The Glue That Holds The Caribbean Together
Paint, powder, feathers, water, foam, mud, bling, gyrating waistlines and total bliss! Moko jumbies were out, Grenadian jab was in full swing, the Bermudian Gombeys paraded the streets; and the revelers, they were ready for the “Greatest Show on Earth!” Carnival was a time of freedom, celebration, love and healing! You got to release your inhibitions and party with no pretension. It was a cathartic expression of joy and jubilation, where strangers became friends and we were considered “One Family.” “Feel the Love,” a collaboration of Dj Private Ryan and Freetown Collective, comes to mind when I think of this expression of love and freedom; a feeling that is now a distant memory, as we recollect the jubilation exuded during these festive times.
It has been exactly one year since we have been able to parade the streets and “wine behind de big truck”. Trinidad 2020 was the last official carnival held since the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to its knees. As a result, promoters and mas bands have pivoted and innovatively introduced the concept of virtual carnivals. While this was ideal, especially for revelers worldwide, to have that sense of connection, nothing beats exiting the plane in great anticipation for the best fetes, with picturesque settings and the most euphoric celebrations of life! The feeling of chipping down the street, to the best Soca music, with your feet pounding the pavement, cannot be beat! Who would have thought one full year would pass us by, with no carnival celebration and no indication of its reinstatement? Carnival is a culmination of culture through music, dance, food and art. Some of the most creative designers produce costumes embellished with feathers and bling, which adds to the vibrancy and electric vibes through the streets. Not only are your ears ignited, and waistline moving, but your tongue is engaged with the eclectic array of fine beverages and cuisine. The addition of rum and delectable food on the road, and in fetes, to restore your energy as you chip and wine for hours, adds to the overall experience. Corn soup, doubles, cookup, accra and boullion, to name a few, are all highly anticipated, and the presentation and delivery, priceless!
The secret sauce to carnival is the music! Soca and Calypso are the key ingredients to the carnival experience. The melodies and the messages put the crowd in an elated trance, which results in a sea of beautiful chaos and comradery. Examples of this was witnessed when Kes bellowed “Savannah Grass,” and also when Machel and Bunji performed, “Buss Head,” an amazing collaboration of two masterminds.
The pandemic has disproportionately impacted black and brown communities, and during the midst of uncertainty, racism reared its ugly head. A number of our people have been directly impacted by both pandemics and now, more than ever, we need to come together. Carnival is the vaccine for both pandemics and should be mandated, immediately!
We look forward to seeing which carnival reintroduces us to our culture… will it be Miami, St. Kitts, Barbados, Trinidad or will it be Ubersoca Cruise? Only time will tell! We anticipate shopping for Socabrainwash, Bacchanalia, Sunnyside Up, Shipwrecked, Raft Up, Inception and all of our other favorite fetes; then ending our carnival season with a beach lyme with friends!
Carnival, you are the amalgamation of different cultures coming together to celebrate life in the most festive way… The tabanca is real; we miss you!