 2024

Stoute’s kaiso pitch


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A VETERAN ENTERTAINER thinks it will be difficult for a woman to win a calypso contest in this country and is calling for a separate competition for females.
Richard Stoute, who is referred to as the godfather of local entertainment, told the SATURDAY SUN that with the “kind of names” associated with calypso, the vocal demands will give men the edge.
Rita Forrester, who took the calypso crown in 1988, remains the only woman to do so in Barbados.
“I always seem to think that a woman singing calypso against a man, it always seems to go over her vocals. If you have eight men singing and one woman, from a sound point of view it is always difficult to give a lot of credibility to a woman, [who] finds it harder to go over,” Stoute argued.
It is from that premise that he is suggesting a separate calypso competition for women.
“I think that there are enough women in calypso who have given all their lives to calypso that by now they should have their own arena and they should have their own calypso show. They should have a calypso queen of Barbados,” Stoute asserted.
“These young ladies come out every year and they give their best.
I really admire them for the effort they put in . . . . I really think that they should have their own forum where they could win a car as well, too, because only two or three of them are going to be selected anyhow,” he said, adding that in this arena the man was so much stronger than the woman.
He said a separate competition would give females an incentive to do better.
Stoute’s Teen Talent Competition is in its 35th year and there are two other competitions for the six-to-12 age group and over-21 singers.
The competitions are not gender-specific and females have won most of the titles in all three.
Stoute contends that calypso and ballads are completely different.
“For a female to get over calypso it will be harder for her to project [her voice] than if she was singing a ballad.
And my show is judged differently, my show is judged on vocal ability,” he pointed out.
“[In] my show you get 40 points for singing. That’s the main point. When you’re judging you have to look at the criteria and that should spell it out for you.”
As far as calypso was concerned, Stoute said the competition served its purpose. And while he reported that he was hearing a number of similar melodies this year, he said the effort by the artistes was “excellent”.
Stoute also suggested that the artistes and producers needed to find a way to take calypso past the current two-month cycle.
He said too that the winners of the festival should be given more exposure and should not have to wait for overseas gigs. Stoute believes the winners should be more involved in entertainment in the tourism sector.

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