The Caribbean Community, better known as CARICOM, was birthed with the vision that standing together, the region could represent a formidable force and voice. As CARICOM prepares to mark its fortieth anniversary this year, it is launching an official competition: its first music and lyrics song competition. It is a search for an original piece to be used at official functions including the meeting of CARICOM heads of government and regional and international events. The winning song will be officially launched at the thirty-fourth regular meeting of the conference of Heads of Government to be held in July 2013 in Trinidad and Tobago. And so the National Institute of Culture and History is inviting local artists and musicians to get into those studios and make their submissions. Public Relations Officer, Shari Williams, spoke today to intern Rhiannon Richards.
Shari Williams, Public Relations Officer, NICH
“This year CARICOM is celebrating its fortieth anniversary and as a part of the celebration, they decided to launch a song competition—first of its kind. They are inviting submissions from artists and musicians for music and lyrics to a song—a song that is going to become their official mantra. A song that will be played at all their CARICOM heads of government meetings, all their regional and international events. So they are looking for something somewhat of an anthem.”
“So tell us about the criteria for this competition.”
“Well the criteria is very simple. The song has to be less than four minutes in length. They are looking for something original; it can’t have any copyright implications. The song has to reflect a strong Caribbean sense of flavor, a strong Caribbean rhythm, it has to reflect on the traditions and struggles of the Caribbean people; things, everything that surrounds the Caribbean. As you hear it, you should think pride and dignity of the Caribbean people.”
“So who is the competition opened to?”
“It is opened to all CARICOM nationals excepting of course if you have a family member working at CARICOM then you cannot take part. But apart from that, all CARICOM nationals all musicians are especially invited to be a part of it. All you have to do is send in a CD with the song along with a copy of the lyrics as well as a signed entry form saying that you will abide by whatever decisions CARICOM make.”
“So we know that six entries will be sent to CARICOM and compete against other entries from other countries. Tell us about this process.”
“Well Rhiannon, the process is very simple. Here in Belize, the National Institute of Culture and History will be the body in charge of sending out promotional materials, working with the artists, as well as, collecting the final product. You can access information to the package at any of the Houses of Culture countrywide or you can log on to the NICH website or any of our facebook pages to see the fine-print about entry requirements. It’s an opportunity for our artists and musicians to get the spotlight and if you noticed recently our musicians and artists have really been putting themselves out there producing quality music and all of that. So ten of the best songs will be selected to be acknowledged and recognized. And of these ten songs, three—first, second and third place—will receive cash prizes.”
The deadline is May thirtieth. Six entries from Belizean artists will be forwarded to the CARICOM Secretariat who will in turn select the top ten songs to be recognized. First place receives ten thousand U.S. dollars, second place gets five thousand U.S. dollars and third placestakes home two thousand five hundred U.S. dollars.