A 2018 calypso release from eight times Calypso Monarch, Findley “Scholar” Jeffrey in which he blamed Chairman of the Spicemas Corporation (SMC), Kirk Seetahal for the cancellation of Panorama 2017 is causing quite a stir on the island.
The song named “Pum Pum” which was first sung publicly at the Legends in Concert show held at the Trade Centre on July 7 focused on the Panaroma fiasco.
According to the song, the downgrading of Panorama to give way to the hosting of the privately-run Pure White event is evidence that the SMC boss does not like the “pum pum” sound of the pan but prefer the “bam bam” sound in the bass of the songs which were sung at the Pure White event.
The Social media went viral after the song was released with many concluding that “Pum Pum” sought to depict Seetahal as a homosexual.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY newspaper in an interview last Tuesday, Scholar said that the song was written because of the disappointment he felt with the cancellation of Panorama in 2017.
“Last year as you know, there was no Pan because of some stage issue and there was a big stage for Pure White, so there was preference for Pure White over Panorama which is our thing, which has been entrenched in our Carnival calendar for years and so it really created a stir – it created an uproar, even a bigger uproar than the song is creating now”, he said.
“Now, Kirk Seetahal as the CEO of Spicemas, the buck stops with him, he is the accounting officer and so he has to take the blame for what happens under his stewardship and so this is what the song basically speaks to – the battle that took place last year with Panorama and it is suggesting that maybe this is so because Kirk Seetahal doesn’t like the ‘pum pum’ sound of the steel pan, what he loves is the ‘bam bam’ sound of the bigger orchestra in Pure White”, he added.
Scholar is contending that whatever other meaning people are putting to the song is solely up to them.
He said: “The double meaning is in your mind. The song is so cleverly written that you can go through it with a fine tooth comb and you cannot find anything there. The song is about a man’s preference for one event, over another, anybody who puts the double meaning, the double meaning is in the mind. Nobody can say with any kind of authority, that this is what the song is about, the song is clear from start to finish”.
The seasoned Calypsonian said that being a former Steel Pan player, the cancelling of the event in 2017 personally affected him.
“I played pan for 12 years and I played pan for all different kinds of bands. I am actually a certified Junior Panorama Arranger. Pan is a personal thing to me and the only reason why I left pan is because it took too much (out) of me to sing Calypso and to play pan at the same time, so I ducked out of pan in 1995.
“My relationship with pan goes back a long way. Even though that wasn’t the case, Pan is our thing and you and I should be concerned with something like this. This song, it has a bigger and broader message which says we need to take care of our own, we need to take care of Pan…so this is not just a petty, stupid, little song, this is a big song that speaks of big lofty things; the securing of pan in the Calendar and what we can do to move Pan and to give it what it deserves.
Scholar also addressed concerns in some quarters that his new position as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education will cramp his style as a Calypsonian that is known for his heavy hitting political and social commentaries.
“I pride myself on being a multifaceted, mutli-dimensional Calypsonian. I have been in the Soca Monarch a number of times, so I sing jump and wave. I’ve been in the groove, I’ve win groove, I’ve win Soca Monarch. So, I’ve sing groove about ‘whine’ and ‘bam bam’ and all of these things. I am the same person who wrote “Voices”, and “Heroes” and “Legacy” and so on – those things have nothing to do with politics and so on and all they have to do is go check my repertoire…
“The intrigue about it is that there is no precedence for what is happening now. There has never been a Permanent Secretary who has been a Calypsonian and this is intriguing to people and this is why you hear all of these things, it’s the intrigue and it’s fair game.”
Scholar also mentioned in the interview that this year he wrote a song about himself on the issue itself.
He said: “The song about myself is not too condescending, it’s not a nice song that glorifies me, it’s a song that attacks me anyway and it’s all the things that you even ask me about there. So, I have a song that speaks to that. It’s called “Lock Jaw Disease”, to say that now that I have become Permanent Secretary, a Lock Jaw Disease take me”.
On the carnival season itself, the decorated calypso monarch stated that it is going well and apart from “Pum Pum” and “Lock Jaw Disease”, he has also done a song in collaboration with his daughter.
Additionally, Scholar’s Calypso Tent, Kaiso Bards was launched last Sunday with over 15 Calypsonians, including Elwin “Black Wizard” McQuilken who is back in competition after taking a break for a number of years.