Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not me is the music

I promise not to get clever. I do believe, though, that music is the healing. That's what makes it so important. It's not just culture to be legislated or media to be dominating; that's not where it starts.

This is too why the "eat ah food" culture must be guarded against. It did not escape the writers of the opening production for the Tobago Heritage Festival, held at the Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago last Thursday.

Written by Jared Prima and Onika Henry, Diaspora Connections,looked at the phenomenon in the context of a conflicted Tobago girl named Tantan.

She was said to embody the Tobagonian and I would imagine so too her struggle.

Tantan would be outside with her friends, wining in a circle as they sang "there's a brown girl in the ring tra la la la la". Her mother would call on her father to reprimand her for not being inside studying to become the doctor her mother envisioned her becoming.

Later on it would be the a fellow villager to tell the mother that her daughter was talented and destined for greatness in the arts if she pursued such a career. Tantan would go on to become a lawyer.

The story, though, was used to tell the tale of Tobago traditions, you had the wedding, the wake and bongo, the belen and even the sayings, my favorite being "you cyah fraid the blade and the handle too" - meaning don't be coward....you cant be both afraid of the knife blade and the knife handle, your fear is therefore irrational.

The production started with the interruption of a masquerade ball by poor villagers who were mocking the revellers. They declared that they were the real celebrants in the festival and the posh ones were not. It was suggested that the poor ones were the "eat ah food" bunch that was threatening real creative expression.

Maybe I'm not doing such a good job of this. Suffice it to say it was a rich cultural production with great costuming, music and movement. It was thought provoking and may even have been more than could have been mentally processed and so consumed as entertainment. The point being, though, that a lot was being said and a lot went into this production that for most of us present was at best entertaining.

But, music is the healing, music in all its variety.

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