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Worth Flying For JANUARY

FEBRUARY

NATIONAL STEELBAND PANORAMA SEMI FINALS

CARNIVAL MONDAY AND TUESDAY

January 24, 2016

February 8 and 9, 2016 www.ncctt.org

www.pantrinbago.co.tt

MARCH

APRIL

JAZZ ARTISTS ON THE GREENS

TOBAGO JAZZ EXPERIENCE

www.jaotg.com

www.tobagojazzexperience.com

March 12, 2016

Two Islands, Two Unique Expereinces

April 16 - 24, 2016

Islands of Trinidad and Tobago

@gotrinbago


Contents

No. 137 January/February 2016

44 EMBARK

IMMERSE

19 Datebook

44 closeup

Events around the Caribbean in January and February

T&T’s Carnival Kings and Queens cross the stage, while regional Carnival celebrations across the two islands have all the energy without Port of Spain’s crowds and chaos

Times change, and Carnival changes with it — for better or for worse? Mark Lyndersay, Laura Dowrich, and Tracy Assing talk to eight Carnival insiders about the state of the mas and the state of the music, where the festival is heading, and how it will get there

30 The look

68 backstory

26 Word of Mouth

Jamaican designer Samantha Black makes unconventional clothes for “NYC fly gals”

32 the deal Carnival is big business in Trinidad and Tobago — and not just during the “season,” as festival entrepreneurs move into year-round event coordination

34 Bookshelf and playlist This month’s reading and listening picks

40 Cookup

Pelau vs pelau It’s a tasty staple of family gettogethers, beach limes, and Carnival festivities — and there are as many recipes as there are cooks. Nazma Muller offers three versions of T&T’s beloved pelau 10

Not your parents’ carnival

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The history of paradise It’s the stuff of Carnival legend: the eruption of masman Peter Minshall’s Paradise Lost on the streets of Port of Spain, forty years ago. Now a new documentary, using long-forgotten archival footage, brings the band back to life. Ray Funk tells the story

74 own words

“This life-changing thing we call yoga” Jamaican Ashtanga yoga instructor Kira Williams on the importance of strength, flexibility, and routine — as told to Kelly Baker Josephs

77 snapshot

Believe the hype He started as a social media sensation, winning fans across the Caribbean diaspora. Now NYC-based funnyman Majah Hype is taking his

74 web-based comedy to the next stage. As Melissa Noel discovers, behind the humour is a serious commitment to Caribbean unity

ARRIVE 82 destination

An island like a new world One small island, part Dutch, part French, where everyone speaks English, spends US dollars, and dances to salsa and bachata — that’s the puzzle of St Martin, where many worlds meet and mingle. Montague Kobbé explains its unique charms

90 neighbourhood Jacmel, Haiti

It may be most famous for its Carnival celebrations, but idyllic Jacmel on Haiti’s south coast is also home to treasures of historic architecture, art, and crafts

92 round trip

First things first The Caribbean’s First Peoples shaped our landscapes, language, and culture — and across the region, our indigenous heritage remains within reach, if you know where to look

102 travellers’ tales A taste of cebu

Georgia Popplewell finds herself in the middle of a colourful street


CaribbeanBeat An MEP publication ISSN 1680–6158

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masquerade, in a tropical city with a colonial past, in an archipelago of islands. But she’s not in the Caribbean. Welcome to Cebu, the Philippines “second city”

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Editor Nicholas Laughlin General manager Halcyon Salazar Online marketing Caroline Taylor Design artists Kevon Webster & Bridget van Dongen

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108 Discover

smarter medicine The tragic death of his grandmother inspired Nivan Narain’s career in cutting-edge cancer research. Erline Andrews learns how the GuyaneseAmerican scientist is pioneering the use of artificial intellignce to create better, cheaper drugs for all

110 On this day

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This is your personal, take-home copy of Caribbean Beat, free to all passengers on Caribbean Airlines Printed by Solo Printing Inc., Miami, Florida

When London was the place Sixty years ago, in the aftermath of the Second World War, London Transport faced a labour shortage. The solution? Recruit employees in the Caribbean to run the city’s buses and trains. James Ferguson explains how these migrants survived difficult times, and changed the old imperial capital for ever

117 Onboard entertainment

Caribbean Beat is published six times a year for Caribbean Airlines by Media & Editorial Projects Ltd. It is also available on subscription. Copyright © Caribbean Airlines 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. MEP accepts no responsibility for content supplied by our advertisers. The views of the advertisers are theirs and do not represent MEP in any way. Website: www.caribbean-airlines.com

Movie and audio listings, to entertain you in the air

120 parting shot Ayangaik Mountain in Guyana’s thickly forested north-west seems to belong to a different world and time

The Caribbean Airlines logo shows a hummingbird in flight. Native to the Caribbean, the hummingbird represents flight, travel, vibrancy, and colour. It encompasses the spirit of both the region and Caribbean Airlines.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Cover Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is constantly evolving, but the joy at the heart of the festival stays the same photo Dwayne Watkins

This issue’s contributors include: tracy Assing (“Not your parents’ Carnival”, page 44) is a Trinidadian writer, editor, and filmmaker. Her awardwinning documentary The Amerindians is the first film made from the perspective of Trinidad and Tobago’s indigenous community. Trinidadian laura Dowrich (“Not your parents’ Carnival”, page 44) is the content manager for Looptt. com, a news website and app. In whatever little spare time she has, she enjoys imbibing her way through the Caribbean for her blog, GuzzleCaribbean.com. Ray funk (“The history of paradise”, page 68) is a mostly retired Alaskan trial judge who has been passionately researching Trinidad Carnival arts for two decades. He writes regularly for the Trinidad Guardian. Montague Kobbé (“An island like a new world”, page 82) was born in Caracas, currently lives in London, and has close ties to Anguilla, the setting for his novels The Night of the Rambler and On the Way Back. Mark lyndersay (“Not your parents’ Carnival”, page 44) is a Trinidadian photographer and journalist. His Trinidad Guardian column BitDepth is the longest running newspaper column reporting on technology in the country. nazma Muller (“Pelau vs pelau”, page 40) is a Trinidadborn, Jamaica-obsessed writer who has worked in newsrooms in T&T, Jamaica, and the UK. She is also the editor of Discover Trinidad and Tobago 2015. Melissa noel (“Believe the hype”, page 77) is a Guyanese-American multimedia journalist based in New York City. She covers culture, race, health, and the Caribbean diaspora in the US, and her work is featured on network news stations, digital platforms, and in magazines across the US and the Caribbean.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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John de la Bastide / Shutterstock.com

A MESSAGE From OUR CEO

Happy New year! 2016 promises to be an exciting year for Caribbean Airlines. Last December, we successfully upgraded our reservations and ticketing system to Amadeus. This marked the end of phase one of this project. The second phase, which extends to our airport check-in system, is currently underway, and should be fully complete by March this year. Amadeus is a leading technology partner for the global travel industry, providing reliable, modern, and cutting-edge solutions to over 120 airlines worldwide. Caribbean Airlines is delighted to now belong to this network, which will improve our service offerings to our valued customers. These improvements to our system will positively affect your travel experience with us. Some of the benefits include: Faster and easier web check-in Simpler ways to buy tickets, pay for upgrades, and other services Real-time information on reservations and flight changes Self-serve, user-friendly airport kiosks at Caribbean Airlines destinations

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January and February are busy months in the Caribbean region, and you can fly Caribbean Airlines to get to many of these events. For instance, the world’s largest street party, Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, takes place on 8 and 9 February. Tens of thousands of revellers will take to the streets during this festive season, culminating on Carnival Tuesday. Barbados’s annual Holetown Festival runs from 14 to 21 February. With several daily flights to and from Barbados, Caribbean Airlines will easily take you there! Plus Grenada’s Sailing Week, a popular fixture on the Caribbean calendar, is on from 28 January to 2 February, and Mashramani takes place in Guyana on 23 February. You can find even more Caribbean events in the magazine’s Datebook section. Caribbean Airlines’ schedule is designed to facilitate better connectivity. You benefit from daily direct service to and from the Caribbean to North and South America, to facilitate your business and leisure travel needs. Caribbean Airlines values your business: please visit our website, www.caribbean-airlines.com, become a fan by liking us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/caribbeanairlines, and you can also follow us on Twitter @iflycaribbean. Thank you for flying with Caribbean Airlines, and all the best to you and your families for 2016! Tyrone Tang CEO (Ag.)


DAtEBooK Your guide to Caribbean events in January and February, from a jazz festival in Haiti to Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago

don’t miss . . . Bacchanal time

AMSKAD / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Across the Caribbean, February brings annual Carnival celebrations combining music, dancing, and masquerades ranging from the ritual and traditional — like this mud-covered revelry in Kourou, French Guiana — to cutting-edge design, all in thrall to the Merry Monarch.

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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datebook

If you’re in . . . Haiti

Grenada

Barbados

Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince

Grenada Sailing Week

Holetown Festival

28 January to 2 February grenadasailingweek.com

14 to 21 February

A major selling point of a Caribbean vacation is the thought of all that sun, sea, and sand. And what better place to experience all three than at the annual Grenada Sailing Week, a popular fixture on the regional regatta calendar, devoted to keel boat racing. With six classes to choose from — Racing, Racer/Cruiser I, Racer/Cruiser II, Cruising, J24, and Classic — the organisers aim to have fifty boats participating in this year’s competition, exceeding the thirtynine entries from twelve countries last year. All races depart from the Secret Harbour Marina in Mt Hartman Bay, the Prickly Bay Marina, and the

landscape, but there’s so much more to this island state, the first nation to claim its independence from colonial masters back in 1804. The Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince is one such hidden treasure — even more so as it celebrates its tenth anniversary this January. The eight-day festival is organised by the Haiti Jazz Foundation, with a programme of more than thirty concerts by bands from fifteen countries at ten different sites around the city — with over twenty thousand audience members expected. Headliners include American Kenny Garrett, the Haitian All-Stars, Canadian Oliver Jones, Haitian Emeline Michel, and Cuban Omar Sossa. You can also join workshops hosted by local and foreign artistes, as well as a short conference at which musicians Godwin Louis and Pauline Jean will talk about Haiti’s contribution to “America’s premiere indigenous art form, jazz.” 20

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tim wright

Josué Azor

It’s so easy to form a partial picture of Haiti based on what you’ve heard in the news. The devastating earthquake of 2010, the cholera outbreak thereafter, and more recent tensions as a result of presidential elections have dominated the media

Grenada Yacht Club in St George’s — with the latter the location for the Skippers’ Briefing and Welcome Party on Thursday. Friday and Saturday will see keen racing, with a “Lay Day” on Sunday, followed by more racing on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, in true Caribbean fashion, every day will have a party, although more activities can be expected on Lay Day, and it will end in grand style with the final regatta party on Tuesday. You have until 28 January to register, whether with your own boat or under a charter arrangement. Anchors aweigh!

In February 1627, the first English settlers landed on the west coast of Barbados, at the site that would soon be known as Holetown, changing the course of history in the island. Since 1977, a festival has been held to commemorate the event, along with other aspects of Barbados’s heritage and culture.

courtesy holetown festival barbados

23 to 30 January papjazzhaiti.org

It was first conceived as a twoday festival, but became so popular that it was expanded to its current form. Over eight days, you can relive Barbados’s history through its presentation of art, food, music, craft, and fashion. But first up is a visit to the Holetown Monument, which kicks off the festivities. You can also sign up for tours, exhibitions, lectures, concerts, a police tattoo and night march, a street fair, and a vintage car parade, with the Queen of the Festival Pageant bringing the curtain down on the celebrations. If you’re looking for a comprehensive insight into Barbadian culture and or to learn its history, this week in February could be your best bet.

Event previews by Mirissa De Four


datebook

Jump into January Marcin Sylwia Ciesielski / shutterstock.com

St Kitts Carnival Venues around St Kitts stkittsneviscarnival.com What a way to ring in the new year . . . St Kitts’s traditional Christmas celebrations have morphed over the decades into a fullscale Carnival celebration, with the season building up through December until the grand finale on 1 January [1 to 2 January]

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courtesy st kitts carnival committee

Accompong Maroon Festival Accompong Town, Jamaica The “capital” of the Maroon territory of Jamaica’s Cockpit Country is the venue for this celebration of Maroon history and heritage via music, dancing, food, art, and more [6 January]

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Hay Cartagena Venues around Cartagena, Colombia www.hayfestival.com/Cartagena The gorgeous historic architecture of Colombia’s famed Caribbean city is the backdrop for this annual literary festival bringing together writers from Latin America and the rest of the world

Rebel Salute Richmond Estate, St Ann Bay, Jamaica It began as a birthday celebration for reggae icon Tony Rebel, and over the past two decades has evolved into one of Jamaica’s best music festivals, with a focus on conscious performers and a strictly ital menu

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Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Around Barbados mountgayrumroundbarbadosrace.com 2016 marks the impressive eightieth anniversary of this sailing event. The centrepiece is a sailing race around the island of Barbados, but don’t overlook five classes of race events on the south and west coasts, and a Barbados-to-Antigua ocean race as well

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datebook

Fever for February

jesus gil/demotix images

Carnival weekend Across the Caribbean It may be hard for Trinis to believe, but they aren’t the only ones celebrating Carnival on 8 and 9 February. From Haiti to Carriacou, Guadeloupe to French Guiana, hundreds of thousands take to the streets during this season of music and masquerade, climaxing on Carnival Tuesday, or Mardi Gras The Burial of the Sardine Towns and villages in Venezuela Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Christians mark the start of Lent with church services and ashes. In Venezuela, this traditional festival derived from Carnival in Spain sees revellers dressed in parody funeral garments parading the effigy of a fish through the streets [10 February]

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Mashramani Venues around Guyana Republic Day celebrations are usually Guyana’s answer to Carnival — but this year revellers will have to exercise their patience, as the main street parade is postponed until May, to coincide with celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of Independence [23 February]

Maricao Coffee Harvest Festival Maricao, Puerto Rico The end of the annual coffee harvest in Puerto Rico’s highlands is a great excuse for a party, with music, crafts — and ample opportunity for tasting the best Puerto Rican coffee, brewed in every form and incorporated into desserts and other delicacies [12 to 14 February]

AVprophoto / shutterstock.com

Cayfest Venues around Cayman From music to film, fashion to food, the Cayman Islands National Festival of the Arts is a rich showcase of the best and most creative talent of the island cluster south of Cuba [25 to 27 February]

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word of mouth

maria nunes

Dispatches from our correspondents around the Caribbean and further afield

Out of town It’s easy to think Carnival happens only in Port of Spain, where the TV cameras focus. But you’d be very wrong. Laura Dowrich reports on the regional Carnivals that keep tradition alive across T&T

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t’s Carnival Tuesday. While almost everyone I know is jamming with unbridled abandon in the Socadrome in Port of Spain, I am settled into the back seat of a friend’s car, for the long trek to Cedros. With Waze guiding us, we drive away from the noise and chaos of town to the sleepy coastal community on the south-western tip of Trinidad. We are on a mission: to participate in the Cedros community’s Carnival, the biggest spectacle of which, we’ve been told, are the Venezuelans who take pirogues across the Gulf of Paria to play mas, in addition to picking up vital supplies. I n t he e nd , we don’t s e e a ny Venezuelans, but after three hours

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liming in a bar, we see two bands of masqueraders. They’re smaller than anything we expect, and the costumes are more circa 1988 than 2015. Nevertheless, crowds of spectators are out in their numbers. That true Carnival feeling is in the air. From the glossy magazine articles to the TV coverage, you might easily be fooled into thinking that T&T’s annual festival is confined to the capital. But Carnival in T&T is a truly national event, with festivities taking place all over the twin islands. While Port of Spain is undoubtedly party central, home to the mega bands famous for their tiny costumes, feathers, and perfect bodies,

it’s not the only place to view mas — and for purists looking for more traditional elements, taking a trip outside the capital may be the best bet. In recent years, the National Carnival Commission (NCC), the official body that overseas the festivities, has been focusing on regional Carnival celebrations. As a result, Carnival outside Port of Spain is thriving, with more and more people actually opting to stay in their communities to support their hometown mas. R e g io n a l C a r n i v a l s a r e w h e r e traditional mas lives. Pierrot Grenades, Blue Devils, and Dame Lorraines are a mong t he trad itiona l masquerade characters you can find in villages across the country. In 2015, there were over fifty communities producing their own Carnival festivities, and each of them is known for specialising in a different character, or just having a unique aspect. Carapichaima, for instance, in the island’s central plain, is famous for its whip-wielding Jab Jabs, dressed in colourful satin stripes. Paramin, the farming village in the hills of the Northern Range, is perhaps the best known of all the regional Carnivals, thanks to its Blue Devils. Groups of youngsters cover themselves in blue paint and head out to the village junction, where they compete for the title of best band. It’s become a staple event of Carnival Monday evening: crowds drive up from Port of Spain and tourists are bussed in for the spectacle. Perhaps the biggest revival has been in stickfighting. Squaring off in a dancelike motion, duellers trade blows in the gayelle, to the accompaniment of drumming and singing. Nowadays the national stickfighting competition draws hundreds of people, with the grand finals held at Skinner Park in San Fernando. Luckily, the NCC understands that T&T’s regional Carnivals carry the baton of cultural heritage. This year, to truly experience the festival’s tapestry of traditions, you might want to take a drive out of town. Who knows, it could become your own Carnival custom.


MARIA NUNES

woRD oF MouTH

Stephanie Kanhai as The Sweet Waters of Africa, Queen of Carnival 2015

Their majesties t&t’s King and Queen of Carnival competition may have lost some of the lustre of its heyday — but, Philip Sander discovers, among the elaborate costumes, moments of Carnival magic still happen

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t is the Friday before Carnival, and across Port of Spain the air feels electric. After weeks of building anticipation — not to mention dozens of fetes, concerts, and competitions — the Carnival season is nearing its climax. Masqueraders are making last-minute alterations to their costumes for the Monday and Tuesday parade. Others are desperately trying to buy tickets to the hottest all-inclusive fetes of the weekend. In their panyards, steelbands are relentlessly rehearsing for Saturday night’s Panorama finals. And all manner of special effects and pyrotechnics are being set up for tonight’s International Soca Monarch finals, where the competition is fiercer than any Olympic 100-metre race. Meanwhile, at the historic stage in

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the Queen’s Park Savannah, another of Carnival’s traditional spectacles is about to unfold. In years past, the King and Queen of Carnival competition was one of the festival’s headline events, sharing the programme at the Sunday-night Dimanche Gras show. In its heyday — until perhaps a decade ago — Dimanche Gras, televised live, was practically required watching for tens of thousands of viewers, keen to see and hear the contenders for the Carnival King, Queen, and Calypso Monarch titles. In recent years, faced with a declining audience for the many-hours-long event, Carnival organisers shifted the Kings and Queens to Friday night — meaning a significantly smaller audience for a competition that sometimes seems to have lost its spark.

