Friday, September 7, 2007

WE Spotlight - Mr. Dale - Junkie wins Barbados Peoples’ Monarch and Road March

Karen L. Richardson

The music of Crop Over is best known for its uncompromising pace. This year Barbadians traded in the wuk up, for a wine-down to the sounds of Mr. Dale. The heavens opened on Kadooment Day. Only the true soca faithful could weather the rain that accompanied the festivities. A new Road March king was crowned.

“A friend of mine came down and said ‘Boy we win it!’ I ain’t had no kinda response. Just had to get home and actually hear it on the radio officially to confirm. So, when I got home and heard that the Nation Newspaper and CBC were trying to find me, then I knew for sure,” said Mr. Dale about his victory.

“It was very close,” said Mr. Dale, “but most people always thought that once the rain fell on the day and slow down de jump Soka Junkie would take the Road. If otherwise, Lil Rick's Can’t Wait would win… When de rain started to pour like crazy and outside get black, Rupee turn and said to me ‘De road is yours dawg!’"

Lil Rick and Mr. Dale enjoyed some healthy competition throughout the Crop Over season as Headliners tent mates. Lil Rick came first at Party Monarch. While Mr. Dale had to settle for second at that night, he felt honoured to capture both the Peoples’ Monarch and Road March titles instead. “My greatest thrill is to see the happiness and joy that my creation via the Almighty evokes from the masses. Music is so powerful!” said Mr. Dale.

He is a 10-year veteran from the community of Deacons Farm, Barbados. He emerged in 1999 with the release of Kaylaylay. Since then he has approached the music from all creative angles. In 2007, he finally got the formula just right.

Soka Junkie came to him in the wee hours of the morning. Hem had been listening to a riddim he got Double Xplojun’s Shawn Layne to produce. Mr. Dale says, he worried about the connotations of the word junkie, but he wasn’t satisfied with the alternatives. “I definitely set out to create a song that spoke to every and anyone who has ever been to a soca fete, waved a flag or played mud, powder, sailor or any kinda mas on de road. Something that we, de soca generation, could all identify with and call our own,” said Mr. Dale.

Written, composed and arranged by Mr. Dale, Soka Junkie boasts an all-star team of collaborators; Krosfyah’s Tony “Rebel” Bailey (Guitar), Karl Raggy (Keyboards), Adrian Ashby (Bass), and background vocals from Mikey, Lorenzo and Indra Rudder. “This song has become much bigger than Mr. Dale and it now belongs to the people. So wherever it goes, I will follow like a faithful soca servant. This has revitalized the interest in my music and is only the beginning of things to come from Mr. Dale,” he said.

There is already some speculation that Mr. Dale will attempt to fill Biggie Irie’s massive shoes at the 2008 Groovy Monarch competition in Trinidad. Till then, Dale Rudder is content to take care of business at home. As Peoples’ Monarch, he won a new car. Ever a pedestrian, Mr. Dale placed it on auction to the highest bidder. Mr. Dale says, part of the proceeds will be donated to the Deacons Development Project. The organization provides education, training and job placement for underprivileged youth.

Mr. Dale’s joy in his recent success is coupled with a genuine gratitude that lights his way; “I need to thank the Almighty God for his continuous blessings despite my many shortcomings…and everyone in the soka game who continues to create this music of love, peace and celebration. Let's put aside petty island insularities and unify to take this glorious thing of ours to the world.”

1 comment:

(Nurse) Karen said...

Dale Rudder was a joy to get to know. I think he's very gifted, not just as an artiste, but a producer. Wishing him the best in the upcoming Crop Over season