I am flying into Trinidad for a funeral of all things, listening to the Machel Montano Road March winning song from 2006. It's called "Band of the Year" and it's sung with Patrice Roberts.
As the song, which I have not heard in some time played, I felt that familiar feeling of Carnival entering my bones.
I missed Carnival last year, and the boost that it gives me each year. As the song played, I felt that happiness that is conveyed with soca music, the optimism, the the love of life, the fun that comes with jumping with others to the same music... there is nothing like it.
It feels child-like, but not in the sense of it being infantile. Instead, it reminds me of running in the rain, splashing through puddles, lying in lush green grass, and feeling the sun on your back... all things that we adults stray away from.
Trinidad Carnival is a time to return to that simple fun we used to have as kids, and doing it with thousands of others makes it all the more potent.
It is the perfect counterpoint to daily Jamaican life, which is built on a kind of seriousness that is the cause, rather than the result, of much of our poverty of the pocket and of the heart. (On the other hand, I would want a Jamaican in my foxhole when things DO get serious over any other kind of people, but that's a topic for another post.)
All that the say that I can't wait for Carnival next year.
One a separate note, I do enjoy reggae and soca duets, in which a rough male voice is balanced with a sweet feminine voice. During Machel's song I realized that I have always loved these songs without realizing that there was a common thread.
Here are the ones I can recall:
Action by Nadine Sutherland and Terror Fabulous
Fire Burning -- Marcia Griffiths and... ?
Light It Up, Band of the Year -- Machel Montano and Patric Roberts
Get on Bad --Bunji Garlan and Anika Bostic
Buji Garlan and Patrice Roberts - Signal / Whisky
Bunji and Patrice Roberts - Stomping Ground
Get Busy -- Sean Paul and Sasha
Baby Boy -- Sean Paul and Beyonce
Loti La -- Sonny Mann and Denise Belfon (maybe the roles are reversed on this one)
Remember - Alicia Keys and Baby Cham