Tonight at the Savannah, the paying audience in the Grandstand is outnumbered by the crowds lining the barriers along the “track,” the paved approach to the stage. Just outside the glow of the stage lights, dozens of kings and queens — both the large, complicated costumes and the seasoned masqueraders who will wear them — wait to join the queue. Kings and queens started out as respected masquerader s g iven t he responsibility to lead each band in the Monday and Tuesday parade, in elaborate and specially tailored costumes. By the 1970s, king and queen costumes had grown both in sheer scale — at their largest, they may span twenty or thirty feet — and in decorative extravagance. In their prime in the 1970s and 80s, designers like Peter Minshall and Wayne Berkeley created kings and queens for which “costume” is an inadequate word: they were kinetic sculptures, or massive theatrical floats. Caribbean art historians discuss Minshall’s Mancrab, king of Minshall’s 1983 band River, like their colleagues elsewhere discuss Picasso’s first Cubist paintings. Perhaps the shortage of that kind of creative audacity in today’s mas contr ibutes to a dw indling interest in K ings and Queens. But tonight, wandering among the costumes on the track, watching them inch up the ramp and onto the stage, I’m struck by the effort and energy and — sometimes — the sheer unbridled weirdness of these confections of feathers and fabric, sequins and gauze, with their swirling skirts or soaring wings, depicting everything from Greek gods to exotic fauna, UFOs to historical fantasia. And sometimes, from inside the chaos of synthetic colour, a moment of true magic emerges. Like the 2015 Queen, The Sweet Waters of Africa, portrayed by Stephanie Kanhai of the tiny band Touch D Sky. She’s a moko jumbie queen, dancing on stilts, with a shimmering cape of translucent turquoise floating about her in defiance of gravity. The design is almost restrained, but Kanhai’s joyful performance brings the stage, and the audience, to life. And for a few minutes, the wonder of Carnival — the transformation of ordinary women and men into extraordinary beings — is happening before our eyes. n


A 217/218 Limegrove Lifestyle Centre Holetown, St James, Barbados P: 1 246-622-2350 E: houseofjaipurbgi@gmail.com 14 O'Connor Street, Woodbrook. Trinidad P: 1 868-624-7465 E: houseofjaipur@gmail.com www.houseofjaipur.com Also Available at: I T h e L a n d i n g s , S t L u c i a I C a r l i s l e B a y, A n t i g u a I Gatsby Boutiques, Barbados and Grenada I C a t t l e y a B o u t i q u e , H e r i t a g e Q u a y, A n t i g u a I Basil's Boutique, Mustique, St Vincent & The Grenadines I Jade Mountain, St Lucia I Blue Boutique, CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa, Anguilla


the look

Fly gal style Jamaican designer Samantha Black, featured on Project Runway, makes clothes for “tomboys” and “fly gals” with bold colours and sporty details Photography by Chris Fox-Kelly

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n her current hometown of New York City, Jamaican designer Samantha Black transformed a nineteenth-century church into a lively fashion runway for her Spring/Summer 2016 collection. The architecture was the perfect backdrop for her presentation of relaxed silhouettes combined with tomboy spunk. The Project Runway alum perfectly balanced pops of colour, bold stripes, and fresh sporty details within a fun collection of jumpsuits, silky separates, and day-to-day dresses. She says her clothing is made for “tomboys at heart” and “NYC fly gals.” Using unconventional materials such as neoprene, Black makes every garment a daring statement. Alia Michèle Orane style.aliamichele.com

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For more information, visit www. sammybdesigns.com


THE DEAL Soca star Machel Montano, performing as Monk Monte, at the Heat Wave event during Carnival 2015, produced by Eventology

Eventful times From creative concept to logistical coordination, managing budgets and people, there’s a lot in common between the business of running a big Carnival band and corporate event planning. No surprise that some of Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful Carnival enterprises use the expertise they develop during the festival to run events year-round. Franka Philip finds out more Photograph by Mark Phillip-Simpson, courtesy Eventology 32

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ew things have a hold on the Trinidadian — and, dare I say, the Caribbean — imagination like Carnival. For people playing mas, the investment in a costume to parade on the streets is not just financial, it’s also emotional. Every year, masqueraders demand the “Wow!” factor on the road. They want better food, more drinks, and the best music. Masqueraders may grumble the following year when costumes get more expensive, but the memory and the promise of a great experience on the road keep them going back. It goes without saying the biggest and most popular bands succeed because they are well managed. All the top bands in T&T Carnival are led by teams of people who also have years of experience in the field of event management. In fact, once Carnival is over, they go back to organising parties, corporate events, and even concerts featuring international acts. Long before they became a Carnival band,


Island People was known for throwing parties with a difference. So when the principals decided to venture into mas in 2006, they had an instant following. “The team felt it was a natural evolution,” says executive team member Colin Greaves. “The Island People brand was a big draw.” Island People took a great party on the road. But the band has had mixed reviews over the years, because of a number of logistical shortcomings. Unfortunately, this began to affect the event management arm of the organisation. “Looking back at it, we found that the negative feedback from the road was having an impact. The tickets for our parties weren’t selling as quickly and people moved away from us,” says Greaves. To make the different parts of the business separate and distinct, they created Unlimited Fu nct ions in 2009 to dea l with corporate events. These included Eventology, an event management conference that proved ex t remely popu la r. In 2014, t he Isla nd People management rebranded Unlimited Functions as Eventology, run by a core team of nine. “Our events ar m does a myriad of corporate events. We work with many companies i n t he pr ivate sec tor a nd government agencies as well,” Greaves explains. Last year, for example, Eventology worked with the Caribbean Premier League cricket tournament, and provided services for one of the main sponsors, Caribbean Airlines. “We contracted our mas team to design and make the CAL mascot, and we were able to provide a special experience for patrons in Trinidad, Barbados, and Jamaica.” W h ile Isla nd People sta r ted by throwing a fete and evolved into a Carnival band, Ultimate Events evolved in the other direction. It was formed by the people behind the ultra-popular Carnival bands Tribe and Bliss, and has moved into event management. “Carnival is the most challenging and difficult type of event to plan, co-ordinate, and

execute,” says Ultimate Events managing director Dean Ackin. “It has all of the elements of any other event, but is ten times as challenging, because of the logistical requirements.” The company consists of a core team of eight, led by UWI economics graduate Kendal Latchman. He believes Ultimate Events is the def inition of project management. “We serve the client from invitation, to breakdown, to post mortem,” he says. “Our clients have made some outlandish requests, and we’ve managed to fulfil them.” Ultimate Events has been in business for seven years, and Latchman has been the lead project manager for four. One of the key elements of their operation

experience in setting up international conferences. She feels many people regard event management as a largely creative endeavour — but she sees the creativity as just a small part. “Event managers must have proper tra ining,” Ghany arg ues. A n event manager is the same as a business manager, and they must understand finance, accounting, and human resource management. “An event is about a team. Too many creative people who get into event management get lost, because they don’t know how to meld the creative with business.” Ghany believes the industr y has grown quickly, but outstanding event management companies like Ultimate Events and Eventolog y are still in the minority. And with T&T bracing for an expected economic downturn because of depressed energy revenues, Ghany thinks it’s up to the event ma nagement compa nies to convince their clients they can still get bang for their reduced buck. Latchman and Greaves both say their companies are working closely with their clients to advise them how they can cut costs but still deliver quality events. And, going forward, Ultimate Events is looking at conceiving and promoting its own events. Meanwhile, Eventology is planning to bring back their hallmark event management conference to meet the demands of the market. Over the years, the two companies have been committed to developing more young event managers and building capacity in the industry. “Some of our interns come from the Arthur Lok Jack School of Business” at the University of the West Indies, Greaves says. “They bring enthusiasm and energy to the company.” At Ultimate Events, they’ve trained five university grads under the age of twentythree. “We think this is important, because they provide us with a unique perspective, new ways of seeing things, and even new ways of incorporating technology in what we do. The challenge is to keep it fresh.” n

“Too many creative people who get into event management get lost, because they don’t know how to meld the creative with business”

is the principle of “no unnecessary complications.” “We take an analytical approach, and use the principles of project management,” Latchman explains. “For every event, we delegate a specif ic person to manage each area. They are briefed and given clear instructions about what is required, and we also have good contingency plans in place.” T he event management industr y has grown tremendously in T&T in recent years. There are more and more companies involved, and there are even postgraduate courses available for those who want to sharpen their skills. Lisa Ghany has been in the profession for over twenty-five years. She has worked in the corporate sector, the cultural sphere, and is much sought after for her

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Bookshelf The Merchant of Feathers, by Tanya Shirley (Peepal Tree Press, 64 pp, ISBN 9781845232337) A merchant of feathers sells soft things in hard times, as we learn in these new poems from Jamaican Tanya Shirley. From one of the poetic voices highlighted by Kei Miller in his farsighted 2007 New Caribbean Poetry anthology, here is a lyrical communion of delicacy and barbarity that sings a tempestuous song of contemporary Caribbean society. Shirley’s musings are both redemptive and reflective: life is its own long, uneven song, as the messages within her verses proclaim. Her sophomore collection, The Merchant of Feathers sets its wonderings to the major and minor keys of both a ribald and rebellious life, savouring notes of feminist ire that rage against homophobia, child abuse, and the devastated dreams of little girls — in Jamaica and the wide world beyond. Shirley’s first book, 2009’s She Who Sleeps With Bones, revelled in the declarative weight of confident and unbridled female sensuality. Her new book straddles this confidence, deepening it to examine the fractures,

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landmines, and personal faults through which women wade, to come to the amplitude of their sensual, emotional selves. The narrator of “Message in a Dream” is told of this transformative power by a soothsayer, who presents the woman’s fierce majesty to her: “Lightning rises out of my palms, hits the water and the waves spit fire. ‘You are too passionate,’ she whispers. ‘You will kill things along the way.’” So many of these poems are alchemical, addressing Jamaican corruption and misogyny with wit, and a sharpness of tongue that makes slur-touting dancehall deejays cringe. The world as Shirley sees it is layered in complications. Amid these, The Merchant of Feathers strives to limn fissures with sweetness, to caulk apathy with wonder, so you go to your eventual coffin well-lived, well-loved, and perhaps even a little mischievous about the entire circus that brought you there. Shivanee Ramlochan, Bookshelf editor

The Lost Child, by Caryl Phillips (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 272 pp, ISBN 9780374191375)

Children of Paradise, by Fred D’Aguiar (Granta, 384 pp, ISBN 9781847088628)

Who was Heathcliff, the troubled antihero of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, of whom so many Gothic, aromantic roles in literature and other media have taken their moor-wandering cues? Perhaps an even more important question asked in Kittitian-British novelist Caryl Phillips’s The Lost Child, which splices a Heathcliff origin story into an equally grim contemporary tale of dislocation, is to wonder at the secret lives of all those who form a nomadic part of a lost tribe. Monica Johnson, the modern-day failed scholar whose narrative wends a taut, unsettling line of alienation, loss, and mental ruin through the novel, is as complex in the sum of her parts as Heathcliff himself. Underpinned by tragedies, the small sorrows of children writ large, and many voyages in the dark, Phillips’s newest work is a masterclass in nowhereian spirit and bleakest endurance. SR

Jonestown: the word carries the weight of blood memory, and in British-Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar’s newest novel, he attempts to wrestle that juggernaut massacre of faith and fear onto the page. Jim Jones isn’t called by name in Children of Paradise — instead, he is transposed into the eccentric, cruel personhood of The Preacher, a man who endorses the caning of children, who rules over his congregation with a singular manic fanaticism. Death hangs with gravid anticipation over the structure of this novel, focusing on the lives of the commune’s children. Small joys are savoured all the more strongly, because of the precarious backdrop against which they take place, and in the author’s unflinching portrayal of place lie clues and portents to the most savage parts of our shared human nature. Children of Paradise is an astute, historically rooted reminder of the pitfalls of blind obedience, and the dangers of cult adoration, brought uncomfortably to life under D’Aguiar’s hand. SR

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Uncle Brother, by Barbara Lalla (University of the West Indies Press, 297 pp, ISBN 9789766404604) The ornate threads of IndoTrinidadian history are worked with satisfying richness into the plot of Uncle Brother, a linguistically variegated novel from Trinidad-based Jamaican writer Barbara Lalla. Nathan Deoraj, alias Uncle Brother, is the story’s larger-than-life hero, a dauntless provider modelled on familial succour, warmth, and sovereign protection. Lalla’s novel is a cultural passport unto itself, unearthing traditional value systems within the South Asian diasporic community, infusing them with a meticulously formatted rhythm of speech and signification that grounds the novel firmly in the villages of South Trinidad. Handsomely decentralising the narratives of Trinidadian fictive works, Uncle Brother draws on a deep well of heritage. It remarks on possibilities for that heritage’s survival, in a Caribbean where fewer children feel indebted to archive their ancestors’ emotionally replete stories of arrival, labour, and resilience. SR

The Survival of Indigenous Rights in Guyana,  by Arif Bulkan (University of Guyana, 358 pp, ISBN 9789766240370) There were people in the countries of the Caribbean long before the meddling Columbus found his way into the region in the 1490s. They had their own rules and customs, their own celebrations and rituals. In Guyana, there are still about forty-five thousand indigenous people, in nine separate tribes. How could these indigenous people be “granted” title to land which was already theirs? That is the problem Arif Bulkan explores in his admirable study. What inherent legal rights do indigenous people still have, if any, to their traditional land and resources within the framework of a modern state? With one eye on history and the other on the law, Bulkan navigates clearly and confidently through centuries of legal wrangling. He is thorough, meticulous, and formidably well informed. Jeremy Taylor WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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playlist

Cyah Help It Jus Now (Feel Up Records) There’s a new riddim happening in music today, which underscores the importance of the Caribbean “heartbeat” in the evolution of dance music from disco to hiphop to EDM. Jus Now is an international collaboration between Trinidadian producer and percussionist LazaBeam (Keshav Singh) and Bristol-based drum and bass man Sam Interface that has energised the UK and now the global dance scene with a pulse that has these sunny isles at its centre. Their new EP Cyah Help It features four songs (and one instrumental remix) that reflect a vibe and sense that moving rhythmically could be an involuntary act with this music as a background. Drum and bass mix with soca and reggae for urgent spiritual release, and Bunji Garlin, Miss Dynamite, and others chant and sing the celebration of island music that is poised for a return to the top of the music charts. Dancing is inevitable; yuh jus cyah help it!

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Guilty Pleasure Alexis Baro (G-Three Records) To r o n t o - b a s e d C u b a n trumpeter Alexis Baro has released a ten-track album of jazz music that has the chill vibe in effect, but also focuses on the idea that you can take an islander to the city, but his island-ness is a hard thing to shake off. Laid-back sensuality is an apt phrase to describe the mood of the album, but Afro-Cuban sentiments and rhythms creep in seductively, giving the impression that one is listening to a duality of ambition. On “Eres”, fellow Toronto-based Cuban rapper Telmary (Díaz) provides a spoken-word juxtaposition to Baro’s muted horn; hot hiphop à la Habana. On “African Prince”, Baro blows frenetically and on point over conga drums as a segue to a languid piano solo that serves as a lesson in Latin jazz. Canadian spoken word artist Dwayne Morgan smoothly defines what his guilty pleasures are on the title track. Consuming this album could be yours.


Single Spotlight Good Man Arita (TEMPO Records) “They say a good man is hard to find,” sings Tobago-born model-cumsinger Arita Edmund on her debut single, and while that sentiment may be true, a good tune is also not easy to come by every day. Today is a good day. With music production moving between New Jersey and Trinidad and Tobago, you can see how the music scene is now boundaryless. Arita’s song bubbles up as a smooth island pop groover, featuring vocals reminiscent of the early Rihanna, taking apart the idea of the island girl as ingénue. The lyrical content wanders from a manifesto of feminist animus — “I am a woman of responsibility / You said I need maturity / But you deserved what you got” — to girlish wishful thinking: “A good man is hard to find / One day he’ll appear and I’ll make him mine.” If only it were that easy.

Carnival Today Bunji Garlin Bunji Garlin lives a bipolar life. Not an illness, but a practicality that suggests this globe-trotting soca star needs to continue his work with superstar DJs and remixers like Major Lazer and Skrillex, while he also has to satisfy a native audience in Trinidad and Tobago, who all look to him for their annual Carnival dance elixir. “Carnival Today” debuts early for the short Trinidad Carnival season as a kind of initiation to a new phase of the all-encompassing movement by Garlin to take soca out of the Trinidad fete and road to the world stage. With synth horns that hint at Felix Jaehn’s remix of Omi’s “Cheerleader”, one gets the impression that Bunji’s Carnival today is the world party of the future. “Come celebrate in the diamond / Trinidad and Tobago, the twin island,” may be the shout-out for party-hungry wanderers, but the vibe says let the whole world wine together as one. Reviews by Nigel A. Campbell

Barbados Fertility Centre Completed My Family

The Coldero family

BARBADOS Seaston House Hastings, Christ Church Barbados Tel: 1-246-435-7467 TRINIDAD St. Augustine Private Hospital 4 Austin Street St. Augustine Trinidad Tel: 1-868-222-7771; 222-7773 USA toll free: 1-866-246-8616

Dale and Theresa Coldero welcomed their first baby boy into their lives in 2010 after visiting Barbados Fertility Centre. Buoyed by the birth of their first baby, they again opted for another round of treatment last year. On Christmas Day 2013 they learnt that they would become parents for a second time. Today, they are the parents of two young boys. “Anyone battling infertility should seek out Barbados Fertility Centre. We were unsuccessful at a Trinidad based clinic, but we found that at Barbaods Fertility Centre they combine the best medical science with individualised care. We felt comfortable with their internationally trained staff, the stress free and confidential environment they offered and the global accreditation. But it was the thousands of success stories and babies that we saw and read about that moved us to action. Suddenly having a family of our own did not seem out of reach. We know the decision to call Barbados Fertility Centre was truly the best decision we’ve ever made.”

