David Rudder – Guilty as charged?

David Rudder – Guilty as charged?

Calypso/soca artist David Rudder will perform at the TD Irie Music Festival Sunday evening.
By Dave Douglas

In the late 70s, R&B singer Isaac Hayes, otherwise known as “Black Moses”, stood accused of a crime of emotion – he fell in love with a “sweet soulful thing”. He had hoped it was not a crime because as he stated, “I hope I never have to testify, ‘cause if I do, everyone is going to cry – Guilty!”

​Moving ahead to 2014, Trinidadian calypso/soca artist David Rudder now stands accused of different crimes, such as brainwashing the people, bringing them out in the streets and getting them to dance to his crazy beats. But word is that he is planning to take full responsibility for his actions. Regardless, the court of David Rudderpublic opinion must decide guilty! Or not guilty!

In an interview with the Caribbean Camera, Rudder explains, that the inspiration for the song Guilty, came as a reaction to that situation when soca artist Machel Montano was charged in the incident arising from a brawl outside the Zen nightclub in Trinidad back in April 2007.

Rudder lamented, “When he was eventually found guilty, I said to myself, artists work hard and the way I see it, a lot of us feel guilty of trying to make music for people to feel good about themselves. I just try to turn the whole negative around.

“A steelband beating a tune till fore-day morning, I am guilty of that! The preacher man who’s wining without warning, I plead guilty of that too! It’s just turning the whole thing around in that way. It brings a laugh to Calypso.”

Pelham Goddard, who composed songs like Jungle Fever, Calabash and Hammer with Rudder, described the singer as having foresight when it comes to world affairs. “The song 1990 was written before the attempted coup. It was like he foresaw what was going to happen,” said Goddard.

Rudder is known for his lyrical licks and his songs provoke critical thinking and sometimes controversy. When asked about his thoughts on the rising tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, Rudder expressed why he felt sorry that his album had not been released yet.

​”I wrote a song when Trayvon Martin was killed about being raised in America called Long Walk Home and I regret that the song is not out yet because that song is about this time and it fits perfectly with what’s going on in Ferguson. I plan to release it in the next few days as a single on YouTube and social media.”

Rudder’s music embodies elements of soul, calypso, blues and R&B and his latest album, Catharsis, which includes the hit single Guilty, is a song that brings together a rich variety of musical influences of South African rhythms, mixed with R&B and soca. The lyrics are amazingly whimsical; typical Rudder style.

“Almost overnight he became a national hero on the order of Marley in Jamaica, Fela in Nigeria and Springsteen in New Jersey,” wrote Daisann McClane, American journalist and World Beat correspondent for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Find out the verdict from the court of public opinion on Sunday at 7 p.m. when TD Irie Music Festival will present on stage at Celebration Square, Mississauga: The living legend, Caribbean Cultural icon, David Rudder also known as King David, accompanied by Musical Director Jeremy Ledbetter and his band.

David Rudder stands accused of “everything in the book.”And for this event, he says: “I am going to give them some of the old favorites and some of the new ones, from my soon-to-be-released album. And the audience have my permission to mash up de place.” Figuratively speaking, of course!