Club Contact

The new MP3 blog from London's club Contact. The idea is to allow people to hear new music they wouldn't have otherwise found but, if anyone has any copyright issues with a particular song, i'll take the link down. Songs are only available for a limited amount of time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Followers of the ropier end of international football may be aware that the twin-island republic that spawned me is currently locked in a fierce battle with Bahrain to see who will be the most hopeless nation competing in the 2006 World Cup. So, as a tribute to those brave Luton, Falkirk, Port Vale and Gillingham players who make up the team of Trinidad & Tobago, i present two songs from the country.

You can find a greatly extended version of the following piece on the Popjustice messageboard here

Trinidad is an unobtrusive little place a couple of miles off the coast of Venezuela. Despite being the largest island in the Lesser Antilles (and therefore able to lord it over Barbados and St Lucia) it has a population roughly three times smaller than that of Moldova. Although it may be home to just slightly over a million souls, T&T boasts its own national instrument, the steel pan (much loved by The Knife) and at least three unique forms of pop - calypso, soca and chutney,a testament to what you can achieve with a vibrant, ethnically diverse population who have absolutely nothing better to do. Over the last sixty years, only West Indian rivals Jamaica can be said to have punched above their weight to an equal extent.

Unquestionably, the centrepiece of Trinidad's music calendar is the legendary Carnival (or Bacchanal, Mas', Fete, etc - think Innuits and snow), hailed as the greatest in the world by all those outside of Rio De Janeiro, when elements of the nation's African, Indian, Spanish, British, Arawak, Arab, Chinese and French heritage are drawn together to form a backdrop to three days of music, dancing and bad behaviour.

One of the most prestigious awards handed out at Carnival (it's a highly competitive event) relates to the Road March - judges are set up at points along the Carnival procession route and they record which song is being played by the floats, the song heard most often is said to be the Road March, the anthem of the year's event. 2005's winner was the blazing Dead Or Alive by Shurwayne Winchester.

Shurwayne Winchester - Dead Or Alive

As nearly half the island's population is descended from Indian indentured labourers, it's not surprising that a distinct subcontinental sub-genre has sprung up. What might be surprising to anyone accustomed to the Hindu-Nationalist-imposed moral conservatism of Mumbai pop-culture exports is that Indo-Trinidadians, male and female, can be just as filthy as anyone else when they put their mind to it. Chutney, a mix of soca and traditional Indian instrumentation, sung in either English or Hindi, has a popularity that extends far beyond its ethnic base and forms a staple of island nightlife for Trinis of all backgrounds. The dance routines are something to behold, fusing delicate traditional hand movements with lasciviously grinding hips. Lyrics tend to focus on rum, women and more rum, to the chagrin of some of the community's less liberal eldars.

The reigning Chutney Monarch is a cocky little bugger called Adesh Samaroo who followed his classic Rum 'Til I Die with an album called Rum Nuh Kill Me before wrapping his car round a tree and and getting his face mash' up in a suspected drink-drive accident. This year's competition has been delayed until he feels up to defending his crown. Strong competition can be expected from the extravagantly dressed Heeralal Rampartap and Neeshan "Hit Man" Prabhoo, providers of this year's most enduring chutney anthems, Run For Me Life and More Rum For Me (Mr Shankar) respectively. Machel Montano associate Rikki Jai (pictured with horrified-looking baby) will, as ever, start as favourite.

Rikki Jai - Mor Tor


  • At 2:03 am, Blogger Mansi said…

    Do you know where I can get the lyrics of Mor Tor?


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