Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Monday, March 3, 2014

De happiest man alive!

If anyone thinks that soca is all about sex, well, it is. It's about sex and the body parts that have come into vogue as having most sex appeal. These days, we aren't big on breasts - except those who have them to flaunt. But we are obsessed with bottoms, heavy duty bumpers. And wining has gone way beyond a teasing gyration. Extreme wining makes twerking look tame.

Just survey any selection of the top soca songs this year. Kerwin DuBois's prize-winning Groovy Soca song Too Real is a tribute to "de realest (most tantalizing?) bumper in town: it too real; it dangerous." Then he urges, "Bubble to the baseline! You can't sit down... I wanna wine but it looking dangerous. I wanna grind, but it too real. How you bad so. How you rude so."

You could go down the list of soca singers: Cassi, Man in de house. Killa, Rolly Polly.  Even the women are in it: Destra with her Little Bit: "ah jooking, a little bit of wining, a little dirty dancing. Just a little bit;  when bam bam rolling, and waistline turning, ah doh want to stop at all."  Patrice Roberts Doh Rough Me.

They all seem to be taking the tone from the self-confessed winer man, Machel Montano this year's Power Soca Monarch whose song Happiest Man Alive (HMA) is simple enough in lyrics and meaning, but loaded with explicit fantasising as expressed in the elaborate video. Montano drops in on a desert planet and finds himself among a tribe of Amazons dancing up a storm.
See it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na5eNkT21Ds
You'll see that the video was professionally produced with a troupe of American dancers, choreographed and videotaped in the USA! As he sings, "Happiness is the measure of success/ I's a man love to play/ love to jam/ Always happy once money in my hand!/ I come out to live mi life/ Play mi mas and live mi life..." here is Machel alive at Carnival and living his dream.

When he was 22, he said, "De gyal an dem request a good winer man. De gyal an dem want de greatest winer man." (Caribbean Beat, May 1997) Well, it seems they are getting their wish! Machel Montano has over a dozen releases for 2014 Carnival. This album might be his best to date, among the many since Big Truck (1996). They all have a common theme, so that you'll not be far wrong in thinking that soca is the sexy son of calypso, and Machel its ablest proponent.

In 1997, we visited Machel's Music Farm in Siparia

He was the happiest man alive since then!

On the Xtatik truck for Carnival!



Or could he be even happier?

Thing is, it's all been sung before. Look back: "Somebody go jam you/ Somebody go jam you/ Somebody go jam you tonight/ The way how you behavin ... / somebody go jam you tonight!" Baron sang in 1984, the same year that Sparrow won his (what? 8th) road march title with Doh Back Back. "Doh do that- doh back back/ Doh back back/ Doh back back on me... Dancing wit yuh man, you only jammin on mi pan with yuh bambam/ ... Boomboom look so healthy/  jamming on me purposely!/ Doh do dat!"

It's likely that one of Machel's songs will be the road march. It's also likely that he may be competing against himself. I am somewhat partial to Farmer Nappy's Big People Party which has a nice groove: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFvD7oucJC4

Whatever is remembered, or forgotten, from this carnival, there is always next year.

(Photos by Ranji Ganase, published in Caribbean Beat)

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