Sun | Dec 16, 2018

Christmas songs are missed!

Published:Wednesday | November 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle/Gleaner Writer
Charly Black
Black Ryno
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A simple run through in the comments section on YouTube under songs such as Vybz Kartel and Black Ryno's Gaza Christmas; Mavado, Flexx and Savage's Gully Christmas; or Tommy Lee Sparta's Shelly Christmas is enough to tell you that music lovers want artistes to revive the tradition of remixing popular Christmas carols for the festive season.

It may only be the second week in November, but in times past, Christmas-inspired songs from various dancehall entertainers would already have been permeating the local airwaves, signalling the start of the season. However, over the past few years, this tradition dwindled. In fact, as the 2018 Christmas season gathers momentum, it seems entertainers have no interest in carrying on the tradition of getting persons into the spirit of the Christmas season through song.

In an interview with The Gleaner, popular selector Boom Boom attributed the lack of Christmas-inspired songs from artistes to the fact that the industry has changed. As a result, he believes certain traditions have lost their meaning and with it, the zeal artistes usually have to pen these songs. "Things and times kinda change, because back inna di days when it touch certain time a year, as a likkle yute weh grow up inna the inner-city garrison, we used to see people a decorate dem house and a put up pepper light and Christmas tree and all dem things deh. But for the last couple a years, yuh hardly a see dem decoration deh inna the inner-city - so is like Christmas nuh really have the same meaning," he said. "Last year, me never hear nuh Christmas carols (remixes), and dis year it nuh look like we ago hear none. Is like dem (artistes) nuh really care bout dem again. Normally, Elephant woulda a come wid a Christmas song. Maybe it still too early fi call, and somebody ago come out wid one, so me a gi things a next two weeks or so to change. As a deejay, me miss di song dem, too."

Artiste manager Shelly-Ann Curran pointed to the breakdown of the country's moral fabric as a contributing factor to the lack of interest from artistes in creating songs for the season. She believes that music these days has taken on a certain face, and up-and-coming talent want to follow that 'loose' trend to get their break and maintain their relevance. As a result, she believes songs lack the creativity they use to have, and artistes have taken on a lazy approach to music.

 

Moral Compass has Decayed

 

"As a true lover of Jamaican music over the last 30 years, our moral compass has decayed. If we not talking about a woman's parts and how much money it makes murdering people or scamming, it's not a hit." She notes that young people's idea of the festive season has also changed. "Why would an artiste invest time and energy in voicing love, unity and strength when the media and promoters mainly supporting the opposite? I think young people's idea of the festive season is way different from mine as our culture and exposure are different."

Sharing similar sentiments, diamond-selling artiste Charly Black said he, too, has noticed the lack of interest in Christmas songs. He also believes that this is because over the years, tradition has changed. "Jamaica change in so many ways innu. The yute dem nah go a Sunday school, nuh ring games nah play - the guidelines dem nah get followed by the younger ones dem no more. Christmas don't mean what it used to," he said. "I've never done a Christmas carol before but me always look forward to dem just like everybody else. I think maybe next year, I'll do one to help lift back di spirit again because I can only do my part." Speaking of playing his part, the entertainer urged producers to also play their roles in the business and take more interest in sending out songs for the season. He says although Christmas comes once a year, in the past, there were many songs inspired by the season that remain classics to this day.