Writing Voices
One of the challenges in this book has been to make clear
the distinction between an admiring fan and an inquiring scholar. How
does one balance writing that is intrigued and admiring, and writing that
is doing work collaboratively and critically? Put another way, how can the
accumulation of practices and discourses related to Roy be presented as
something more than a rave about Roy, or a tedious fact sheet? What is the
positionality of voices, Roy’s, mine, and others’?
Music criticism in the form of writing or broadcast hardly exists in the
public media in Trinidad. While yearly carnival competitions for artists con-
stitute one form of artistic assessment, the judges of these competitions
only make public the results—the points they attributed to each contestant.
They do not provide any explanations about their rankings or what, in their
view, made one artist win over another. Over the past few years, only in the
televised competitions modeled after the American Idol show do the judges
comment on the candidates’ performances and make recommendations on
how young aspiring artists could improve their skills. By contrast, while
musicians are heard on radio, television, and recordings, in shows, and at
parties, they are not part of public discourse. And when the media address
the few like Roy Cape, they focus either on the musicians’ feats—invitations
abroad, tight performances, well- attended shows—or simply provide brief
biographies of the artists in question. Too few musicians are mentioned at
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