Across The Dark Waters [Song]

darkwaters1
ACROSS THE DARK WATERS
Performed by Kobo Town
Lead singer/songwriter Drew Gonsalves

Across the dark waters we came
With despair in our eyes,to rest beneath these foreign skies
And so began the endless wait
For an end to misery, for an end to history
In this new land we came to learn
About greed’s capacity to incite our cruelty
But over time we came to yearn
For the precious liberty that always stood beyond our reach
But the wheels of history grind slowly
Circumstance never smiles on the lowly
Everywhere we see contradictory signs
Perhaps tomorrow will being a brighter time…

Tumblin’ off the grandstand on the savannah
Bubblin’ out the speakers on every corner
Breakin’ over the mountain like a mighty thunder
Our hope is a restless song
Rising up from the sands like a defiant flower
Holding and consoling us in our darkest hour
Sweeping over the country like a dry-season shower
Our hope is a restless song
Our hope is a restless song

Across the dark waters we passed
To arrive where we now stand in this divided land
Few believed that we could last
To build a nation on these shores but look how we endured
In this former colony things are never what they seem
Beneath every place we see is a tortured history
The past could trample us
It could not rub out our dreams
And though we reached our present time
We have not left them behind.

But the wheels of history grind slowly
Circumstance never smiles on the lowly
Everywhere we see contradictory signs
Perhaps tomorrow will being a brighter time…
Tumblin’ off the grandstand on the savannah
Bubblin’ out the speakers on every corner
Breakin’ over the mountain like a mighty thunder
Our hope is a restless song
Rising up from the sands like a defiant flower
Holding and consoling us in our darkest hour
Sweeping over the country like a dry-season shower
Our hope is a restless song
Our hope is a restless song

You are my land, you are the land of my birth
For better or for worse, you are the land of my birth
In sickness and in health
And In good times and bad
I bow to you oh Trinidad
Though I have lived out my life far across the sea
In a foreign country in a frozen city
But I know I would be back again
You are the land running though my veins
You are my land , the land of my life
You are my land, the land of my life
Your joy is my light and your sorry my night
Your vision my sight, your soil my birthright
You are the land of my struggle
And your plight is my fight
The land of my struggle
And your plight is my fight

Tumblin’ off the grandstand on the savannah
Bubblin’ out the speakers on every corner
Breakin’ over the mountain like a mighty thunder
Our hope is a restless song
Rising up from the sands like a defiant flower
Holding and consoling us in our darkest hour
Sweeping over the country like a dry-season shower
Our hope is a restless song
Our hope is a restless song
Our hope is a restless song.

© Copyright – Kobo Town.
Posted with the kind permission of Kobo Town.
....................................................................................................


A Note From The Gull

These are the events that bring me joy: whenever a writer submits his/her work for posting or I discover some talent hitherto unknown to me. The latter describes my Kobo Town experience. I was directed to their website by a Trinidadian friend living abroad who was equally impressed and her excitement made me curious enough to visit them. I was not disappointed. In fact I was overwhelmed. I am not going to try to decide here which other band or artist they resemble or into which category they fall. All I can say is that for me, they are a much needed breath of fresh air on our music scene.

“Our hope is a restless song.” It isn’t enough that Kobo Town’s music is too sweet to resist, their lyrics/songwriter is also a poet. I have read these words again and again without any music, marveling over the lyrical musings of a Trinidadian who has not forgotten the land that is his birthright. I remember the title of one of Darcus Howe’s articles in the New Statesman containing the following statement about Trinidad: “Not even the cascadura fish could lure me there.” For many Trinidadians living abroad, it would be sweet relief to realise such closure. Neil Bissoondath also expressed a similar sentiment, having attained the enviable release of not having a single regret about leaving Trinidad or having the slightest desire to return.

But what of those who must live apart from a land that they continue to feel as a constant tangible presence running through their veins, as Drew describes it. What must they do to come to terms with the fact that they exist in a constant state of bilocation? Drew uses the vehicles of poetic words and music to give expression to sentiments shared by many expatriate Trinidadians who still love the land of their birth, who feel concern for the plight of their country and dream about return at some point when the choices available to them are not the cold stability of a foreign land versus the steamy chaos back home. In the mean time it is therapeutic just to share, to testify:

You are my land, you are the land of my birth
For better or for worse, you are the land of my birth
In sickness and in health
And in good times and bad
I bow to you, oh Trinidad
Though I have lived out my life far across the sea
In a foreign country in a frozen city
But I know I would be back again
You are the land running though my veins
You are my land, the land of my life
Your joy is my light and your sorry my night
Your vision my sight, your soil my birthright
You are the land of my struggle
And your plight is my fight
The land of my struggle
And your plight is my fight

For me, this song touches upon so many aspects of the experience of being a Trinidadian and the impact of a turbulent history on what remains a turbulent society today.

In this former colony things are never what they seem

Beneath every place we see is a tortured history


Drew neglects neither the good nor the bad that exists, but in weighing them both chooses to focus on the resilience, the “defiant flower”, the exuberance of the Trinidadian that despite everything continues to give us the capacity to dance. The conclusion that this song exudes is one of hopefulness and love because that is what exists in the eye of this beholder:

The past could trample us
It could not rub out our dreams
And though we reached our present time
We have not left them behind.

Perhaps tomorrow will being a brighter time
Tumblin’ off the grandstand on the savannah
Bubblin’ out the speakers on every corner
Breakin’ over the mountains like a mighty thunder
Our hope is a restless song
Rising up from the sands like a defiant flower
Holding and consoling us in our darkest hour
Sweeping over the country like a dry-season shower
Our hope is a restless song
Our hope is a restless song

This is the optimism that has been under constant siege in Trinidad, that is being leached away by the acid rain of unrelenting betrayals, both self-inflicted or otherwise:

And so began the endless wait
For an end to misery, for an end to history
In this new land we came to learn
About greed’s capacity to incite our cruelty
But over time we came to yearn
For the precious liberty that always stood beyond our reach

The title “Across The Dark Waters” is also well chosen. We had come to associate this specifically with the East Indian experience of crossing the kala paani or Dark Waters to arrive in Trinidad, but here Drew expands this experience to include all who came (and are still coming – Welcome!). We are all united in that experience of the fear and uncertainty of crossing from the familiar to the unfamiliar. Perhaps what Trinidadians are experiencing today is another Dark Waters. Perhaps if successfully negotiated, this is the crossing that will take us not so much to a new country but a new appreciation of what this country means to us and our place in it.But over time we came to yearnFor the precious liberty that always stood beyond our reachIn conclusion, I just have to confess that of late I have been frequently repeating to myself the line, “Our hope is a restless song.” For me that says it all.
Thanks Kobo Town.
This is the first of a series of posts featuring the lyrics from some of the songs off the soon to be released Kobo Town CD entitled “Independence.” Kobo Town is a Canadian based band with very close ties to Trinidad, a few of their members being Trinidadian. As the title of the CD hints, many of these songs are about what Independence has meant for former colonies and in particular, Trindiad and Tobago.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!
Guanaguanare

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