He celebrates spirituality with his new CD
By Debbie Jacob, Trinidad Express
"Life is a canvas for us to paint, so let us colour it with the
sweetest joy," Rudder sings in "Farewell to the Flesh", the title
track of his 2002 Carnival CD.
Farewell to to the Flesh is a tribute to Carnival in all its
stages from J'ouvert morning to the final cleansing at Maracas Bay
on Ash Wednesday. But Rudder's view of Carnival is not simply gay
abandon. Instead, it's the joyful sound that celebrates the
spirituality represented through jazz injected soca music. It's
also a stark contrast to the current reality of terrorism.
"I just wanted to show the world that while everyone is trying
to kill each other, we still have something to give," says Rudder.
Most of Rudder's images of Trinidad are confined to Carnival.
There are no political commentaries in this election year.
"I think there's nothing else to say," says Rudder. "Everything
that's going on is a cycle. It's been spoken about â€“even in
And so Rudder sings in "Farewell to the Flesh", "Now's the
time/In this blessed life/When our bodies show/How we feel
inside/You will know It will roar inside you/It comes to you/Like
a raging tide..."
Conjuring up images of beating drums, the fires of camboulay
and the tension of the gayelle, Rudder, whose music is never
defined by any common musical parameters, presents an uptempo soca
capturing the joy of J'ouvert that is not confined to J'ouvert
rhythms. Tony Voisin's bubbly guitar licks help set the mood.
"Music is liberation/ Come make a joyful sound/ This life is a
celebration... Comes the time, and the street is now a sacred
place...Early morning calls for early wine. This communion makes
you feel so fine.." Rudder sings in "J'ouvert".
"Poppin' Off" beckons Carnival revellers to the streets. "Leave
the kitchen if you can't stand the heat....Come let me take you on
a fantastic voyage. Amen. We're poppin' off," sings Rudder.
The finger-snapping rhythm and mellow melody of "Tuesday Night
Lover" makes this one of the best tracks on the CD because of its
ability to capture the fine line between the surrealism of
Carnival and the reality that follows. Seeped in the nostalgia of
Carnival, Rudder sings, "Will you remember me when you wake up Ash
Wednesday morning? You know, Ash Wednesday is always a different
Rudder includes a tribute to the fete with a remake of "Jump Up",
from the Calabash album. He has "reintroduced "Las Lap Time" and "Out
of Hand" from The Hammer album as well as "There is a Land" and "Super
Island" from The Power and the Glory album.
Two songs inspired by the current focus on terrorism form the
strong contrast between Carnival and the world's woes. "Egyptian
Eyes" a treatise on the suicide terrorist Mohammed Ata, is the
first track on the CD. It is from this cold reality that Rudder
rescues listeners with Carnival camouflage, so to speak, from the
In "Visions of Paradise" Rudder offers a chilling take on
fundamentalism, "now an unstoppable soldier taking you on its
heavenly journey into the mouth of hell. Icy men with their fiery
dreams..." It is a strange song with a frantic, musical breakaway
in the end.
"I wrote this song in Canada after the pizza parlour bombing in
Israel earlier in the year," says Rudder. "It was the first song I
wrote for the CD."
This too is one of the better tracks on the CD for its ability
to capture two sides of a situation. The fervent, but misguided
sense of spirituality contrasted with the horror that results
creates powerful imagery.
Wayne Bruno's guitar figures heavily into the music of "Farewell
to the Flesh" along with Bruno's arrangements of the new songs
recorded at Mark Romero's Tehilla Studios in Arima.
Rudder uses live instruments, including Barry Howard on drums
as well as Bruno and Kenneth Baptiste on keyboards.
"We tried a long-time recording with everyone playing together
on one track," says Rudder. Sean Poland did the final mix at
Caribbean Sound Basin.
Hopefully, Rudder says, "Farewell to the Flesh" will be
available in all major record stores in one week's time. The
jacket cover features Rudder's face as a canvas for dripping
paint: "Bile green for the ugliness going on, yellow for envy, and
blue for sadness," says Rudder.
If you're looking for any semblance of joy, it's what's inside
In one way or another almost every song on David Rudder’s latest
CD Farewell to the Flesh is devoted to speaking about the
unspeakable moment on 9/11 when those planes slammed through the
Twin Towers. At the same time, Rudder takes us on a journey of
redemption and recovery that leads through the streets of Trinidad
and Tobago’s Carnival. This is not a simple CD. Its joy is tempered
with horror, as in Visions of Paradise, a trip into the mind
of a suicide bomber. Thankfully, its darkest moments are shot
through with a celebration of the power of calypso to ease the pain.
Many of the new songs (like Poppin’ Off and Maracas Bay)
and most of the older ones Rudder includes here (like Outta Hand
and Las’ Lap Time) lead into the light. This impressive CD is
about learning how to bear the unbearable and dance your way back to
life — with sanity and soul intact. [MG - Caribbean Beat]