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Monday, March 29, 2010

Beach J'ouvert 2010

Beach Jóuvert is a must-go during the Jamaica Carnival season. I absolutely love this fete even though it can cost you a pretty penny. First of all, it is not Jóuvert in the way that Trinbagonians would conceptualize Jóuvert. It takes place between 2pm and 10 pm so it does not go into the early morning and does not serve as an "opening"to carnival...It's just a fete on the beach with paint. James Bond beach is a good venue even though it's about 2 and a half hrs outside of Kingston (you know for Trinbagonians, that real far) and there's always a really energetic performance from a band from Trinidad. Last year I had a ball with Machel's performance which went on for over an hour so I'm looking forward to Faye ann and Bunji this year....you all know how much I love baby blue!

Now I know how much the JA peeps love Ding Dong and this Holiday sh$t...I'm sorry but if I ever have to hear that song again.....it's another one to lock away in the songs-never-to-be-heard- again vault. I really am not looking forward to Ding Dong at Beach Jóuvert; it just doesn't seem appropriate similar to Busy Signal at the Destra show on Friday and no, I am not hating on dancehall (just Ding Dong).

Kudos to Bacchanal Jamaica for keeping the price of the fete the same as last year at JA$3800 (drinks inclusive), but there may be some other costs invloved. You may need to stay overnight at a hotel because as I stated earlier that's a long a$$ drive (that is, if you are a Trinbagonian), and there are also other events on that weekend so you may want to make the most of it.

Some other considerations you may want to make note of:
  • Although it is a J'ouvert you may want to ditch your painted clothes from the last 3 J'ouverts. The paint session does not begin until 4pm so you may want to look cute until then. Choose an outfit that you have worn a lot of times and you don't mind throwing away. I would suggest shorts and a vest with a bikini top; a swimsuit with a cover up dress/pants or if you are real sexy, you can just wear the swimsuit.
  • I know some of my ladies are concerned about their hair so choose a hat/cap that goes with your outfit or just keep your plastic steam cap on hand; this paint is very difficult to wash out of your hair especially if the hair is not yours so keep your hairstyle cheap.
  • Leave all valuables at home; some cheap costume jewelery to accesorize your outfit can work.
  • Again, use an old handbag or clutch to carry your keys, some cash and a generic cell phone (leave the blackberrys at home).
  • A ziplock bag for your camera is necessary because there will be paint everywhere; or a disposable camera can work.
  • You should have a change of clothes in the car as well as a towel.
  • Please line your car seats and head rests with plastic or towels because the paint does not come off easily. Even the seatbelts will be tainted.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where was Destra?

I have been a Destra fan for a very long time. I remember when I first saw her perform Tremble it at a Spektakula show I attended with my family. Days later my brother could not stop talking about how good she looked in the nude body suit she wore and that he was in love. Since that night, I've looked forward to seeing her perform at my favourite fetes. Even when there were reports of her "diva" attitude throughout the years, I still remained loyal to my Dee. I felt that her songs offered more than the typical jump and wave but they were more about the emotions and passion that we all attach to carnival. I was proud when I came to Jamaica and saw how much they worshipped her.

Last year, I saw her perform twice and was very disappointed to see that there was a lot of lip syncing involved in her set. There was a clear change in her style to incorporate more of the "Beyonce type" dancing and singing which I did not appreciate since I believed she did not need those antics. What happened to days where artistes just focused on delivering their songs? I know that you are doing a show but never forget the primary focus should be your songs.

I know that it's difficult for women in the soca industry especially those who are wives and mothers. Male artistes just like other men in society are not subjected to the double burden of a career and a family. Destra made a huge sacrifice to her income when she took time off to have her daughter. So I understand the need for her to get back into the game as soon as possible.

