Horizon at Sandy Point

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wining and wotless

Carnivals come, carnivals go, years and seasons change. Once in a while, something about the music, the mood, the wind and rain, or dryness, the beats of soca or pan, something hits you  a belly blow, vibrating at a deeper level in yuh blood, yuh bones. As the soca lyricists say, "de road calling!" For 2011, de call ah de road is surely in the soca beats! Just get one stuck in yuh head and you go crazy til it reach yuh waist.

Let's say it started with Benjai. Whaz he saying? Then the simple hooks catch you: " de way Trini women cook, cook, cook, cook.... love the way Trini does talk, talk, talk, talk .... love to see Trini women walk, walk, walk, wuk, wuk, wuk, wuk, wuk....  And we make good company...." Of course, "I's a Trini, a Trini..." Benjai's other story is about de gyul who went to play she mas "buh she forget she armband, so dey push she out... " Being a true Trini, she forms her own line to "wine to de side, wine to de side."

Trini women, it would seem, live to wine,. "De wining machine" Denise Belfon speaks for all: "Ah wanna get outa han and carry on; A wanna get on like tomorrow never come; Ah wanna dance and dingolay ... Ah wanna wine to de bass an de drum ... wine down, wine down..."

Machel - a seasoned winer himself and not averse to making sure that the "wining would never stop" - has an oh gawd moment when he realises that what passes for wining should be Illegal: "Gyul you could get charge for wining like dat... you could make a jail..." In another song, he knows "what de gyal dem want... hard wuk, hard wuk." And everyone knows what kinda "wuk" that is.

Farmer Nappy says "wining is ah must." According to Super Jigga TC, "When dem gyal start wining up ... he ends up mashing up all de (speaker) box!" And Shall Marshall: "whole day, whole night, dis gyul want motobike..."

No speaker box for Cassi, who suggests instead, "When last you take a wine on a tong ting?" 

Kes and Kerwin du Bois: "Big ting, small ting, ah wining up on all ting!"

Indeed, if this is wining season for women, the men are all too willing to stand and serve. But they have a few other obsessions too. Blaxx craves (de freedom of) de road and "rum, puncheon, puncheon, anything... Iron and hard rum ah beating... Tanti woi, ah cyar wait for jourvert!"

Ravi B goes through a few versions - "ah was a drinker, rum is meh lover..."- to come up with his confession "yuh know ah cyar come, when ah drinking likker..." He warns his wife/ gyul as well, "I am a player - dholak, tabla, guitar, drum... " a person you might assume also consumed by music and Carnival.

Kerwin du Bois tells his girl, in Heaven in You, "Ah love you more when ah drinking.."

Kes skips rum and wine and comes out with "Ah feel like ah just win a million dollars ... wotless!" Million dollars, and wotless? Will wotlessness beat wining and drinking this year?

Or will the rhythm crown return to Iwer George who confesses to thinking of leaving soca to go to Grenada, but de Jabjab (diable - devil) in his head taunts him, "Come to me, come to me!"

If we sound like a nation of winers and drinkers, we are. But there's reality and redemption through soca even as the songs reduce the bacchanal to the barest and basest elements. More than the words and movements  is the music, driving the mood which can only end in madness. As another - David Rudder - once noted many years ago: "dis is not a fete in here, dis is madness..." Like their heritage bards, traditional calypsonians, these singers and their songs are not merely wotless, they are hard at work every year, calling and responding to us and each other, wining up and wuking up to "mash up de place." If only it would really splinter and shatter and stay "mash up" - so something new could begin again.

For the while - until jour ouvert? -  whether we are winers, drinkers, hard wuk-ers or just plain wotless, let us appreciate the output and energy of those who provide these visceral soundtracks to our days. Let de waistline roll!

It's a long season, Carnival in March, long enough for anything to happen, more madness than in many other years.

Small glossary:
Jabjab: diable, devil
Wine or wining: to wind your waist, roll your belly, gyrate your hips, spread your legs, let your bam bam roll!
Bambam: bottom, behind
Dingolay: form of dance featuring wining
Wotless: worthless, or maybe beyond worth
Jour ouvert: darkness just before the dawn not only on Carnival Monday
Ting: thing; girl, parts of the girl
Gyul, gyal: girl
Tong: town? or tongue?
Wuk: work; hard wuk could refer to actual work, effort or wining...

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