Email: contact@barbadosivf.com Website: www.barbadosfertility.com

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for fertility updates

Dale and Theresa Coldero

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ADvERTORIAL


ADvERTORIAL


cookup

Pelau vs pelau If Trinidad and Tobago has a national dish, it must be pelau: a one-pot combination of rice, pigeon peas, and meat, descended from an Asian recipe and thoroughly creolised. It’s also a classic Carnival-time staple, feeding the multitudes during all the festivities. There are as many pelau recipes as there are cooks. Nazma Muller went in search of three versions

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elau is to Trinidadians and Tobagonians at Carnival time what hot dogs are to Americans on the Fourth of July — but much healthier. The seemingly humble pelau — T&T’s answer to the various riceand-beans dishes beloved across the Caribbean — has been the one-pot favourite of local cooks for ever, it seems. It’s the main attraction in picnic baskets at every Panorama semi-finals in the Queen’s Park Savannah — for both the hoi polloi in the North Stand, who might add a zesty cole slaw on the side, and the more sedate crowd in the Grand Stand, with their fresh green salad or avocado complementing their more lofty pelau, where the chicken might be replaced by more sumptuous beef, lamb, or pork.

From Carnival fetes to the parade of the bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, pelau is a menu staple, feeding the proverbial multitudes from one large iron pot. Known elsewhere in the world as pilaf, pilav, pulao, or polow, the ancestor of this rice dish was brought to T&T by Indian immigrants and soon became popular with all the island’s ethnic groups. Over the years, pelau has evolved and taken on new incarnations, reflecting the diverse tastes of this most cosmopolitan of Caribbean countries. So here, for your Carnival culinary planning, we offer you three recipes for pelau: a traditional “sweet-hand” chicken pelau; an ital version, for those who shun meat; and, for the foodies, a rather sophisticated beef short rib and three-bean pelau from one of Trinidad’s top chefs.

Khalid Mohammed’s beef short rib and three-bean pelau First, here’s our “celebrity” pelau, from Khalid Mohammed, owner of Chaud Restaurant and Chaud Café and Wine Bar, rated as one of T&T’s top chefs. Renowned for his fusion of West Indian flavours with French techniques, Mohammed has cooked for former US president Bill Clinton, Gianni Versace, and other world leaders and celebrities. His posh pelau recipe is fit to grace the fanciest table — but relies on the same tried-and-true techniques known to all pelau cooks.

courtesy khalid mohammed

1/3 cup each of dried pigeon peas, red beans, and black-eyed peas — soak overnight 5 pounds beef short ribs — boneless, cut in 1-inch chunks — marinated overnight in green seasoning, curry, and geera mixture (see below)

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Green seasoning ingredients: 3 sprigs thyme 5 sprigs chadon beni (culantro)

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5 leaves big leaf thyme 5 sprigs Portuguese thyme 1 onion 12 cloves garlic 2-inch piece of ginger 5 scallions 10 pimento peppers 1 scotch bonnet pepper 1 tablespoon sea salt ½ cup fresh lime juice 1 cup vegetable oil


Illustration by Shalini Seereeram

Over the years, pelau has evolved and taken on new incarnations, reflecting the diverse tastes of this most cosmopolitan of Caribbean countries

Hand chop all herbs, stir in salt, lime juice, and oil. Add to marinade: 1 teaspoon madras curry powder ½ teaspoon geera powder Other ingredients: 3 cups fresh coconut milk 3 cups chicken or beef broth or stock 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 large onion, diced 5 cloves garlic, minced 1-inch piece of ginger, minced 2 bay leaves 1 cinnamon stick 2 allspice berries

3 ripe tomatoes, diced 1 cup celery, diced 2 carrots, peeled and diced 2 cups parboiled rice 1 cup pumpkin, cubed 2 scallions, chopped 1 green and 1 red bell pepper, diced 8 small ochroes 1 whole hot pepper 1 tablespoon butter Drain the soaked beans and refresh in cold running water. In a saucepan, cover the beans in fresh water, bring to a boil, and simmer until cooked almost completely through. Drain; keep the cooking liquid and set aside. In another saucepan, mix the coconut milk, bean cooking

liquid, and stock, and bring to a boil. In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the sugar and allow it to caramelise. Immediately add the beef short ribs, turning frequently to coat well, for 5 to 8 minutes. Add the hot stock mixture, onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, allspice berries, tomatoes, celery, and carrots. Simmer until the beef is tender (1 to 1 ½ hours). Stir in the rice, beans, pumpkin, scallions, bell peppers, ochroes, hot pepper, and butter. Cover and simmer gently for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and has absorbed the liquid, adding more hot liquid if necessary.

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Well-known Trinidadian actress Rhoma Spencer, now based in Canada, also plays the role of culinary ambassador for T&T, and her traditional pelau has received rave reviews in Toronto and London — especially among expat Jamaicans, she says. Her mother’s pelau recipe was influenced by Tobago, where the family lived until she was three years old. “The coconut milk taste to the pelau is a Tobagonian derivative,” Spencer explains. When the family moved back to Trinidad and lived among Indian neighbours, they encountered another version of pelau. Many years later, she discovered from an army chef that what they had been cooking was “Indian pelau,” which has a wetter consistency than Afro-Trinidadian pelau, grainier in texture. Half a chicken Green seasoning 2 tablespoons brown sugar 3 to 4 dashes of gravy browning 4 tablespoons cooking oil 2 cans pigeon peas 2 cups brown rice 2 cups water 1 cup pumpkin cubes (optional) 1 fresh coconut or 1 can of coconut milk Salt to taste

Grind coconut to draw one cup of coconut milk (or use can of coconut milk). Cut up chicken into small pieces; season with green seasoning (chive, celery, chadon beni, thyme, onion, garlic, ginger) and salt to taste. Allow to stand for an hour. The best bet is to season the chicken the day before and leave it in the refrigerator. Place pigeon peas with water in a crock pot to boil with green seasoning, two stalks of fresh thyme,

courtesy rhoma spencer

Rhoma Spencer’s chicken pelau

and pumpkin (optional) until it simmers. Using an iron pot, add oil then sugar to brown. When sugar begins to bubble, add seasoned chicken and stir until half-cooked. Add simmering pigeon peas and coconut milk to chicken and cook for 20 minutes. Add rice to the pot and two tablespoons of oil (to prevent rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot). Add water as needed. Add salt to taste and two or three dashes of gravy browning to give rice a brown colour. Stir and cover pot, then cook on medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft and dry.

As a child, Amilcar Sanatan was awakened on Saturday mornings by the spicy aroma of delectably seasoned meat as it cooked in bubbling brown sugar and hot oil. This, he would think, is what bliss smells like, as Aunt Valerina once again made her magic pelau. For Sanatan, a former president of the Students Guild at the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus, and now a research assistant at the Institute of Gender and Development Studies, this national dish is part of his DNA. “But as a Rasta man, meat is not,” he says. “It may come off as cuss words and devil-talk if I ever shared the idea with my granny, Aunty Val, and family that pelau can also be vegetarian.” While it may seem like treason to even think of pelau sans chicken — or beef or lamb, goat or pork — Sanatan uses mushrooms instead. Shiitake mushrooms, to be precise. Their smoky flavour and chewy texture — once marinated with the right herbs and spices — can make even the most carnivorous Trini exclaim: “This chicken tasting real boss!” Sanatan shudders at the thought of using a strict recipe; most people cook pelau “by heart,” either having learned from watching their “sweet hand” granny or mother — who all seem to have been born with the instinct to gauge precisely how much freshly squeezed coconut milk to add to the pot — or else by experimenting. 1 cup long-grain brown rice 4 tablespoons vegetable oil 4 garlic cloves, minced 4 chives, chopped 1 onion, minced 3 tablespoons brown sugar ½ pound pumpkin, sliced into chunks 4 ochroes, sliced finely ½ cup whole corn 1 can pigeon peas

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1 red sweet pepper, minced 1 whole hot scotch bonnet pepper 1 cup coconut milk 1 pound shiitake mushrooms — stems removed, sliced into chunks 4 chadon beni (culantro) leaves, minced 1 tablespoon grated ginger 2 tablespoons soy sauce Salt and black pepper to taste

courtesy amilcar sanatan

Amilcar Sanatan’s ital pelau

Season shiitake mushrooms with chadon beni and grated ginger. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sugar until it begins to bubble. Add garlic, chives, and onion. Next add two cups of water, pumpkin, pigeon peas, ochroes, two tablespoons of salt, and two tablespoons of black pepper. Add pigeon peas. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes. In the same pot, add four cups of water and one cup of coconut milk. Cook over medium heat. When the water starts to boil, add the rice. Let boil for 10 minutes. Add the scotch bonnet pepper and corn. Reduce heat to simmer and add seasoned shiitake mushrooms. Uncover and stir pot occasionally. Add salt and black pepper to taste.


dwayne watkins

immerse

44 Not your parents’ Carnival 68 The history of Paradise Closeup

Backstory

74 “This life-changing thing we call yoga” 77 Believe the hype Own Words

Snapshot

Having the time of his life at the Carnival Socadrome


Dwayne Watkins

CLOSEUP

The popular Carnival band Yuma hits the Socadrome stage

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Not your pareNts’ CarNival Times change — and so does Trinidad and Tobago’s annual Carnival. Every year, evolutions in the fabric of the festival set off heated debates between traditionalists and innovators. What is Carnival changing from, what is it changing to, and is it all good, bad, or somewhere in between? Eight insiders give us their frank perspectives on the state of the mas and the state of the music WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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DWAYNE WATKINS

As an alternative to the traditional Savannah stage, the privately managed Socadrome has raised controversy

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ook at photographs from the Carnival parade fifty years ago, and there are things that don’t seem to have changed much: the layout of the main stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, the joy and abandon of the masqueraders in their spotlight moment, the advertising hoardings in the background. But there’s much that’s obviously different in those archival images: the design of the costumes, the scale and organisation of the bands, even the gender of the masqueraders — women nowadays dominate most mas bands, by a wide margin. And there are more profound differences that photos can’t capture, in the logistics and economics of the festival. Carnival is a season of creativity and commercialism that dominates the first two months of every year in T&T. But it’s also — and always has been — a kind of battleground for certain social ideas, for notions of cultural identity. Over the two centuries in which the twin islands have evolved from colonies into a postcolonial nation, Carnival has evolved too. Purists believe today’s Carnival retains the DNA of social resistance that shaped its nineteenth-century incarnation. entrepreneurs see the festival as an opportunity for investment. The state subsidises the Carnival season to the tune of many millions, arguing that it stimulates tourism. And ordinary revellers, for the most part, just want to have fun, which increasingly means spending big bucks for an “all-inclusive” experience. Somehow, Carnival still manages to accommodate all these agendas — but not without an annual upwelling of heated debate. To grossly oversimplify, you can divide opinion into two broad camps. Producer Carl “Beaver” Henderson calls them “Traditionalists” and “Globalists,” and the terms, though imprecise, are as good as any. Traditionalists decry what they see as a commercial erosion of the festival’s creative and ritual elements: anything goes, as long as it makes money. Globalists argue that Carnival organisers must realise they serve a market:

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masqueraders and audiences alike are consumers, and Carnival is already a product packaged for local and foreign buyers. There’s truth in the arguments of both camps. And the simple fact is, Carnival isn’t exempt from the social pressures of the wider society — as we change, Carnival changes with us, and nostalgia just can’t keep up. For the foreseeable future, the ultra-popular, mega-scaled bands which now overpower Port of Spain’s Victorian street grid — Tribe, yuma, Bliss, Spice, et al — are here to stay. Traditional calypso, with its strains of social and political commentary, will continue to be vastly outplayed by soca. Congestion around the Savannah will continue to drive those bands uninterested in the official competition away from the judging points to an alternative “big stage” — whether at the current Socadrome or elsewhere. Costumes will remain skimpy, and — barring a change in the economics of trade — many large bands will increasingly rely on cheap components imported from factories in Asia. But it also seems reasonable to predict that children’s mas — with its own parade and competition days — will continue to be an arena for innovative costume design. Traditional masquerades like the sailor, the Midnight Robber, Indian mas, and the Dame Lorraine, will survive on the fringes of the festival — and perhaps even reclaim some space nearer the centre, if larger bands remove themselves to their own venue. And small, quirky, design-driven bands with a community ethos will continue to offer an alternative to masqueraders looking for a mas with meaning. That’s one perspective — but what do people inside the engine of Carnival think? In the following pages, we’ve rounded up eight insiders to give us their take on the state of the mas and the state of the music. We’ve asked: what are the biggest changes you’ve seen during your Carnival career? How would you define current trends? What’s your own role in the evolution of Carnival? Their answers are sometimes surprising, sometimes not — but always outspoken.


“We’Ve SINGLeHANDeDLy DL DLy SHAPeD TReNDS IN MAS”

Launched in 2006 by pseudonymous blogger “Saucy,” Trinidad Carnival Diary (TCD) quickly became known for its opinionated and wellinformed commentary on the masquerade experience, from reviews of costumes and band packages to interviews, gossip, and advice. Now expanded into a full website offering year-round coverage including international Carnivals, TCD is essential reading for thousands of dedicated masqueraders, especially from the large all-inclusive bands. Find out more at trinidadcarnivaldiary.com.

for the past decade, the blogger known to her readers as “saucy” has been an outspoken and influential commentator on most aspects of mas, from costume design to behindthe-scenes logistics, via her trinidad Carnival Diary. And it all starts from her own experience as a masquerader — as told to Mark Lyndersay

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here’s a disconnect between the government agencies and NGOs responsible for the infrastructure and managing of Carnival, and the private entities who are involved at the ground level. The Savannah congestion [at the main Carnival stage] has been an issue for as many years as I have been playing mas, and that’s thirty-five years and counting. It took the combined efforts of Tribe, yuma, and Harts to bring some ease to the problem with the introduction of the Socadrome. It’s an example of the kind of collaboration that can come from both parties working together for the benefit of producing the festival. It’s what’s needed to move forward. My own goal is to bring awareness to the issues that affect me as a masquerader, and to give people who need to voice their opinion a platform to have their say. Trinidad Carnival Diary is the first web initiative in the age of social media to provide Carnival content 365 days a year. We’ve single-handedly shaped trends in mas and given

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emerging Carnival entrepreneurs unprecedented support. The project is ten years old this year, and we are expanding the brand into regional and international Carnival coverage. The biggest change in Carnival has been the emergence of all-inclusive bands that have taken the pampering of masqueraders to another level. Gone are the days when you had to stop at a vendor on the side of the road for a drink, and eat a boxed lunch while on the move. Now you have concierge service in the band, bringing you Champagne and foot massages at air-conditioned tents during a rest stop. We need to find new ways to set our Carnival apart from the many other events that are now following our model, from costume design to fetes. Trinidad and Tobago needs to offer the Carnival enthusiast something that they will not find elsewhere, cheaper. This will be our biggest challenge, because the cost of experiencing Trinidad Carnival is not cheap — and the experience has to be positioned as premium.


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mark lyndersay

“I make my mas like me” Designer Robert Young, leader of the small independent mas band Vulgar Fraction, on his fascination with masks and the psychological value of crafting your own costume — as told to Tracy Assing 50

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hen I learned how to make a mask in school, I came home, made a mask, and played in the neighbourhood, because it reminded me of what I saw when I was a little boy. I always used to play mas by myself. When I came into Port of Spain the first time for J’Ouvert, I had a mask on my face. I think I was about nineteen at the time. Why was that mask important? You ever see me dance? [He laughs.] Right. Mas was always a part of my life. When I was a child, we would go to downtown Port of Spain, because downtown was where the mas was. That’s where I saw [legendary Carnival bandleader] George Bailey as a child, on Independence Square. The thing that I think has changed about Carnival is the feeling that it is yours.


LESLIE-ANN ROBERTSON

vulgar Fraction’s Carnival 2015 presentation was inspired by traditional Black Indian mas

Vulgar Fraction is a loose — very, very loose — collaboration between me and [designer] Lupe Leonard and the people who play in the band. It got that name in 1997, because it was considered vulgar to be making your own mas, to be a small group in the road. The first year of Vulgar Fraction, the band had [artists and art world players] Susie Deyal, Charlotte elias, Richard Bolai, Christopher Cozier, Irenée Shaw, Annie Paul, Sean Leonard. Vulgar Fraction is a band of craftspersons and artists who engage with people who want to reclaim their creativity. They design their mas with support. So you end up having a band but also a community workshop. I don’t register [for the Band of the year competition]. I choose not to register. I am not saying that everybody should do what I do, but you have to reclaim mas. Vulgar Fraction and other bands make an attempt to do that. I try to design components that people then utilise and manipulate, so you can choose. It is impor ta nt for t he masquerader to participate in the making of the mas, to bend and craft it yourself. I see it as a psychological thing. I can create as a human being. I can manipulate something and make it look like me. I draw only like me. So I make my mas like me. It is about reclaiming the ability to use your hands, to do work — it is about being challenged like that. When you play a mas, you transform, and there are no rules to doing it — because only at a certain time mas was packaged and a prize was given, 52

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other than that people played it, people came out their house and did things. So the competition and the packaging it and the managing it for tourist reasons and whatever, has affected it. The people who want to play will come out to play every year regardless. It is changing. It has changed.

vulgar Fraction, led by designer Robert Young, is one of a handful of smaller design-driven mas bands offering an alternative to the all-inclusive megabands that have come to dominate the streets during Carnival. Like vulgar Fraction, Cat in Bag productions (founded by artists Richard “Ashraph” Ramsaran and Shalini Seereeram) is a band of a few dozen masqueraders, many of them hailing from the art and media world, well known for its light-hearted political and social commentary. Band members volunteer to help with costume production, and Cat in Bag has become notorious for the tongue-in-cheek placards carried on Carnival Monday, a conscious throwback to a punstering old mas tradition. Launched by sisters Karen and Kathy Norman, medium-size K2K Alliance and partners offers “fashion-forward” costumes and exquisite craftsmanship, consciously aiming for an aesthetic with one foot on the Carnival road, the other on the fashion catwalk. The small band touch D sky won major recognition in 2015, when queen of the band Stephanie Kanhai won the Carnival Queen title — a major coup, considering that the band, made up entirely of stilt-walking moko jumbies, has just a handful of members. Newcomers Mas Rebellion, as their name suggests, have set out to swim against the Carnival tide, with a masquerade presentation strong on storyline, a focus on social commentary, and a proclaimed emphasis on diversity: “no one is too big or too small to be a rebel.” These and other similar bands give masqueraders a more intimate experience on the road, drawing on older community-based mas traditions and rethinking them for today’s Carnival context.


