Mickela Panday is one of the most recognisable figures in our national community. Despite our mutual affiliation with the T&T Guardian newspaper, she and I have never met.
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Exorcising spirit—breaking ghosts of 1974
The year 1974 was a high point of T&T’s creative brilliance. It was the year the visionary cohort of the Independence generation took the gifts of the previous Golden Age generation and created magic. However, that same year our leaders spiritually turned their back on the Golden Age, physically rebuked the innovative class of the Independence generation, and began the destruction of visionary Trinidad. That year is the moment we need to exorcise to reclaim our destiny.
In 1974 Lord Shorty released the first soca song—the musical thesis Endless Vibrations. Although he’d written Indrani the year before, it’s with Endless Vibrations that the full measure of the “Sokah” experiment blossoms. In that same year Shadow released Bassman—evidence that soca was born from simultaneous experiments being conducted by geniuses like Shorty, Shadow, Maestro, Eddy Grant, Andre Tanker, Lancelot Layne, and roots musicians—all experimenting with Trinbago sound.
The fate of Bassman illuminates the reason for our national decline. According to most witnesses, Shadow won Dimanche Gras that year—comprehensively dethroning Sparrow. This was in keeping with the organic generational trend of succession in kaiso: every ten years a younger voice emerged, innovating, taking calypso further. Attila begat Lion begat Spoiler begat Kitch begat Sparrow. However in 1974 a new breed of “culture-judge” intervened—giving the prize to Sparrow, thwarting inheritance.
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