A melodic election campaign

There is no denying the 2009 local election campaigns have been filled with rhythmic, yet meaningful songs, commercials and jingles which have served the purpose of getting the public’s attention.

The catchy tunes have incited many a conversation, and even a few dance steps here and there.

The People’s Progressive Movement launched their campaign with each party member being introduced by a song that was significant to them. ‘They all chose their own songs,’ explained party Deputy General Secretary, Brian Pairaudeau.

Among them, Moses Kirkconnell opted for Lean on Me; Joey Ebanks stepped front and centre to Buju Banton’s Destiny; and Kurt Tibbetts chose a rendition of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarsthustra, better recognised as the theme of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey and wrestler Rick Flair’s theme song.

George Town candidate Lucille Seymour explained that her PPM colleagues picked Shaggy’s song Strength of a Woman as her theme song for the campaign.

‘My male colleagues in the party chose that song for me, because they said they thought it was appropriate,’ she said, then spoke of the difficult task they had in deciding between Shaggy’s hit and Taurus Riley’s She’s Royal.

Local crooner Lonny Love also made an appearance at the PPM launch singing two original pieces, Avalanche and Vote for PPM. When asked if his presence and songs were a representation of his allegiance Mr. Love quickly said: ‘I don’t want to get political; I was just there to entertain.’

The United Democratic Party’s Bodden Town candidate Dwayne Seymour explained that their campaign would not be the same without theme songs.

‘Songs have historically been a part of campaigns all over the world, which was most recently seen in the Obama campaign,’ he said. ‘So it should be no different with us.’

Noting that supporters Rex Watler and Big J were responsible for creating UDP’s two most popular songs, Mr. Seymour said: ‘They were inspired and brought their songs to us.’

Explaining his song ‘Vote Them Out’, Mr. Watler says he got the impetus to pen the lyrics after listening to a local morning radio talk show.

‘It was a way to express my feelings, so I picked up my guitar and started writing, then I said ‘this song is kind of good, man’,’ said Mr. Watler with a laugh.

Big J explains his song Full Power …Vote UDP’ was written to inform the public.

‘I thought it was important because whereas somebody would say, ‘cha; just another politician talking’ and turn the radio off, they might listen to an important message in the song,’ said Big J. ‘Messages are clearer through music.’

Regarding the two UDP songs, George Town candidate Pearlina McGaw-Lumsden said: ‘We think these songs are important because they connect with the crowd. We have endorsed these songs because they are uplifting and inspire hope.’

From Walling Whittaker, who ended his first meeting with Bob Marley’s ‘Dem A Go Tired Fi Si Mi Face’, and Teresa Pitcairn who uses the Rocky theme song ‘Gonna Fly Now’ for her meetings, independent candidates are clearly in one the melodic action, too.

Bodden Town independent candidate Gilbert McLean is also proud of his campaign songs.

‘I have two jingles and they were done by supporters,’ he said. ‘They wrote them and recorded them on their own accord.’

Asked to describe the intention of his jingles Mr. McLean said: ‘They have some bounce. People like music anyway but during this time they need it to experience a lift and maybe to even do a little jig.’

Ezzard Miller says of his catchy calypso tune by Mel McCoy: ‘My song was written, produced and recorded by North Siders.

‘The election is a serious issue, but I think at public meetings people expect some form of entertainment, and I think that the tunes and music lend themselves to that entertainment value,’ says Mr. Miller of why he believes people have gravitated to the upbeat song.

Mr. Miller has also found the tune to be an incredible asset for promoting his campaign. ‘Anybody who hears the jingle knows that it is an ad coming on for our campaign. It is easily recognisable and carries the message, that we need better for North Side,’ he said.

George Town independent candidate Frank McField says he wrote his signature song with the recognisable intro of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, all on his own. ‘I wrote it myself, says Mr. McField. ‘But it was a young Jamaican artiste by the name of QQ, and his father who came up with the concept, and produced and recorded it.

‘It’s such a good song regardless of if it is a political jingle or not,’ said Mr. McField. ‘The words are very conscious and the music is very uplifting.’

When asked to explain why he thinks music is an important element of elections Mr. McField said, ‘Music is our soul, and it feeds our soul, and if it is educating and activating, it is even better.’

The music bug has even hit the Constitutional Review Secretariat who recently released a rap infused track called Choice. With a Notorious BIG intro, the head-bobbing song was produced by Cayman’s very own talented group, C.B.R.

‘The track is geared specifically towards the youth of our islands in an effort to encourage them to get involved in the Constitutional Modernisation Process,’ said Deputy Director of the Constitutional Review Secretariat Christen Suckoo.

Even Barefoot Man George Novak has shed his witty light on the election with his song Vote for Me, recorded with local singer Andy Martin.

‘With my songs, I do a lot of kooky stuff and satire, I picture myself as somewhat of a musical cartoonist, so I decided to look at certain issues like a helicopter that we never saw.

‘It’s all in good humor. Once people get too serious, you have to give them something fun.’