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COURTESY NH PRODUCTIONS TT

“PeOPLe WANT TO LOOK GLAMOROUS” Carnival masqueraders used to wear a single costume on both Monday and tuesday. increasingly, that’s no longer the case. “Monday wear” is a raging trend among many women masqueraders, and the hottest designers — like Janelle forde of J.Angelique — find their collections sold out months before the festival, writes Laura Dowrich

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COURTESY NH PRODUCTIONS TT

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here was a time when women masqueraders wore their costumes on both days of Carnival. After jumping and prancing on Carnival Monday, you would go home, repair whatever sequins had fallen off, wash your tights, and hang everything behind the refrigerator to dry for the next day. Over time, and perhaps due to rising prices coupled with the fragility of costumes, masqueraders started wearing only bits of their costumes on Monday, opting instead for shorts and t-shirts, to preserve the full beauty of their ensemble for Tuesday. Some bands even offered their masqueraders specific costume options for Monday. And in recent years a new trend has sprung up, called Monday wear. Fashion designers, sensing opportunity, now design costumes specifically to be worn on the first day of the parade. Ja nelle Forde, work ing u nder t he label J.Angelique, was one of the first designers to get into the Monday wear business, and boasts of being the first to present a full Monday wear collection, in 2012. “It just came from thinking shorts and tube tops weren’t my style, and I needed something more fashionable to wear on Carnival Monday,” says Forde, who was born in Trinidad but raised in Barbados. “When I came to Trinidad to go to university, I always tried to create my own thing — and as my interest in fashion developed, it was a natural progression. The only other person who did Monday wear then was Christian Boucaud, but no one was doing collections. With my background in fashion, I wanted to present more of a collection of items,” she explains. Forde designs for the woman who has money to spend. Monday wear is not for the thrifty, with costumes ranging in price from US$230 upwards. “A lot of my clients are upwardly mobile,” says Forde, who also creates bespoke pieces for those who really want to go all out. But this year, for those who can’t afford the exclusive pieces, Forde will be partnering with a retail store, TKD, where masqueraders can get a design from Forde and then embellish it themselves. One of the factors she suggests for the popularity of Monday wear is the sophisticated tastes more and more people are adopting when it comes to fashion. In fact, fashion has pervaded all aspects of Carnival. Shorts and t-shirts have also been replaced in the fetes, where partygoers pose for photos in wedge heels and clutch purses while sporting the latest designer wear. “People are more exposed to the Kardashians, people on TV and celebs, so they want to look glamorous . . . it is changing tastes, the want for more and excess,” Forde says.

W hile Monday wear is lucrative for the designers, with many sold out shortly after they launch their designs, Forde says it goes beyond monetary reward for her. “I see this as more than making money. I see it as part of my brand. I still have personal goals that don’t relate to the business side of it.” Looking at her role in Carnival, Forde says it is the same as any designer’s: to create new concepts and ideas in fashion. “People are watching and being inspired. I get satisfaction when people see the value in the work.”

J.Angelique’s Monday wear has a loyal clientele among trendy masqueraders

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BeyOND SOCADROMe OCADROMe After decades of documenting the Carnival parade at the Queen’s park savannah, avannah, in 2014 photographer Mark Lyndersay moved to the controversial socadrome, ocadrome, a new venue paid for by some of the festival’s ere’s his take on biggest mas bands. here’s a development that’s raised a sharp debate among Carnival insiders

There have been only two Socadromes built so far, in 2014 and 2015, but they have created a storm of controversy, calling into question the very meaning of Carnival. Right from the start, the Socadrome laid bare the fundamental differences between what Carnival officials say bandleaders want and what they create for themselves when given a chance. Photographers and videographers pay no fees at the new event space, a sharp contrast with charges running into thousands of TT dollars levied at traditional event spaces run by the National Carnival Commission and the lead Carnival stakeholders. Masqueraders play less to the crowd than to the lenses of the image-makers who prowl the stage freely, and in 2015 the event added live performances by soca stars to the mix, a nod to the middling crowds who patronise the venue. But they are an afterthought, and the Socadrome is built for a Carnival that’s captured in multimegapixel and HD resolution by razor-sharp lenses trained on toned flesh. The presentation and consumption is for an audience that is, for

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o hear the bands that have favoured the newest Carnival Tuesday party space tell it, the Socadrome was a pressure release for congestion at the Queen’s Park Savannah, a place for the massive all-inclusive bands so popular in the street parade to party to their hips’ content. The Socadrome — featuring a custom-built stage temporarily retrofitted into a tournamentclass netball court at the Jean Pierre Complex in south-western Port of Spain — is some distance from the traditional Carnival nexus points at South Quay in downtown Port of Spain and the Savannah Grand Stand to the north of the city. But, as it turns out, that’s exactly where the bands want to play: outside the city centre, along the wider, less congested streets of Woodbrook and St James, two residential city districts the Jean Pierre Complex borders to the west and east. It doesn’t hurt that very wide thoroughfares approaching the sporting centre easily accommodate these big bands, which hit the streets in full costume on a Carnival Tuesday at brigade strength, and now have room to spread out. Since these colourful troops cannot travel on hipflasks alone, they are accompanied by suitable cavalry support: mounted bars, restrooms, and restaurants that roll along with them in converted shipping containers. Along with providing a custom-built space for these big bands, the Socadrome has emerged as a flashpoint for divisions in modern Carnival. While the bands party merrily at the venue, questions of history, exclusivity, and the importance of traditional spaces cross-examine the development of the project.

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the most part, not present at all at the venue, and the masqueraders are well aware that to be seen requires the attention of expensive glass. The Socadrome isn’t a perfect solution for the challenges that face Carnival — but it’s an entrepreneur’s response to the festival’s problems, and an acknowledgement of a fundamental shift in the way the event is performed and seen. More independent, fact-based thinking has to guide the development of the biggest event on the national calendar — and, for at least one sector of the festival, the Socadrome is a big win.


A soca superstar in her own right, and perhaps the genre’s most successful woman artiste, fay Ann lyons is also the musical and life partner of Bunji garlin. together, the power couple have been pushing soca in unexpected and unexpectedly successful directions — making trends instead of following them, and defying purists’ criticism. Laura Dowrich hears about fay Ann’s determination to do things her own way

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here is something magical happening at the Viking House. The headquarters of the Vikings Asylum band — headed by soca royalty Bunji Garlin and his wife Fay Ann Lyons — has become the epicentre for experimentation, collaborations, and new genres of music, all featuring soca at the base. Leading the charge, of course, is Bunji, real name Ian Alvarez, who — since tasting mainstream success with his 2012–13 hit “Differentology” — has opened the floodgates for soca to travel the world, mainly on the back of eDM, electronic dance music, a current global craze. But his wife Fay Ann is not to be outdone. Bunji’s labelmate on VP Records, Fay Ann is a musical force to be reckoned with on her own. Daughter of the legendary soca king Superblue,

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COURTESY FAY ANN LYONS

“WHAT I DO WILL SHAPe THe INDUSTRy”

Fay Ann is the only female soca artiste with multiple Soca Monarch and Road March titles to her name. Like her husband, in recent years she has eschewed the high-profile International Soca Monarch competition to focus on a global audience — and her music has evolved to suit. Last November, I got a sneak peek into some of Fay Ann’s post-Carnival projects, including a few eDM tracks, one of which was recorded with upand-coming Mad Decent label group Bad Royale, who spent two weeks recording an eDM/soca album with Bunji at the Viking’s Soundlock studio. There are also a couple of reggae songs, one of which will be remixed after Carnival 2016 into an R&B number. Fay Ann writes all of her songs herself, which gives her the freedom and flexibility to be as versatile as she wants and to continuously push the boundaries of music. For Carnival 2016, she’s introduced a new genre she calls “Afro Soca.” Her first release under that title was “Block D Road”, with Ghanaian artist Stonebwoy. Another, “Bad Rule”, was recorded with Jamaican dancehall artist Mavado. The genre has actually opened doors on the African continent for soca, with one DJ dedicating thirty minutes on his radio show to the musical genre. The Vikings are also eyeing a possible African tour, in their continued push to spread soca all over the world. “The only thing I am purposely doing is exploring my talent and seeing what I can do,” says Fay Ann in a discussion about her role in shaping soca music. “Nothing I do is done to shape the


Her approach to the music is the one major change she has made in her career. “Songs like ‘Catch Me’ and ‘Raze’ had nothing to do with Carnival . . . I have evolved from the regular jump-and-wave and incorporated influences from movies and books to show that it is possible to sing songs without jumping and waving for Carnival,” she explains. Looking down the road, ten years into the future, Fay Ann says she has no clue where the music will be. What concerns her is the contribution of the artistes. “There is a trend of people not doing what is beneficial to the collective. We are allowing people who only contribute negativity to determine who’s hot and who’s not,” she says. It that way, too, she’s determined to buck the trend. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

courtesy fay ann lyons

industry, but I understand what I do will shape the industry,” she explains. She also understands that in an ever-expanding soca environment she is providing inspiration for those who dare to dream about being different. She may have taken blows on social media for her “Raze” video, shot in a stark winter setting, snow and all — but the video is characteristic of what Fay Ann believes in: being herself and jumping to the beat of her own drum. It is evident in her lyrics. While soca is predominantly about the party, Fay Ann finds ways to sing about it that are different from the pack, in similar fashion to the way her father used his songwriting skills. She draws inspiration from everywhere. “Raze”, for example, she says, was inspired by a Hitler documentary.

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MARK LYNDERSAY

“I WANT TO Be THe LINK” last year, soca songwriter Jason “shaft” Bishop followed a stellar Carnival season — including Destra’s hit song “lucy” — with a slew of hits at Barbados Crop over. now firmly established as a crucial Carnival hitmaker, Bishop is optimistic about the future direction of soca — and his role in shaping it, as Laura Dowrich reports 60

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arnival 2015 was a watershed season for Jason “Shaft” Bishop. A well-known name in soca, Shaft has been penning hit songs since 2008, but last year he scored a major breakthrough with some of the season’s most popular hits: Destra’s “Lucy”, Nikki Crosby’s “Go Granny”, and Farmer Nappy’s “My House”. He then topped his successful run at Barbados Crop Over, penning hits such as Hypasounds’ “Sugar Rush”, Kirk Brown’s “you’re My Number One”, Mikey’s “Hands on the Road”, Biggie Irie’s “Sweet Type of Way”, and Imani’s “Fire Meh”. “All ah We”, the song he wrote for Peter Ram, copped the Tune of de Road and Party Monarch titles. Shaft’s contribution to Crop Over was recognised with the festival’s prize for best songwriter. It’s a tough act to follow. When I visit Shaft in late 2015 at his studio in Curepe, east Trinidad, he is already beginning to shift his focus to Crop Over 2016. He’s in the last stages of his work for Carnival 2016, having written a slew of new songs for Destra, Machel Montano, Olatunji, Chucky, Rikki Jai, Lil Bitts, Farmer Nappy and Lyrikal, Nikki Crosby, and Baron. Shaft’s success has unexpectedly brought opportunities to widen his scope of work, to say the least. “I had a plan to make sure my name reach a wider audience, and dig a lil’ deeper in the market,” he says, reflecting on his year past. Shaft describes his writing as a fluid thing. “I keep working around the clock, so I don’t have issues worrying about beating back my hit. I try to be consistent — you could never do one thing twice, you might have a remedy to come close, but you could never do it,” he says. Shaft started off as a singer in 2000, when he stumbled into the now defunct Rituals music label office. He mentored under some of the label’s artistes, but even then his songwriting skills were evident. eight years later, he approached Destra with “Saddle It”. It was then he realised he had found his true niche. Since then, he’s been on a mission: to be the best in the soca hit-writing business. Shaft doesn’t just write a song. He writes with specific artistes in mind, tailoring the lyrics and sound to fit like a glove. His intention, he says unabashedly, is to be considered one of the greats in soca music. “I see my role as a mediator,” he says. “I want to be the link between a lot of things. I see myself as a key person who can make a difference, not just writing but teaching songwriting, being a mentor,” he adds. He’s also optimistic about soca’s future. The genre, he says, is heading in the right direction, but just needs the right people. “The music going international — whether we do it or someone does it for us, it doesn’t matter, we just need to be a part of it,” he says, drawing reference to Justin Bieber’s hit song “Sorry”, which many consider to be built on a soca beat. Soca’s biggest challenge, he says, is the lack of unity. “We need to work together, each one need to help one. you have a whole set of tribes aiming at the same thing for the same reason, but no togetherness.” He believes the Carnival season, though it’s the vehicle helping to push the music and providing a living for many, also limits artistes. “Artistes just need to generate music year round.” WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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“CHANGe ALWAyS ALWA ALWAy S WINS” Music producer Carl “Beaver” henderson on the clash between “global” and “traditional” interests in Carnival, the inevitable conflict of transition, and how the Carnival unday Dimanche gras show needs to sunday evolve — as told to Mark Lyndersay

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’ve never been a follower, I’m not made up that way. In my career I’ve been a part, sometimes a prime mover, of game-changing movements — from calypso to soca to the creation of chutney soca, the big band music and massive PA systems of the 1980s, the production of the Trinidad Reggae Movement show, Mt Irvine Hotel Jazz on the Beach, and now Dimanche Gras. The surge in interest in electronic dance music (eDM) is something I’ve been doing since the early 1990s. Carnival music w ill remain challenging, because it’s produced from the perspective of pleasing a panel of competition judges. Artistes see winning the competition and its prize money as the only success and reward for their work. Take away the big prize money and make mass appeal the reward, and you’ll see creativity blossom. The biggest change in Carnival has to come in the relationship between the two major groups

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operating in Carnival. The Global Carnivalists seek to commercialise Carnival and all its attendant disciplines and are branded sellouts. The Traditionalists worry that commercial interests will dilute the indigenous nature and spirit of Carnival, but are regarded as old-fashioned and outdated. Both hold firm to their approach, but don’t realise the only sustainable way forward is to work together. For 2016, I’m putting an emphasis on producing music for the festival that can be played all year long. Too much of our music dies on Carnival Tuesday night. I also intend to bring change to any performance production I’m involved in. The big challenge in that for Carnival is holding people’s interest for a show that can run to more than five hours. either the concept or the length has to change. My biggest challenge is Dimanche Gras, which never has enough planning time, a technical setup time that’s a fifth of what’s needed, at ten hours, and no time for a single full dress rehearsal. I’ve done two [Dimanche Gras shows], and Carnival being the animal that it is, the shows came off with some level of success, but it’s still something I’m not satisfied with. Trinidad and Tobago is at a critical crossroads when it comes to its creative and Carnival arts. We have to find the right balance between tradition and commerce and set aside the conflict over change. Change was vehemently fought in the transition from calypso to soca, from chutney music to chutney soca, and now in soca as it finds strong influence from eDM-influenced soca. you can fight change all you want, but change always wins.


MARK LYNDERSAY

Producer Carl “Beaver” Henderson has been major player in T&T’s music industry for decades. Beginning as a musician with the local rock band The Last Supper, followed by a long run in the band Fireflight, Henderson opened his own studio in 1991, running the record label Heat of the Tropics. In 2014, he took on the challenging assignment of producing the Dimanche Gras show on Carnival Sunday night, an unwieldy cultural variety performance that traditionally includes the Calypso Monarch competition finals. Henderson has also been at the forefront of the move to incorporate elements of EDM — electronic dance music — into what he calls “electronic calypso.”

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Calypsonian Kurt Allen on holding onto kaiso’s original essence — as told to Mark Lyndersay 64

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MARK LYNDRESAY

“THe MeANING OF CALyPSO IS TO SPeAK WHeN NOBODy WILL”


COURTESY THE BARRACK YARD TENT ExPERIENCE

“The Last Bardjohn of Calypso,” Kurt Allen is the only calypsonian to have won the three major titles of Calypso Monarch (2010), International Soca Monarch (1999), and Young King (1993). He is also a prolific songwriter, an outspoken defender and promoter of calypso as a unique musical form, and founder of the Barrack Yard Tent Experience, which debuted in 2015: an omnibus Carnival-season show combining music, theatre, and traditional masquerade performance, in an attempt to introduce a new generation to T&T’s “golden age” cultural heritage. His 2016 album is Griotism.

