Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas Nostalgia - Parang & Rhythms

I remember the music, just like I remember my grandfather- my mom's dad, shaking his 'Chac Chac'(Maracas) and Quatro (guitar). We knew Christmas would be soon when he started singing.

My grandfather was Cito Moreno, and he had a way he would shake the Chac Chac and it would sound like a melody of  dried peas in a pod. Initially I thought he was doing some kind of ancient war dance, which he alone knew. He would try to get us to shake them and we thought it was quite funny! The ones he had were made from a dried coconut shell and they were carefully secured after the Christmas season.

Just like the Chac Chac, he would bring out the Quatro and start singing parang.."Rio Manzanares, dejame pasar, qui mi madre enferma, me mando llamar...." He loved the music and would speak in an amerindian patois he learned growing up.

I remember him for his love of music, hunting and coffee! He also loved politics and Dr Eric Williams our first prime-minister was his hero.

There were the 'bussing of bamboo" and the beating of drums, even those made with silver tin pans. The bamboo would be lit with a fire inside and it would make a popping sound which can be compared to fireworks. The empty biscuit tins and milk pans were fashioned into drums and sticks or metal bits and pieces would be used to tap and make a sound. To my recollection it was a mixture of chimes and a tenor rhythm - a symphony of home-made instruments!

Christmas was about stories. The smell of the season was filled with the spices of our heritage, something I forgot as I grew older. Now I recall fondly- my childhood Christmas with joy and wonder. Indeed it was great!

*Pictures are from Google TT images.

Have a happy and joyous holiday season 


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