i105/april 2014 ISSN 1464-7087
APRIL 2014 SNM 1
2 SNM APRIL 2014
contents 105 | APRIL 2014
For all the latest UK and Caribbean based news stories.
10 BOOK REVIEWS
Bageye at the Wheel
25 years On
16 KERWIN DU BOIS
He Was Born For This
18 BUNJI GARLIN
Ready For The road
Albums and singles chart
Where to go and what to do
Airport Passenger Duty
FEATURES 26 AS GOOD AS IT GETS
Notting Hill Carnival
28 TWENTY CARNIVALS
IN A DAY
FEELING LEFT OUT? If you’re a promoter, artist, prroducer, carnival organiser, mas band, steelband, soca sound, community group or other participant who’s feeling left out because we didn’t mention your event, music, band or just something about which you think the world should know, the remedy is in your hands. Use them to pick up the telephone now: dial + 44 (0) 8452 577 622 and tell us about your plans; or write to us at: Soca News, Joseph Charles Publishing, 86-90 Paul Street, London, EC2A 4NE; or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, Soca News is the only magazine dedicated to the music and culture of Carnival. Our readers include soca-lovers, band-leaders, promoters, DJs and carnival arts funders. If you don’t tell Soca News, we can’t tell our readers!
The views expressed in Soca News are not necessarily the views of the editor or the publisher. All material contained within this publication is the copyright of Soca News. No material, written or photographic may be reproduced in any way without the written permission of the publisher. No liability will be accepted for any errors which may occur within the magazine. APRIL 2014 SNM 3
LETTER I really like this time of the year; it reminds me of the starting point of a race. And, of course, the finish line is that weekend at the end of August when it’s Notting Hill Carnival time - and by our clock it will be celebrating its 50th birthday. Right now, it’s all about band launches. At the last count there were about eight taking place this month alone; for a full listing check out the events section on pages 21 and 22, and for additional and up-to-the-minute information visit socanews. com/events. We’re also taking the opportunity to celebrate Kerwin DuBois, erstwhile UK resident and Trinidad’s 2014 Groovy Soca Monarch, whose name is now synonymous across the soca diaspora with great performance as well as the creation of many hit songs for others. For more information about news and carnival-related events, and to find some sweet soca music to listen to (and videos to watch), please visit socanews.com. If you are a carnival organiser, promoter, mas band, steelband, soca sound, community group or other participant who’s feeling left out because we didn’t mention your event, or if you’d like to advertise in the magazine or online, the remedy is in your hands. Get in touch! All our contact details are on the right hand side of this page. Yours in soca
Joseph Charles The Editor
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UNITED COLOURS OF MAS (UCOM) Photographer Fiona Compton THIS ISSUE OF SOCA NEWS WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY: PUBLISHER & EDITOR Joseph Charles SUB-EDITOR Katie Segal LAYOUT & DESIGN Joseph Charles SOME OF OUR WRITERS
Katie Segal, Nicole-Rachelle Moore, Stephen Spark, Martin Jay THE MEN WITH THE CAMERAS
Victor Morris, Chris Boothman, Stephen Spark, peter Hiogan ADVERTISING SALES
+ 44 (0) 845 257 7622 PUBLISHED BY
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Lewis Hamilton to race in Barbados On the weekend of 17 and 18 May, Barbados will be host to the inaugural Top Gear Festival Barbados, to take place at the newly renovated Bushy Park Circuit. And the newest, biggest news is that Lewis Hamilton will be appearing at the festival, behind the wheel of this Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One car. This will be a chance to witness Lewis drive in only his second season with Mercedes, having joined the Silver Arrows works team for the 2013 season and achieved five pole positions in his F1 W04 car. Petrol-heads are in for a for a thrilling weekend of high-octane motoring action as Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond take part in a non-stop schedule of motoring antics that will see The Stig and the Top Gear Live stunt driving team take to the track in a series of thrilling stunts, races and challenges. Tanner Foust, who co-hosts the US version of Top Gear, will also be attending, in a bid to encourage American fans to try out the Caribbean event. The Red Bull Global Rallycross will also hold the first round of their 2014 season at the festival, with some of their best drivers competing on the track, including Ken Block, Bucky Lasek and Scott Speed.