Calypso Rose performs at the Barrack Yard Tent Experience

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n 2016, I’ll be putting my focus on encouraging youth involvement in Carnival by creating opportunities to be mentored by cultural icons. The Barrack yard Tent experience will open with the theme “Family and Community Matter Most — All Ah We Is One Family.” Family and community spawn creativity. Without strong families and communities, you get poor value. I’ll be presenting the leading cultural and artistic expressions of Trinidad and Tobago on one stage at the height of the Carnival season, and I’m working with people I’ve admired for decades. I may be contracting them, but really I’m just a diehard fan, and to me, they are still larger than life. I’ve also been working with a team of young creatives, some of whom are fresh out of university, and some are fresh into university. I believe in letting young people lead. They aren’t my assistants, I’m their assistant, helping them to get things done. They are given a real opportunity to lead. There is a lack of commitment from stakeholders to reintroduce higher standards in our artistic expression, and the slow pace in the changing of the guard has stifled new insights and innovative work in the festival. Old ideas are recycled, polished, and repackaged for presentation, and young creators have few opportunities for involvement in the decision-making processes. State funding doesn’t operate on the basis of sustainable development when treating with the arts and culture. An over-reliance on state support has led to a less than dynamic approach from practitioners of the arts in exercising greater financial discipline and control in their operations. Things are going the way they are going

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because that’s where we are taking it, and that’s basically in circles. We need to work towards a collective national cultural vision which can bring clarity to the creative path. Until we engage young people in a way that cultivates appreciation of the cultural capital by our young people, we can expect everything to continue the way it has. I was the Calypso Monarch of 2010, and established the Office of the Calypso Monarch to assist past monarchs in need of help, as well as youths looking for advice and opportunities to grow. The monarchs who came after me did not show any interest in continuing the programme. I invited TUCO [the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation] to adopt the programme, but that didn’t happen. The biggest change I’ve seen in calypso during my career is the diminishing creative output of the calypsonian. Calypsonians have become silent in the face of raging social and political issues, and the governing body isn’t addressing the most important concerns of the artform. It seems to have lost its objectivity in the face of having to seek funding and subvention from the state. The caly psonian’s tr ue essence and the meaning of calypso — as handed down in the tradition of the griot — is to speak when nobody will say anything. The calypsonian must face and accept responsibility for flagging support of the music. Some seek to blame their audience, the lack of airplay, the lack of funding — but the problem is with the calypsonians themselves. Calypso is part of our collective soul as a Caribbean people, and the soul is what connects us to the Creator. The soul lives forever, and I believe calypso lives forever. The future? I don’t know where the music will be, but it will be wherever the people and the calypsonians take it. n


BACKSToRy

THe HISTORy OF PARADISe When masman peter Minshall’s Paradise Lost took to the streets of port of spain forty years ago, trinidad Carnival changed forever. Mas historians agree it was a creative watershed, but for decades the significance of Paradise Lost depended on a handful of photos and fading memories. then long-forgotten moving footage shot by photographer george tang resurfaced, and became the core of a new documentary by filmmaker Christopher laird. Ray Funk tells the story Photographs by George Tang. Costume drawings courtesy Peter Minshall

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George Tang’s photographs of Paradise Lost were themselves “lost” for decades Opposite page Peter Minshall on the road with the band

“What you wear is the work of art. You play it.” — Peter Minshall

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t was the masquerade band that changed things, reshaping the way Trinidad Carnival appeared on the streets of Port of Spain. It created a conscious, complex drama through costume and movement, using new materials and techniques, with an epic vision. Thousands of sketches became costumes which, on Carnival Monday and Tuesday in 1976, let ordinary people dance one of the great works of literature, John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Trinidad had seen nothing quite like it. Photographer Roy Boyke was overwhelmed: “It is doubtful,” he wrote then, “that the work of any single individual has had so instantaneous and so searing an impact on the consciousness of an entire country.” Now, four decades later, a new documentary directed by Christopher Laird allows a fresh look at this gamechanging masquerade band, thanks to stunning footage shot by George Tang as Paradise Lost crossed the stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah. In the middle of 1975, Stephen Lee Heung, who had become over the previous decade one of Trinidad’s leading masquerade bandleaders, needed a new designer. He had lost the services of the great artist Carlyle Chang, who had designed many prizewinning bands of the year. Rather than go with another established local Carnival designer, Lee Heung called on Peter Minshall, a young Trinidadian artist then living in London. Minshall had attended the Central School of Art and Design, studying both theatre and stage design. His theatre designs had included ones with Carnival themes, including the set and costumes for dancer Beryl McBurnie’s Cannes Brulées show at the Commonwealth Institute in 1971, Mustapha Matura’s Carnival play Play Mas in 1974 in London, and Errol Hill’s Man Better Man at Dartmouth College in the United States. He had designed masquerade bands for Notting Hill Carnival starting in 1973. But for Lee Heung, it was WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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the amazing hummingbird costume he made for his sister for Trinidad’s children’s Carnival in 1974 that made him seek Minshall out. When he got the call from Lee Heung, Minshall was finishing a small Notting Hill mas band in London, called To Hell with You. From there, it was a small leap in Minshall’s imagination to go from a few devils in hell to the epic story of Paradise Lost: the Fall of Man, how Satan and his fallen angels came to seduce humanity out of the Garden of Eden.

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t the time, historical pageants were common as themes for mas bands, but only a few literary works had been used as source material. Chang had designed two bands for Lee Heung with a literary focus, one on 1,001 Nights and the other on Russian Fairy Tales, but nothing with the complexity and narrative breadth that Minshall envisioned. Minshall designed Paradise Lost as a four-part symphony of Pandemonium, the Garden of Eden, Paradise, and Sin and Death. The mas started in the depths, rising to Earth and then Heaven before plummeting back down with the loss of innocence that Sin and Death brought. Minshall started his mas in the very capital of Hell, Pandemonium. With a striking palette of red, black, and gold, Hell appeared in a blaze of fire. Rather than opening with the common handful of flag wavers, Paradise Lost took the stage with dozens and dozens of hellhounds. Embodying an image from Milton’s poem, of the “cry of hell-hounds never-ceasing,” these creatures were snarling dogs with fierce open-jawed masks waving flags of fire — like nothing any Carnival band had offered before. They were followed by fireflies in metallic black costumes with a hint of the military and something of classic horror films like The Fly. Next were a squadron of Fallen Angels, and then

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From Minshall’s drawing to the Savannah stage: a wave of yellow butterflies from the Garden of Eden section


Historical pageants were common as themes for mas bands, but only a few literary works had been used as source material came the embodied fire of hell itself, with Lee Heung’s wife and partner Elsie portraying Fire Fire in Your Wire — the name of one of Calypso Rose’s most famous songs — leading the section. For these flames of Pandemonium, Minshall used spring wires from the masqueraders’ shoulders attached to strips of fabric secured to the ankles, which made the flames leap up as the masqueraders danced across the stage. Milton, drawing from the biblical Book of Revelation, has Satan “chained on the burning lake,” and Minshall designed his own Burning Lake, a special section of dancers choreographed by Carol La Chapelle, creating “a great sea of fire [floating] above them”: a huge canopy of voluminous, diaphanous, undulating red fabric, held aloft on poles. After the fiery colours of Hell, the band’s next section, Garden of Eden, was bathed in green and silver, with masqueraders carrying their standards of palm leaves to create first a tropical forest, then a fresh cool breeze, followed by fish in shimmering greens and golds. A black peacock of night gave way to a dawn chorus in pink, followed by an evening chorus in pale blue. Both choruses had headpieces combining nature and humanity, birdlike with a Roman military touch to the masks — Minshall’s “nod” to the tradition of historical mas, but transformed into an airy aviary. The last section of the Garden ended with a wave of bright yellow “sweet oil” butterflies. For Paradise, Minshall filled the stage with “winged apparitions,” mostly in white and shimmering silvers. There were archangels, avenging angels, rainbow angels with a touch of violet, and morning stars. Finally, after the lightness of Paradise, the mas returned to earth with Sin and Death. This last section began with the king of the band, Adam in the Garden of Eden, portrayed by Peter Samuel — a young man who had appeared as an individual in prior Lee Heung bands, but now at the last minute had been asked to be the king of Paradise Lost. Samuel took on a Minshall mas that only an athlete could handle, his entire body adorned in little more than baby oil and gold glitter dust, dancing barefoot with a gleaming red apple in one hand, the head of the serpent in the other. The body of the serpent snaked out and around him in an extension that shimmered seductively under the Savannah’s Dimanche Gras lights. The costume consisted of a frame of cane and mild steel, which supported a light mesh lavishly spangled with reflective paillettes. This formed a semicircle around Samuel, so that, in Minshall’s words, “Every movement he makes informs the action of a dancing leaf.” The relatively large structure was designed and fabricated to be carried and danced with ease and fluidity. During the competition, Samuel at one point bowed forward so that the tiptop of the costume touched and swept the ground before him. The audience gasped in apprehension — but as he flipped it back, “like it was the hair on his own head,” according to one observer, an enormous roar of delight thundered through the night. In that moment, Peter Samuel, barefoot as Adam, had won their approval, and the King of Carnival crown. For Minshall, his portrayal of Satan and the Fallen Angels reflected Milton’s vision of these beings as noble before their fall. Sin and Death offered the Forbidden Fruit, wearing green pants, pink flowers at the waist, and

Minshall’s drawing of the High Spirits from the band’s final movement, Sin and Death

gold helmets — but carrying on their standards open-mouthed serpents in red and black, as Satan and his crew ushered in other forms of chaos. Then followed apparitions in white with dancing voodoo dolls, and Jumbie Jamboree, zombies in shimmering silver with ghostlike extended hands, and then the High Spirits, a flock of skeletons with bright fluorescent skulls and glittering transparent wings. Paradise Lost ended with Blue Devils, a reworking of the traditional Carnival character with bright orange pitchforks and large headpieces bearing orange horns on decorated green helmets.

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efore Paradise Lost, Carnival costumes were made primarily from cane and cardboard and papier-mâché. Minshall brought in vaccuumformed headpieces, aluminium, fibreglass, and chicken wire. He focused on how the attaching of the costume affected its movement, studying what early masmakers did with bat costumes to imitate the movement of their wings. He was inspired by choreographer George Balanchine’s desire for those who saw his ballets to “see the music and hear the dance.” Each year, the technological innovations of Minshall’s bands and the materials he used were quickly adopted by other mas camps across the Carnival. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Minshall left Lee Heung after 1976 to become a bandleader as well as designer. He continued to produce epic mas that won the band of the year title many times, and his perennial king Peter Samuel would continue to stun audiences and win awards. Minshall would also go on to design spectacles for the international stage, including the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996. For decades, Minshall would proclaim that much of what he had done in Carnival had its origin in Paradise Lost, but only a limited number of photos and fading memories substantiated these claims. Then, in 2014, a book of Carnival photographs changed all that. George Tang, Stephen Lee Heung’s cousin, had been a professional photographer and cinematographer. Beyond his professional work, he had grown up helping out in his cousin’s mas camp, taking photos and, when he could, filming the band. His book We Kind ah People collected his photos of Lee Heung’s other bands with many of Paradise Lost. Tang had been on the stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah to shoot every section of the band as it crossed, in still images and moving film, giving a full picture of the band’s complex narrative. Originally shot to be shown to the band members at a party a few months later, it had never been shown publically in the decades since. At the book launch in October 2014, Minshall narrated the ten minutes of eight-millimetre footage that Tang had shot. The audience was amazed to see the legendary band in this detail, and hear Minshall describe his making of it. In the audience was filmmaker and television producer Christopher Laird, who had been there on the streets photographing Carnival in 1976. Laird had been stunned by Minshall’s band, and followed his work ever since, filming

For decades, Minshall would proclaim that much of what he had done in Carnival had its origin in Paradise Lost, but only a limited number of photos and fading memories substantiated these claims

The costume designs from Paradise Lost tell a story of the end of innocence

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his mas and recording several interviews with him. Now, inspired by the old footage and Minshall’s narration, Laird set to work with Minshall to create a thirty-five-minute documentary that traces Paradise Lost from its inspiration to its design drawings, culminating with Minshall narrating the surviving film footage. “From my point of view,” says Laird, “Minshall’s use of Milton’s poem was not simply a portrayal of a literary work, but had within it the storytelling and the social commentary that is so characteristic of much of his subsequent bands.” The documentary, simply titled Paradise Lost, premiered at film festivals in September 2015 in both Port of Spain and Toronto, with sold-out screenings. It went on to win the Caribbean Tales Film Festival award for best short film. Milton’s epic had inspired visual artists from William Blake to Salvador Dalí, but with Minshall, the epic was painted in fabric, danced, and dramatised on the streets of Port of Spain. With this new documentary, viewers can relive this turning point in Trinidad Carnival, and see one of the masterpieces of Caribbean artistry. n


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“THIS LIFeCHANGING THING We CALL yOGA” Photography by Sabriya Simon

Kira Williams, Jamaican yoga instructor, on her introduction to Ashtanga, the reassurance of routine, and what yoga has to offer Caribbean practitioners — as told to Kelly Baker Josephs 74

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fell asleep in my first yoga class. It was a group class at a gym in Kingston, and even though I’d been doing weight training and cardio exercises at the gym regularly by then, the first time I took yoga it was so challenging mentally and physically that I fell asleep during final relaxation. Someone had to wake me up! That challenge intrigued me and lured me towards the yogic path I follow today. That was over fifteen years ago. At the time, I was working as a junior associate at a large accounting firm. I had begun training at the gym to offset the unhealthy consequences of my job — long hours, stressful days, sleepless nights. I wasn’t particularly active before that. Like many children in Jamaica, I gave track a shot in prep school, but I was average at best. I also participated in dance while at high


school, but here too my interest and skill were what you might call middling. I wasn’t flexible or strong. I was a thin child, only gaining weight and strength by weightlifting at the gym in my twenties. Nothing in these early years indicated I would find home in practicing and teaching Ashtanga, one of the most physically and mentally demanding styles of yoga. In 2008, I had the amazing opportunity to take a guided primary series class led by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the man credited with teaching the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition of posture practice from the 1930s until shortly before he passed away in 2009. By then, I had taken different styles of yoga and completed an Iyengar immersion, but I was becoming more intrigued by the Ashtanga lineage. I did extensive research on it, and discovered Pattabhi Jois would be making a trip to Florida. It took some arranging, but I made a way to attend. I remember standing in a room full of more than two hundred yogis, all connected with breath and movement and focused attention, and I was hooked from the very beginning. That day, I also had the chance to meet Kino MacGregor, the woman who would become my root Ashtanga teacher. I took a week-long workshop with her that

for Vinyasa classes. I’m honoured every day that people trust me in helping and guiding them through this life-changing thing we call yoga. This past year I’ve had to modify my own practice and my teaching to accommodate the leftover physical effects of chikungunya. The virus may be mostly gone from the Caribbean, but it’s still felt in our bodies and spirits. I’ve had to call on the patience and acceptance that yoga has helped me build over the past years in order to hold space for the ghost of Chik-V in my practice and my classes. I am currently the only authorised Ashtanga teacher in the Caribbean. I feel the responsibility of being authentic to the practice, sharing it in my home country of Jamaica, and then branching out to the other islands, English-speaking as well as the Francophone islands — I speak French too! In June, I taught at the first annual Downtown Nassau Yoga Festival in the Bahamas. My hope is to do more events like this, sharing the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of Ashtanga yoga across the Caribbean. One thing I can say about being Caribbean and practising

“Sometimes I feel strong and flexible and brilliant on the mat, other times I’m stiff and sore and don’t feel like myself, but the practice offers me a place to see all these things”

same year, and Ashtanga has been my major practice ever since. I practise the primary and part of the intermediate series of Ashtanga. I like that it has a logical structure to it — you warm the body with sun salutations (flowing from pose to pose in harmony with the breath), then you do standing postures, then seated, followed by backbending and then a calming, closing sequence. The postures always follow the same order, and I find comfort in that sameness, that “routine” — I can just dive deeply into the breath and not constantly overanalyse things, which is my natural tendency. But by far, my favourite part of Ashtanga yoga is how much it is geared towards each and every individual. In the Ashtanga Mysore tradition — self-practice in a group setting — each student practices at his or her own abilities and pace, supported by the teacher. It’s a mostly silent, meditative practice. Imagine being in a room of six or sixty people and all you hear is this deep, calming wave of breath — it’s amazing!

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t home in Kingston, I teach traditional Mysore-style and Led Ashtanga classes, as well as Ashtanga-based Vinyasa, corporate, and private classes. My students! They are the wonderful, brave, strong, and amazing men and women who show up early in the mornings for Mysore, or turn up in the evenings

yoga is that it can present a challenge to our more easygoing, relaxed way of doing things. Ashtanga, especially, may be seen as regimented, but I’m glad I stuck around long enough to dig a little deeper and find that when I let the practice itself guide me, it creates a different experience each and every day. Sometimes I feel strong and flexible and brilliant on the mat, other times I’m stiff and sore and don’t feel like myself, but the practice offers me a place to see all these things, and find peace anyway. Even so, I don’t know that I feel very Caribbean when I practice or teach, I just love the practice and the breath. What I do notice is that there aren’t many people who look like me in the Ashtanga world. Even when I travel to practise in India, I’m one of only four or five black faces. There are still a few stereotypes left to be toppled. But slowly, as more people learn about Ashtanga and yoga in general, they’re realising the power and benefits of the practice — things are changing, and it’s wonderful to see all colours and creeds on the mat. There’s no denying yoga is becoming more popular in the Caribbean. I would like to see its continued growth and for people to keep practising! Whatever style we choose, yoga is a force for positive social change and activism. It teaches diligence and discipline, essential traits for this and future generations of Caribbean people. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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SNAPSHoT

BeLIeVe THe HyPe Back in 2013, when a funnyman known only as Majah hype began releasing a series of online comedy sketches mimicking a dizzying array of Caribbean accents, he became a social media sensation. now touring with a live act and working on his first film, Majah’s real identity is still a secret, Melissa Noel discovers — and behind his comedy is a serious commitment to Caribbean unity Photography courtesy Hype Media/ Creative Inks Photography

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ackstage at Baruch College, all comedian Majah Hype could think was “this is only the beginning.” It was a Friday night in New york City, and close to a thousand people had come out to see some of the biggest names in soca music, including Bunji Garlin, Fay Ann Lyons, and Lyrikal. And for the first time ever, that audience would experience Majah Hype’s comedy live. Behind the curtain, before his name was announced, the comedian thought back to the phone call that brought him to this moment. The college’s Caribbean Students Association asked him to host their annual cultural show. Majah Hype laughed to himself, because although he had never done standup comedy before, when his manager got the call and asked him, “Do you do standup?” his response was, “Well, I do now.” The rumble of cheers from the massive crowd grew, and Majah Hype was excited, but also recalls that “it was nerveracking, you know. I kind of had the butterflies and all that, wondering how they would take to what I had to say.” WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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Before his mind could wander much further, someone at the front of the crowd yelled a question. “Are we going to hear a ‘Dat does piss me off’ segment?” “yeah, wey Grandpa James dey,” shouted another, referring to one of Majah’s most notable characters. That night, he would perform twentyminute freestyle comedy segments over four hours between the musical acts. “It was an experience that taught me to always be ready for the unexpected.” After that show, the Brooklyn-based comedian got invitations to headline live standups shows in Canada, Britain, Guyana, Trinidad, and the US Virgin Islands, just to name a few. But it was only a preview of what this multitalented funnyman brings to the world of Caribbean entertainment.

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rowing up, my mother always told me that I belonged on someone’s stage,” Majah says. “I mean, all my family recognised I had this gift, and that I should take it seriously — because I didn’t just try to be funny, it was a natural thing.” Majah Hype — all he’s revealed of his real identity is his first name, Nigel — started performing at the age of eight, when his grandfather taught him how to play at least seven instruments, including alto saxophone, trombone, and drums. Seeing his grandfather’s passion for entertaining is what created Majah’s strong ambitions for the industry and will to succeed. “He is responsible for making me the man I am today,” he says. At the of age fifteen, his love for music brought him to deejaying. Over the years, he played with multiple New york ork City sound systems, including the iconic Massive B. This man of many talents also writes, sings, and produces music, and has worked with reggae and soca artists like Gyptian, Tarrus Riley, and Lyrikal. But what he always wanted to do is comedy. So in 2013, when he was laid off from his full-time job as a certified electrician for New york ork City’s transit authority, Majah Hype took it as a sign: this was his opportunity to go after his goal of becoming a professional comedian. “I took a leap of faith, and I knew it was time to take what I really wanted to do seriously. I took my comedy seriously.” A small home studio in east Flatbush, Brooklyn, is where it all started. With an iPhone in hand, topics

Majah hype — all he’s revealed of his real identity is his first name, nigel — started performing at the age of eight, when his grandfather taught him how to play at least seven instruments Majah Hype in character as Grandpa James, Sister Sandrine, and Di Rass

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in mind, and the ability to effortlessly capture the accents and mannerisms typical of various Caribbean nationalities, Majah Hype started recording a series of short sketches inspired by the people and situations he came across daily in Brooklyn, no practice needed. “None of my skits are planned out. Nothing is written or anything,” he says. These daily sketches, released online, were simple yet hilarious depictions of Caribbean as well as African and American parents, grandparents, and friends, plus regular segments and recurring characters. Majah credits his musical background and observant nature for the ease with which he pulls off his repertoire of accents and personalities. “I’m like a tape recorder,” he explains. “I hear something and I just say it back you.” His seamless accents, comedic timing, and true-to-life material quickly made Majah Hype a a Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora social media sensation. “My platforms are a melting pot for the Caribbean,” he says. “I think there’s strength in numbers. everyone can unify and we all laugh and joke as one.”


