An Interview with Lordrick Espinosa

LEFT: A member of interviews Lordrick Espinosa at the wake of Tito Lara
LEFT: A member of interviews Lordrick Espinosa at the wake of Tito Lara Reporters
February 28, 2009 What is your relationship to Tito?

Lordrick Espinosa: We were like brothers. I met him in 1942 at Caura. They were teenagers and I was also a teenager...that is how I started with them. What kind of person was Tito?

Lordrick Espinosa: He was making Parang from small. He was a Parrandero from small. How was the Parang back in those days?

Lordrick Espinosa: It wasn't as it is commercial business. They used to do house Parang. They used to practice in the field while they were working and so on. What is your most favourite memory of Tito Lara?

Lordrick Espinosa: It's a lot of memories because we lived as brothers. It was I who organized the Lara Brothers group. They were the first group to be paid for Parang in Trinidad on the air and they were the first group to be paid for [Parang] jobs in Trinidad. I did all of that for them. We were like brothers...I was always here. I spent eighteen years in Santa Cruz here with them and I left them here in 1984. What made him love the Parang so much?

Lordrick Espinosa: Well Parang you see, is a praise to Jesus, the life of Jesus the Christ. All the so-called Spanish, they were not Spanish. [They were] Coco Panol. It's a coco estate business so they were in the country. Parang was a country business. How exactly was the Parang back in those days? Describe it for me.

Lordrick Espinosa: If you want a full thing about the Parang business, here it is. I will give you this ("My Meeting and Movement in Parang" - hand written by Lordrick Espinosa on 25/03/07). Excellent.

Lordrick Espinosa: It's a good thing I brought this. It will give you a full detail of what Parang used to be and what it is today. Did you write this?

Lordrick Espinosa: Of course. I and Paul Castillo put Parang here where it is today so I know everything. What I know about Parang nobody knows. Parang is not Spanish. People believe it is Spanish because it came from Spain. What is it?

Lordrick Espinosa: It is African. Only the language is Spanish. All the music they are playing is African music. Strange eh? What I know about Parang nobody knows about it because I made a research. I am the only singer that was asked, from the time Parang was introduced here in 1686, I was asked in 1983 at Buena Vista Street in St. Joseph not to enter anymore competitions to give the other people a chance to win. You said the instruments are African. I would like to hear some more about that.

Lordrick Espinosa: Yuh see the two tunes they just played, yuh see the beat? (Parang music playing in the background) That's African beat. You don't have to go to school to learn that. You are born with that rhythm. You could go take a man and go there and dance right away. A White man cannot do that. It' a lot of things I know of Parang. When you read that, ("My Meeting and Movement in Parang") you would get to know who I am. I made a research. And Parang should not be stopped on January 06. No. Parang group in Trinidad could sing the whole story of Jesus if they stop at that time. You have to do the Easter and Crucifixion. Nobody can do it, only I can do it and I am not talking by guess. I will show you something...I have a book here.

The information I have, U.W.I. doesn't have it. That group from south, Los Dinamicos, the Allard sisters, I think it's three sisters and a brother; they are educated girls. The eldest one was going to U.W.I. and she wanted to write a thesis on Parang so U.W.I. sent her to me to get the information. When I told her Parang is not Spanish she made noise about that. I said, "If U.W.I. sent you here, don't leave with false information." I went inside and I pulled out a book called "The Golden Years of the Moors in Spain." I asked her if she does do [unrecognizable Spanish term] and she said, "Yes, Spanish." I said, "No." I opened the book and start to read. She said, "Oh my God!" She got an 'A.' Because it came from Spain they say is Spanish but only the language is Spanish. All the music; Samba, Rumba and Meringue are all African music, that is what we don't know. We get that colonial education and we hug it up, we never grow out of that. They tell you we are independent, but we are not independent because that monogram they have under the palm tree, that part there represents the queen. So how come we don't know? We got financial independence. People don't research, they don't read so they wouldn't know. What led you to this position? How did you come about this information?

Lordrick Espinosa: I was always an inquisitive fellow from small. I didn't go to school. I am a Tarzan. Yuh find that strange eh? I grew up in Nariva jungle. From seven years, I was with my father. Nine years old I was setting gun and making traps for animals that could hold man and all. I was fishing and hunting. When I was sixteen, I told him, "That not for me!" and I pulled out. I came to Henry Street in Port of Spain by a Spanish fellow and I stayed there and started to educate myself. I have a whole library at home. Books you cannot get in Trinidad to buy, I have it. I have studied thirteen religions of this world, that's why they couldn't beat me in Parang. Don't come and tell me Jesus die and shed blood for me yuh know! Jesus never died on a cross and he never shed no blood for me and I have books to prove it. I have the missing books of the Bible: Dead Sea Scriptures; Jesus Dynasty and all those things I have. You cannot get that here to buy. There is no savior. You as an individual...salvation is an individual business. No religion could save you. The most dangerous thing on the face of this earth is religion and politics. I have spent my money not in drinking rum. I spend my money in looking for books. When I go in certain places in America and ask for certain books, they tell me I am looking for trouble. Was it from reading these books you came upon that information?

Lordrick Espinosa: Of course. All the information I got was from books I read. Books you wouldn't get outside there to buy. That is why I walk with information. I don't want people to feel when I say something and they say they can't get it. Have you shared this information with anyone like the Parang Association and so on?

Lordrick Espinosa: The Parang Association keep me out. They feel I want post but I don't want any post. I helped to build Parang to what it is today. All I do is to advise and talk to people. So you are saying, basically, the music has it's origin from Africa?