LEWIS HAMILTON - MERCEDES DRIVER
Petra Roach, Vice President of the Barbados Tourism Authority UK, said, “By bringing the F1 W04 to Barbados, we’re bringing the thrill of Formula One to the festival. Having been driven by Lewis and his team mate Nico Rosberg during last year’s season, it achieved three race wins, nine podium appearances and eight pole positions. Riding on this wave of success, we’re excited to bring the car to Barbados for an unmissable weekend of top racing action.” Places at the thrilling motoring weekend are limited, and visitors are encouraged to book early so as not to miss the most exciting new event on Barbados’ entertainment and motoring calendar. Bushy Park is a short drive from the island’s capital Bridgetown, and from the international airport. Tickets are on sale and priced at BBD$75 (approx. £22) for a general admission ticket, BBD$200 (approx. £59) for a Club House ticket and BBD$500 (approx. £149) for a VIP Marquee ticket. Children’s tickets are also available, starting from BBD$50 (approx. £15) for a general admission ticket. For more information about ticket packages or to book, visit www.topgearfestivalbarbados.com.
SOCANEWS.COM/ARTICLES APRIL 2014 SNM 5
one world School house in the Caribbean
LONDON SCHOOL OF SAMBA @ NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL IN 2004
WORDS. NICOLLE-RACHELLE MOORE
A Canadian organisation has reached out to Caribbean countries in its mission to advocate and support literacy as a right that improves human and social development. The Oneworld Schoolhouse Foundation connects schools in Ontario with surplus/underutilised books and resources to under-resourced schools in the Caribbean. Oneworld Schoolhouse has already undertaken projects in Grenada and St Lucia, with a focus on collecting, sorting and distributing books to recipient schools, encouraging students in Ontario to be socially responsible towards their fellow global classmates through literary recycling, promoting global literacy, and showing recipient students that people internationally are committed to investing in their success, regardless of distance/nationality. The foundation has other Caribbean projects in mind - with Haiti being a priority in 2014 - and welcomes prospective recipient schools in the English-speaking Caribbean. Interested parties may get in touch by email,at email@example.com with a brief description of resource needs. Further information may be accessed at oneworldschoolhouse.org 6 SNM APRIL 2014
london school of Samba celebrates 30 years London School of Samba (LSS) is the UK’s original samba school, and celebrated its 30th anniversary on 31 January. Since 1984, Unidos de Londres has taught samba drumming and dancing to tens of thousands of individuals, and performed for millions of people. It was formed by a group of talented drummers, and was one of the first schools of Samba in Europe. Unidos de Londres intends to showcase its thirtieth year with several performances and celebrations. For more information about London School of Samba and upcoming events, visit londonschoolofsamba.co.uk
no more bake and shark ‘Bake and shark’ is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most popular foods, and is legendary as the fast food of choice at the famous Maracas beach. But its days as a seaside sandwich may be numbered; local conservationists Papa Bois Conservation Group have launched a shark-saving campaign.
fringe St Lucia 2014 JACOB ROSS
TV STATION PROMISES CARNIVAL COVERAGE London’s new television station, London Live, which launched in March, has announced that it will give full coverage to Notting Hill Carnival. If the station lives up to its promise this will be a major boost for the carnival, which has been poorly served by mainstream TV stations in recent years. The BBC used to air a programme on the event, but it was axed - to the relief of many carnivalists who felt it presented a biased view of Carnival. BBC, ITV and Channel 4 formerly provided quite extensive coverage in their news bulletins, but this too has been stripped back. As a result, many Londoners are no longer even aware of the date of the UK capital’s biggest annual outdoor festival. The station announced that it wants to have Notting Hill Carnival as the centrepiece of its latesummer coverage. In The Guardian’s words: “When the annual celebration of multicultural London stomps through Notting Hill next August it will, for the first time, be played out on a free-to-air TV channel dedicated entirely to the capital.”
