“I was shocked and I could not believe it, to see guys who say they are trying to move the calypso forward and yet they decided not to allow me to sing. But I tell them, the calypso is bigger than me and them. It is about presenting something good to the people,” said King Meeko.
“The truth is I got up last Friday morning (26th July) and could not even drink my tea. Nothing was passing down there. So I rushed to the doctor and he examined me and he said Meeko, you in trouble. He said listen, if you sing this week, (the week of the Semi-finals), you would not be able to sing next week (the week when the contest was to be held).
“He suggested that he send a letter to the committee, which he did and I attached one myself to his letter. I explained that I would like them to judge me from my lyrics and music from the song. The committee accepted and decided they would give me the by, but the calypsonians start kicking up, (especially) Astro, Binghi…a few of them. And they really went on bad.”
In a somewhat sad voice, Meeko told MiyVue.com in an exclusive interview during the Culturama, that “People travel from all over; they come from St. Kitts, they come from here and they come to see a good show, a good competition.”
He said therefore that he thought this would have impacted the other calypsonians because, it would have had a level playing field even though he was going in wounded, “Because my voice was not all that good and I thought who ever win, win. I thought it was bad on their part and I hope that it does not happen again.”
When he was asked how it made him feel to know that his fellow artistes were the ones who stopped him, Meeko said, “To tell you the truth, I felt real bad because I did not expect it. I would not have done this to them. Let me give you an example; Dis N Dat is the CEO of the Nevis Cultural & Development Foundation and they (other calypsonians) were asking earlier, what I thought about him singing in the competition and I told them he has been around for so long and has made a sterling contribution and as such he has a following and people would not feel good to know that he is not singing…so I said man, let the man sing. So when you look at that versus my case now, where he was one who said, ‘he out he out’, it is like we are not there for each other. It is sad because our calypso standard is not at the highest so we could come together and keep a good show and give people something to talk about, then that would be good.”
This would have been the first time in about four years since Meeko last entered the contest but he explained that he stayed out of competition for those years partly because of problems with his voice and his dissatisfaction with the committee. “We had so many ups and downs and I even was getting a lawyer to write them but they eventually paid me monies owed to me. Up to now, they have land for me since 2004 and I have had no luck with that. I keep asking and asking and everybody is just giving me the run around. I think there was a lot of politics in it but I am hoping that they get it straightened out and put me back on track,” stated a hurt Meeko.
Meeko did in the end appear on the Culturama calypso final show, but only as a guest artiste and was well received by the large audience. He said the show on a whole was pretty good, that the standard was not bad at all. Though he did not see the first round, he thought, from the performances he saw in the second round, that Dis N Dat and Binghi were pretty good and that perhaps the decision for king could have gone either way…but reminds, that that opinion is only based on the second round and that he did not see the first half of the show.
He thought Pupa Wheeler was good, given his standard and listening to him on the final night. Meeko said that he thought Wheeler was “exceptional”.
He is of the view that “We need to encourage some of the lesser calypsonians, so to speak. I remember last year when Wheeler got Second Runner-up, he jumped like he won the crown. This man has been waiting for so long to get that encouragement and I thought that this year, in terms of presentation and clarity, he was better than last year. Astro was not bad but I don’t know if Dis N Dat was good enough to win. I thought that he was a little bit too long with his song. Binghi (on the other hand) Meeko thought had a popular tune that everybody loved and he performed it pretty good. “So I have no qualms with who is king,” admitted Meeko.
When it comes to the lone female calypsonian in the finals, Lady Conscious, “I thought she was pretty good. For, a first timer, she was very confident and I think it only speaks well for her, and if she continues, we definitely would have a very good woman calypsonian.”
He reminded that it was back in the 1980s that there was a female in the finals and he suggested that perhaps, “What we need to do is go and search them out (recruit them), especially the younger ones. As a matter of fact there was a female guest artiste on the show, (Lady Honour) and I remember when I listened to her in the band house and in the quarter finals, I was very impressed and this was the first time she sang and I thought she was very good.”
Meeko has also been caught up in another calypso and Culturama controversy; though not of his own doing. The song that he performed with the Kore band, “Love me festival”, was adjudged Road March 2013, ahead of Odisi Band (second), and Ultra Sonics (third).
However, the other bands have been protesting that based on the criteria established by the organizing committee, there is no way that the tune could have been determined as the winning selection for the road; as judged on j’ouvert and parade day.
But as some fans have said, what would Culturama and calypso be without controversy.
However, looking ahead to the National Carnival and his possible participation in the Senior Monarch Competition, he said he has not given serious thought about it but has not ruled out his involvement. “There are so many fans in St. Kitts and I know that they would like me to come, so I will give it some thought, because when I am down there, I feel like I am at home because I have a good following. They make me feel comfortable. My fans in St. Kitts have called me expressing concern over my omission from the Culturama finals and the radio stations in St. Kitts support me so much as well. I am so happy for St. Kitts and my fans there; they make feel so proud,” stated Meeko, who once placed First Runner in the carnival competition in Basseterre.