Keep the Christmas clean
The call made last week by Michael Peters, chairman of the SVG Nine Mornings Committee for local artistes who produce parang music to stick to the Christmas script has been met with mixed reactions.
Peters had said that many soca artistes, calypsonians and other singers are making the transition with their music from Carnival to Christmas, but when they do so, they are not leaving Carnival behind.
He said that The Nine Mornings Committee would prefer not to see the Nine Mornings Festival move into something resembling a second Carnival, as the committee has been working very hard to make the festival a unique Vincentian Christmas tradition.
Peters’ view has been met with quite a bit of push back from those who feel that the Nine Mornings festival is being turned into a Gospel Fest.
But the Nine Mornings Committee is perfectly within its rights to offer recommendations on what constitutes appropriate celebration of Nine Mornings precisely because they have been passionate and effective custodians of a uniquely Vincentian Christmas ritual, which without their advocacy and intervention, could easily have disappeared from our public space.
They however can only make recommendations.
We however do not get the impression that the Committee has a problem with the beat or genre of music being used by some of our local artistes for their Christmas music. Rather, it is the lyrics of some of the songs which some find offensive and deem not in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.
And we do not doubt the capacity of our writers, singers and producers to come up with music which is simultaneously reflective of the religious roots of Christmas and the evolution of Vincentian musical tradition.
The Christmas season is one of great joy and the powerful rhythms and melodies of our music that make us dance and make merry is reflective of that. Take for example “Keep the Christmas Clean” which was launched just days ago by the veteran Carlton “CP ‘ Hall. This up tempo song, which is already a huge hit, is not religious by any stretch of the imagination, but it is clean and family friendly.
We also recognize that not all Vincentians are religious, and of those who are, not all are Christians. But Christmas has its roots in Christianity and what Christmas music should not do is attempt to destroy the reverence which Vincentians attach to Christmas by eliminating Christ from our Christmas music.
Certainly, musicians may write and sing whatever they wish. But a song that celebrates or promotes vulgarity or disorderly behaviour cannot be a Christmas song and should not be passed off as such. We may sing about the secular aspects of our Christmas culture such as the food, music, gift giving, cleaning and family togetherness which come into prominence at Christmas, we just need to be mindful about how we do it.
Let us continue to preserve our unique Christmas and Nine Mornings tradition by treating it with the reverence it deserves. As Carlton ‘CP’ Hall says “Keep the Christmas Clean”.