Brighton will host a taste of St Lucia between 19 and 28 May with the inaugural Fringe St. Lucia festival. This will be the first cultural exchange to twin Brighton–based artists with their creative peers in St Lucia, and will coincide with the St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival and the Brighton Fringe. Audiences in both countries will enjoy cultural treats from each other’s artists, including LGBT-interest events. Literature will be the focus of this cross-arts event, which includes Caribbean Laureate Adrian Augier, Kendel Hippolyte, performance poet George ‘Fish’ Alphonse and filmmaker Davina Lee. Brighton-based award-winning poets John Agard and Grace Nichols will feature, as will LGBT poet Dean Atta, Kadija Sesay and storyteller and memoirist Umi Sinha. Guest artists from the Caribbean include Grenadian Jacob Ross, LGBT British-born Bajan Dorothea Smartt and Jamaican Jacob Glave of the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-Flag). Visiting poets, performers and filmmakers will pair with UK artists to participate in this microfestival within the Brighton Fringe, and the launch event will feature a competition to attend next year’s Fringe St Lucia in the Caribbean. The event is free, but must be booked in advance. Whether or not summer arrives in May, Brighton will be hot thanks to Fringe St Lucia! For further information visit www.fringestlucia.com. APRIL 2014 SNM 7
miss t&T uk now ‘trinidad & tobago uk queens’ Promoter of the popular Miss Trinidad & Tobago UK competition, Carivog International have rebranded the event for 2014. The pageant will now be called Trinidad & Tobago UK Queens, and will incorporate the following four categories: Ms Teen Trinidad & Tobago UK (age 16-19; height 5ft 4 min.) Ms Trinidad & Tobago UK (age 18-30; height 5ft min.; dress size 8 max.; single with no children). Trinidad & Tobago Queen (age 18-30; height 5ft min.; dress size 8 max.; with or without children).
KARIMAH FARRAEL - MISS T&T UK 2013
Carnival in Norway We can now safely say that there’s a carnival no matter where we look in the world, and Norway is joining that ever-burgeoning list. The carnival, billed as Oslo Karneval 2014, is scheduled to take place from Friday 20 until Sunday 22 June, and the Caribbean element is being administered by Ida Evita deLeon, Oda Gundersen, Mary Matovou and Tuva Ekelund. For more information, watch this space; you can also visit their facebook page or email tuva. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms Plus Trinidad & Tobago UK (age 18-30; height 5ft 6 min.; dress size 12 plus)
st kitts music festival
The event has been restructured to incorporate a wider section of beautiful young nationals who possess beauty, intelligence and personality. Anyone interested in taking part should register their interest by contacting Carivog International on 07958 336 694, by emailing misstntuk@carivog. com, or by visiting www.misstntuk.com.
Thursday 26 and Saturday 28 June. Some of the acts taking part this year include Tessane Chin winner of the 2013 hit NBC show The Voice in America, Bennie Man and Chronixx. For further information, contact the St Kitts Tourism Authority on +44 (0) 20 7376 0881 or visit www.stkittsmusicfestival.net
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books bageye at the wheel
By Colin Grant Cape, paperback edition 288pp £8.99 “Englishman a-watch see which way you turn” Colin Grant’s third book is a memoir of growing up in Luton in the 1970s and, more specifically, his experiences and observations of his father Bageye (so called due to the bags under his eyes caused in part by his night work at the Vauxhall factory) through the eyes of his ten year old self. He and his family live on the Farley Hill council estate, which was built for and primarily populated by Irish working class families. The book is, by turns, hilarious, poignant and tense, with vignettes of both the Grant family dynamics and Bageye’s interactions with his fellow Caribbean immigrants - men with nicknames like Anxious, Pioneer, Soon Come, Summer Wear and Tidy Boots. Colin Grant offers a finely drawn, detailed but never ponderous, portrait of his family life and the lives of other Caribbean migrants in Luton at a specific time in England’s history. We come to appreciate the way Grant presents us with all the funny, sad, tender and tough memories of his father through a ten year old’s innocence and experiences of life.
