Volume No. 2 Issue No. 67 - Monday, February 9, 2009|
A One on One Interview with Pat Aaron Dominica’s Calypso Genius
By Cheryll Lafond
It isn’t often, that the word genius, is associated with the word calypso, neither is it the norm, that a calypso writer, or performer, is referred to as a Calypso Genius.
Pat Aaron and Lee Abraham of XM satelit radio.
For over 40 years, Calypso lovers in Dominica, the Caribbean Region, The United States, Canada, and The United Kingdom, have been mesmerized by the socially provocative, but rather entertaining talents of Calypso Genius Pat Aaron.
Whether it was through his vocal talent, his writing ability, or the CDs he has produced, Pat Aaron, has indeed earned the rightful title of being a Calypso Genius, the very first Dominican to have acclaimed such musical heights.
Over a 40-year span, he has written 100s of songs, for some of the best musical talents to grace the calypso stage of Dominica. Calypso icons such as the legendary Mighty Spider, The Might Zeye, The Superior Picky, song entitled “the Beggar”, King Tronada, King Hurricane, Daddy Chest, and The King Observer.
In addition to his writing skills, he has created songs that have captured, at least ten Calypso Monarch Crowns, and just as many Road March Crowns.
On the Junior Monarch level, he has nurtured some of the best young talents, which has added to his winnings, with the talents of The Duchess, winning four crowns, The Young Rising Star, with two crowns. Whatever song he pens, is guaranteed a hit or the winning crown, Pat Aaron has demonstrated his musical art form, as a natural phenomenon, no other calypso song writer on the island has ever risen to command such discipline.
A very rare talent cultivated on Dominica’s soil. In recent years, he formed Showdown Entertainment Inc, aimed primarily at scouting, and mentoring, the unrecognized, under privileged young Artists, who may not otherwise have gotten the opportunity of entering the calypso arena.
The creation of Showdown Entertainment Inc, led to the discovery of the young electrifying, ever popular, the talented King Dice, Dominica’s four time Calypso Monarch, a musical union which has stirred up controversy, and criticism, by many of the key players in the exposure of Dominica’s Calypso.
Some may disagree or not, but Pat Aaron, has transformed the “Genre” of Calypso music in Dominica. But this year the Calypso Genius has decided on silencing his pen, aimed at allowing all the critics, the opportunity of their chance in the calypso-writing arena.
A move that has generated turmoil, to say the lease, a disappointment not only to his critics in the industry, but the fans alike.
1.Q: How many years have you been writing calypso? You have been writing for a very long time, and have written very good songs, is this a natural. ? What does it take for one to write a Calypso that is considered a masterpiece?
Pat Aaron: I have been writing for over Forty Years, and yes my talent is as natural as can be, I did not buy it, and no one voted me to it. And your last question, a masterpiece song must have the element of timelessness, which means it must touch people and their lives.
2. Q: You have also sung calypso for a number of years, you once came first or second runner up with the ever-popular “Christophane Song”, a song that carried a very strong message?
Pat Aaron: Yes I came first runner up once, there was controversy because most people thought I had won, but then that is competition in whatever field, also for the few years I stayed in the ring, I was always among the top contenders.
3.Q: Is the best of Pat Aaron, or is the best yet to come?
Pat Aaron: Of course, I see myself as a student writer, I am always learning.
4. Calypso is known for the smut, and other derogatory messages portrayed through song, have you ever written a song that bears some smut or any inflammatory message?
Pat Aaron: Well I try always to stay above the belt, however, since I deal with varied artists with different preferences in calypso styles, considering that there are so many different calypso consumers with different tastes, it is self defeating to discriminate against any type of calypso songs including smut, but I always try to make it on a higher level for example ‘Man Eat Dat Too’ sung by the triumph.
5. Q: What made you decide in writing Calypso, rather than singing why not both?
A. Well I did my stint on stage, and naturally like in every other sport or cultural activity, you find successful once players, actors, go behind the scenes and become managers, producers, commentators or directors, whatever the case may be, its really a very natural flow of events or developmental stage.
6. Q: By now I am sure that you must have heard all the controversy surrounding your absence in this year’s Calypso monarch competition, what are your views?
Pat Aaron: Well every one should have an idea as to how difficult it is for me to take a year off calypso, remember ‘music is the air that I am breathing”, from the song Christophene, so you can be sure that it was not by choice, it was more by having no choice, but as hard as it has been for me, I am a man who trust God, and out of disappointments come blessings.
Of course there are some insensitive persons, who take delight in misaligning people, there are people who big up themselves by trying to destroy other peoples character and dignity, but it takes all kinds to make a world, right? Like I said it was a very difficult decision for me.
7. Q: What was the reason on your decision for such a move this year? Was this decision, a contributing factor to the absence of the King Dice, by not wanting to defend his Monarch Title?
Pat Aaron: Well every reason, take your pick, from finance to personnel. Sometimes I laugh when I hear people say how much money I am making in calypso, the truth is, I could not afford it this year, I could not afford the two or three trips to Dominica this year, my Tax business here in New York could not afford it this year, additionally, Edgar Hunter the co-coordinator of Mas Camp had resigned the position, which means that with me not being able to come down, would leave the brunt of the overwhelming work on my wife Annie, who is already overburdened with trying to keep a business surviving in an almost non existent economy in Dominica, plus having a child to take care of. I could not do that. Of course there are other issues, but these issues are part of the calypso competition territory. I could not afford to do it this year.
8. Q: This year you have written songs for competitors of the Junior Monarch? Why just the Junior Monarch, and not the Calypso Monarch? Rumor has it that, there just might be a release by the King Dice and yourself?
Pat Aaron: Well a song for a junior competitor is very simple for me. I will take a walk and come back with a complete song for a junior, but it will take me days, weeks, months to complete a song for a senior (monarch), a song which will meet the standards I try to maintain. You see, as hard as I try, I can’t get time off, well at least I did not leave the fans totally on the dry, Randy and the Mas Camp crew wanted to do a Dice in concert, Dice wants to do at least one for the fans, and the Dominican public have been pleading with me for at least one song, so I wrote a little something for the king Dice entitled. "Everybody Want A Dog to kick”.
CONTINUE TO REMAINDER OF INTERVIEW
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