Blue Curaçao World Premiere
Joseph Quisol | May 17, 2019
On May 17, 2019, Blue Curaçao was released to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia. Blue Curaçao is a synth-heavy club anthem with Spanglish lyrics and Afro-Caribbean beats inspired by my Puerto Rican roots. It recounts my experience with an emotionally abusive relationship I was in between high school and college and draws a parallel to the colonization of the Caribbean and Curaçao in particular.
The story came to me when producer Kenny Okagaki sent me the instrumental version with the title Blue Curaçao. I lived for a year in the Netherlands and was close friends with a person born in Curaçao. I was aware of the ongoing colonial relationship between the Netherlands and Curaçao, Bonaire, and Aruba, which I related to my knowledge of the United States-Puerto Rico relationship. Then I looked into the story of the Blue Curaçao liquor, which is made from Laraha, a citrus fruit brought to the island by the Spanish. Discarded and left to develop in the arid soils of the island, the fruit became bitter and otherwise useless, until finally the Dutch decided to distill the fruit into liquor and dye it an intense blue color.
To me, this tale of extraction and profiteering reminded me of my own experience with a romantic relationship that depleted me. I was in a relationship that sucked the life out of me and I stayed in it for over two years, largely due of guilt and fear. There were beautiful, passionate moments, yes, but I see now that his insecurities and inner demons manifested in him taking control of my time. Care divulged into needing to constantly know my whereabouts. Steadily, I became less involved with my friends and family as conflict between them and him escalated. I was isolated.
Of course, this was all unsustainable, and ultimately, it all came crashing down. In the aftermath, I vowed that I would never let anyone treat me that way again and that I would allow myself to blossom and live fully after being frozen and numb for so long. That’s when I really began writing music.
Dream of a land I cannot forget
Fantasy land the sun never set
lured from the pack and you chase it in
you lead from the back ash your jays on my tracks
and there’s wine on my shirt I smile through the dirt
is it okay to hurt? ‘cuz I’m stuck in this place
all you can eat is but all you can take
I fell for the taste, ya I fell for the taste
Blue Poison that I’m swimming in
squeeze me dry and throw me out again
Amsterdam take me back again
my juice is bitter in your mouth again
Retumba p’allá tu cintura
sus aguas reflejan la luna
su ritmo pa’ mi una cura
He’s ripe on the trees, he’s Skyping with me, I just wanna leave
it’s all that I know, I can’t let it go
I’m head over heels and I scraped up my knees
bent over backwards so you wouldn’t leave
twist of a wrist point a finger at me
lost in translation, I’m found in the beat, found in the beat
Thank you for being a part of this journey. I’m extremely grateful this life I've been blessed with and the opportunity to create. I’m humbled when I think of all the sacrifices my parents and grandparents and all of my ancestors have made, and all that they have overcome, so that I could be here right now. I consider it my duty to share my story and tell their stories, because for perhaps the first time in history, someone like me is able to have a voice and speak boldly, love queerly and defiantly, and create magic that’s never been seen before. If you made it to reading this, then you are the reason I’m here. For you. I love you, I thank you, and I invite you to dream up new futures and create them with me.
I'd also like to thank Esco Lacqua for his videography and creative direction in California, and Adisa Stewart for being a friend and spiritual support throughout the filming process. I also have deep gratitude for Ismael Chock and the collective Guayaqueer City who carried this creative project to completion by recording, directing, and editing in Guayaquil, Ecuador. You all are phenomenal and I’m honored to have been able to work with every one of you!
Limited Edition Apparel
PS: You likely made it to this page because you have one of these shirts. I thank you so much for interacting with me in person and getting one! If you’d like to send a shirt as a gift to a friend or loved one, click the photo of the one you want above and you can order through Bandcamp. Alternatively, you can cut out the middleman and reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can talk size, color, etc… and if I still have what you need in stock, I can mail it directly to whoever you like!