BLACK BRITISH REBELS: FIGURES FROM WORKING CLASS HISTORY
OTHER RECOMMENDED READS
By Hassan Mahamdallie Bookmarks, paperback edition 40pp £3
DIPLOMATIC POUNDS & OTHER STORIES
This slim book is packed with inspiring and revealing stories of men and women (all of whom came to Britain from other countries) who took committed, courageous and meaningful stands against the establishment’s exploitation of workers, including slaves. Mahamdallie’s book spans the centuries, from the 1750s to the 1970s, and brings to life six figures, including the well known African abolitionist Olaudah Equiano and the less familiar Communist Party MP Shapurji Saklatvala, who popularly represented white working class people in Battersea in the 1920s. An educative and fascinating read.
By Ama Ata Aidoo Ayebia, paperback edition 170pp £10.99
A rich collection of short stories by the doyenne of African women writers. The twelve stories are a mix of details, experiences and perspectives, all of which are narrated by women and give due significance to everyday life. The oral nature of the writing in these stories draws the reader in from the start; Aidoo’s skill and mastery of the short story is on bright display here. Stories to be read and enjoyed over and over again. 10 SNM APRIL 2014
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music As we know, we are living in the age of the digital, and fewer and fewer artists are producing physical albums. So, gone are the discs, but not the music – many albums are available solely through online music stores such as iTunes and Amazon.
BIG PEOPLE PARTY
It seems fitting in so many ways that Big People Party is the name and title track of his most recent album; Farmer Nappy says, “Following the success of my last album, I took the past two years to carefully create and craft this album, Big People Party, and concentrated greatly on the quality of the productions rather than the quantity of releases. It is entitled Big People Party because that is my favourite song on it, but I made this album for everyone - the young and old, big or small - it is truly for everyone, with lyrics and rhythms to match. We truly invested in the quality of the music, and I’m very proud to be able to again represent and carry soca music outside of its carnival circles and bring it to the worldwide audience, with this internationallyreleased album.” Purchase your copy from iTunes at the following link http://bit.ly/1hIPkL7
READY FOR THE ROAD
WE MUZIK, VOL 5: TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Various Artists Bunji’s first 2014 contribution is this 6 track EP called Ready For The Road, with a full album due out around June/July of this year. This EP, which will be available from 14 April for digital download, features: Differentology (Album Version), 2 Differentology (Major Lazer Remix), Carnival Tabanca, Red Light Special, Truck On D Road and Carnival Tabanca (Viking Remix).
This digital album comes from top Trinidad producers Precision Productions. It features some 21 tracks, some of which were mega hits during Carnival, including To Meh Heart by 5 Star Akil, My Team by Jaiga, Mash Up by Destra Garcia, Soca (Soul Of Calypso) and Ministry of Road by Machel Montano. This is one for the digital music library.
Purchase your copy from iTunes at the following link http://bit.ly/1lSvvIY
Purchase your copy from iTunes at the following link http://bit.ly/1hA50qa
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR MUSIC To submit your music, send your tracks to music@ socanews.com accompanied by a BIO, high resolution image plus all of your contact details including all Social Networking Links.
NEW UK SOCA RELEASE I DON’T MIND
Natia Daniel RU Productions
Buy on iTunes http://bit.ly/1ngUvY2
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Soca on the airwaves and web SUNDAY
top 10 soca tracks
The following top 10 chart is based on the songs most played throughout socanews.com
1-4pm Smokey Joe’s Soca Beats with Smokey Joe and Danny D, Bang Radio 103.6 (www. wearebang.com). 5-8pm
Mega Mix Show with DJ Cris, www. vibesfm.com (web only).
6-8pm The Caribbean Affair, Martin Jay, bakahnalradio.com (web only). 8-11pm
The Calalloo Show with Digga D, largeradio.com.