A small home studio in East flatbush, Brooklyn, is where it all started. With an iphone in hand, and the ability to effortlessly capture accents and mannerisms, Majah started recording a series of short sketches

Still, it almost didn’t happen. Shortly after being laid off, the comedian was offered his old job back. He briefly contemplated a return to life as a transit authority electrician, but then Majah read a few posts from his fans. “All of the comments were, like, he ran out of gas, he has no more jokes, you see I told you — and I was like, really? “I’m a very competitive person,” Majah says. “you have to wake up real early in the morning to beat me, you know what I’m saying? So when I saw that, I’m the type of person that likes to prove people wrong. I just went even harder.” That’s when Majah Hype introduced the world to now-well-known characters like Di Rass, a no-nonsense, foul-mouthed Rasta from Jamaica; Grandpa James, a bearded and cranky elder from south Trinidad; and Sister Sandrine, a tell-it-like-it-is Jamaican woman who dishes out tough love advice in the comfort of her nightgown. “I wanted to really separate myself from [other comedians] and raise the bar higher,” he says. “What I want is when people see my videos, they don’t just see the same face doing two different accents — I want them to see a totally different image.” Characters like Grandpa James and Sister Sandrine, the comedian explains, represent the influence of elders in the community, as well as the kind of tough love that Caribbean grandparents often give. “They speak they mind. They tell you what they want to tell you. They don’t care how you feel ’bout it. How you take it. I’m telling you the truth. ‘That jacket don’t look good.’ That’s it. They don’t care . . . That’s just what they do,” he says.

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ajah’s characters also include Jean from Haiti, Peter from Grenada, and Colin from Guyana, among others. “For me, it was a way to represent every island or country in their own special way, but still have us all unified,” he says, smiling. His dedication to not just entertaining but connecting the Caribbean through comedy is how he garnered his now more than half a million followers on social media — including 366,000 and counting on the photo and video sharing site Instagram, where he first started posting those hilarious improvisation sketches. WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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What Caribbean country does Majah hype himself represent? Before i can even ask the full question, he’s laughing and shaking his head

He says he uses this platform to share Caribbean culture with the world. But what Caribbean country does Majah Hype himself represent? Before I can even ask the full question, he’s laughing and shaking his head. He knows it’s coming. “I was born on a cruise ship in international Caribbean waters,” he says, this time in what sounds like a fusion Jamaican and Trinidadian accent. He deliberately doesn’t reveal where in the Caribbean he is from. “I don’t disclose that, for the simple fact that my main focus and my main goal is to unify everyone. I’m doing it for the Caribbean, instead of just one nation.”

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o matter where in the Caribbean Majah is actually from, he’s showing the world that not only is the hype for real, he’s just getting started. The multitalented entertainer is currently working on a television show, and his first film, Foreign Minds Think Alike, is scheduled for release in March 2016. He says it’s a comedy that will give audiences the backstories of some of his most notable characters, and how they met. “Hopefully the world is ready for it — ready to laugh and cry.”

Majah Hype takes his act live

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Majah will star alongside the likes of Bunji Garlin, Damian Marley, Gyptian, and other prominent Caribbean entertainers. “It’s sort of a dream come true to go from watching these people perform and watching these people on TV to now working with them and filming and just directing things that they want to be a part of.” He personally funded the project, because he feels the breadth of Caribbean culture isn’t well represented in mainstream media. “I want to show a different side of us. We have comedy, drama, romance, stuff like that. I want to be able to bring that to the table, instead of people seeing the stereotypical weed seller or gangster.” As for the daily comedy sketches that made him famous, Majah plans to expand them along with the repertoire of Caribbean accents he’s known for. “I am going to be adding accents you haven’t heard from me yet, like St Vincent, St Lucia. I mean, I have it,” he says, “but I’m sort of a perfectionist. I don’t want to put it out there and have people say that doesn’t really sound like us.” n


nicholas laughlin

ARRIVE

82 An island like a new world 90 Jacmel, Haiti Destination

Neighbourhood

92 First things first 102 A taste of Cebu Round Trip

Travellers’ Tales

A pharmacy in Jacmel offers cures for whatever ails your bones


DeSTINATIoN

An island like a new world

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A thirty-four-square-mile island that’s part Dutch, part french, where the main language is English, and the unofficial currency is the us dollar — that’s the conundrum of sint Maarten, or saint-Martin, whichever you prefer to call it. And that’s exactly what draws repeat visitors to this beach-fringed island, writes Montague Kobbé — the many worlds contained in such a small, and naturally favoured, place

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Philipsburg, capital of Dutch Sint Maarten, stretches between Great Bay and Great Salt Pond

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itting at the Tropicana, my favourite bistro in Marigot’s Marina Royale, awaiting my moules flown in that day from France, sipping my glass of Sancerre shipped all the way from the Loire valley, dreaming of the local banana rum I’ll be having with dessert, enjoying the tropical heat tempered by the breeze blowing in from the sea, I think to myself, this is what this island is all about. The marina almost looks like it’s been taken from a brochure of Caribbean clichés: tucked into a naturally sheltered corner of the huge Simpson Bay Lagoon — the most singular topographic feature of the island of St Martin — it forms a neat, selfcontained square of interlocking pathways tiled in terracotta and laid out around the perimeter of the waterfront like the arcades of a cloister. Three of its four flanks are populated by unassuming traditional buildings which house the boutiques, gift shops, galleries, and restaurants that give this quartier its distinct feel. In the shadow of the dramatic hills above, street traders crowd the pedestrian alleys with souvenirs and craftworks, while curious tourists try to figure out whether they should feel annoyed by the inconvenience of having to negotiate their way through the narrow and cluttered paths, or glad to be given the chance to find a special something on their way to their restaurant of choice. you might argue, of course, that all these tourists would enjoy a more genuine St Martin experience if they bought a bowl of whelk

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or bull-foot soup in a plastic container from a street vendor by the side of the road to Cole Bay — and such succulent temptation would indeed be hard to resist. But the truth is that neither of the two options is more authentic than the other — because those are precisely the two antithetical poles between which St Martin is constantly oscillating, the boundaries that contain this island’s seemingly conflicted identity: an eminently provincial metropole, a truly diverse outpost deep in the periphery. Historically, there is good justification for this phenomenon: from the earliest days of Dutch interest in St Martin, all the way back in the 1630s, what most appealed to the Dutch West India Company was the island’s location as an effective stopping point halfway between its newly acquired possessions in northern Brazil and the already established colony of New Netherland in North America. Alas, the island that eventually emerged as the

st Martin is an eminently provincial metropole, a truly diverse outpost deep in the periphery. historically, there is good justification for this phenomenon


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The gorgeous sea off Cul-de-Sac, a village in French Saint-Martin

true transhipment centre in the region was neighbouring Sint eustatius, while St Martin was left to plod along with the times. Inevitably, St Martin was caught in the middle of the fracas that dominated Caribbean colonial history, until a seemingly irrelevant development at the start of the eighteenth century left its mark on the island forever: the Peace of Utrecht at the end of the War of Spanish Succession awarded the French portion of Saint-Christophe, modern-day St Kitts, to the British in 1713. So what? you might ask. So consequential, is the answer: because from that moment on the French possessions in the north-east Caribbean — Saint-Barthelemy, Saint-Martin, and Saint-Croix — were all effectively left orphaned. Hence the British, who had already recorded their interest in St Martin by invading it first in 1672 and then in 1690, would be allowed to extend their influence on the island without having to officially annex it. Fast forward a few centuries, and you’ll find that the dominant language in a territory that for over three and a half centuries has been governed jointly by French and Dutch authorities is still, to this day, english. Nor is this the only aspect of St Martin’s identity that has been Anglicised: through a completely different set of mercantile rather than historical circumstances, in the land of euros (French Saint-Martin) and guilders (Dutch Sint Maarten), it is undeniably the US dollar which is king. This palpable North American influence can be traced to the vastly increased volumes of visitors arriving from the United States since the great boom

of resort tourism hit St Martin in the mid 1970s — and, more emphatically so, since the port of Philipsburg became a regular destination for cruise ships in the 1980s and early 90s.

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hilipsburg itself, capital of the Dutch side, the largest town on the island, a Mecca for the hordes of shopaholics (almost two million yearly) descending from the cruise ships, owes its name and current layout to a British sailor. John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, became commander of Sint Maarten in 1735, and promoted a series of initiatives that included modernising the town at the foot of Fort Amsterdam, on the narrow strip of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. Thus, if Marigot is the quintessential French colonial town, with its quaint architecture and narrow lanes named after the principles of the Revolution (Rue de la Liberté, Rue de la République), Philipsburg is a monument to the Protestant values of simplicity and practicality, in which the two main thoroughfares, intuitively named Front Street and Back Street, reveal themselves as the perfect playground for bargain-hunters in the land of duty free. Quite apart from haggling — or parallel to it, if needs must — Philipsburg presents an opportunity to enjoy a surprisingly diverse array of dining options, from the traditional L’escargot, by now almost an institution in town, to the delicious Anand Indian restaurant. But testing the gastronomic offerings of a place that prides itself on its culinary quality and tradition takes WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM

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L’Escargot, a culinary institution in Philipsburg Opposite page The island’s markets are an extravaganza of produce and spices

longer than a day. Indeed, it would be criminal to conclude any visit to St Martin without strolling along the single lane of bars, restaurants, and bistros that adorn the coastline of Grand Case, on the north-west end of the French side. By night, the atmosphere here is unlike anywhere else on the island, as boutiques and shops open late to cater for guests on their way to dinner. By day, the scents and colours emanating from the street market are extraordinary, and when they blend with the smoky trail of fresh fish and lobster being grilled in the open air, it all becomes a literal feast.

While on the topic of feasts, it’s worth noting that celebrations in St Martin are also often dual. That’s the case with Carnival, which on the French side corresponds to the traditional preLenten festivity, and consists of a full week of bacchanal culminating in the Mardi Gras parade. Dutch-side Carnival, meanwhile, seems to be designed specifically to carry on liming through the period of Lent, as it stretches from mid April to the closing ceremony in the first week of May, during which a huge human effigy is set ablaze in what is traditionally known throughout the Dutch Caribbean as the Burning of King Momo.

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Orient Bay Marigot in Sa

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Simpson Bay Lagoon

Great Salt Pond

Philipsburg

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he rule of dual celebrations is broken, though, with the island-wide commemoration of the abolition of slavery on 27 May. The history of slavery in St Martin is peculiar, not least because the system fell of its own weight in 1848. When news arrived in the French Antilles that the February Revolution had overthrown the Bourbon monarchy in France, and that committed abolitionist Victor Schoelcher was included in the new government, unrest spread among the labour force at unstoppable speed. In Martinique, a massive demonstration on 22 May resulted in the death of over one hundred people, enslaved Africans and colonists alike. Emancipation was proclaimed by the authorities the following day in Martinique, and four days later, on 27 May, in Guadeloupe, to which French Saint-Martin had been officially annexed in 1763. The news didn’t arrive in St Martin, however, until sometime in early July, by which time the local enslaved Africans had seized their freedom by force. Though the Dutch government was not ready to join the abolitionist bandwagon, maintaining the bond of slavery on the Dutch half


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after abolition on the French proved simply impossible. Thus, the close to two thousand labourers who worked on the Dutch side of the island remained enslaved mostly in name, while the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies on 1 July, 1863 — so momentous for other colonies — was so meaningless in St Martin that today the date isn’t even recognised as a public holiday. In many ways, this illustrates the essence of St Martin, an island constantly being pulled by the forces of global affairs, an island where even the most universal of concerns

One island, many names Called Soualiga (“Land of Salt”), or perhaps Oualichi, by its indigenous inhabitants, St Martin was given its modern name by — who else — Christopher Columbus, who’s supposed to have arrived here in 1493, on his second voyage to the New World. Sighting the island on 11 November, the Roman Catholic feast of St Martin of Tours, Columbus christened the island for the fourthcentury bishop. The northern, French side of the divided island is officially the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, and the southern, Dutch territory is Sint Maarten — only thirteen square miles in extent but a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, alongside Aruba, Curaçao, and the Netherlands itself. But geographers use the English version of the name — plain St Martin — to refer to the entire island.

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courtesy sint maarten tourist office

St Martin has beaches for every taste — from secluded hideaways to busy watering-holes

acquires an eminently local visage. St Martin’s identity, St Martin’s culture, is varied and diverse, plural and multifarious. It allows for figures such as Roland Richardson, the island’s most celebrated painter, whose plein air technique is reminiscent of, but also radically different to, that of the great Impressionist masters. And it appropriates figures such as Antoine Chapon, a French artist who has embraced St Martin to such an extent that his paintings could only, really, be from this island. It is encapsulated in the indigenous dance called the Ponum, a slow-paced celebration to be savoured in its own gentleness, a performance of relief that dates back to the days of emancipation and is said to have been danced by enslaved Africans around a flamboyant tree. At the same time, it is reflected in the bachata and merengue that over the last few decades have taken the island by storm, in the soca and calypso that are part of the heritage of this region, in the vallenato and reggaeton and the salsa and cumbia that on a nightly basis set the world — this world — alight.

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or decades now, people have travelled in great numbers to St Martin from all over the world. The overriding reason is the extraordinary quality of its beaches. Graced with over thirty beautiful bays, St Martin is one of those rare destinations where seclusion and entertainment coexist peacefully. Perhaps the most gorgeous and also the most popular of St Martin’s beaches is Orient Bay, on the French side, with its clothing-optional policy and staggering choice of watersports activities. With the exception of stunning Cupecoy Beach, clothing is compulsory everywhere

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on the more family-oriented Dutch side. If the Robinson Crusoe in you is gagging to express himself, remote Geneve Bay lies at the end of a one-hour hiking trail from squally Guana Beach. If, instead, your inner self is more like Robert Redford in Havana, phenomenal Friar’s Bay (Anse des Pères) has a charming beach bar where you can relax and take it all in. And yet, if over the course of many years people from the world over have been coming here for the beaches (and the shopping, and the dining, and the atmosphere — not for nothing is this known as “the friendly island”), the reason they keep returning is that they find their very world palpably present, but reinterpreted in this island. St Martin is, above all and perhaps more so than any other island in the Caribbean, the product of a rich and constant mishmash of cultures and influences — a place where guests from all corners of the planet can lose themselves, but also recognise themselves, a place where a plate of mussels and a glass of Sancerre acquire a different taste, exist in a different context, but exist nonetheless. In other words, this is an absorbing island that welcomes its guests and uses them to create what ultimately is nothing other than a world of its own. n

Caribbean Airlines operates twice weekly flights to Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten, with connections to other Caribbean and North American destinations


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NEIGHBOURHOOD

georgia popplewell

Streetscape

Jacmel, Haiti Its annual Carnival is one of the Caribbean’s most famous, but picturesque Jacmel on Haiti’s south coast is also home to historic architecture and some of the country’s most celebrated artisans

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On the eastern side of sheltered Jacmel Bay, the town stretches back from a shingly beach to a steep escarpment above Rue Seymour Pradel, with the town square, Place Toussaint Louverture, perched atop a ridge overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Both the cathedral and Jacmel’s unique iron market (with its four corner towers and red-tiled roof) await major repairs to damage done by the 2010 earthquake. Some of the best examples of Jacmel’s historic architecture are the former merchants’ houses on Rue du Commerce: three- and fourstorey buildings which once featured coffee warehouses on their ground floors and elegant salons higher up. The Hotel Florita is one of the best preserved, and guests enjoy its wide upper balconies, high-ceilinged rooms, and magnificent staircase. Some of its neighbours are in less promising shape, but their street façades remain stately, and dozens of historic buildings have been recognised and earmarked for restoration. Along the seafront, a relatively new promenade is decorated with colourful tile mosaics and benches featuring the words of well-known local writers, cut out in sheet metal.

Souvenir

Though some people do swim in Jacmel Bay, the best sea-bathing is further along the coast, east of the town. Raymond Les Bains and Ti Mouillage, both popular with locals, are respectively a thirty- and forty-minute drive out of town; vendors offer grilled seafood, cold drinks, and tables right on the sand. In the hills above Jacmel, Bassin Bleu (right) is one of Haiti’s natural wonders, a series of deep river pools connected by waterfalls, approached through a narrow gorge. From the village of Grand Fond, the journey is made half walking, half climbing. The highest of the pools, Bassin Clair, is a magical spot, its clear blue water surrounded by boulders and trees — you’ll understand why locals tell stories about mermaids hiding in its depths.

Jacmel is famous across Haiti — and around the Caribbean — for its papiermâché craft, especially the spectacular masks worn by Carnival revellers. Dozens of small ateliers — concentrated on Rue du Commerce and Rue St Anne — sell these and other papier-mâché objects, ranging from small pieces of jewellery to gigantic wall sculptures, with animal and flower subjects in profusion. Wood carvings, paintings on canvas, and elaborately sequined vodou flags, all typical Haitian crafts, are also easy to find. Les Créations Moro — founded by an Egyptian couple who settled in Haiti decades ago — is noted for the quality of its crafts, and the nearby Fosaj Gallery sells art and crafts made by a collective of artisans, with sales supporting classes for young artists.

