My alluring love for kaiso and my profession as a lecturer of English Literature intersected in ways that I have always wanted them to.
For years I have listened to kaiso and longed for something worthy of forensic literary analysis. However apart from the few kaisos with a play on a word or phrase or some double entendre which frankly do no more than raise a speculative eyebrow, I have been largely disappointed-that is until recently when, browsing through Facebook, I saw a song posted with a caption which invited me to take a journey into the dark of the sun.
Honestly, I had scrolled past it, but some sixth sense told me that this sounds interesting, so I scrolled back up. I remained in that spot and listened to the song over and over and over.
In the Dark of the Sun” is a rich and thought-provoking calypso that invites listeners to explore themes of paradox, duality, and the profound intricacies of human existence. The title itself holds a sense of contradiction, capturing the essence of the song’s exploration of light and darkness, both literally and metaphorically.
Through its vivid imagery, evocative language, and skillful use of poetic devices, this kaiso offers a multi-layered experience that encourages listeners to contemplate the complexities of life and the interplay of opposing forces.
This, in my view, is one for the ages, exemplifying the power of kaiso and why it would never die as an artform. This is creativity at its mercurial best, writing straight out of Shakespeare and Chaucer. In the dark of the sun offers a soulful glimpse into the darkness of the human spirit which sometimes exists in stark contrast to the happy sun filled surface which acts as the perfect façade.
In the dark of the sun, where reality hides in the gloom
And foreboding silhouettes loom
Where common sense cowers like elves,
And the shadows run from themselves
These lines in verse one immediately establish the contrast between light and dark, symbolising opposing elements. The phrase “dark of the sun” introduces a paradoxical image, emphasising the coexistence of light and shadow.
The use of an artistic technique that juxtaposes light and dark, reinforces this theme. These lines hint at a state of mind that is so dark, ominous, and sinister that reality hides itself, the shadows fear the shadows, and, in that state, cognitive dissonance prevails.
I particularly love these four lines in verse two:
In the dark of the sun where reality becomes unreal
And truth has an indistinct feel
In the dark of the sun could make vampires stay awake
And shame books are burnt at the stake
These lines introduce a certain medieval touch-burning at the stake, but in this case, shame books, and vampires not being able to find sleep because of the persistent ever-present darkness.
Again, this conjures a broken and defeated mental state, a brand of cognitive dissention which strips you of all shame and reasoning power. And I can go on and on analysing lines and phrases.
The other beautiful aspect of this creative, contemplative piece of work is the way that the melodic orchestration complements the lyrics, and the plaintive background vocal rendition, crying for help, gives it a touching and heart wrenching feel.
Do not blame them for their misdeeds it says, look not upon their un-cerebral and shameless moments with anger and chagrin it says; instead look into your hearts and have mercy for they know not what they do. They are living in the dark of the sun.
This song has a wider reach than the political effusions upon which it forms its basis and the political blows that it so masterfully dishes out, crafted inside a cry for help. It goes far beyond the unexpected loss of an election taken badly by supporters of a political party.
If one thinks about it carefully, people who suffer from depression operate from that very same place. Outwardly, they may appear to be enjoying the radiance of the sun’s glow when in fact, “in their psyche there’s a darkness”.
At a time when recent events have brought sharply into focus the issue of mental health in Grenada and the silent cries for help which largely go unheard, this poetic masterpiece takes on an even greater significance.
The myriad of songs that this brilliant calypsonian “Scholar” has offered up over his career has been wide and diverse. However, with this piece, I believe he has gone ahead of himself.
I will venture to assert that by its sheer poetic and harmonic brilliance, this is the best calypso that he has written and the best calypso that has been written in the twenty-first century period.
Give it a listen if you have not done so yet. I guarantee you that this journey into the dark of the sun will be well worth the poetic twists and turns. Well done King Scholar.