As a writer, music is one of my most important sources of inspiration, and there’s nothing in the world like Jamaican music to inspire me to write. [I’ll talk about the connection between my writing and my music in another blog at another time.]
I have all kinds of music on my I-Instruments (I-Pod, I-Pad, I-Pee, I-Poo) – I have Jazz, Latin beat, R&B, African rhythms, Country (every brother has gotta have some Kenny Rogers), etc. And I have tons of reggae and hardcore dancehall music as well. I buy some online, other times I ask my peeps back home to buy from the guys on Half Way Tree Road or downtown Brooklyn.
Music gives me not only inspiration but energy. When I listen to dancehall music I feel as though everything inside me, around me, beneath me, and on top of me, is aligned. Cow needs grass, Dog needs bone, Rasta needs weed, Single Attractive woman needs good loving, I need dancehall music.
I have two problems with the music though. One is that I have to struggle like hell to keep up with it. Especially living all the way in Asia where you don’t hear it being played often (and where everyone thinks that Jamaica is some part of Africa.) Every few days you’ll catch me asking my wife some question about the latest dancehall slangs. I’ll ask, “Sweetheart, what is Stullesha?” And my girl will always respond, “PONdENDS my yute!” And, sure enough, after a few minutes of going online and listening, I will find out that not only is Stullesha a person, but that she has a counterpart named ‘Stulla’ as well! [By the way I also went online to the urban dictionary and found this definition: “A stulla is a Jamaican term coined by dancehall singer Mavado that describes a male of high sexual potency and stamina.”]
So all I need to do to keep up with the latest is fire up my PONdENDS.COM
engine and start listening and learning.
I think I am sufficiently up-to-date now, so I can go on to my second problem with the music: figuring out from the songs what the hell Jamaican men want their women to be.
Half the time I listen our music I get the impression that men want to marry acrobats. The woman should be able to go on their head-tops, spin like gigs, turn in slow motion, and otherwise perform motions that, to my judgement, would require incredible feats of flexibility and acrobacy.
Yet, other times it seems clear to me that they want a wife who has specialised in Plant and Animal Biology, and who knows the mating habits of both flora and fauna. The woman must know how lizards lap, bananas peel, ducks roast, frogs squat, and so on.
At other times I sense that they don’t want a Christian because they believe that ‘missionary’ belong in church, not in bed, but it isn’t clear if what they are saying is that they want a woman of ill-repute.
Sometimes they may say they want someone who can do the ‘daggering’, but I am pretty sure it isn’t a serial killer that they are looking for.
Then I get completely thrown off when Buju Banton fall on the ground, hold him belly, and start wailing and lamenting how “a virtuous woman is truly hard to find.” I was touched by the song, and felt convinced that virtue is genuinely what he wants in a woman. I also realised that he was not alone - other men are searching for empresses that are “pure and divine”. Part of the confusion I get is that sometimes they say they want a ‘queen’ who knows how to give them good loving, cook and clean. That, for me, is dissonance! A queen cleaning?
I realise I am nowhere close to figuring out what is going on. So let me continue working on it. “PONdENDS my yute!”