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Venturing out


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GEORGIA POPPLEWELL

Jacmel’s most famous literary son is poet and novelist René Depestre, born in 1926, a former resident of Cuba (where he helped found the Casa de las Américas), and living since the 1980s in France. He published his first book of poems at age nineteen, and is known also as an important essayist, often writing on the theme of Négritude. But Depestre’s best known and probably best loved book is the novel Hadriana dans tous mes rêves (Hadriana in All My Dreams), published in 1988, a magical realist love story that records the life and culture of Jacmel in the 1930s and 40s. The Manoir Alexandre, a stately brick townhouse looking over Place Louverture, surrounded by cascading gardens, is the original of Hadriana’s family house in the novel; it’s currently under restoration. Two flights of steps along the steep cliff that bisects the old town have recently been decorated with mosaics that allow pedestrians to read excerpts from Hadriana as they ascend. The steps that start on Avenue de la Liberté next to the bank (right) offer the opening passage of the novel.

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history

Carnival Jacmel’s annual pre-Lenten Carnival is reputed to be Haiti’s most colourful and creative, drawing thousands of visitors from across the country. It’s become so popular, in fact, that Carnival is now held here two weeks before Ash Wednesday, so as not to compete with celebrations in Port-au-Prince and other cities. Masqueraders and rara bands wind through the streets of the old town, jammed with spectators dancing along. The best views are from the upper balconies of older houses, and many allow visitors inside, for a modest fee, with bleachers also lining the streets. It’s the elaborate and often enormous papier-mâché masks that make Jacmel Carnival famous — each troupe has a theme, which can vary from current Haitian or international politics to history, mythology, and fauna. Other traditional masquerades include batwinged Maturin devils, and the intimidating Lanset Kod, covered with oil, molasses, or charcoal, wearing real cow horns, and wielding ropes — a reminder of the horrors of slavery which shaped Haiti’s past.

Jacmel was officially founded in 1698, as part of the French colony of Saint-Domingue, but the name is derived from the indigenous Taíno who once lived here. The town was the site of the infamous War of the Knives in the aftermath of the Haitian Revolution, and later in the nineteenth century became a wealthy port for shipping the coffee grown in the surrounding mountains. Jacmel was the first town in the whole Caribbean to be electrified, and its merchants competed to build impressive townhouses. A catastrophic fire in 1896 destroyed many of its buildings, but Jacmeliens soon rebuilt in a distinctive French creole style, with townhouses of brick, imported cast-iron pillars, and shady balconies. The January 2010 earthquake killed hundreds and damaged many of Jacmel’s houses and historic buildings, with restoration still in progress. The town remains one of Haiti’s most popular destinations for foreign tourists, with its charming architecture, quiet location far from the bustle of Port-au-Prince, and famous craft ateliers.

Co-ordinates 18.23º N 72.53ºW Sea level

hAiti

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Jacmel

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RouND TRIP

First things first the Caribbean’s history, culture, and landscapes were indelibly shaped by our first peoples — and the traces are easy to find, if you know where to look. A travellers’ guide to places across the region where you can encounter our indigenous heritage, both ancient and modern

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ong, long, long before the first Old World visitors arrived in the Caribbean at the end of the fifteenth century — triggering the huge demographic and cultural shift that shaped the region’s modern history — the islands of the Antilles were home to hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples. The Caribbean’s Taíno (sometimes called Arawak or Lucayan) and Carib populations were devastated by war, disease, and forced labour inflicted by early european colonists. But the heritage of these First Peoples

persists: in their DNA, still detectable in the modern-day populations of islands like Puerto Rico, in place names like Jamaica and Tobago, in cultural practices — and also in archaeological sites and artifacts found across the region. And, of course, they are still with us: there are small but thriving Carib (or Kalinago) communities in Dominica, St Vincent, and Trinidad, the indigenous population of Guyana is growing, and in countries like Jamaica and Cuba there’s a recent interest in identifying and celebrating elements of First Peoples’ culture that have quietly survived the centuries.

Romney Manor petroglyphs St Kitts

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Petroglyphs — images carved into rock — are among the most durable of archaeological remains, depending on the hardness of the original rock surface. Across the Caribbean, indigenous petroglyphs have been found at dozens of sites, marking significant locations like places for religious rituals or river fords, or simply recording directions for travel, or major events otherwise lost to recorded history. The Carib petroglyphs near Romney Manor in St Kitts are a particularly accessible example. St vincent’s Layou Petroglyph Park preserves the largest known petroglyph in the Antilles, and the island’s indigenous rock art has been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. And of the numerous examples in Guyana, the Aishalton petroglyphs, in the south Rupununi savannahs, are the most spectacular: 686 carvings have been counted here, together with the stone tools originally used to carve them.

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Caguana Puerto Rico

MICHELE FALzONE/ALAMY.COM

Near the town of Utuado, in west-central Puerto Rico, the Caguana ceremonial ball courts are one of the Caribbean’s most important archaeological sites. Dated to around 1270 CE, the area contains more than two dozen bateyes, or courts for playing batey, a ball game believed to have originated in Central America, brought to the Antilles by migrating peoples. Scholars suggest the balls were made of solid rubber, hit by teams of players using their hips, limbs, and special racquets. Surrounded by rings of carved stones, the courts at Caguana are thought to have been used by the Taíno for religious rituals, dances, and astronomical observations as well. Managed by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the site also includes a museum and botanical garden featuring plants like cassava and sweet potato, important Taíno crops.

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COURTESY THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF JAMAICA

wooden zemis Jamaica

COURTESY THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF JAMAICA

Among the artistic treasures preserved in the National Gallery of Jamaica is a series of extraordinary wooden Taíno carvings, whose purpose and history still excite debate among scholars. Commonly referred to as zemis — ritual objects dedicated to ancestral spirits — these carvings, dated to as early as the thirteenth century, owe their survival to their concealment in dry mountain caves. The most famous Jamaican zemis, found in 1792, have long been exiled in London, at the British Museum. The examples in the National Gallery of Jamaica’s collection, discovered only in the 1990s, are a ritual stool, an ornamented staff, and two utensils associated with the ingestion of cohoba, a hallucinogenic substance.

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Caracol Belize

KARAGRUBIS/ISTOCK.COM

The Caribbean region’s most dramatic indigenous sites are probably the ruined Mayan cities and temples near the coast of Central America — such as Caracol, eighty miles south-west of Belize City. Hundreds of structures cover an area of over seventy square miles, and in its heyday the city had a population of more than 100,000. Caracol assumed its present extent in the seventh century CE, but by 900 CE the great city full of palaces, temples, and monuments had collapsed. The most famous of the city’s ruins is also its largest: Canaa, also known as the Sky Palace. Caracol (Spanish for “snail”), of course, is not what its original inhabitants called the place. Interpreting Mayan glyphs found carved in stone, archaeologists have reconstructed the city’s name as Oxwitza, meaning “Three-Hills Water.”

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Carib Territory Dominica

Established by British authorities in 1903, reaffirmed at the country’s independence in 1978, Dominica’s self-administering Carib Territory on the remote east coast is the home of the island’s small Kalinago community, which survived centuries of colonial rule, preserving its community bonds and traditional life. Governed by an elected council and chief, headquartered in the village of Salybia, the population of approximately three thousand remains relatively isolated, but welcomes visitors interested in Kalinago history and culture. Traditional crafts like intricate basketwork are sold across the island, and the community’s skilled boat-builders, like the Stoute family, still make seaworthy dugout canoes similar to the ones in which their long-ago ancestors explored and settled the Antilles.

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Nappi Guyana

PETE OxFORD

Near the foothills of the Kanuku Mountains that bisect Guyana’s Rupununi savannahs, the Makushi village of Nappi is still a predominantly agricultural community. Nappi is also famous in Guyana as a centre for balata craft: miniature figurines depicting Rupununi fauna and traditional village life, meticulously crafted from the rubber-like latex of the balata tree, Manilkara bidentata. Craft from Nappi’s balata workshops even feature in Guyana’s national art collection, displayed at Castellani House in Georgetown. More recently, with the opening of the community-run Maipaima Eco-Lodge, Nappi has become a centre for eco-tourism, allowing access to the extraordinary wildlife of the surrounding savannahs and forests — like other indigenous villages in the region, such as Surama, Annai, Wowetta, and Yupukari, all of which host visitors at rustic guesthouses, offering traditional Rupununi hospitality.

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georgia popplewell

travellers’ tales

A taste of Cebu

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A tropical city in an archipelago of islands with a colonial history, populated by diverse ethnicities and languages, and home to a spectacular street Carnival — it sounds like the Caribbean, but it’s actually on the other side of the world. Georgia Popplewell on the delights of Cebu, the Philippines’ “second city”


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Preparing for a jaunt in an outrigger canoe off Mactan Island

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t’s the third Sunday in January, and I’m walking south along Gorordo Avenue in Cebu City. There’s a buzz in the air, the strain of music in the distance, the scent of grilling and frying from the food stands along the road. “Pit Senyor!” people greet each other in passing, and as we near our destination on General Maxilom Avenue the crowds grow denser. Our destination is the parade route for the culmination of Sinulog, Cebu City’s signature festival. According to the guidebooks, it’s not the largest or the shiniest festival in the Philippines, a country with a strong taste for pageantry. But viewed through the lens through which I see all costumed spectacles — Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival — the Sinulog parade looks plenty impressive. The troupes are sizeable and the costumes spectacular, especially the opulent, wide-skirted gowns worn by the queens, and a non-local could easily mistake this for a Caribbeanstyle Carnival, were it not for the fact that each troupe’s queen

carries a figurine of Señor Santo Niño, the Christ Child, wearing a crown and an ornate cape and very much resembling the Infant of Prague, with the added detail of golden boots. In the days leading up to the parade, pilgrims from all over the deeply Catholic Philippines and its diaspora will have converged upon the Basilica de Santo Niño to pay tribute to the actual Santo Niño (or rather his replica, displayed in a glass case). Also circulating among the troupes are giant puppets of saints and clerics. Our Cebuano friend Bino, however, points out areas along General Maxilom where the action will shift by nightfall into decidedly secular gear, and on the side streets the sound systems are already blaring, the party spirit ramping up around neighbourhood bars. The island of Cebu sits in the middle of the Visayas, one of three island groupings that make up the seven-thousand-island Philippine archipelago. Its capital, Cebu City, is dwarfed by Metro Manila, the country’s capital region. But in addition to being the country’s second city, Cebu is also its oldest, and if


Cebu City’s annual Sinulog festival pays tribute to the Santo Niño

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historical primacy translated into enduring regard, we would all know about Cebu. It would be a familiar name, for instance, in the narrative of globalisation, for some scholars consider it the site where the unending struggle between “east” and “west” began, in the form of the encounter between Lapu-Lapu, chieftain of Mactan island, and Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan — the world’s first instance of successful indigenous resistance to a foreign power, back in 1521. That encounter resulted in Magellan’s death, and turned Lapu-Lapu into a Philippine national hero. The Battle of Mactan is faithfully reenacted at the Kadaugan sa Mactan festival each April at the Mactan Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City. But the tide of history followed Magellan, and his sponsors, the Spanish, ended up winning the Philippines, followed three hundred years later by the United States, who received the islands in 1898 as part of their victory package in the SpanishAmerican War.


Viewed through the lens through which i see all costumed spectacles — trinidad and tobago’s Carnival — Cebu’s sinulog parade looks plenty impressive

thE philippinEs Luzon

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PATRIMONIO DESIGNS LTD/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

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he tide of history also shifted the action north to Luzon Island and Manila. Like many second cities, however, Cebu City is proud, welcoming, ambitious, independent. The Cebuano language, despite lacking official language-status in the Philippines and not being formally taught, has the largest native-speaking population in the country, and it’s Cebuano — not Filipino — that you hear in the streets of Cebu. With a population of nearly nine hundred thousand, Cebu City is by no means insubstantial. It’s large enough to offer many of the advantages — entertainment, shopping, several universities — and some of the glitz of Metro Manila, with smaller servings of traffic and urban sprawl, along with additional assets such as idyllic tropical scenery at close range. There are direct flights to Mactan Cebu International Airport from several Asian cities, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Seoul. As the country’s oldest city, Cebu has a rich colonial heritage and is home to several important historical sites and

Cebu City

museums. Foremost among these is Magellan’s Cross, site of the Philippines’ first Catholic mass, where a large hollow wooden cross is said to contain the remnants of the original cross of evangelisation. The country’s oldest religious relic, the image of the Santo Niño, or Christ Child, said to have been presented by Magellan to the Rajah of Cebu’s wife on her conversion to Christianity, is housed at the Santo Niño Basilica, considered by the Vatican to be the most important church in the Philippines. The Casa Gorordo Museum, housed in a grand old residence with features such as timber windows with capiz-shell panes, has displays of memorabilia related to Cebu’s traditional lifestyle. The Museo Sugbo, formerly the city’s provincial jail, is the province’s main historical museum, with collections and displays covering pre-colonial to modern periods. Also now WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 105


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The Philippines’ oldest city, Cebu has a population of nearly nine hundred thousand

a museum is the seventeenth-century Fort San Pedro, which has served as a fort, a prison for Cebuano rebels, and a military outpost during the US occupation. My personal favourite is the CAP Osmeña Museum, located in the former residence of Sergio Osmeña, a son of Cebu who served as the country’s fourth president from 1944 to 1946. Among the museum’s artefacts are an ancient elevator, a black Cadillac, and memorabilia associated with US General Douglas MacArthur, whom Osmeña accompanied on the former’s famous “return” to the Philippines — then occupied by Japan — near the end of the Second World War.

Filipino flavours A quick guide to the deliciously diverse cuisine of the Philippines. Adobo: sometimes called the Philippines’ national dish; chicked or pork cooked in a marinade of vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce Longanisa: a meat sausage; its seasonings and spices vary depending on the region Pinakbet: vegetables steamed in shrimp or fish sauce Pancit: Chinese noodles, adapted to Filipino ingredients Lumpia: steamed or fried spring rolls Kinilaw: Filipinos’ take on ceviche Sisig: meat or fish marinated in lemon juice or vinegar Sinigang: a tangy tamarind-flavoured soup

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he evening after the Sinulog festivities, we drive up to Tops lookout in the hills of Busay, where, wrapped in shawls against the evening chill, we take in the views of Metro Cebu and the islands of Mactan and Olango two thousand feet below. On the way back, we stop at the Busay branch of Lantaw Native Restaurant, where we sit out on a wide wooden deck among chattering Cebuano families, while our Filipino friends order up a feast of tangy soups, vegetables sautéed in mouthwatering sauces, and all manner of fried and grilled meat and fresh seafood. That Filipino cuisine isn’t as well known as that of its Asian neighbours is a likely result of the country’s cultural diversity — its myriad culinary influences make it difficult to categorise. A Filipino hotel buffet might include ostensibly Spanish items like adobo and longanisa, pancit and lumpia from China, biko and suman from Indonesia, and delightful fusions such as turrón de banana, a delicate banana-filled spring roll. Lately, however, “native” Filipino dishes like pinakbet, kinilaw, sisig, and sinigang have emerged from family kitchens to become the centrepieces of the menus in restaurants like Cebu’s Lantaw, Golden Cowrie, and Orange Karenderia, a funky take on a traditional working people’s cafeteria. Few carnivores probably visit the Philippines without sampling lechon (roast suckling pig) from a roadside restaurant, or an upscale fast food joint like Cebu’s Zubu Chon. Cebuanos claim to make the best lechon in the country, and I’ve even met Manileños who’ll admit that in this respect, at least, the country’s second city rules. n


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engage

108 Smarter medicine Discover

110 When London was the place On this day

A West Indian conductor on a London bus in the 1950s


Discover

Smarter medicine The death of his grandmother, a cancer patient, was a personal tragedy — but Guyanese-American scientist Niven Narain turned that loss into the inspiration to help others. Now, working at the cutting edge of medical research, Narain is using artificial intelligence to create pharmaceuticals that are better and cheaper for all. Erline Andrews learns more Photograph courtesy Berg LLC

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hen he was thirteen years old, Niven Narain lost his grandmother to cancer. “I watched her go through nine months that were just horrific,” he recalls. “We felt helpless. As soon as we heard ‘cancer,’ all we thought of was death. She was going to die. This is the end. There was no hope. “I remember thinking at her funeral, ‘I just have to do something about this,’” he says. “My inspiration came not only from her death, but from watching the effect of her death on the family.” The experience had a monumental impact on Narain’s life — and now, potentially, the lives of many others. Today, Narain is a clinical scientist at the cutting edge of research that will dramatically improve the way we treat some of the most common terminal

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illnesses, including cancer. Narain, a Guyanese-American who lives in Boston, is the co-founder of Berg, a pharmaceutical company promising to deliver big things. The Berg product nearest to market is a cancer drug that may be able to treat the disease more effectively, with fewer side effects, and no need for debilitating chemotherapy. “We have the chance to change the paradigm of how cancer is treated,” Narain says. Pharmaceutical companies typically make drugs from a bank of chemicals and then test them for effectiveness in a process that can take more than a decade and cost billions of dollars, contributing to the high cost of prescription medication. Narain and Berg think there’s a better way. The company designs its drugs by looking at data collected from the tissue and lifestyle information of hundreds of patients. This amount of information would be too much for human researchers to assess, so the

company uses artificial intelligence to sort the data, creating medical treatments in a shorter amount of time, for less money, and more closely matched to patients’ biology — which makes the treatment more likely to work and have fewer side effects. Now thirty-seven, Narain was born in Guyana. His parents moved to the Bahamas when he was a toddler, then later to Miami, Florida. He went to the University of Miami, where he later worked as a researcher. He was a bright kid, but could have missed his calling were it not for certain interventions. Both Narain’s parents were teachers, and understood the importance of study and discipline. “On Saturdays, I would only get to watch TV for an hour, if I would go through all my math,” he says. In high school, his many different interests — including baseball — almost steered him from his course.“I have to give credit to a Guyanese teacher in the Bahamas. He said to me at recess, ‘If you could just focus your damn self on biology, you’d probably do good,’” Narain remembers. “He put me up to a challenge. He said, ‘Promise just to spend an extra hour and just be focused on this one drawing.’ It was the gastro-intestinal system. I did, and I got full marks on the test.” Later, while working at the University of Miami, Narain met Carl Berg, a real estate and venture capital mogul, and business executive Mitch Gray. “The relationship was really born out of frustration,” he says. “I realised in the developed world doctors are really told to treat patients by a line of therapy — which drugs should be prescribed in certain situations. There’s no real space for innovation, for asking why we’re doing this, and is there a better way of doing drugs.” “I wanted to do something really bold,” he says.


