December 23rd, 2007

Eat a Rum (Cake)

“Drink a Rum” = a Trini Xmas favorite. Composed by his highness Lord Kitchener, but also given various chutney soca parang upgrades, among other countless variations and personalizations.

Another Trini Xmas fave, with even more personal/family/local versions — plus more broadly diffused throughout the (Anglo-)Caribbean — is the rum/fruit cake often referred to as black cake for its dark color (a product of dark rum, dark brown sugar, burnt sugar — aka browning — and dark fruit, including raisins, currants, and prunes — all soaked in rum and sweet wine, Red Label or Manischewitz, and then mashed into a dark, sweet paste).

Wayne&Bex first learnt about black cake when college blockmate like Sly, FLA-raised Chinese-Jamaican, first told us of its wonders, such as that one continually pour or brush rum over the top of it, for the life of the cake, anytime it gets dry.

Having followed the following (more or less — we substituted cranberries for cherries, fr’instance) and sampled the first of four cakes last night, I’m not sure there’s much time for the cakes to really undergo a good soaking, given that ours was nearly devoured in less than 12 hours. Dessert and breakfast, knamean —

— not that the cakes need much more rum poured on them: we let our fruit soak in Gosling’s and Manichewitz for two days, til they were good and bloated (of course, some people let em steep for year).

& as soon as they came out of the oven, we gave them a good brushing with more dark rum.

A sweet tradition for true —

More xmas soca parang ? >>

From that playlist, I&I commend U&U to check Adesh Samaroo’s “EATING MEAT,” one of several parang jams on some ol West-Af 3:2 transplantadapt stylee, cutting a straight a 6/8 w/ some triple twelfness. (Technical terms.) A helluva holiday beat! More cowbell, horse! More meat!


  • 1. dj BC  |  December 24th, 2007 at 7:03 am

    Wayne. That looks soooooooooooo good!

    Merry Christmas, yo!

  • 2. Birdseed  |  December 24th, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Awesome cake/music. I really should start the practice of researching foreign christmas traditions and trying a different one every year. :)

    Merry Christmas!

  • 3. ripley  |  December 24th, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    yum yum yum

  • 4. » R&hellip  |  December 25th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    […] in the xmas diggin spirit, /jace offers up some fine aguinaldos y villancicos […]

  • 5. curm  |  December 26th, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Listening to NPR I heard two Puerto Rican writers talking about their island’s custom of Christmas caroling called “Parranda” and I thought, hmmm, this sounds similar to Trinidadian Parang. After viewing your post I just looked it up via google and that not always accurate site wikepedia and sure enough:

    “Parang is a Caribbean folk music genre with its origins in Trinidad and Tobago. It is closely associated with Christmas festivities, and traditionally has religious (Christian) lyrics, often in Spanish. Modern popular parang music has absorbed various other musical styles, and often features English lyrics and North American cultural influences. The word is derived from the Spanish word parranda, meaning ‘merry-making’ or ‘a group of serenaders’.There are basically two types of our indigenous folk music – French and Spanish parang. The French parang or creche is no longer as widely sung as the parang of Spanish origin, but can still be heard in villages with a strong French influence. Renditions of parang, our popular folk music, is part of our Spanish heritage and originated over 400 years ago during Spanish colonization.”

    An unrelated aside–Now earlier today glancing at Songlines magazine at Borders I read about Jewish Algerian musicians who had left that country, recently getting together with Muslim Algerian musicians who they had played together with pre-1962, and recording a new cd to come out on the British Honest Jon’s label with D. Alborn from Blur producing.

  • 6. wayneandwax  |  December 28th, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Nicely researched, Curm! I didn’t look into it myself, but this connection makes a lot of sense given the lingering legacies of both Spanish (colonial) and French (migrant) presence in Trinidad. There are a couple great tracks on the following disc, for instance, as recorded by Alan Lomax, in which a Trinidadian woman, who I believe only speaks English, sings a couple songs in Spanish and French, which she had learned as a girl:

    There are a couple Venezuelan-derived valses (i.e., waltzes) on that disc that are also really great — and really great examples of Trinidad’s rich and diverse cultural heritage.

  • 7. Geography of a Soundboy &&hellip  |  March 20th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    […] I made a roti pilgrimmage to Brown Sugary Bakery awhile back (and gleefully devoured some black cake while I was at it!).  I also stumbled upon a treasure trove of party flyers — the […]


I'm a techno-musicologist, internet annotator, imagined community organizer.

I left my <3 in the digital global, but I reside in Cambridge, MA, where I'm from.

I represent like that.

wayne at wayneandwax dot com

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