This week in CARRIBEAN MUSIC:
1. Last weekend, Hawaiian skateboarder/Columbia student/super-musician Anton Glamb hipped me to some dope dancehall/soca videos on a website called MUZIK MEDIA, based in NJ!
The one that really blew my mind was the "Escape 2 Soca Megamix". You can find the video at the bottom of this page. It's really long and features at least 10 different rappers/singers. I think it's kind of like a year-end wrap-up mix which takes all the different versions of a Soca Riddim (is that the proper terminology?) and stiches them up into one song. It kind of has a "Do They Know It's Christmas?"-feel with all these different voices cutting in for a verse or two.
A bunch of videos on MUZIK MEDIA feature dudes riding in cars which made me realize that they DRIVE ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ROAD in JAMAICA. Jamaica wasn't independent until 1962 so it makes sense that they would drive British-style. Still, I imagined that Jamaica's proximity to the huge automobile-plants of the US and Mexico might sway them over the right side.
This lead to me to a totally DOPE Wikipedia article called "Rules of da Road".
There are so many interesting driving facts in there.
-Did you know that in left-driving Japan it's considered really classy to have an imported car with the steering wheel on the left side? Some rich dudes are so into this conspicuous consumption that they will pay extra to buy AMERICAN-versions of BRITISH CARS!
-A lot of countries have switched driving sides. Former British colony Nigeria went to the right side (probably b/c they hated the British so much). Sweden made the switch in 1963 in an ineffective attempt to make driving safer:
The changeover took place at 5am on Sunday, September 3, 1967, which was known in Swedish as Dagen H (H-Day), the 'H' being for Högertrafik or right-hand traffic.
Check out this awesome picture from Stockholm on H-Day:
That must have been a CRAZY DAY!
-About 1/3 of the world's population drives on the left-side of the road, but as this map shows driving on the right side clearly dominates in terms of area:
Red = Right, Blue =WRONG
India accounts for almost half of all left-side drivers.
2. I also received a Wayne Smith cd "Sleng Teng & Prince Jammy's Computerised Dub" in the mail this week. Wayne Smiths's 1986 song Sleng Teng is widely regarded as the first reggae/dancehall song to use a drum machine.
You know that MIA song where she goes "Slang Tang, that's my MIA thang" or something? Well, clearly she is familiar with Wayne Smith. Do you think his album cover inspired hers?
I'm sorry I couldn't find a bigger version of the Wayne Smith cover. These have a very similar vibe yet lack any explicit similarities. I don't know...
Anyway check out "Sleng Teng":
Wayne Smith - Sleng Teng
3. I found this great Reggae Riddims database: www.reggae-riddims.com
It's helping me to understand it all a little better (see: Diwali Riddim discussion).
Did you know that the Sean Paul song "Like Glue" (probably my ALL-TIME favorite Sean Paul song) originally appeared on a Riddim Compilation in 2001? "Like Glue" uses the Buy-Out Riddim. It's pretty amazing how much better "Like Glue" is than any of the other Buy-Out Riddim tracks.
Compare "Like Glue" with this:
All of this Riddims Research is getting me pumped for an English class I'm taking next semester called "Parody, Plagiarism and Postcolonialism":
This course examines historical, cultural, and theoretical notions of authorship, originality, singularity, and copyright as they intersect with colonialism, postcolonialism, and globalization as processes of cultural reproduction, replication, and theft.
I wonder if we'll talk about Simple Plan at all. Canada is a postcolonial nation...