New York Times Worlc Cup blog…

Background Music for T&T-England

Thanks to reader Stacy-Marie for sending us the url for a more comprehensive Soca Warriors music site at TnT in Germany. Not only can you listen to all the current Soca Warriors anthems there; you can also listen to the classics from the ë89 Strike Squad team we waxed sentimental about in a recent post. Among them: the awesome Sound Revolution soca joint ìLicks Like Fire, Licks Like Peas,î which coined the contagious singsong chant ìT ahnd T! We want ah goal!î; and the awesome Sound Revolution reggae joint ìFootball Dance,î with its poignant warning, ìEe-oo-eh, check the danger/Oh, Latapy in ah the area.î

Another ë89 soca tune here, SuperBlueís excellent ìRoad to Italy,î begins with the mournful lines ìSixteen years ago in Haiti/We were denied fame and glory/On the road, the road to Germany.î That reference is to a match infamous in the Caribbean. It was played between T&T and Haiti in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, during the Concacaf qualifying tournament for a berth at West Germany ë74. An incredible four Trinidad goals were waved off for offside or other infractions in a 2-1 Haiti victory, a result that in effect kept T&T out of the World Cup and put Haiti in instead.

The Salvadoran refereeís decisions were so bizarre that corruption was immediately suspected, a notion furthered when Haitian President for Life Baby Doc Duvalier ordered jewelry stores to open and allow the Trinidad players to have their pick of watches, rings, etc. FIFA later banned the referee and a Canadian linesman who worked the game, and the entire episode seared itself into the Trinbagonian memory forever, as this account from the T&T football federationís official history illustrates.

That ë73 campaign may have ended in deception and disappointment, but it generated another brilliant tune found at the site, from the legendary calypsonian Lord Kitchener. Itís called ìMas in Germany,î mas meaning the masquerade that takes place during Carnival in Trinidad. Lord Kitchener sings: ìThis year after Carnival, I am heading to the North/Guess where? Up in Germany ó thatís where Iím going to be/Ah just have the feeling that we should be spreading this creole bacchanal.î

Sixteen years after Trinidadians were robbed in Haiti, they were pipped at the last moment by the United States for the final World Cup berth at Italia ë90. Now itís 16 years after that, and here they are playing in the World Cup at last. For a great article full of links about T&Tís long journey to football nirvana, go to the superb blog The Global Game.

And today, as you watch the Little Giants from Trinidad and Tobago go up against England on TV, let these songs play as a soundtrack. T ahnd T! We want ah goal!

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About Jay Babcock

I am an independent writer and editor based in Tucson, Arizona. In 2023: I publish an email newsletter called LANDLINE = Previously: I co-founded and edited Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curated the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages, Grand Royal and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was somehow listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. From 2010 to 2021, I lived in rural wilderness in Joshua Tree, Ca.

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