Dem Bajans

So It Go

From the start of Tradewinds, I’ve always had a thing with ‘dem Bajans.’  While it’s true that the band initially became popular in 1968 from Trinidad radio stations hammering my ‘Honeymooning Couple‘ song, it was the Bajans who first got on the Tradewinds bandwagon and embraced the group immediately in a way that would only be equalled in time by Guyana.

It was one of those ‘love at first sight things’ that just happen, without one knowing exactly why.  There was an immediate connection between the Bajans and our music.

Barbados was the place we first realised we had arrived. You would hear the band’s music as you passed houses, or going by little drinking spots, or even from the radios of passing cars, with the taxis, in particular, having it at high volume.  In our heyday, with our Bajan man Vic Fernandes organizing the gigs, we appeared in the popular spots but Vic also put us in the countryside venues where few visiting bands went.  We would play Drill Hall, North Point, and a delightful rustic place (the name eludes) on the extreme edge of Barbados’ east coast overlooking the sea.

The Bajans came wherever we played (I remember the LIAT girls trying to slip in from the back wall at Pandora’s; I joked that they were making requests even though they were poping) and part of the pull for me was my affinity for the Bajan personality.  Where Jamaicans and Trinis can be very flamboyant, there is a kind of restrained polish to the Bajans that appealed to the country boy in me, plus I love their British sense of humour as opposed to the vagabond Trinidad picong.

so it goBy Caribbean standards, Bajans have a kind of sophisticated cool (it takes a lot to ruffle them) and will remain apparently immune to behaviours that cause eruptions in other parts of the region.  Their attitude to gay people, for example: behaviour that would cause strong outbursts and even violence in Jamaica will result in a calm stare from the Baje, a slow turn of the head, and a brief steups.  One night at a countryside fete, with our man Vic Fernandes collecting money at the gate, a sharply dressed Bajan came to the entrance, put down his money and …..To continue reading, login or subscribe now.

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