2. WELCOME TO THE CARNIVAL (EARTH MIX) MX PRIME FEAT KERWIN DU BOIS 3. THE POWER
4. IN LOVE WITH AN ISLAND
CURMIAH LISETTE FEAT. MUZIK LIL MUZIK (MLM)
5. TRUCK ON THE ROAD (REMIX)
BUNJI GARLIN FEAT. KARDINAL OFFISHALL
6. DOH STICK FARMER NAPPY 7. CARNIVAL YO YO SUPERBLUE 8. WE LOVE CARNIVAL ANN-G
9. M.O.R (MINISTRY OF ROAD) (OFFICIAL ROAD MIX) MACHEL MONTANO 10. CAN’T LET GO MACHEL MONTANO & BOYZ ll MEN 14 SNM APRIL 2014
Soca Jam Show, DJ Ratty, largeradio.com (web only).
10-12pm Bacchanal Vybes of Soca, Soca Devil, RJR 98.3FM (www.radiorjr.com)
TUESDAY 7-9pm Soca City, Mz Tiney Winey, Supreme FM 99.8 (www.supremefm.com)
FRIDAY 9-11pm Caribbean Sessions Showcase, DJ CJay, bakahnalradio.com
SATURDAY 12-2pm Caribbean House Party, Feminine Touch, Supreme FM 99.8 (su premefmlive.ning.com). 10-1am QT 2Hype & DJ Bones, Bang Radio 103.6 (wearebang.com) If you have or know of a radio programme that you would like to see included in this section, please email email@example.com with all the relevant information.
KROSFYAH 25 YEARS ON... THE FYAH IS STILL BURNING WORDS. MARTIN JAY
My first memory of Krosfyah is from 1994, when they released The Ultimate Party - and I remember thinking to myself, “What a strange way to spell Crossfire”. I quickly learnt that the spelling echoed the uniqueness of this collective of talented musicians, and it’s incredible to be able to say that this year, on December 31, they’re celebrating their 25th anniversary. Krosfyah are from the island of Barbados, and put themselves firmly on the map in 1995 when Pump Me Up became a massive hit - going on to become a gold selling record. The band also spearheaded the ‘Bajan invasion’ of Trinidad Carnival in 1996, where many Bajan artists enjoyed great exposure at ‘the greatest show on earth’. Whilst a few members have changed along the way, the heart of the band has remained throughout,
including lead vocalist and songwriter Edwin Yearwood. I asked Edwin what 25 years of Krosfyah meant to him: “Blessed truly blessed. One unit from the day I started and saw it grow from strength to strength. I get to travel the world and do nothing but make people happy. It has been an honour and a pleasure to be one of the chosen few to do so.” The band’s first performance in the UK was November 4, 1995, at the Tudor Rose Nightclub in Southall. Thus it seemed fitting that Tudor Rose is where Krosfyah performed on 29 March to celebrate their anniversary. They are not just the pride of Barbados but the pride of the entire Caribbean, and the entire Caribbean was present to enjoy a performance that was full to the brim of songs such as Obadele, Pump Me Up, Sak Pase, Dushi, Last Man Standing, Wet Me and Yardie. APRIL 2014 SNM 15
HE WAS BORN FOR THIS
WORDS. MARTIN JAY
As Trinidad Carnival 2K14 recedes, I often sit and reminisce over the many great adventures I have had travelling to Trinidad and Tobago for the past 22 years. One of my fondest memories is being present at The Queen’s Park Savannah for the 1992 Dimanche Gras, where Sugar Aloes said that he didn’t sound like the Baron, where Singing Sandra said that nobody wins a war, and where Dr Slinger Francisco, The Mighty Sparrow, reclaimed the calypso crown by performing Survival and Both of Them. And it was on that night, before the competition started, that they introduced The Junior Calypso Monarch to the stage - and he performed the song that earned him that title. That was Kerwin Du Bois, 22 years ago. Since that time, Kerwin has accumulated some amazing experiences, both in the calypso world and more recently in the soca arena. Songwriting, producing and singing - Kerwin has made a mark in each of these areas. Bubblenuts, with Machel Montano, sticks out as being a pivotal point in Kerwin’s career; that and his musical affiliation with Bunji Garlin in the early to mid noughties were signs that Kerwin Du Bois had a lot to offer the soca music industry, and not just as a singer. Throughout the following years, Kerwin would have a consistent string of hits including some great collaborations with the likes of Denise ‘Saucy Wow’ Belfon (De Rose and De Stem), Shal Marshall (Gyal Farm) and Farmer Nappy (Pavement), to name but a few. It was in 2011, when the song Wotless became an absolutely massive hit for Kes The Band, that Kerwin’s writing and producing reputation rapidly elevated. Some people even wondered
