Last week Guyana celebrated its 50th anniversary of Independence. In the post-colonial narrative of the Caribbean, Guyana has always been an enigma.
The event was Bollywood. The venue, UWI, St Augustine Campus last Sunday. Donning malas, the esteemed partygoers were principal, Prof Clement Sankat and his wife Rohanie. The entertainer was Ravi B, Reigning NLCB Chutney Soca Monarch champion, and the band Karma. The other headliner was his sexy sister Nisha B (Bissambhar) and Gregory Ayeun.
The audience lapped up the song Cyah Come When Ah Drink Rum. But wait! In 2010, Ravi B had vowed not to sing another rum song. In 2011, rum hadn’t drowned. After all, the consumption of rum—a product originally extracted from sugarcane, brewed in hogs heads on sprawling plantations, had found a place in history, and, of course, chutney soca music. Such is its popularity and pleasure, that although renowned for Hot! Hot! Hot! arranged by Sir Leston Paul, the late Alphonsus Cassell (Arrow) from Montserrat penned a Rum Song.
He sang: “Ah Love Meh Rum/Rum Like Hell/Under meh spell.” Fearsome and powerful in a gayelle, bois men swear by a drink of puncheon which they label “firewater.” When interviewed, Ravi B admitted he had made the comment but had to jump on the rum bandwagon because of his fans. Leaving the comfort of a sofa, he proved he was hotter than a chulha with his mega hit Ah Never Know You Was A Drinka during his presentation.
“My fans wanted a rum song. I had to bend to my fans. My fans can make or break me. It is all about fans. It is because of the fans I am going to enter the Chutney Soca Monarch. I have over 15,000 fans on Twitter who want me to sing a rum song,” said Ravi B. “I could not chance it. I had to do a rum song. It was the only way to go. I live and die by my fans. I have to eat ah food, too.” On the flip side, while the “come” evokes naughty connotations, Ravi B said it was about road safety.
Reckless driving often contributes to the carnage on the nation’s streets. He raised social consciousness. “I want to stop people from drinking and driving. When they drink liquor they must arrive alive. There is a positive message in the song. Pack up when you drink your rum.” But he never regretted his decision to tip in favour of his legions of adoring fans. “When I started to sing the rum song, everything started to go good in country and town. Many of my fans believe in me and my rum song.”
Apart from Cyah Come When A Drinking Rum, Ravi B’s repertoire includes Musical Player and Whay Yuh Dey. He said: “Musical player was about someone who plays the dhantal and dholak (traditional Indian instruments), steelpan and tassa. Whay Yuh Dey is about an apology to his girlfriend.” Ravi B says the band is expected to perform at 57 events including Army fete and major all inclusives. Seizing the opportunity, Ravi B thanked his legions of fans for their support and called upon them to show their solidarity by texting in his favour. In 2010, he garnered 9,527 votes over his closest rival Rikki Jai who amassed 4,872.
Jai, too, sang a rum song begging the barman to give him a Guinness and a Puncheon. To compound it, Ravi B has made history as the first individual to qualify for the semi final round of three major Carnival competitions. He is hoping Cyah Come When Ah Drinking Rum will be the toast of the town should he retain the Chutney Soca Monarch on February 19, at Skinner Park, San Fernando. • Ravi B called upon his fans to register their support for the rum song by texting Rav-7622/Rav-78247.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff.
Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments.
Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.