Last night everyone was excited to see the return of their carnival diva. After a performance by Busy Signal (big steups), Destra came on the stage in one of her usual leotard type outfits which looked pretty good. She also had on some serious heels which I initially felt contributed to her energy lacking performance to the first couple of songs. She then went backstage to change into her Dereon boots (I guess that Beyonce is really one of her role models) and I expected a change in the pace of the performance...there was no change. It's the same performance I've been seeing for the last 3 years minus the energy...dutty wining and all...can you say yawn? If I ever have to see the bit that she does to I dare you ever again..... She calls a groups of guys and girls on the stage and asks them to demonstrate their best wine and then they wine one each other and the crowd decides which pair was the best yada yada yada....Moving on....since Denise Belfon and Alison Hinds weren't there, she wanted some volunteers to help her sing Obsessive winers...guess what? no volunteers after much begging and pleading. And I also need to mention the mini destras whose dancing I guess was supposed to give the set some kind of excitement. After about 3-4 costume changes...it became a distraction...bigger yawn.

But all was not bad because Destra did get support from her loyal fans especially when she gave them their favourites:Tremble it , Rag in de Air, Max it up, It's Carnival and Bacchanal. These last 2 songs were really the highlights of the performance and I did sweat a little at that point. She also performed for over an hour so the patrons got their money's worth.

I am not going to agree with persons who say, "It wasn't that bad, remember she just had a baby". She is in a profession where people are paying money to see her perform (and sing) so you need to ensure that what you put out is top notch. I am not trying to be unsympathetic but if you are not ready for the stage, take some more time off and perfect your craft. If you cannot give the audience the same fast paced performance then change your entire style; give us something new...reinvent yourself. Please don't use pregnancy as an excuse...it's not an illness...it's just a new phase of life..I'm not sure how empowering that statement is :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mess Camp Last Night

I have lost a lot of interest in mas camp on Friday nights for a couple of years now hence the reason why I decided to go only on band nights. However, I really wanted to see Shal last night and made my way there with a sponsor ticket so I could not go in the VIP section. I realized why I usually go the VIP section..these people are too wild in the regular section. I did not even get the chance to enjoy the performance because I was pushed, shoved, and three drinks were emptied on me...call me stoosh or whatever but not me again!

Now on to Shal...in the midst of dodging drinks and the mob attack, these were my observations:
  1. Why did we hear more of the backing tracks rather than Shal's voice? Probably the microphone didn't work well at the time
  2. Why did Shal sing Palance more than his own songs?
  3. Is Shal part Jamaican? Because his accent and language was very Jamaican? I guess this may happen when you have been in a country for 24hrs.
  4. After calling 5 girls on the stage, why couldn't any of them demonstrate a "wine and bend over"? It was very disappointing that not ONE of these girls could wine.
  5. Where was Screws?

After Shal's performance, I decided to stay and enjoy the rest of the night. By this time, I had a lot to drink but not even alcohol could help me to enjoy this mess of a party. I am putting this out there again for the mas camp DJs, if you need a soca 2010 CD, let me know, I will drop one off for you...no charge! These DJs played so much CRAP last night that they should be sent for some kind of training on the basics of playing soca music in a party. There was no focus on the different periods of the songs with a lot of randomness, and there was too much repetition of the songs. There's no shortage of soca songs so you do not need to repeat the songs so often and don't get me started on the 3 new songs that I heard.

My next problem was the same DJ constantly asking patrons to throw their drinks in the air...ice and all. And I also blame the damn STUPID patrons who followed the DJ's request because the drinks were not free. Why would throw away the drink you paid good money for?

So how did this end? I left mas camp disappointed,wet and sticky from all those drinks that fell on me and sober.....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shal at Mas Camp Tonight

In an attempt to attract more patrons to their non-band nights, Bacchanal Jamaica will be hosting Shal Marshall tonight at Mas Camp. I am hoping that Shal will not have to try too hard to gain the audience's attention. It is difficult to be the sole performer for the night especially with backing tracks. Shal has about four popular songs that I believe he will perform tonight: Love Somebody, Gyal Farm, Bum Bum Ville and Police (note that all of these are collaborations). I know that Shal is one of those DJs who wants to prove that he can successfully get into the soca game, a trend started by Chinese Laundry. Along with Slaughter and Jason Williams, these DJs are giving the veteran soca artises serious competition. Even at the Soca Monarch, JW and Blaze was able to capture the title over Faye Ann Lyons, and Shal and Screws had one of the best stage presentations which gave them fourth place.

