Yes, yes and yes! There is no competition at home or abroad when it comes to playing the music of Trinidad and Tobago – no competition in sight or that can be heard at home or over the internet. Granted there are sites that have lists of local music for sampling and to be played on demand – indeed there are but there is no station or media house that plays the variety of music that WACK radio 90.1 fm broadcasts on a daily basis.
Now yesterday was quite different and to be honest I did not expect such an organized and well presented programming that was presented as a gift to our now middle aged nation. It all started with Ebony and Amber and concluded with Dr. the Right Honorable David Matthews. However, the surprise presenter of the day, none other than Kenny Phillips the aging captain of the WACK presentation of chune after chune after chune who came on and hit the mark. So how did Kenny do this? Well my friend Sharon aka South Trini insisted that I let everyone know that “Kenny was the man yesterday”. Damion would say that all that I am doing is sucking up to Kenny. If that is the case I have to ask, “Why? None of that matters but the fact that Kenny really dug deep and brought back memories of elementary school says a lot for the job that he did. The ladies did a great job and the middle of the show simply kept the championship flag flying high. David (I have to take the word of others here now) did a great job. I can say he had the toughest assignment because a song could only be played one time and if he did as good as I am told he deserves kudos for a job well done.
Ok my pet peeve with WACK radio is that they don’t really live up to the Culture Krazy claim that they boast about. Well I have to admit for one day they came a long way. What is my complaint? Not enough Chutney selections but then again there are many other genres that don’t get equal play or fair play when compared to Calypso and Soca. Indeed Rapso and Folk music aficionados can complain likewise. I have always said to Kenny Phillips that we play everything and even though Pan has its segments on the weekend the tracks that Kenny played during his segment cries out for more steel pan music. So really, what about my pet peeve?
Wikipedia states: “At the same time, chutney became a massive force in Trinidadian music, arising from the island's Indian population. It has now become 'mainstream' across the islands and elsewhere in the Caribbean, and has spawned its own subgenres, including ragga chutney, chutney-hip hop. Soca-bhangragga and chutney-bhangra. The article also went on to talk more about Chutney Soca and dhut-kai-pang (ie chutney, Parang and Calypso mixed with Venezuelan-derived rhythms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_of_Trinidad_and_Tobago
Indeed there was Pickacharee and Chutney more so than is usually played on the station on any given day – let’s see how this unfolds in the days ahead. Was it a one day appeasement or part of change to come – only time will tell!
Diverse = many and different. Simple enough… “Celebrating our diversity Wack style” Right back at you Kenny and that also brings to mind the lack of play of many genres on a “regular basis” not just when a holiday comes along.
Indeed we are as diverse in our tastes as we are cosmopolitan in our makeup but don’t you dare claim to be culture crazy and not include the total fabric of the society. Indeed your financial success may hinge on the demographic that you subscribe to but then again you may need several knocks on your balding head to understand that some change is indeed good.
So what really in the verdict?
Ok I must admit that the station did an excellent job yesterday ... kudos to everyone concerned. Do I need to take a chill pill? Maybe but then again I am not the type of person to sit idly by on the sidelines and watch the show go on. Am I to be labeled the devil’s advocate at all times … hell no for Jesus’ sake (father forgive meh)! Most of the persons who dislike my take on things have nothing to contribute and continually slap the Fannies of the WACK brass for a job well done. Ok that’s ok, but one must realize that the product can always be tweaked and fine tuned to reflect a new vision for the musical culture of our country. Should we simply sit on our laurels and brag and boast about our gifts to the World … pay attention to Machel and his approach to the art form - he collaborates with other artistes and innovates his musical concepts moving Soca into the mainstream that even Hot 97 in NYC plays his music - so change is good. The people at Billboard magazine have taken notice and are beginning to track his efforts.
So my friends keep at the staff at Wack and give credit when credit is due but also give them a sense of where they are at and where they could and should be heading. You may be right or dead wrong but no one can blame you for trying.
So let me conclude by saying congratulations to Mr. Kenny Phillips and his staff on a job well done. Culture Krazy champions with no other station in second or third place. They are that good at that which they do – promote the music of Trinidad and Tobago as no one else can. Congratulations to the management and staff!