Father figures present us with some of the most valuable lessons and memories that stay with us throughout our lives. Maybe he taught you how to ride your first bicycle with training wheels, or maybe he was the one to give you the first push when you finally outgrew those training wheels. I’m sure you fell a few times, like I did. But all the while, he stood on the sidelines cheering you on like the proud papa he is! What we probably didn’t realize all this time is how his guidance helped to shape us not only into the people we are, but it even influenced our own personal preferences and tastes. From our least liked foods to our favorite music, your Dad or father-figure was one of the very first persons who influenced who you are!
Dad was my first DJ…
My Dad was by no means a disc jockey, but he had his collection. An avid reggae fan, Sunday evening drives were always filled with Bob Marley and the Wailers, UB40, Bunny Wailer, Dennis Brown, Culture and the likes on cassette. Rewinding, switching sides, and changing tapes sometimes became my job while he drove. Occasionally, the tape would get stuck during the rewinding process and I would have to find an ingenious way to pry it out, without destroying the tape itself; after all, its probably the beloved Kaya album, being played for the 49th time. (Maybe this was the beginning of my interest in Music Technology?!) Still, I listened and eventually knew all the words, the order of the songs, and which was on side A, which was on side B, the background harmonies and the iconic riffs.
My dad’s inherent love for reggae music grew on me, becoming my own, extending out with more updated artistes on my playlist as would suit the age gap between us. However, songs like Satisfy My Soul, Is This Love, Running Away & Stir It Up remained some of my all time favorites, no doubt inherited directly from his own. But he learnt a few from his kids too. In fact, he was a fan of anything with a positive message, so it came as no surprise to find him “singing along” to Vybz Kartel - School when it played on the radio. He loved music, and he would sing along unashamedly whether driving, painting, cleaning, or cooking, sometimes pausing to enquire about our musical knowledge of these “classics”, ready to school us should it have fallen short. If he wasn’t singing, he would be doing his own unique style of whistling along to the melody.
It's interesting to think of how the soundtracks of our lives are influenced by our father figures, simple moments shared in between the everyday routines. Memories of “classics” and the “good old days” when music was “real music”, laughter created from your dad busting a move and showing you how he did his thing back in his day. We never really consider it, but eventually we find ourselves grooving to those same classics at some point, literally dancing in our father’s footsteps.
This article is a tribute to my late father, Jeffrey Chandler, who passed five years ago on Father’s Day.
It’s a “Dad” Thing!