The DJs also have the advantage of knowing what type of songs are appealing to their already familar audience. They also control the medium that get those songs to their audiences so they can't complain that the radio stations aren't playing their songs which are the constant cries of new soca artistes.

Btw, where's Screws???? Shal could have brought him too!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bazodee 2010

One of my favorite Jamaican Carnival fetes is Bazodee. This all inlcusive event will be held on Saturday April 10, 2010 in Cherry Gardens...so you know it's a big shot fete with big shot money. There's no advertised outlet to purchase tickets but a reservation system through email. You will later collect the tickets in a sealed envelope after they've contact you...yes people this is an "exclusive" event!

The fete is also big with the trinis because you are guaranteed to get a taste of all your favourite trini dishes: doubles, roti, aloo pie, pholourie and bake and saltfish...I tell you I would have made my poor mother ashamed with my likrishness last year and after all that I still had the haagen daz ice cream (a lot of people already know how I feel about this marvelous delicacy) and chased it with green apple vodka and apple juice....Ah was nice with serious heartburn.

So peeps reserve your tickets as soon as possible and if you like me,walk with your zantac or andrews....

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Palancing on de Road 2010

I think that UWI Mona's Campus Carnival 2010 was one of the best I've experienced so far. The Trinbagonians on campus ensured that they would leave their mark on the ring road this year. They palanced and wined until the music was turned off.

Today, many students are not aware that this was one of the first carnival events in Jamaica and was pioneered by the Eastern Caribbean and Trinbagonian students. The Carnival then became the responsibility if the Student's Guild and was led by the various residential halls. Three years ago, I was fortunate to be a part of the Trinidad and Tobago Students Association who wanted to bring the island feel back to the event; of course this was met with resistance since campus carnival is a "hall thing". We still pursued and we have now made our third presence on the ring road. The TTSA band has been a tshirt band since its inception simply because it's cheaper and easier to coordinate, and we do those tshirts so well!
So big up all the Trinbagonians, Jamaicans, Bajans, Bahamians, Belizeans, Vincys, Caymanians and everyone else who made Saturday a great success for the Palancing on de Road Tshirt band. And we know that half the band was drunk cause the drinks were flowing...too many people were drinking "anything"! For one day, we didn't care about the Air Jamaica deal, flying fish, who preventing patties from coming in; who selling too much Trini products in their grocery etc...it was just pure Palance....so look out for us next year for sure!

Friday, March 12, 2010

This Weekend in Kingston....

The Carnival vibes are picking up here in Kingston from today so I hope you're ready. It all begins with Bajan Soca Queen Alison Hind's performance at mas camp tonight. If it's one person that JA Carnival peeps love is Ms. Hinds so expect an excited and energetic crowd. You also know that she's going to perform one of the unofficial road march songs here, Roll it Gyal. Now the first time I heard this song, many years ago, I loved it because it adequately represented Caribbean women"s response to the liberation that soca music provides. Just look at the faces of women when this song is played. They are empowered, they want to wine and they want to dictate who they want to wine with: by themselves, with a man, with men or with women. Despite all these powers of the song, I've heard it too many times in this country. To me it's another song to lock away in the soca vault....but I still love you Alison!

