Eight times Calypso monarch, Findlay “Scholar” Jeffrey will be celebrating his 25th anniversary in the calypso business this year and is at an advanced stage in preparing plans for the milestone.
In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY newspaper, Scholar who is from the village of Chantimelle in St. Patrick said he intends to kick-off his season for Spicemas 2017 with an anniversary calypso show most likely in July.
He also said he would be on the big stage on the night of the Dimanche Gras show on August 6 to defend his crown with a view to retaining the crown and equaling the record of nine wins now held by the decorated Ajamu.
He issued a warning to the other competitors that he intends to defend his Dimanche Gras crown in the way that is expected of him by his many fans.
“I am planning hard because I have to defend my title and of course I will try to equal the record that AJamu has set. So really and truly I have to be at the top of my game.
“I have already started planning, I am working in the studios now and hopefully I should have music coming out by May to lead me on…I am talking Kaiso, strictly Kaiso music. So fans, patrons can expect nothing less from me than what I have given.
According to Scholar, although the planning stages are not complete, he is hoping to celebrate his 25th anniversary with a major show featuring a number of Calypsonians.
“…We are looking to infuse into it (the show) some … good comrades of mine who started with me sometime around the same time; who have shared the Dimanche Gras stage with me for a very long time. People like Beast and Smokey and Ajamu, if he is up to it, and Black Wizard and Inspector and so on.
“Those are the people who have shared Dimanche Gras stage with me from way back and then of course I am trying to bring in some of my very good friends from Trinidad and Tobago and to organise a major 25th anniversary show, but all of this are in the pipeline – it should come sometime in July.
For his 25th anniversary, Scholar will be releasing a song highlighting his journey and this will be his first release for Spicemas 2017.
“…I have (another) song which will be coming out very soon called, “Lift me up”. This is a song that speaks of my 25th anniversary and thanking all the people who have helped me on the journey.
“I also have another song which would be coming out shortly. It’s more to do with social issues and of course political issues because I am a Social Commentator, I am a Political Commentator. I sing about the issues that affect the common man from year to year and this would be no different.
“So, you can expect my songs to be laced with the social kind of topics but more so there would be a heavy emphasis on things political that are happening in Grenada, Carriacou, and Petite Martinique.
Scholar who started his journey in 1993, said it has been a challenging road for him especially with the disunity among Calypsonians, one involving traditional calypsonians and the other comprised mainly of soca artistes.
The eight-time monarch winner pointed to difficulties in the artform such as tent preparation, government subvention payments to Calypsonians.
“…It has always been a difficult art, not to mention that Calypsonians have always been disunited. There has always been this kind of disunity against Calypsonians. This has made it extremely difficult…on top of that…calypso is really a thankless act, really.
“You spend a lot of money, you utilise a lot of your time, energy, studio, spend money and then you don’t make it back because piracy is a total exclusive issue. Right now … we can’t even fight with pirates no more. So, right now you will find all these songs on Youtube and so on and the Calypsonians if you don’t win something or you don’t get some big time show, then you do not really make anything.
Scholar was extremely critical of the continued division among calypsonians in having two associations instead of one single body to represent all of them.
This state of affairs, he said is not serving the best interest of the Calypso fraternity, not helping the artform and it continues, “to plummet into the negatives”.
“This has affected Calypso in ways that no one can imagine because were it not for the fact that we are separated, right now Calypsonians would have probably have been singing (for) as much as 75 and 100 thousand dollars but the prize monies are not going up because we do not have a united bargaining chip that we can present to the government”, he said.
“…It is best for the government really, if Calypsonians are not united because it helps them. They do not have to pay … a lot of monies (to us). Our working conditions, the conditions under