Suripop is the abbreviation of Suriname Popular Song Festival. This festival for composers is organized once every two years in Suriname. This year Suripop XIX was organized and I realized something: the subjects that the composers write about have shifted throughout the years.
Suripop I – VII: 1982 – 1992
Suripop still a pattern of love songs, break-up/losing someone songs and the occasional upbeat song about a random subject. However, if you look at the songs composed for the first Suripop festivals from 1982 to 1992, you will see that there are a lot more songs about true love. I will take for example the song “Ef a kan” (“If it’s possible”) sung by Powl Ameerali and composed by Erik Refos and Siegfried Gerling. This song states how happy just seeing the woman of his dreams makes the singer. This was also the winning composition for the competition.
Another example of a true love song from this time period is “Ham thoke chahila” (“I love you”) sung by Joan Blokland and composed by Erik Refos and Siegfried Gerling. Yes, I know it seems like I’m praising these composers, but these are some of the Suripop classics that I think are amazingly beautiful. Anyway, moving on. The song Ham thoke chahila describes how the woman can’t forget the man she loves, that he should teach her how to say I love you and that they should make a new beginning, etc. Romantic stuff, right?
One of the more memorable sad songs of this period, in my opinion, is “San ede yu gwe” (“Why did you leave”) sung by Diana Gouvernante and composed by Erik Refos & Wim Bakker. The title speaks for itself but to elaborate, the woman describes how much she’s hurting because the love of her life went away over the “sula’s” (rapids).
Suripop lately (Suripop XV in 2008 – Suripop XIX in 2016)
Nowadays I’ve noticed that most of the Suripop songs are about heartbreaks and losing people you love, often with a positive spin to it where they describe the silver lining.
A song that perfectly fits this description is the winning song of Suripop XV “Ala Ogri E Tja Wang Bung” (“Everything bad brings something good with it”) sung by Bryan Muntslag and composed by Gail Eijck.
The winning song from Suripop XIX “Yu Kori Mi Ati” (“You fooled my heart”) sung by Benjamin Faya and composed by Xaviera Spong is also a beautiful example of putting a positive twist to a bad situation. This song is purely about heartbreak. It describes the story of a person who got hurt by his/her true love but that made him/her stronger because he/she learned to appreciate and love himself/herself better.
Even though the songs are beautiful and describe how you can get over certain situations and rise from the ashes like a phoenix, I noticed that there are a lot fewer songs about actual real, happy love. I say “happy love” for a reason because if you look at it, heartbreak songs are also about love but more in the sense of what could have been or what they lost.
Don’t get me wrong, there are also love songs in the latest Suripop festivals but the focus nowadays is more on the sadder songs.
Why the shift in Suripop subjects?
Could it be that because of how the world is changing, people’s mindsets are also changing? In the world that we live in people have become more selfish. Most people just focus on making money and less on love for people around them. That’s why lately in relationships people are also more impatient, in my opinion. If something doesn’t go their way, they just abort the relationship. They don’t try to work out their problems and just quit. In my opinion this is why there has been a shift in Suripop subjects from love songs and thinking they’ll be together forever to the new reality of “shit happens and we should deal with it” or “you hurt me but I’ll come out stronger”.
I think that other than in the Suripop songs, there has also been a shift in for example American music. Nowadays even in love songs you hear limitations. For example “Thinking out loud” by Ed Sheeran, where he sings “And, darling, I will be loving you ’til we’re 70”. Why the limitation of 70? What if you’re 71? Will you not love me anymore after that?
Just something to think about…