Home is something I think about a lot. I like being in my actual house. More than is healthy. Not wanting to go out and do things you usually enjoy is often used as an indicator of depression or not-so-good episodes. Sometimes it’s like that; sometimes I just like being home.
But my real-real home is the whole country. I think I’m the only person who smiles at the immigration officers at Piarco because I’m always so relieved to be back home after I’ve been out of it. They look at me with measured suspicion.
Finding home has to be one of the most important things you have to do.
I was lucky. I was born at home. Not in my parents’ house, but the drive to the baby-delivery place could have been no more than five minutes, if that much. Three if my mother was driving.
I mean I was born in the right country. Most of my friends had to go looking for their homes. Some took decades and one move after the other to find theirs.
This year we can’t get enough of home because Mical Teja has thoughtfully reminded us there’s no place like it. And he’s right.
And yes, there is madness in the capital – not the way he means it necessarily – but it’s still home. And because of all the other things he says in DNA. And then there’s the pore-raising effect DNA can have if you hear it at just the right time.
Teja is a force. We’re all a little in love with him. Even though he’s been working in music for half of his young life, it feels like he fell from the sky – a fully-formed superstar – and, to paraphrase David Rudder, we just want to let him wash away all our unlovely.
(Brief aside: we’ll see the similarities soon enough if they are there to be seen. The minute someone does something good, we’re not happy until we’ve found someone older, with tenure, to compare them to. Stop.)
But getting back to home. Teja’s Runaway may not be road-march material, but 26 seconds in, I knew it was going to be my song for this year.
Lorraine coming home for Carnival. But of course. Is since 1982 Explainer leave poor Lorraine in New York in the cold.
I understand there are people young enough not to be familiar with Explainer’s song. I do not understand people who do know Lorraine but do not want it played at their funeral.
DNA, Runaway and Lorraine are all songs about home. About a need to be home. About identifying home. Home will always mean different things, in different ways, and maybe at different times.
In DNA, Teja raises a bright, energetic spirit and he calls it freedom. This is who we are, he believes. And that is here. Home.
It is by miles one of the most joyful songs I’ve heard in ages. I’ve heard more meaningful, more powerful ones, but on joy this has them beat. And joy is a very good reason to call somewhere home.
In Lorraine, man misses pan, leaves woman, comes home, all is well. Sure, he says she’s welcome to join him, but this man is beyond the point of caring if she does or if she throws herself off a cliff. He needs to be home.
Home where it’s hot, and he is in thrall to a serious Carnival jumbie.
There’s one word at the end of each verse: darlin’ or woman. And that word sounds like a call he’s pulled from the base of his spine until it turns into a plea.
There is sweetness in that longing that has seldom been matched.
In Runaway, there is another side of missing home: relief and release. Teja’s Lorraine just wants a lil break. There is levity. But his hat-tip to Explainer is on point. He alights on the right things lightly enough to achieve a bit of nostalgia for those who know it’s there to be had, but not enough to make it dull for those who don’t.
He did it with one line: “Lorraine say it cold out in New York City.” Either you know or you don’t know why that is important vis a vis the other Lorraine.
The idea of home is much bigger than I could fit in three songs and an intro. Or anything I want to say about Mical Teja. But it’s a start.
And that’s another thing home does well. In ways both good and unimaginably terrible, home is a place of starts.
Have a care.
Headspace may not always focus on a disorder or condition, but your mental health is always on our minds. In this short Carnival season, if you’re feeling alienated from your peers or environment, if you’re feeling out of your element, please ask for help.