There is something ridiculous, perhaps, about crying in a soca party.
But then, it was David Rudder in a slightly incongruous setting - midtown Manhattan - on one of the final legs of a farewell tour. Farewell, because he’d been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the effects of which were visible in his movements as he negotiated the stage but not in his voice, as powerful and melodious and evocative as ever.
It is a time of endings.
So: David Rudder in Manhattan, performing for a sea of mostly but certainly not exclusively Caribbean people of various ages, many of them at or approaching Rudder’s 70. Trinis freshly off a Caribbean Airlines flight from Piarco, Trinis who’ve lived in Brooklyn and Queens for decades. Swag bragging of recent and not-so-recent Jouvert forays. Reflections on the first or most recent time they’d seen King David live in concert. A high priest and his congregation.
It is a time of reflection.
It is a time of echoes.
“I think we have to start focusing our attention differently and thinking of success in different terms. It’s dance, music, literature, painting — art all together. We have to build a whole cultural movement. This whole thing is about people, not charts or money.” David Rudder: The Breakthrough | Caribbean Beat Magazine | 1994
It is a time of seeking.
Soca music take me, won't you take me
Take me back to my island
Oh how I long for island breezes and to see
My woman roll like a steel drum solo ringing through a calypso night
Don’t get me wrong, this big city really made a man of me
But a concrete jungle drum can’t play no calypso
No no no no no no no no!
— from Song for a lonely soul by David Michael Rudder