Lordrick Espinosa: An African genius of music called Ziryab. That was his singing name as you would say 'Sparrow' because he was the "black singing bird" of Africa. He was called to Spain in the year 711 by the caliph. He was given a whole property for himself with a salary and every time he played at the castle he got an extra set of money. But the man loved music. They gave him permission to open schools all over Spain and he would pay the expense. That man taught the whole of Spain music, so that's why they say it is Spanish. Ninety percent European music is African, but they wouldn't tell you that in school. You are born with a rhythm, you don't have to learn that at school. That is why when you hear the music you could hold a girl and go and dance. A White man cannot do that. He wasn't born with that rhythm; he has to go to a dancing school. These are real things they don't tell us.

[The Bible] tells you there's no such thing as a Savior, it telling you who is the Savior. Isaiah, forty-three verse ten and eleven. Read that. Two parts in the Bible, two books tell you there is no such thing as a Savior. Jesus didn't die on the cross. The cross they are giving you to wear, you see what people are wearing, is the cross of death. The sun died on that...not S-O-N, S-U-N. The yearly journey on the four quarters: east, west, north, south. It's a lot of things people don't know. Jesus lived to be a hundred and twenty years old and he had five children. The wedding in come as a guest, they will tell you wine have to get wine for people? All these things unfolded with other books. When they were killing the people to make that Bible in 325AD...they do what they want and after they kill the sixteen bishops then they make your Bible. How did this information that you have influence the type of songs that you sang in Parang?

Lordrick Espinosa: Well when you come on the stage and you sing...I would sing it...entertainment. But what I sing, I don't believe in that. I am not a believer. A believer is a person who thinks he knows but does not know. If I ask you if you are a man or a woman, would you tell me, "I believe I am a woman?" If you tell me you 'believe', then you have doubt. To believe is to doubt; you have to know.

No man on the planet earth is greater than a woman. No man! Religion destroys the woman and builds the man. A lot of things they don't tell us. Mother earth, the water, the sea; nature is mother, you don't say father nature. The strongest force in the world is the feminine force. When you are doing spiritual work, good or evil, you use the feminine sign. Do you know the feminine sign they use for doing spiritual work? You are the sign. You have it; you carry it and you don't know. The five point star: one, two, three, four, five. No man could be better than a woman.

That man they worship, I think it was in October month or so...Saint Dominic. In the Catholic Church they had big worship for him, honoring the man. Do you know who was he was? He was a Bishop in the dark ages. He had a gang with him searching Europe and he murdered...burnt alive, over thirty thousand women. He was killed on the altar and ten years after they made him a saint. Is that a good man? And you are worshiping him up to this day? They are giving us false education. Search for truth. The hair you are wearing, you don't know the meaning; you only know it is a Rasta. The colour of your skin, everything has a meaning but they wouldn't tell you. I have a book called "Black Shoe, Whitewash." When you read that you would know all kinds of things...who you are. I tell people and them, "Doh mash my corn!"

We have no Indian in Trinidad. You are the Indian and you don't know it. They are lying to you. When they were opening that temple some years ago in Freeport by the Fly-over, I was going San Fernando and I saw the crowd, so I tell the driver, "Stop!" I asked an Indian man, "What going on here?" He said, "They open the temple today." I said, "Okay." I went where they have all the things inside the temple. An Indian man so fass, come to me and tell me, "My friend, look the Pundit and them are about to come now, we need some space, so please move from there and go over there." I said, "Wait, yuh putting me out the temple?" When you have knowledge yuh bold yuh know. He said, "No, ah not putting you out, dem Indian people want to do their business." I said, "Let me tell you, this temple is not yours yuh know. It belongs to me and you are not an Indian, I am the Indian." He said, "You are a mad man." I said, "Wait, ah will show you how mad I is." When ah start to rap for him, I wasn't his friend again. He said, "Ah right nah boy." Now I am his brother. I said, "Now that you understand, I am going to move." Everything you have there belongs to Africa and you will tell me to go in the back. When you don't know, they mess you up.

[Baptist people] have lota and tari and they don't know it's theirs. When they on the mourning ground, they does reach in India. I asked a mother who was chief secretary of a church in New York, "What is that Krishna thing doing in your African temple?" She said, "Oh, when I was in the mourning ground, I went to India and I met Krishna." I said, "Tell me something about Krishna." When she started I said, "[You] don't know what you are talking about." I had to educate her about Krishna.

I have a hand in the Baptist getting a holiday here. An Archbishop from Boston called me and told me to meet him by the United Nations a day. When I went, I saw him standing by a White man. The man eyes were blue, his skin white; he was blonde. When he introduced me to the man, I laughed. He said, "What yuh laugh at?" I said, "Because I am happy to meet you." I realized right away that man was not a White man. When you have knowledge, you have power. He was looking White but he was not White. The Moors that ruled Spain for seven hundred and seventy-four years, they mixed the race. Any name like Morgan, Wilmore, Gilmore, any name that has 'Moor' in it has Black in it so he was not a White man, and he was an Ambassador from the United Nations from Denmark. The next day we gave him the paper and he put it to the United Nations. They looked over it and they sent it to Panday. That is why I trust no politician, no priest. They are all crooks. When the papers were delivered, they looked at it and they sent it down here in 1995...check it.

[Basdeo] Panday changed it for politics. It had nothing like Spiritual Baptist on that. A Spiritual Baptist is not a Shouter Baptist, the holiday was for the Shouters. They banned the Shouters in 1917, not the Spiritual. When they were banned, the Spiritual rejoiced. When they were beating the Baptists on the road, you know they were beating them all about, they went and hide and mix-up with the Spiritual Baptist. Thank you very much.

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