Later on that night, students at the Mona campus will be chipping in Jóuvert at the Student"s union. There will be paint, drinks and soca music. The Head Bad Crew led by trinis have organized their Jóuvert band with Tshirt and drinks. This will lead into the annual Campus Carnival that goes around the ring road. The tradition of the Ring Road Carnival was pioneered by the Eastern Caribbean and Trinbagonian students in the 1980s. It emerged from a need to expose the campus to their Carnival culture as well as to satisfy the Carnival tabanca that many of them felt since they were not in their homeland for Carnival. The Trinidad and Tobago Students Assocation at the Mona campus is attempting to bring back this feel to the campus carnival with their Palancing on de Road tshirt band. Along with the Trinbagonian and Bajans from the Utech campus, TTSA is seeking to bring all islands together to jump, wave, wine, grind, get on bad, wuk up, push back, roll it and of course Palance. So look for us on the ring road tomorrow enjoying ourselves and leaving all thoughts about school, deadlines, assignments, exams etc. behind....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Carnival Boots

In the last few years, it's clear that boots are the dominant foot wear for Trinidad Carnival. Even this year I saw very few masqueraders in sneakers. Yes people, boots are in and sneakers are slowly fading out. However, I am not condemning any one who chooses to wear their sneakers because they have placed comfort over fashion. I've worn boots for the last two years and they really add that extra sexiness to your costume; boots in general are always sexy! I even took pics of some of my favourite boots this year in Spice.

I saw very few people in boots last year for Bacchanal Jamaica Carnival but I suspect that the trend will catch on this year. If you do choose boots, ensure that it's flat although some carnival divas take the chance with wedge or heel boots...(big respect to those ladies!). Your selection should have a round front which ensures adequate wiggle room. Most of all, they must be comfortable. You can always insert a Dr. Scholls insole for that extra cushioning. If you are using an insole, then you should purchase the boots a half size or a size larger.
Most importantly don't be afraid to glamourize your boots: add some more feathers, gems, glitter, braid or even spray them different colours....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kees, the Remedy!

Kees I would like to thank you and your band for a great performance on Friday night. I arrived at mas camp at 11:45pm and made my way to the VIP section which is really just a closer section to the stage and does not offer a VIP experience. For JA$2500, I would have liked a greater selection of drinks and something to eat. At this time, DJ Dawg-e-Slaughter was on the stage hyping up the crowd and giving a brief tutorial in Palancing…I must say that Palance is catching on in Jamaica…slowly but surely. At 11:56pm the band made their way to stage with Heaven and Right Dey, followed by some of Machel Montano’s songs, Palance, Police, Party Hard and One Island. He performanced some of his own songs Till Morning, Thunder and my favorite Naina which really had the crowd moving. The crowd also got a taste of some ole time calypsoes which were appreciated. I agreed with their selections of songs but I would have liked to hear more of Kees’ songs (this could just be my bias).

Now is either Kees real brave or he really wants to connect with his audience beccause my boy jump off the stage and ventured into the VIP and the General sections. Honestly, I thought he would have been accosted or even kidnapped by some red man-rasta man-winer boy-loving chick in the crowd but he emerged safely though somewhat shaken and returned to the stage. It took Kees exactly 26 minutes to remove his shirt. This could be due to me calling him out on it. Yes Kees, if you ever read this, it was ME with the trini flag up front who asked you to remove the shirt. People this is a fact and not my imagination, but he looked directly me and said…yes baby, ah coming to that just now…I think that incident more than qualifies me for the shirt-take-off-person position in the band!
A Jamaican crowd is a tough soca crowd if you are not Destra, Machel, Alison Hinds and sad to say, Iwer George. Kees is not new to Jamaica because of his days with Imij and he performed here in 2008, yet he had to cover other people’s songs in his set, particularly the songs that are gaining popularity here which is fair, but if the DJs vary and update their play lists, artistes like Kees can include more of their own songs in his performances in Jamaica. It’s fair to say then that the crowd enjoyed Kes the Band which is evident by the 2 encores or it could be that people couldn’t believe that paid either JA$1200 or JA$2500 for only 45 minutes of performance time. I hope Bacchanal Jamaica is taking note of this for future band nights.

Big up to the big Trini flag crew in General and the small flag crew in VIP, allyuh real represent!