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Maestro - 'Mountain Dew Gang' (Maestro '76)

The traditional role of theTrinidadian Calypsonian has been among other things historian and storyteller. He is a true decendant of the West African 'griot'.

This calypso by Maestro introduces us to a segment ot Trinidad seldom heard of, the men of "The Mang", Sixth Company.
(I've always assumed that it was called the "Mang" ,because of the prevalence of mangrove in that area).
These "Mang" men are the ones who called themselves "Merikins"

I spent a few years in New Grant as a child and we lived at Hindustan Road junction. I have vivid memories of bands of stickmen coming out of the Mang , down Hindustan Road on their way to the stickfights at Moruga Road Junction.

I remember their "flambeaux" torches in the night, their head ties and of course their Mountain Dew rum as they marched down to the stick fight, chanting lav-ways like "Benjamin Moanin', Benjamin Moanin' in de grave" or "King Cobo dead, tomorrow is a grand funeral".

I remember several of the names in this calypso from hearing them as a child.
They were well known stickmen and Maestro who I knew ,and who was also from the "country" would also have known of them.

Apart from being a great kaiso, this song also has historic value of a time and place.

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Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on June 21, 2016 at 3:13am

This is a story about Merikins of South Trinidad , Cedric Macintosh . 

Comment by KWEKU D THOMAS on June 15, 2012 at 12:37am

Yea boy, the Merikins is seldom talked about but what a history. I am a 3rd generation Merikin from down Manahambree rd. The families were very tight nit and no man from outside could go down there thinking he could snag a young girl from the village, like the policemen in Maestro song he would get a serious planase in addition to losing his clothes. One of the baddest stickmen was one called Rupert Johnson, my grandfather Henry's brother. Maestro was a boss and serious visionary. 

Comment by J. Elizabeth Wilkinson on May 1, 2012 at 8:29pm

Dear Glen,  Thank you for sharing from your vast library of sweet calypso music. 

Comment by terry on April 11, 2012 at 7:58pm

Thanks, Glen, for the 'Mang Men'/Merikins info and link to the article.

Preparation for my 1960 GCE 'O' Levels was my first exposure to Caribbean History and Geography...

and there is still so much related to Caribbean history that should be covered between Kindergarden

and High School. ALL that is written by our historians should be digitized for on-line access to students and other interested parties with i-pads etc. 

Comment by Glenroy R Joseph on April 11, 2012 at 2:18pm

I must mention the fact that these "Mang men" that Maestro sings of are the descendants of the freed American slaves who fought for the British in the war of 1812, and resettled in the Company villages of Trinidad when the British lost the war.

I knew of these people who called themselves "Merikins"., but never knew their history until we were educated on this forum by historian/activist Gerry Kangalee's well researched and informative article, "Out of Pain this Culture was Born"

http://www.panonthenet.com/exclusive/2011/out-of-pain-4-8-2011.htm

This is yet another example of the value of this forum in promoting and educating us about our culture.

Thank you, Gerry Kangalee for teaching us our history, which unfortunately we weren't taught in our schools, and thank you WST.

Comment by Hamilton web lexander on April 11, 2012 at 8:55am

Thanks Glenroy, never heard this one before.

Comment by Gerard Jackson on April 11, 2012 at 4:11am

Thanks Glenroy, another Maestro masterpiece.

Comment by Val Serrant on April 11, 2012 at 1:17am

Thanks for Sharin' a "Maestro-piece", Glenroy. For the past couple days,I've been enjoyin' Sparrow's "Badjohns" {some of whom I knew when growin' up}!   Yuh cyah beat 'True-True' KAISO!!!  AH LUV-UP WE CULCHA!               One Love! Ase-O!!!

Comment by terry on April 11, 2012 at 12:07am

Pour a teaspoon of Mountan Dew in a saucer (away from flammable items), strike a math to it and burns with a BLUE flame. Ever sniffed the vapors prior to drinking?

Thanks for reviving teenage memories, Glen.

Comment by yvette johnson on April 10, 2012 at 9:23pm

Accompanying music signals the Maestro 'pon de mic

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