2017 was unbelieveable. Don’t believe me? Check it out. Here are some of my thoughts on the year of Ilovecarnivall.
Carnivals: Haiti, Jamaica, Switzerland, Rotterdam, Japan, Notting Hill. The carnivals participated in this year were diverse, in culture, language and the focus.There were some, such as the carnivals of Haiti and Japan which were just amazing in the difference and approach. And yet some parts were the same. I love Haiti. Full Stop. Switzerland was new and nice. Can’t wait to see how this develops, although I have some idea. Yea man, Jamaica was an enjoyable carnival, with my crew? It was fun. All power to Bacchanal Jamaica. I love Japan. Full stop. What Selector Hemo has done is unquantifiable. Had such a fantastic time with my Soca in Japan family. Rotterdam and Notting Hill were enjoyable as always.
Carnival Band Launches. I love attending band launches. From the intimate ones with private viewing, to the full shabang. And the online launches.There’s something about the anticipation of seeing the costumes for the first time for carnival that gets me every time.
Creole artists: Kassav, T-vice, 5 Lan, Micheal Rotin, Esy Kennenga, S.Rise. There was no way I could leave out the artists of the creole islands this year. They are part of the Caribbean, my dual heritage. The culture, the attitude to music added to my love of what it means to be West Indian. I got to have a conversation with one of the artists I grew up listening and singing along to, Jocelyn of Kassav. I can’t explain what that meant to me. And some of the most memorable lines I’ve heard this year came from the Creole artists; ‘London is the melody I want to listen to right now’ from Jean-Michel Rotin.
Grenada, St.Lucia, US Virgin Islands: Tall Pree, Skinny Banton, Surbance, Pumpa. I have a soft spot for Grenada and interviewing Tall Pree and Skinny Banton was niccceee. Can’t forget the Jab! And Pumpa evoked such support. Surbance made me proud to be Lucian. Dennery Segment to the world!
Trinidad: MxPrime, Fay Ann. Mx Prime was very laid back and guru like. I like Fay-Ann. Don’t understand the hate towards her. But I like her. Talking to her, she came across as intelligent, sweet with a good sense of self and purpose. I got to meet other artists such as Machel Montano in Japan and his manager Che. They are a good team. And at the London media conference, Machel thanked me for the work I was doing. I had a big ass smile on my face after that. Just goes to show, you never truly know who is watching what you do and may even like it.
DJs/Music Consultants/Promo Teams/Dancers: Konata Alleyne, DJ Puffy, Selector Hemo, Chiakii, DJ Daiky, Trinigladiata. Konata gave me the second most memorable line of my interviews ‘I’m not romantic about venues’. That one stuck with me. Talking to DJ Puffy was fun. You could feel his energy and the passion for what he does. Selector Hemo and DJ Daiky embrace the West Indian culture so beautifully and entirely whilst still retaining their sense of self and what makes them Japanese. Trinigladiata, who has nothing to prove and is doing his do quietly but powerfully. Soca Locccooo, their energy and vibe is infectious. Can’t wait to hit more of their fetes.
Festivals: Ibiza Soca Festival, Joune Kreyol. At times, I check out other things which are of caribbean influence. The Ibiza Soca festival was badass. Ibiza, the party island got introduced to a full weekend of soca. It was nice, it was real nice. Mr Killa’s intro to his performance in Ibiza is still making its rounds online. Saw it yesterday. Joune Kreyol, a celebration of creole culture. Loved seeing this part of my cultural heritage.
Community based articles The Just Vibez team had several community events and I checked out their football tournament in Brixton, (London, UK) which I enjoyed. Still haven’t met the entire team but I like the vibe. And ostensibly, this is one of the teams who introduces and pushes soca most to new audiences. And I reaaalllllyyyy have to buy one of their bandanas!!! Those are serious! I want one!
Notting Hill Carnival is under threat. This is not news. It always seems that every year and from inception the powers that be do not want Notting Hill Carnival to occur. I know intimately the voices for Notting Hill Carnival. But those against, although I had a vague idea, I wanted to hear ‘from the horse’s mouth as they say’. And in my article ‘Not my Carnival’ were some of the responses I recorded. It was not easy. Those conversations were not easy. And it reminded me that although times may have changed over the 50 or so years since carnival began, some opinions have not.
This thing called carnival? I need you to understand what I’m saying here. This thing called carnival has led me to places I probably would not have really considered going to, have experiences and conversations with people I would never have imagined. I have met people at the beginning of their careers, at the pinnacle of their careers, at crossroads. I have met people with views so alien to me I shuddered and retreated inside myself whilst talking to them. And others who I thought ‘Yes, you are the bonifide article and a true inspiration’ and I want to know more about them. I’ve met those who are seeking the fame and glory and will shout to the world about their exploits and others who are doing their do under the radar and perhaps have more long lasting and wider range of influence and impact. I’ve learnt. Yeaaaahhhh. I’ve learnt. But there is soooo much more to learn and experience! I love carnival. And I can’t wait for 2018!