Tuesday 27 October, 2020

Scrunter is back with new soca parang

Scrunter. Photo: Laura Dowrich-Phillips

Scrunter. Photo: Laura Dowrich-Phillips

Scrunter is back.

The undisputed king of parang soca is back with a new Christmas song.

The song, 'Santa is the Sanitary Inspector,' tells the story of how people frantically clean up their homes for Christmas and positions Santa Claus as the inspector who approves their work.

Scrunter revealed the new song when Loop visited his bar on Sunday. 

“I sing about Christmas,” said Scrunter, real name Irwin Reyes Johnson. “I know everything about Christmas, I could sing bout Christmas till I dead,” he said, recalling his childhood days growing up in the quiet Sangre Grande community where he resides.

“The neighbours had more love to start with and up to now we still have that up here, we eh killing and shooting nobody up on this side. If the neighbour killing a pig, he call the other neighbours to help him clean the pig and everything and when the pig cut up he giving everybody two pounds of pork.

“If that neighbour have a bag of sorrel, he give you some. The next neighbour say look I have yam here boy, he give you some, that is the kind of thing. Creole chocolate, you must have that, bread from the dirt oven, you must have that,” he said.

Before Soca Parang, Scrunter, now 71, was a calypsonian who won the 1982 Na­tion­al Ca­lyp­so Monarch singing The Will and Lick-e-Ting. He is also known for popular ca­lyp­soes such as Woman on the Bass, Take the Num­ber, Cra­paud Rev­o­lu­tion, Sing in She Par­ty, Oil in de Coil, Ju­dith, Suck Mih Soucouyant and Breast Fed.

In 1988, tired of the calypso arena, Scrunter pro­duced his first parang so­ca, Piece ah Pork. The song was an instant hit and he followed that up with what is today Christmas classics - Anita, Homemade Wine, Leroy, De Parang Now Start, De Backyard Jam, Drinking Anything and a slew of other songs.

Scrunter said he last sang calypso in a tent three years ago. He said he walked away because he didn’t feel he had a place in the art form anymore.

“When I realise these fellas gone singing the wave and flag and wine and bam bam and when old people sing these songs they not playing it on the radio, I say you see me let me leave this area,” he said.

Scrunter. who spends his days tending his garden, raising pigs and hunting, said it’s been two years since he did a new soca parang but he decided to heed the calls of his fans who have been asking for new music.

The new song, he said, came to him as he sat in the doorway of his shop in Sangre Grande strumming his guitar. It took a couple days to write.

Lamenting the state of the copyright industry which, he feels, do not pay him the amount of money he truly deserves, Scrunter said he does not make money from his songs but from performances throughout the Christmas season.

The central part of his Christmas celebrations is his annual Pork Dance which was inspired by his first song ‘Ah Piece of Pork’.

He said the event, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, is like a big Christmas lime with any kind of wild meat, a pig roasting on a wood fire and a live pig running through the crowd which can be taken home by anyone who catches it.

“Is a real country fete,” he said, noting it draws people from all over the world.

'Santa is the Sanitary Inspector' is expected to be released this week.

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