Thou shalt not kill! Or Notes on Caribbean Music as Literary Text on Being Human
One of the important things that we who share in the human condition do when we write, read, interpret, and discuss written works, is relate to death; the death of the unruliness of Life. We are referring here to that counter, that unforeseen, that chaos, that deconstructive constant, that je ne sais quoi that perpetually undoes all the certainties and structures and truths we hold dear in our attempt master and colonize our existence. Let us call this the aesthetic-real understanding of death that, at its best, is ethical in character. But, and this is crux of our argument in this essay, Caribbean literature as it is also expressed in the musical productions from the region, remind us that this general aesthetic-real of relating to death is inextricably bound up with the specific historical-real of non-Europeans, and those who Europeans deemed lesser creatures, being murdered by overwork, guns, disease or poverty as a result of western greed and anti-human humanism. Again, to repeat, in this essay, we plan to explore this and its summoning an alternative conception of being human via the literature housed in Caribbean music: those written, sung, performed, and sometimes, danceable texts.
Keywords: Aesthetic-real. Historical-real. Caribbean music. Caribbean songs. Caribbean literature. Embodied reading.Submitted: Oct. 3, 2018