If you spent Christmas in Grenada or Trinidad you definitely heard Parang music before. If this will be your first Christmas in Grenada then you are definitely going to hear it, and maybe even love it.
Listen to a few Parang tunes and in no time you will be caught up with the latest scandals, juicy gossip, and comedy in the island for the past 12 months.
I don’t know the origins of Parang, maybe it’s Trinidad. But in Grenada, it’s really the sister island of Carriacou that have perfected this cultural tradition. In fact, in a few days will be the Annual Parang Festival in Carriacou. Three days, beginning on Friday, of rhythms, rhymes, rum, and drop dead laughter, as Parang entertainers of all ages take the stage to see you will be crowned the top Parang artist in Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique.
The Parang performers from Carriacou are good, they’ve been doing this for a long time. Here is a YouTube video with some Kayaks in a Parang practice session… it’s only about 60 seconds:
In recent years we have seen a resurgence of Parang music on the Mainland (Grenada). Last Saturday I attended a Mele Parang show in Tanteen, St. George’s. Too bad I forgot my camera while rushing to leave the house. I would have loved for you to see the comedy on video as it unfolded.
One group of Parang artist stood out… I think they are called “The Men from the Mainland”. They had great arrangement, music, vocals and sharp hard hitting comedic verses… which is what Mele Parang is all about.
I definitely recommend the show if you are in Carriacou or Grenada for Christmas. Or if you can grab hold of one of their CDs do it. Click here to learn more about Carriacou Parang Festival
One more thing, if you attend a Parang show it will he helpful to have a Grenadian nearby to translate and put things in proper context, otherwise you just might not get the punch lines… there is a whole lot , of Grenadian history, politics, culture, and peculiarities mixed up in the Parang music that sometimes it can sound like a foreign language to an outsider.
Parang music is one of the things that gives me the Grenadian/Caribbean Christmas feeling. I grew up listening to Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby “dreaming of his white Christmas”. And to be honest, hearing them at Christmas time do evoke some special childhood memories. But the fact is a “White Christmas” or “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” just do not make sense in a Caribbean context.
It’s good to hear Parang making a comeback, and I am happy that the younger Grenadian generation will grow up listening to authentic Grenadian/Caribbean music that they can relate to.
So go get yourself a cold beverage and tune into some sweet Grenada Parang, or grab Osprey Ferry and head up to Carriacou this coming weekend for the real deal.