Posts Tagged ‘Ataklan

29
Sep
08

The Shadows in the Dark are Blue Devils: Turning the World Upside Down

This is Ataklan again, with more video of Trinidad of a quality and nature that I could only hope to make myself. We have heard from Ataklan before on this blog, with “The Sun Starts to Rise,” which came around the time of the summer solstice, by lucky chance. Now as we enter into a darker fall, today we have “A Shadow in the Dark.” As is often the case with Trinidadian songs and videos that I like to feature here, my comrade Guanaguanare has posted this on her blog a while back, and transcribed it: see her post here.

More in a moment, but first here is the video:

I like the video for its messages of humility, tactical restraint, its suspicion and critique of dominant power, and the daily grind of those placed and held in the gutters of society:


Man, I’d rather be a shadow in the dark,
Than a big fool in spotlight.
I’d rather be a dog without a bark,
Than a loud dog without a bite.

It’s 3 Canal time again, with a video of Blue Devils dancing, classic figures from the pre-dawn J’ouvert of the Trinidadian carnival. There are many reasons why 3 Canal is the featured musical inspiration of this blog, not least of which is their rescuing of the potent political symbolism of carnival-as-resistance, their consistent critiques of capitalism and hegemony, their philosophical dwelling in the working class street, and of course their hybrid musical inventions.

Today Washington crooks cook up a transfer of public wealth into the mismanaging hands of the super wealthy, because otherwise the failure of “capitalism that works” (we have been fed a diet of propaganda of how capitalism is the best possible system, the only system that works, no viable alternatives) might have caused some “shock” to people in growing tent cities, in jobless lines, people losing their homes? Those realities of dispossession and loss will continue regardless of Wall Street’s improved health, and indeed, because of it.

This is a “world turned upside down” in another sense than the one intended by 3 canal — this is Americans’ much hated “socialism” (public funds wielded by an interventionist state) coming to the rescue of capitalism. And they will pay for it very dearly. In the meantime, John McCain entertains fantasies of no new spending on social programs, but lots of new spending on national security — an aspiring “war president” of perverse proportions, who thinks you can run an army without an economy, presumably because he is confident that China and the Gulf States will continue lending the U.S. money for its imperial adventurism? McCain looks more like an old guard figure of the declining USSR, a war-a-holic headed for the same exit, coincidentally also stuck up his melanoma in Afghan sand.

  • Public financed private wealth
  • State bailouts for the “free market”
  • A national war economy funded by foreign lenders
  • Securing economic health (for the dwellers of the tent cities?)
  • An aspiring VP Palin, who thinks the bailout is about health care…

Enjoy it, it’s your state sanctioned madness.

3 CANAL

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30
Jun
08

Ataklan Walks Naked

You won’t be seeing Trinidadian artist Ataklan walking naked in this video, not literally anyway. One of Ataklan’s messages in this interesting video, which takes us with him from a yard and a garbage dump in Trinidad to Wall Street, can be summed up using his words: “the more them fakers dress it up, is the less I wear.” He also speaks to the cultural prejudices built into a Westernized society such as Trinidad’s, the imposition of foreign education, teaching foreign history, and marginalizing local creations. He does not appear to be calling for “reform,” but for personal disengagement and indifference to reigning models of prestige and power. Apart from the simply stated messages in the video, I once again like this video for featuring footage of Trinidad of the kind that I lack, and that one often does not see on Trinidadian television.



16
Jun
08

The Sun Starts to Rise

Trinidad & Tobago’s Ataklan urges optimism in the face of despair.

Ataklan has gone through a real transformation over the years, acquiring a new music style and producing some of the more interesting contemporary songs and videos. I envy these videos for the beautiful filming of Trinidadian villages, countryside, street scenes, and so on — I don’t have footage that comes close to matching this. Trinidad has no real film industry, but with respect to more condensed productions such as music videos, television advertisements, and local soap operas, one finally sees some of this potential coming to light.




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trinidad street graffiti images courtesy of thumbprints.co.tt; all other photos courtesy of caribbeanfreephoto, under Creative Commons licenses.

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