This month’s Caribbean Listening Choice – with new Dechode Mode music; Bob Marley and The Wailers; Charlie Halloran; and Levi Silvanie
Triquetra of love
Dechode Mode (Mark the created group)
The Trinidadian husband and wife duo Dechode Mode – decoding echoes – create a kind of dreamy electronic music that explores emotions. Their metaphorical texts suggest that relationships are sometimes complex character studies in search of definition and explication. This short EP with three songs, they tell us, is a love story in practice [exploring] a scenario in which love either progresses or dies. ” Collectively, influence is powerful if one is set up to decipher how songs, when well written, can expand our understanding of the human psyche, good, bad or ugly. Individually, the lyrics depict the story of how love works in the real world beyond fantasy-produced romance and how the truth about a relationship can be read. The presence of this candid video among the many island options on the theme of love gives hope that new voices come to the fore in order to break stereotypes.
The Capitol Session ’73
Bob Marley and The Wailers (Mercury Studios)
For avid collectors or “completeists” looking for everything by legend, this album featuring a performance of early Wailers Island Records music is another gem in the crown, and that’s reggae. (The group would not have been considered “Bob Marley and The Wailers” until 1974). Circumstances and coincidence together often play a role in how music is made and how we as listeners are blessed to receive it. This is the soundtrack to the band’s recently revealed concert recorded in a studio that was “rejected” from the 1973 Sly and the Family Stone tour because it was too good or simply misunderstood by the audience. “Get Up, Stand Up”, “Duppy Conqueror”, “Stir It Up” and other songs with Catch the fire i Burn in ‘ the albums provide recordings of the time before the possible global expansion of reggae. A seed was then planted on the west coast of the United States, which today reveals the template and legacy of great singing and eternal musical appeal.
Charlie Halloran (ArtistShare)
Before a quick plane ride to the sunny Caribbean was both a utilitarian and vital part of a tourist product, cruising from the port north to the island was in itself an adventure that required patience and tropical assimilation. Hailing from New Orleans, a kind of cultural Caribbean North Pole, Charlie Halloran re-imagined the spirit of the time and recreated “the musical experience on cruises led by the Alcoa Steamship Co. of New Orleans from 1949 to 1959.” A wide repertoire of dance music from Trinidad, Guadeloupe, New Orleans and Venezuela gives the listener an insight into how Caribbean aesthetics sounded and looked to foreign tourism executives. Calypso, beguine and joropo play energetically and well. The songs of Trinidadians Lionel Belasco and Pat Castagne are gaining new life because the idea of cruising “to the Spanish capital” is becoming not so much an old dream, but a way to return the magnificence to local music.
Levi Silvanie (self-released)
The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now on the verge of two years, and the effects of quarantine and isolation have caused anxiety and fear in many people around the world. Curaçaon singer-songwriter Levi Silvanie offers a song with a message of encouragement for troubled souls and a cure for the stumbled. His lyrics share stimulating support and altruistic action: “Paralyzed by emotions / You can barely feel something / Your fire is burning / And all hope is running out / I’m here with you / I’m watching you get through it.” of minor tonality to major, all reflect the rise to hope and probable penetration. Silvanie linked this song to his effort to alleviate mental health problems among his fans. The statement that “you have to keep moving” is advice that should be heeded at this time, in any language.