It’s my last day at my job today before I start my new role next week and I stay late to tie all loose ends. I am running very late for everything and miss Chan’s meeting. Rushing from work across town from Croydon to Dalston Junction took almost two hours through traffic to get to the Bajan Revellers launch. This band I am familiar with and have attended their band launches over the years as my friend Cat Rock is part of the managing team. Although I have been to their launches, truth be told, I don’t know much detail about Bajan Revellers. This is a good opportunity to find out more from Cat.
Bajan Revellers began in 2006 so this will be their tenth year on the road. However, they felt it was more important to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Barbados independence hence their theme ‘Celebrating 50’. This all inclusive band was created because it was felt at the time of conception, there were many bands of Trinidadian influence but not many which catered to the other West Indian islands. Bajan Revellers was developed to fill that gap in the Notting Hill Carnival Market. Although the name suggests exclusivity to individuals of Bajan heritage, Cat tells me this band is for everyone as their motto is ‘culturally embracing the community‘. It will not be Bajan music all day on the road. Music from the other islands is played. Masqueraders of this band tend to be from the other islands outside of Trinidad. However, there are a few from Wales and Sweden as well. The band is not a big band. There are approximately 50 masqueraders who are aged 30 and above. However, younger masqueraders are welcomed. Bajan Revellers are on the Notting Hill Route on Carnival Monday. On Sunday, they team up with Bajan Rumshop for dirty mas with chocolate. There is a T-shirt section and this normally for students who want to participate in carnival but may not have the funds for full costume. This band is quite active as they have also hosted events at the Kensington and Chelsea Council, bringing in a different crowd and market to Notting Hill Carnival.
I enter the very elegant and stylish studio and offices of the Bajan Revellers’ Official sponsor McDonald Consultancy Ltd. I am late and miss the catwalk show. However, the team run the catwalk show a second time for all the late comers which was very magnanimous of them I thought. It’s a small intimate affair with a good catering of food and drink.
As stated earlier, the theme for this year’s costumes is ‘Celebrating 50’. The design is a collaboration between Cat and Paul O’Donoghue from UCOM mas band. Cat wanted to pay homage to Barbadian flag this year with the colours yellow and blue. The sections are called ‘Strength’ ‘Unity’ and ‘Harmony’.
The male section is entitled ‘Strength’.
The female backline is entitled ‘Unity’
The frontline is ‘Harmony’
Prices start at £195. From there you get to build your own unique look depending on your taste with collar and more elaborate head pieces.
I like the costumes for Bajan Revellers (I have always liked the blue and yellow combo) and I like the fact they are honoring their home island, similar to the Envy Designs team. It’s quite evident Barbados is important to this band. This launch was intimate, chilled and wanting to show their costumes to their audience. The models were owning those costumes! Rianna and Dani strutted and posed for all they were worth!
For a band that pays homage to its Bajan roots and the smaller West Indian islands, for a small, intimate and warm band that has been at Notting Hill for a decade, Bajan Revellers is your band.
For more information on Bajan Revellers, please visit their facebook page Bajan Revellers UK or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more images please see TrinisinLondon or Brian Quaver. For video footage and images please visit facebook page Ilovecarnivall.