Letter to the Editor: Cayman’s musicians are wronged again

After reading Stuart Wilson’s
December 6th article titled ‘DoT song hits wrong chord’ I immediately fired up
my word processor in order to write a letter to further enlighten the readers
on the often lack of respect given to local musicians, songwriters and studio
owners. 

Then in the same edition I read a
separate article about Caymanian musician Jason Gilbert being nominated for two
Grammy awards for writing a song on Eminem’s album, Recovery. The Jason Gilbert
article put a huge grin on my face and using a famous Andy Martin line I yelled
out, ‘Take that DoT’!

Jason’s accomplishment disproves
that old saying “if it’s local it can’t be any good”. Satisfied, I turned off
my computer and lit up a cigar, after all there was no more to be said. Throughout
the day I received several calls from other musicians expressing their frustration
at DoT’s decision to pay a New York based agency huge amounts of our tax
dollars to create a song about our home – Cayman. Their anger inspired me to
fire up my word processor once again the following day. As my laptop warmed up
I pressed my temples trying to make sense of it all. Not knowing where to start
I took time to read the December 7th editorial titled ‘Lead by example’.

Wow; I couldn’t have said it any
better. My hat is off to the Compass editor for that comprehensible viewpoint.
Satisfied I again turned off my computer and fired up another stogie; after all
there was no more to be said.

You know what, I take that back.
There is something to be said; said to whoever wrote a check the foreign agency
to write an advertising jingle about the Cayman Islands. First I’d like to make
it absolutely clear I am NOT saying that DoT must use a locally written song.
What I am asking, however, is why did they not give local musicians the
opportunity to submit a song idea. I’m sure some of us could produce a first
rate product for a third of the costs. Why not keep the money home?

As for DoT giving local musicians
the opportunity to sing along with the imported jingle, all I can say is, I’m
not impressed. Nor am I impressed with the small fee offered to participate.
This is a skimpy reward as compared to the hefty residuals that the USA based
writer will more than likely receive every time the Cayman jingle is
broadcasted. Also, I am surprised at our CMEA President Jean Eric Smith’s
submissive bowing to DoT considering that he is the first to start fuming when
foreign musicians perform at local venues, not to mention his phone call to me
venting his disapproval of DoT’s decision to hire an overseas agency to write
the jingle. 

Local musicians have contributed
free of charge their time and talents to help the NCVO raise almost $400,000
during their last three telethons. Along with this, local musicians are
endlessly hauling around their gear to perform at other charitable occasions
free of charge (especially during the holiday season). Local studios contribute
their valuable time, talents and equipment to educate students.

Local bands travel abroad promoting
our Island at events that draw thousands. All this and more, yet many local recording
artists are still begging for that one song per hour slot at some of our local
radio stations – and here we go again.
We pay our tax dollars to someone in New York to write a song about our sun,
sea and sand as a snow storm transpires outside their office window. There’s
something wrong with this picture.    

H G Nowak

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