Errol Fabien

NO APOLOGIES: Comedian Errol Fabien in a screen shot from his latest offering,

No Row Lee.

“LET the jackass bray.”

That’s the point-blank response from comedian Errol Fabien to anyone offended by his 2022 parang soca release “No Row Lee”.

Fabien sings about a “truculent, arrogant and argumentative” Chinese man who makes it “hard to live, in we small village” in the self-penned Yuletide ditty. He sings:

“Every single day someway some how

Dis fella Lee does find heself in row

So dis Christmas we doh want no row Lee

No row Lee.”

The song has had an immediately polarising effect, with nationals seemingly split down the middle in praising and discrediting the tune on social media. There are several ongoing heated debates under the song’s music video posted on Fabien’s Facebook account.

Carla Tardieu wrote: “I love it! Kaiso, Kaiso!”

Michele Celestine, meanwhile, wrote: “Really, Errol Fabien? This is double entendre at its worst form. I absolutely condemn this tongue-in-cheek attempt to put down the democratically elected political leader of T&T. I am very disappointed in you, Errol Fabien, this track just fuels the ongoing disrespect and lawlessness we see being directed at the holders of public office.”

Fabien responded to Celestine directly in a post that has been liked hundreds of times, saying: “Come on, Michele. I expect better of you. How can you drag the honourable Prime Minister into this? This Mr Lee to whom I refer cannot step into our Prime Minister’s shoes.”

Yesterday, the comedian/calypsonian admitted to being delighted with the widespread strong emotional reaction to his creative work.

“There is quite a bit of satisfaction,” Fabien said, when asked about the equal amounts of love and hate he has gotten online.

“As a comedian if our work doesn’t offend then we doing something wrong. When we show yuh back yuhself in a light-hearted manner and it doesn’t offend then we doing something wrong. We being too nice,” he said, with an audible smile during a phone interview, between World Cup games, yesterday with the Express.

Fabien said the funniest part is he doesn’t believe his lyrical composition is anything special and didn’t expect the song to fall under this much scrutiny. It is currently the most discussed piece of music on the islands.

“The song at best is a silly song. If yuh really look at the lyrics is not no work of genius or immense creativity or cleverness really. It’s a silly lil song. All they have to do is let the jackass bray,” he laughed.

“Some people actually think the song is about (Pointe a Pierre MP) David Lee, but most people feel is the honourable Dr Rowley I singing about. I knew wiring it he (Rowley) would be the target I not going to be disingenuous about that, but I didn’t know it would offend the PNM (People National Movement) people because this song doesn’t really describe how Dr Rowley is portrayed to the public. Unless they think Rowley needs to be painted in a perfect light or something for the upcoming internal elections,” Fabien mused.

A calypsonian’s duty

It is a calypsonian’s duty to be the mouthpiece of the populace, Fabien said. Keeping this in the mind the former Best New Artiste Sunshine Award winner says he embraces all feedback on his work. Fabien most notably placed third in the National Humour Monarch competition in the 90s with his hilarious “Ato Tea Party”.

“These things (personal attacks) doh bother me because once you’re a public figure yuh open up for attack. But the truth is if yuh offended by this song yuh should be offended by all the Christmas parang humour. ‘Cork In She Hand’, ‘Put Something In She Mouth’, ‘Pone Annie’ by the late Kenny J, Del Torro, Rome and others.”

Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Randall Mitchell, however, questioned Fabien’s calypso credentials saying his latest musical release was nothing but “opposition advocacy in song form”.

“Errol Fabien is a political aspirant and has been for quite some time in opposition of the PNM Government. I wouldn’t classify him as a calypsonian, but if he has indeed produced a calypso I believe it should be viewed as just opposition advocacy in the song form. He is just doing service to whichever party he now belongs to. I don’t even know which party’s views he now represents. I can’t keep track,” Mitchell told the Express via WhatsApp.

Mitchell added as culture minister he embraces all forms of free speech, saying: “As for free speech, by all means, within the confines of the law and within our customs, norms and traditional moral decency and acceptability”.

Fabien, meanwhile, maintains he is an independent politician and political commentator. He says he has shared both “kisses and kicks” to all politicians including the PM.

“I’m encircled by a picong culture. As an independent politician and a commentator I have praised Dr Rowley at certain times. I sang on (former PMs) Basdeo Panday, Kamla (Persad-Bissessar) and (Patrick) Manning and none of these cases came under this kind of fire. And this song is the least of these disciples,” he said.

“That being said, I am open for bookings,” Fabien coyly concluded.

(box)

Errol Fabien – “No Row Lee” lyrics

Intro:

Allyuh, hear nah

Ah looking forward to a peaceful Christmas

Ah quiet Christmas

Ah doh want no row

No way no how

Ah doh wha no row

Hear nah

Verse 1:

A Chinese man name Lee

Living in we community

Lee very hognorant

He truculent and arrogant

He argumentative, ah sense of privilege

He make it hard to live, in we small village

Every single day someway some how

Dis fella Lee does find heself in row

Chorus

So dis Christmas we doh want no row Lee

No row Lee

Spare we de row Lee

Dis Christmas we doh want no row Lee

Just stay away from we

Spoken:

Yeah take a lil vacation

Yuh know what, we go pay for it

Play a lil golf, talk ah lil cricket

Lime, take a quarantine, yuh know what ah mean?

Yeh, you is a fella, you know ting, you know ting

Verse 2

Lee like ah rottweiler

He could be a lot milder

Listen to me pal

Try and stop de bacchanal

Every day and night, Lee looking for fight

With all he might, de fella always right

Some say he not too bright

He giving dem ah fright

He angry like ah cow, but Lee always in row

Chorus

Spoken:

Gih we a lil social distance nah

Ah big one eh, ah big, big distance

Like if we starting ah race

Take a distance

Verse 3:

He doh really be sick

He gets better very quick

Once he play ah little golf

With Vivian and Rolph

He never get horn, ever since he born

He real love de ladies, but doh claim babies

De friends he liming with

Most of dem dim wit

But I tell you now, the man always in row

Chorus

Spoken:

Well listen nah man

Ah hear he riding out ah town yuh know

Yeah, ah hear some people talking

And is not just for Christmas

He go be gone for along time

Wha we go do boy

De place go nice up again

Bye-bye Mr Lee

Mr Lee bye-bye

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

It’s almost one year since my dear, beautiful mum, Gail, died suddenly.

It was early December, two days after my 50th birthday, and less than ten hours after my sister called me in England to say Mum had tested positive for Covid-19. That telephone call still haunts me and is etched into my soul’s tapestry, but it is in my bones that I first felt something was off in the universe in the days leading up to my mother’s passing.

The festive Christmas season is upon us, coupled with the excitement of the World Cup tournament! It’s only fitting that we look into another common digestive issue that can often put a damper on our ability to enjoy life.

If this topic captured your attention, then you must be all too familiar with the fiery discomfort in your stomach that rises to your chest after you’ve had a meal. You’ve tasted that sourness or bitterness at the back of your mouth, or have had that burning wave that hits your throat and turns your voice hoarse.

A quick lyrical perspective change and a couple recording sessions later and the Tobago-born singer added another Christmas classic to her seasonal collection.

“I am very excited about Christmas this year,” she continued.

“The season started early for me, I guess this is due in part to persons wanting to quickly recapture that joyful spirit and that loss of business. I have not fully let my guard down regarding protecting myself, but I am certainly anxious and grateful to finally perform before live audiences.”