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whether Kerwin regretted writing and producing the song for Kes when he could have sang it himself. It wasn’t something that Kerwin had to think about for very long (if he ever did), because in 2012 he simply picked up where he left off and penned and performed the equally brilliant Bacchanalist, on the Antilles Riddim. It wasn’t only Bacchanalist that made 2012 such a great year for Kerwin. He also made I Am Soca, a collaboration with Patrice Roberts, Baddist that he recorded with Destra Garcia and Runaway, which he sung with Bunji Garlin - all of which were massive hits for that carnival season. 2013 was much the same for Kerwin, as the hit-making machine continued to supply the soca loving people with songs like Backazz, Monster Winer and the incredible Possessed, a collaboration with Machel Montano HD and world famous South African outfit Ladysmith Black Mambazo. It is quite evident that Kerwin’s progress has been steady and consistent, and therefore it should not be a surprise to anyone to know that in the run up to carnival, Kerwin had the following songs on high rotation: Forget About It, Press A Button, Doh Beg, Lockdown (with Lyrikal), Galavanting, Spoil Mehself and Too Real. This was a remarkable achievement, as is his entire career - which has not always been smooth sailing. Kerwin has suffered his disappointments, dusted himself down and continued his journey, and I am certain that it is nowhere near its end; he lives by the mantra, “If I fail to succeed then success is my failure, I was born a winner.”
It is plain to see that Kerwin had his best season ever. Even before his epic Groovy Soca Monarch win he was the talk of almost every event he appeared at, with an astonishing reaction to Too Real, with which he won the competition. We wish him the very best of luck in the future.
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bunji garlin THE VOYAGE CONTINUES FOR OUR VIKING OF SOCA
WORDS. MARTIN JAY
Bunji Garlin, the Viking of soca, continues to break barriers and take soca music into unknown territories. Much of what has happened to Bunji in the last 15 months can be accredited to his very big hit Differentology, released in November 2012. In 2013, Bunji affiliated himself to VP Records and on April 14 this year the Viking’s musical voyage will continue with a release of a six track EP, which will feature Carnival Tabanca, Red Light District and the very popular 2014 carnival smash, Truck On The Road. When you add these songs to the immensely popular Differentology, this EP carries some serious weight; with the correct 18 SNM APRIL 2014
support, it could take Bunji’s music even further than Differentology already has. North America embraced Bunji Garlin last year, and in the latter half of the year he enjoyed major rotation on some of the top radio stations in the land. This has now been reinforced by the very recent announcement that Bunji Garlin is slated to appear on the HOT 97 stage of New York’s massive Summer Jam. This is an absolutely fantastic achievement for Bunji, as he will get to share the stage with 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Nikki Minaj and many others. Us soca lovers out there need to stand up and be counted by supporting what Bunji is doing, so when April 14 arrives I hope that many of us purchase the EP, showing record companies and radio stations that we do have numbers and that our music does have a commercial value. This is a great opportunity for Bunji Garlin to open not doors but gateways for other Caribbean artists, and a great opportunity for us to help him do it. Look how de sun now raising up … again.
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Thu10th Apr 2014 NEW BEACON BOOKS AND THE GEORGE PADMORE INSTITUTE
AN EVENING WITH LLOYD BRADLEY ON SOUNDS LIKE LONDON 100 YEARS OF BLACK MUSIC IN THE CAPITAL
@ New Beacon Books, 76 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EN. For more information or to book a place, please contact New Beacon Books at firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 020 7272 4889. Time 6.30pm for 7pm start.
