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Mask and Mirror: Cultural Maintenance and the Politics of Fulfillment in Barbados's Junior Calypso Monarch Programme

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Title:Mask and Mirror: Cultural Maintenance and the Politics of Fulfillment in Barbados's Junior Calypso Monarch Programme
Authors:Corbett, Anjelica
Keywords:Anjelica Corbett
Youth Culture
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Date Issued:Dec 2016
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2016]
Abstract:Barbados, like other Caribbean nations, holds junior calypso competitions for Barbadian youth. These competitions, sponsored by Barbados’s National Cultural Foundation (NCF), allow the youth to express their opinions on society. As youth become the voice of the people during Crop Over, the normative social order temporarily inverts. Barbados's Junior Calypso Monarch Programme (JCMP) is a developmental program and competition divided into two age categories: 8-12 years old and 13-18 years old. Through the junior calypsonians’ social commentaries, the JCMP promotes a hardworking, traditional, yet innovative image of Barbados to local and international audiences. The program consists of a workshop on calypso performances, junior calypso tent performances, and the competition’s semifinals, and finals.
The winners receive the title of Junior Calypso Monarch, the opportunity to perform in Trinidad and Tobago during Carnival, and other prizes. The title of Junior Calypso Monarch garners respect from Barbadians. It is a sign of the child's and Barbados's future success. The JCMP performance practices masquerade on two criteria: One, Calypso’s musical aesthetics, focused on pleasant and melodious sounds, and the aesthetics’ association with bacchanal conceal the serious nature of the social and political criticism within the performance. Two, the junior calypsonians’ performances provide social commentary on topics deemed appropriate by the Barbadian government and society, and reveal youth’s regulated freedom through performance. Masquerade is an avenue to display the youth’s agency in Barbadian society and resistance against the youth’s stereotypical roles in society. Through examination of calypsos from the 2014 JCMP and its role within the Barbadian government, this work argues that the JCMP increases the value of youth’s role in nationalist projects and social agency through calypso performances as the youth helps define Bajan musical aesthetics and add new dimensions to Barbados’s national image.
Description:M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Music

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