“There are thirty thousand genes [in the human body],” says Niven Narain. “What artificial intelligence is helping us to do is integrate that knowledge base”

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harmaceutical companies don’t have the best reputation right now. US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently named them among her enemies, and earlier this year entrepreneur Martin Shkreli showed how greed can fuel the price of life-saving drugs, when he acquired the rights to a cheaply manufactured HIV drug and increased the cost to patients by five thousand per cent. Na ra in ack nowledges t hat some companies don’t “put patients at the centre.” But this is changing, he says. “I think most of the industry is actually making an effort.” He points to the Precision Medicine Initiative of US President Barack Obama and the 100,000 Genomes Project introduced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron as examples of new attitudes towards medicine. “The government, the big companies, and especia lly the sma ller biotech companies in the field are making that

shift, where folks realise they need to put the patient in the centre,” Narain says. “What’s going to happen in the next few years is that the power is going to be reshifted to the patient, which is where it should be.” And artificial intelligence is going to be an important part of medical technology going forward — dire warnings about computer s t a k i ng over t he world not w ithstanding. “T here are thir t y thousand genes [in the human body],” Narain says. “There’s no way we can understand human biology by ourselves. What AI is helping us to do is integrate that knowledge base, and understand how a cancer cell behaves differently from a normal cell. AI in the context of how Berg is using it, how the science world is using, it is really positive.” N a r a i n , w h o ’s m a r r i e d t o a neuropsychologist, would like to see scientists get more attention in the

Caribbean. He’s involved in a programme, Science from Scientists, to encourage elementary and high school students in the US state of Massachusetts to take up science by having actual researchers teach and mentor them. He’d like to see similar programmes in the Caribbean, which he says is an “untapped” source of innovative talent. “There are so many other Caribbean scientists in the world who I meet and are doing amazing things. There are so many kids that could probably do even better than me,” he says. “I think there are lots of people like me who are willing to volunteer time, effort, and money to help those programmes.” Narain visits the Caribbean regularly, he says. His favourite island is Trinidad. His younger brother Stephen is a writer, and often participates in the annual NGC Bocas Lit Fest there. Narain says his Caribbean heritage, and the region’s colonial history, contribute significantly to his attitude towards work and life. “I was flying to London last month. I had an interview with the BBC,” he recalls. “As I was landing in London, I wasn’t thinking about myself, I wasn’t thinking about Berg, I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing today. “I was thinking about the generations before who set the foundation for me, the ones who toiled and worked to allow me to have that opportunity. It keeps me very humble and grounded,” he says. “No matter what we do, I always remember that you always have to serve.” n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 109


on this day

When London was the place

Sixty years ago, facing a labour shortage on buses and trains, London Transport began recruiting employees in Barbados. For Caribbean immigrants in 1950s London, life wasn’t always easy, but as James Ferguson explains, they changed the city for good Illustration by Rohan Mitchell

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he past is a foreign country; they do things differently there,” wrote L.P. Hartley in The Go-Between, published in 1953. And how foreign that decade, the 1950s, now appears to us. Bleak postwar Britain was a monochrome country of bomb sites, rationing, and social conformity. Entrenched in the Cold War and still traumatised by conflict, it had lost much of the optimism that accompanied the end of the Second World War. Youth culture, freedom, diversity were yet to blossom. Yet amid the gloom and fatigue there was a sense of something new. Discontent was growing throughout what remained of the British Empire (India had gained independence in 1947). Meanwhile, the task of rebuilding the damaged country meant there was full employment, and more workers were needed in public-sector jobs such as nursing and transport. Where could Britain look to fill these jobs? The answer was simple: to its colonial territories, and particularly to those where unemployment was high. That is how a gentleman named Charles Gomm found himself

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at a health clinic in Enmore, outside the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown, on 7 February, 1956 — sixty years ago. A photograph shows him sitting in front of a public health poster advising about tuberculosis, dapper (and presumably rather overwarm) in a black suit and white bow tie. A group of young men are gathered around him, listening attentively.


Gomm had been sent to the Caribbean in his role as recruitment officer for the London Transport Executive, and his mission was to hire Barbadians (men only, it seems) to work on London’s buses and in the Underground. They were offered the prospect of steady pay, evening classes, access to the National Health Service, and a place in a hostel at £3 10s per week for board and lodging. The Barbadian government would lend successful applicants the money to pay their fare. In return, they were expected to have “good colour vision” if railmen, explained the Barbados Advocate, and if bus conductors, “an ability to cope with all types of passengers without getting flustered.” Charles Gomm was clearly persuasive, because seventy men signed up after this first visit; more came from Barbados every two months, and by late 1961 some two thousand Bajans were employed by London Transport, rising to 3,787 twelve years later. Such was the success of the scheme that it was rolled out to Jamaica and Trinidad in 1966. In 1968, London Transport estimated that it had about nine thousand West Indian staff employed in a workforce of seventy-three thousand. This included around two thousand in departments such as catering, many of whom were women.

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orkers came to Britain from the Caribbean to do many other types of jobs. In his monumental book Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, Peter Fryer writes: “The British Hotels and Restaurants Association recruited skilled workers in Barbados. And a Tory health minister by the name of Enoch Powell welcomed West Indian nurses to Britain. Willing black hands drove tube trains, collected bus fares, emptied hospital patients’ bed-pans.” Most of the newcomers to London Transport were skilled workers, but were prepared to accept low-status work in the hope of promotion — which often happened. Because of the organisation’s size and resources, training was an important route to advancement. Underground station staff might aspire to become guards, drivers, and eventually inspectors. Those who stayed climbed up the career ladder. There were obstacles and problems, however — not least the attitudes of many British people, who offered a chilly welcome. Caribbean immigrants often found it hard to secure

The task of rebuilding the damaged country meant there was full employment, and more workers were needed in publicsector jobs such as nursing and transport. Where could Britain look to fill these jobs?

accommodation, and faced differing sorts of prejudice. Bad weather, sordid digs, and even racist violence were some of their daily ordeals. Winters were particularly painful. “I was so cold I slept in pyjamas, trousers, and socks,” recalled Sam Springer, who came from Barbados in 1959 to work as a station man. “The only thing I didn’t sleep in was shoes.” Trinidadian Samuel Selvon’s novel The Lonely Londoners, published in the year of Charles Gomm’s trip to Barbados, is a bittersweet account of the struggle for survival (and indomitable sense of humour) of Caribbean migrants in 1950s London. Jamaican Alvin Gladstone Bennett also took an ironic look at British racism in his novel Because They Know Not (1959): Since I come ’ere I never met a single English person who ’ad any colour prejudice. Once, I walked the whole length of a street looking for a room, and everyone told me that he or she ’ad no prejudice against coloured people. It was the neighbour who was stupid . . . Neighbours are the worst people to live beside in this country. But not everything was doom and gloom for London’s new communities. Solidarity was strong between migrants from the same island, and even across the old island divides. Caribbean culture and tastes became implanted in the capital, more strongly in areas such as Brixton and Notting Hill than in others. (I well remember the sensory exuberance of Brixton Market in the mid 1960s, before the inevitable gentrification of recent years). Churches found their congregations increasing, cricket clubs eagerly snapped up talented Caribbean players, and house parties attracted young Londoners of all backgrounds (and annoyed many others). In a booklet produced in 2006 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Barbadian recruitment scheme, Sybil Campbell, who came from Jamaica in 1961 to work as a canteen assistant, recalled: A friend of a friend got me my room and it was easy to make friends. There were loads of house parties. You had ska, twist, and blue beats. Cars would pull up to you and they would ask if you were looking for a party and you’d say yes and they’d take you out and bring you back, with no strings attached. You were drinking your Cherry B, VP wine — you’d get up with a headache but you’d still go to work! The cultural impact on London and other British cities was profound and long-lasting. Government policy changed and immigration was restricted from 1962, but a generation of migrants from the Caribbean had already put down roots and were looking to the future. The 2011 census reported that 4.2 per cent of Londoners (344,597 in all) defined themselves as “Black/ African/Caribbean/Black British: Caribbean,” with Croydon the most Caribbean of boroughs. As for Charles Gomm, he was awarded the MBE in January 1967. History does not record whether he ever returned to Barbados, but his visit there sixty years ago played no small part in the transformation of London into today’s polychrome multicultural city. n WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 111


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Across 1 Sculpture made from paper [6-5] 6 The Fresh Prince of ____ Air [3] 8 Enticed [5] 9 Put it harshly [8] 11 What Londoners call the Tube [11] 13 Hard water [3] 14 This to my yang [3] 15 Do they really see the future? [8] 19 They’re in both bodies and cathedrals [6] 20 Mr Omnipotent [3] 21 Brazilian Carnival city [3] 22 They follow in your wake [11] 25 Yoga style named for “eight limbs” [8] 27 Not a drinker but . . . [5] 28 Moving with some curve [3] 29 Sint Maarten’s capital [11]

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12 Opens a drain [7] 16 Poker genius? [9] 17 Jacmelien heroine of René Depestre’s famous novel [8] 18 Young child [6] 20 Architecture full of spires and pointed arches [5] 23 They protect our shores [5] 24 Shoulder language [5] 26 Every last one [3]

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE by James Hackett There are 10 differences between these two pictures. How many can you spot?

Spot the Difference answers Patterns on the sails are different; smaller boat has an extra line on its left sail; hillside has more detail; one boat is missing an inner cabin; boat itself has different line details; smaller boat is in slightly different position; water details are different; colours of small boat’s sail are different; there are birds in the picture on the right; there are no clouds in the picture on the left.

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Caribbean Beat Magazine

Caribbean Beat Magazine

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Sudoku 9x9 - Puzzle 5 of 5 - Very Hard Very hard 9x9 sudoku puzzle

Sudoku

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If the puzzle you want to do has already been filled in, just ask your flight attendant for a new copy of the magazine!

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Caribbean Beat Magazine 137 ws answers. pdf.pdf

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Caribbean Airlines Facts Incorporation date 27 September 2006

Operational Launch 01 January 2007

Website www.caribbean-airlines.com

Corporate headquarters Iere House, Golden Grove Road, Piarco, Trinidad, West Indies + 868 669 3000

Airline code BW Fleet 12 Boeing 737-800 5 ATR 72-600 On-time performance 83% (2015 year-to-date: 7 October)

Reservations + 800 744 2225 (toll-free) + 868 625 7200 (Trinidad & Tobago) Operational hub Piarco International Airport, Trinidad, West Indies Norman Manley International Airport, Jamaica (Air Jamaica brand)

Markets Antigua (ANU) Barbados (BGI) Caracas, Venezuela (CCS) Castries, St Lucia (SLU) Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA (FLL) Georgetown, Guyana (GEO) Kingston, Jamaica (KIN) Miami, Florida, USA (MIA)

New York, New York, USA (JFK) Orlando, Florida, USA (MCO) Paramaribo, Suriname (PBM) St George’s, Grenada (GND) St Maarten (SXM) Tobago (TAB) Toronto, Canada (YYZ) Trinidad (POS)

Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ)

Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)

Cargo & Parcel Service We have raised the standard of delivery with our complete Air and Ground Transportation Network. We offer you dedicated Freighter Services, frequent line flights, and punctual interconnecting truck schedules. Our thrice-weekly freighter service on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays offers connections to North America and Caribbean gateways, while our JetPak Service is an Express Small Package Service that offers speedy and reliable airport-to-airport delivery of your urgent small shipments. Loyalty programmes Caribbean Miles, Club Caribbean and 7th Heaven Rewards


Caribbean Airlines Across the World Nassau Trinidad Head Office

Airport: Piarco International Reservations & information: + 868 625 7200 (local) Ticket offices: Nicholas Towers, Independence Square, Port of Spain; Golden Grove Road, Piarco; Carlton Centre, San Fernando Baggage: + 868 669 3000 Ext 7513/4

Antigua

Airport: VC Bird International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing: VC Bird International Airport Hours: Mon – Fri 8 am – 4 pm Baggage: + 268-480-5705 Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun, or + 268 462 0528 Mon, Wed, Sat. Hours: Mon – Fri 4 am – 10 pm

Barbados

Airport: Grantley Adams International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticket office: Sunjet House, Independence Square, Fairchild Street, Bridgetown Baggage: + 246 428 1650 and 426 428 1651

Grenada

Airport: Maurice Bishop International Reservations & Information: 1 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing: Maurice Bishop International Main Terminal Baggage: + 473 439 0681

Jamaica (Kingston)

Airport: Norman Manley International Reservations & information: + 800 523 5585 (International) 1 888 359 2475 (Local) City Ticket Office: 128 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6 Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30 am – 5.30 pm, Saturdays 10 am – 4 pm Airport Ticket Office: Norman Manley Airport Counter #1 Hours: 3.30 am – 8 pm daily Baggage: + 876 924 8500

Jamaica (Montego Bay)

Airport: Sangster International Reservations & information: + 800 744 2225 (toll free) Ticketing at check-in counter: 8.30 am – 6 pm daily Baggage: + 876 363 6433

Airport: Lynden Pindling International Terminal: Concourse 2 Reservations & information: + 1 242 377 3300 (local) Airport Ticket Office: Terminal A-East Departure Hours: Flight days – Sat, Mon, Thurs 10 am – 4 pm Non-flight days – Tues, Wed, Fri 10 am – 4 pm Flight Information: + 1 242 377 3300 (local) Baggage: + 1 242 377 7035 Ext 255 9 am – 5 pm daily

St Maarten

Airport: Princess Juliana International Reservations & information: + 1721 546 7660/7661 (local) Ticket office: PJIA Departure Concourse Baggage: + 1721 546 7660/3 Hours: Mon – Fri 9 am – 5 pm / Sat 9 am – 6 pm

St Lucia

Airport: George F L Charles Reservations & information: 1 800 744 2225 Ticket office: George F.L. Charles Airport Ticket office hours: 10 am – 4 pm Baggage contact number: 1 758 452 2789 or 1 758 451 7269

Tobago

Airport: ANR Robinson International Reservations & information: + 868 660 7200 (local) Ticket office: ANR Robinson International Airport Baggage: + 639 0595 / 631 8023 Flight information: + 868 669 3000

Fort Lauderdale

Orlando

Airport: Orlando International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Terminal A – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – Mon/Fri 10:30 am – 1.30 pm Tue/Thur 12.30 pm – 3.30 pm) Baggage: + 407 825 3482

New York

Airport: John F Kennedy International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Concourse B, Terminal 4, JFK International – open 24 hours (situated at departures, 4th floor) Baggage: + 718 360 8930

Toronto

Airport: Lester B Pearson International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticket office: Terminal 3 Ticketing available daily at check-in counters 422 and 423. Available 3 hours prior to departure times Baggage: + 905 672 9991

Caracas

Airport: Simón Bolívar International Reservations & information: + 58 212 3552880 Ticketing: Simón Bolívar International Level 2 – East Sector Hours: 7 am – 11 pm City Ticket Office: Sabana Grande Boulevard, Building “Galerias Bolivar”, 1st Floor, office 11-A, Caracas, Distrito Capital + 58 212 762 4389 / 762 0231 Baggage: + 58 424 1065937

Airport: Hollywood Fort Lauderdale International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: Terminal 4 – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – 7 am to 6 pm) Baggage: + 954 359 4487

Miami

Airport: Miami International Reservations & information: + 800 920 4225 (toll free) Ticketing: South Terminal J – departures level (during flight check-in ONLY – 11.30 am to 3.00 pm); Baggage: + 305 869 3795

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 115


737 onboard Entertainment — January/february Caribbean Airlines has introduced a second movie on flights of four hours and over, thus providing continuous entertainment to you, our valued customer.

Southbound + Westbound

The Martian

Chasing Mavericks

Pan! Our Music Odyssey

Music and Lyrics

Stranded after a fierce storm, an astronaut must find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive — and in the meantime survive on the hostile planet.

Jay is a fifteen-year-old who forms a unique friendship with local surfing legend Frosty, while training to survive one of the biggest waves on Earth.

A washed-up 1980s pop star gets a chance at a comeback when a pop diva invites him to write and record a duet with her.

Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig • director: Ridley Scott • sci-fi, adventure • 141 minutes

Gerard Butler, Elisabeth Shue, Jonny Weston • director: Curtis Hanson, Michael Apted • drama, sports • 116 minutes

During the Second World War, developed nations savaged one another: the planet was on fire. In Trinidad and Tobago, underprivileged urban gangs used oil drums to create a new musical instrument. Paul Bandey, Maurice Brash, Errol Fabien • director: Jerome Guiot, Thierry Teston • musical, documentary • 82 minutes

Haley Bennett, Hugh Grant, Drew Barrymore • director: Marc Lawrence • comedy, romance • 104 minutes

Southbound + Westbound

Pan

Valentine’s Day

The Intern

Identity Thief

Teamed with the warrior Tiger Lily and a new friend named James Hook, Peter must defeat the ruthless pirate Blackbeard to save Neverland and discover his true destiny — to become the hero known as Peter Pan.

A group of Los Angeles residents navigate their way through romance and heartbreak over the course of one Valentine’s Day.

Widower Ben, finding that retirement is not all it’s cracked up to be, gets an internship at a fashion website run by the young, career-driven Jules

When Sandy tracks down and confronts the woman that has stolen his identity, he ends up embarking on a cross-country adventure with her.

Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Patrick Dempsey, Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper • director: Garry Marshall • comedy, romance • 125 minutes

Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo • director: Nancy Meyers • comedy, drama • 121 minutes

Jason Bateman, Melissa McCarthy, Jon Favreau • director: Seth Gordon • comedy • 111 minutes

Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara • director: Joe Wright • adventure, fantasy • 111 minutes

f ebr u ar y

Northbound + Eastbound

J A NU A R Y

Northbound + Eastbound

Audio Channels

5

The Hits

6

9

Irie Vibes

10

Soft Hits

Jazz Sessions

7 11

Soca

Kaiso Kaiso

8 12

East Indian Fusion

Steelband Jamboree

WWW.CARIBBEAN-AIRLINES.COM 117


PARTING SHoT

WILD FRONTIeR

T

he forests and mountains of Guyana’s north-west are only 150 miles from Georgetown, as the harpy eagle flies — but they can seem half a world and several centuries away. Flat-topped Ayangaik Mountain, a sandstone tepui rising from the forest canopy, looks utterly remote, but the Amerindian village of Kamarang to the south is an important centre for gold and diamond mining.

Photography by Corbis Images 120 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


Caribbean Beat — January/February 2016 (#137)  

Inside this issue — Caribbean diaspora events in January/February 2016, including a spotlight on Trinidad Carnival; new Caribbean diaspora m...

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