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West Indian Party.

West Indian Party
You can hardly find a Grenadian or West Indian who doesn’t like a good party. We crave the fun and we like the jam session. We groove and grind to the sound of reggae, calypso and, sometimes, even to a bottle and spoon.

At times, we hold onto our women so tight that breeze cyan pass. We move and we groove and sometimes wine down to the floor. Music is in our blood and the gyrating hips one sees on Carnival day is a testimony to our musical inclination.

We are, however, not easy to please and I am often discomforted when I see people giving the DJs a rough time while the music play.

It is not an easy thing to play music that will please everybody. Like food, people have different tastes. Some DJs, however, bring trouble onto themselves.

West Indian men leave their women at home and attend the party alone. The DJ ends up playing to a group of men and very few women. Grenadians call that a bull pen or a male box party.

The DJ gets the crowd angry when he plays a soft, slow jam like “Stealing Love on the Side” in such a situation. Now tell me, where are the women to steal love on the side with in a bull pen party?

Uninvited men end up stealing a bottle of rum on the side.
I was invited to a party once and, when I got there, I was happy to see that the place was crammed, but the men and women were sitting. The only man wining was the DJ. I don’t know if he was drunk or what. But he was dancing up a storm while the people were grumbling. He was playing music he liked and, perhaps, was saying to himself,

“Who the hell want to dance, dance, ah doh care!”
Music in yuh wire!

I do at times feel sorry for the DJs. People are fond of disturbing them. They will come up with requests for songs that some DJs never heard of. They even ask for Jim Reeves, the Louvin Brothers or songs one hears in church.

Others ask for songs that people have not even made yet and, if the DJ don’t play the song, he or she gets a cussing. Some call for soca, others request reggae, but there are those who dance to anything.

It is a known fact that many Guyanese love old, slow music. They love the “oldie-goldie” music just the way they cherish old cars.

A Jamaican might get annoyed if the DJ is too preoccupied with Trinidad soca music. If you find yourself in a Trini party, you might have to dance soca until your shoes wear out.

Grenadians? We dance to any **** thing. When we get nice, you can even bring the salsa, fox trot and the twist. Come with the electric slide, and we will dance to that too.

I almost put my friends in big trouble at a Guyanese party one night. They asked us to play the music and we were happy to do so.

We did not expect the Guyanese people to call for ten slow songs in a row. It was a good thing we had some King Curtis and Percy Sledge albums.

I tried to help. I dug into the record pile and came up with “Sylvie’s Mother.” They almost killed me when that song began to play. “Take that so and so Sylvie’s mother off!” Needless to say, they did not invite us to play again.

I went to a Jamaican party once. When I got there the place was dark, music was blasting, but I could not see anyone.

I was about to leave, but then I realized the dancing was really taking place against the walls while the middle of the hall was empty. Everyone was grinding against the wall.
Not everybody goes to a party to dance. I know a man who goes to parties to eat. He likes to go to the parties where he is sure to get oildown, jerk pork and pig foot souse to eat. He told me he likes the pig so much that the only thing in a pig he never ate is the grunt. That was only because he was never able to catch the grunt.

Some people go to parties to stand outside. Others end up by the bar and stay there. They go from the bar to the toilet and back, especially after consuming the free beers. A few just stand in a party and maco. They stand there and scope the scene.

Some are like the wind-up toys we got at Christmas time. They wind themselves up to dance, and they don’t stop until the last song plays. They don’t even need a partner and most times they wear out the DJ with their non-stop dancing.

Finally, there are the people who do not like to leave a party. A DJ got so exhausted once when he saw it was 9:00 a. m., and the people were still dancing as if the party just started. He put on the burial song “Nearer My God to Me.

They started wining to that song too. He gave up the ghost!
Anthony Wendell DeRiggs from Recollections of an Island Man.