Sat 12th Apr 2014 TRINIDAD & TOBAGO ASSOCIATION
CHILDREN’S EASTER AFFAIR
@ Trinidad & Tobago Association, 380 Green Lanes, London, N4 1DW. Price A free event for children. Time 2 - 5pm. Tel 020 8800 5857 or 07538 471 046.
UCOM AND ASSOCIATES
2014 BAND LAUNCH INSTINCTS
@ Flyover, 3 – 5 Thorpe Close, London, W10 5XL. Price £10, £15 on the door.Time 9pm - 3am. Tel 07507 864 808. Age ID is a must; No ID no entry. email@example.com www.unitedcolorsofmas.com
Thu 17th Apr 2014 SUN BAILANTE
@ Undersolo, 22 Inverness Street, London, NW1 7HJ. Music by Sun Bailante & Triple M. Price Free before 9pm, £5 til 11pm, more thereafter. Time 7pm - 3am. Tel 07921 891 611. Age No ID no entry. www.sunbailante.com RELEASE D RIDDIM
2014 BAND LAUNCH WILD AFRIQUE
@ VOX, Colosseum Complex 1 Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall, London,
SW8 5NQ. Music by DJ Bliss, Hyper Spice, Digga D, Credable, Mr Hardwine & DJ Tate. Price £5 b4 10.30pm, £10 thereafter. Time 9pm - 3am (doors close at 1pm). Age Over 18s.
Sat 19th Apr 2014 HOLIDAY INN LONDON KENSINGTON FORUM
@ Holiday Inn London - Kensington Forum, 97 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 4DN. Price From £39pp. Time 7.30pm - 1am. Tel 020 7341 3099 (see pg9) firstname.lastname@example.org www.hikensingtonforumhotel.co.uk BACCHANALIA MAS
2014 BAND LAUNCH PRESENCE OF THE PAST
@ Archangel Nightclub, 11-13 Kensington High Street, London, W8 5NP. Price £7 adv., £10 on the door, 2013 costumed masqueraders free entry. Time 9pm - 2am.
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Sun 20th Apr 2014 HOLIDAY INN LONDON KENSINGTON FORUM
EASTER SUNDAY JAZZ LUNCH
@ Holiday Inn London - Kensington Forum, 97 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 4DN. Price From £28pp, £31pp + glass of wine on arrival, children under 12 years old 50% discount & under 5 can join the fun for free. Time 1 - 4.30pm. Tel 020 7341 3099 (see pg9) email@example.com www.hikensingtonforumhotel.co.uk RELEASE D RIDDIM
RED EYE EASTER FETE
@ CC2 (Entrance via Car park), Colosseum Complex 1, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall (near Vauxhall Bridge), London, SW8 5NQ. Music by QT 2Hype, DJ Tyrone, Mr Hardwine, DJ 2 Kool, DJ Tate, Credable, DJ Bliss & Hyper Spice. Host Martin Jay and Vinny Ranks. Price £10, £15 on the door. Time 11pm - 5am (doors close at 2.30am). www.releasedriddim.com
Mon 21st Apr 2014 COCOYEA
2014 BAND LAUNCH - MIRAGE
@ Flyover, 3 – 5 Thorpe Close, London, W10 5XL. Music by Martin Jay, CheInTheMiXX, Soca Massive & Zoomer D. Price £10 + booking fee in adv., motd. Time 5pm - midnight. Tel 07956 223 247, 07931 967 213.
Sat 26th Apr 2014 HOLIDAY INN BLOOMSBURY
@ Holiday Inn London - Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London, WC1N 1HT. Music by Martin Jay. Price £27; includes a glass of sparkling wine. Time 7pm - 12.30am. Tel 020 7923 6665 for enquiries and bookings. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.hilondonbloomsburyhotel.co.uk 22 SNM APRIL 2014
UK CHOCOLATE NATION & ECLIPSE MAS
2014 BAND LAUNCH INFINITE FEAT. DESTRA GARCIA
@ Holiday Inn London - Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London, WC1N 1HT. Live acts Live from Trinidad Destra (Queen of Bacchanal). Music by Mike Forbes, