The soca tune that is mashing up fetes in T&T more than any other is (look away now, Machel, Bunji, Farmer Nappy, Patrice and Kes) is Run Wid It by Mr Killa. Mr Killa is Grenadian, and he’s emerged as a hot favourite for the International Soca Monarch title at T&T Carnival. Grenada is T&T’s closest island neighbor, and there’s a lot of history between us. Here are 5 things we love about the Spice Isle (one of which is spice, as you’ll see).
The island gave us the Mighty Sparrow
Let’s start with the greatest, and we know you won’t mind, Mr Killa.
Okay, so Sparrow was born in Grenada as Slinger Francisco on July 5th, 1935. Having left with his parents for Trinidad as a young child, he learned his craft in sweet T&T, going on to become the greatest and most iconic calypsonian who ever walked the earth. Every single calypsonian or soca artiste walks in his Shadow, and owes a huge debt of gratitude to the path he blazed.
The eight time Road March winner, eight time Calypso Monarch and two time Calypso King of Kings is a phenomenon. He got into singing and steelpan, and won his first Road March title in 1956, aged 21, with Jean and Dinah, now a classic. He led the emergence of Soca, and won Road March again right up to 1984 with Doh Back Back. The word legend is overused. Sparrow is it.
They’re now giving us Mr Killa
The super fit, six-pack flaunting, gravelly voiced ball of energy that is Hollice Jonah Mapp, aka Mr Killa, has taken the 2019 fete season by storm. The suggestion that we “pick up something… anything” is already causing trouble at fetes, as revelers grab what they could, and literally, “run wid it.” Coolers, dustbins, even people, hoisted on their shoulders.
We don’t want to be killjoys, but do be careful what (or who) you pick up and run with, and where you run with it (or them). Make sure you know them, obviously. There are other ways to break the ice of a new friendship. He is surprised and genuinely moved by how the song has taken off. Run Wid It is giving us a similar vibe similar to that of Ultimate Rejects’ Full Extreme from a couple of years ago. The result could very well be the same.
Grande Anse Beach
Grande Anse, a two-mile stretch of white, sandy natural beauty, is one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean. Obviously we like Maracas, Maqueripe and Store Bay more, but Grand Anse is truly something special. It’s unreal. The sand is whiter than white, and the sea is bluer than blue. It wraps itself around a picturesque bay, presenting one of the most beautiful views in the region.
It is fully accessible to Grenadians, even as more resorts set up on its fringes. And it’s big. It’s going to take you some time to walk from one end to the other, but if you go there, do. We’re talking bucket list here. One of the best things about the beach is that it is unspoilt, and retains much of its natural beauty and charm. The resorts around it should be congratulated for letting Grand Anse keep its essential character.
Nutmeg makes our ponche de crème taste better!
Grenada is called the Spice Isle, because it is the second largest exporter of nutmeg in the world, after Indonesia. That distinctively flavoured spice that you could taste in you glass of ponche de crème at Christmastime was very likely nutmeg. It adds great flavor to eggnog type drinks and yes, ponche de crème. Nutmeg trees were first brought to Grenada from Indonesia by the British in the early 19th century. There’s a nutmeg symbol in one of the green triangles in the flag of Grenada.
According to Wikipedia, nutmeg is the spice made by grinding the seed of the fragrant nutmeg tree into powder. Besides the drinks we mentioned, it is used to flavor “baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, and vegetables”. “The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks”, Wiki goes on to say. “During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmegs are picked out.”
One thing about us Caribbean people. As long as another Caribbean country isn’t competing against one of our own, we cheer their athletes as if he or she was one of our own. Hands up if you screamed your lungs out for Usain Bolt as he blitzed a field of sprinters. Ok, if Thommo (Richard Thompson) was in the race, we directed our love away from the great Jamaican, but you get our drift. Grenadian Kirani James ran his way to a gold medal in the 400 metres at the London Olympics in 2012, and right into Caribbean hearts.
Grenada became one of the smallest countries to be represented by an Olympic gold medalist, and the fact that it was in the prestige sport of track and field made it even better. He had announced himself the year before by winning gold at the World Athletics Championships. He’s still only 26. The possibilities for him, and Grenada, are immense.