Thursday, July 29, 2010

This year’s NDP song, and the state of the arts

Last year I was unusually pleased with the National Day Parade song entitled "What Do You See" by local rock band Electrico. I expressed disappointment that it did not seem to get the nonstop airplay that previous songs were favoured with, no doubt because it wasn’t the bland, formulaic, play it safe, let’s-try-to-make-everyone-happy-or-at-least-not-alienate-anyone style that usually characterizes these songs. Back then I made a prediction: “I'm betting that next year's official song will reflect a return to tradition--and be lamer than ever. My head hurts just thinking about it.”

Well, here we are, one year later. This year’s song is out. Unfortunately, I was right. This year’s tune is a bore. At least the first half is; I can’t be sure about the second half because I’ve never stayed awake long enough to hear it!

There’s also a song and video for the Youth Olympic Games being held on our fair island. In it a local songstress, unknown beyond these shores, shares the stage with a few other performers from around the world, including Sean Kingston. I’m not a big fan of his, but even I recognize that he is a global talent. Yet in the video he seems to take a back seat to the hometown girl made good. I feel embarrassed for both of them.

On another musical note, there has been talk to make the dreaded vuvuzela part of the YOG and other local sporting events. For my fellow Americans who don’t watch soccer and hence probably don’t know what a vuvuzela is, it is an elongated horn made of cheap plastic that is blown by fans at South African soccer matches. Here it is in action. [photo from Wikipedia]

Please, please, please do not start this business here. Not only because it sounds annoying – which should be reason enough – but more importantly because it has been overdone already. If you want to make noise, bang two coconuts together, or strangle a chicken, or pop bubble wrap – just do something original!

One local artist recently lamented that he was poor because he was a true artist here, or something to that effect. Brother, I feel your pain.