Calypsonians are a huge and integral part in the Caribbean carnival tradition.
Calypsonians are modern day poets, who express what is going on in their country, through music.
Like Calypso Barbara once told me, not everyone can be a Calypsonian, no matter how great their voice may be.
As she explained it, the calypsonian has to have ‘wit’. A Calypsonian has to be able to express himself about what is going on, and everyone should understand what he ‘means’, in an almost subtle manner, with a twist.
Calypsonians have to be very careful, because carnival is very political. Carnival you will notice have various agents from usually the ‘ruling party’ on the board. In St Maarten good examples of that would be Michael Granger and Stuart Johnson.
Both are die-hard UPP supporters, and both are on just about every board and committee overseeing this and that.
Politicians fear calypsonians, because calypsonians can immortalize their indiscretion and faux pas with one song.
Politicians tend to be sensitive individuals in St Maarten, and they don’t take kindly to criticism.
In the above Calypso by “Fish Da Mega Boss” aka Alberto Arrindell, Fish describes in a comedic, tongue in cheek fashion about the various people in politics who claim loyalty, but as soon as the offer is right, or the grass seems greener on the other side, they ‘jump’.
Of course the song is way more complex and deep than my basic description, but in order for me to write fully about Calypso and the Calypsonians, there has to be a separate blog or site for that, and their is.
The title “Willy Dead”, is a double entendre…..
Willy stands for current opposition National Alliance leader, Willy (William Marlin) – But a Willy is also slang for ‘penis’- and there the fun begins 🙂
The current ruling party, the UPP ran by Theo Heyliger (Willy’s doctor and therapist in the video) has ALL the money, so it was not very difficult for Theo to get various members of the NA to defect, with promises of ‘greener’ pastures.
In the video, after many defections, Willy (William Marlin, ends up on the psychiatric couch due to all of he defections in his party. Jason Peterson, Terry, Leona, Frans, Patrick etc etc etc.
Theo was cast as his main nemesis William Marlin’s doctor, because as often is the case. The one who you think is patting you on the back, often is holding a knife, and actually stabbing you in the back, when you think that they are patting and encouraging you.
The biggest controversy of this song and video believe it or not, was Fish’s open discussion about voodoo/obeah in St Maarten politics. Voodoo and Obeah are also referred to in other cultures as witchcraft or black magic.
In any other country, it might have been purely comedic, but in St Maarten, where many big politicians actually do practice and believe in obeah, many took it very seriously.
Some policians like Doctor Lloyd Richardson, one of the ‘jumpers’, is evidently still upset about the video, although he only had a minor role.
That’s alright, Fish is promising a WILLY DEAD PART2, and this time I intend to get the ENTIRE current government animated.
Fish’s job is to write and perform the best, and wittiest lyrics.
My job was to capture his lyrics in animation.
The politicians job is to keep lying to the people and speaking nonsense in Parliament.
We all have our role in life, neither Fish nor I tell them how to do their job,
therefore neither Fish nor I care about their anger at the video.
The politicians REFUSE to stop giving the calypsonians and bloggers content, yet they get upset when the factual content is used.
There are many great calypsonians in St Maarten, I’ve worked with a few such as Andrew Richardson (The Mighty Baker) and Fish da Mega Boss, I also did a few Calypso Barbara videos, before she passed away.
God’s willing there will be many more great Calypso animation coming out of SXM this year.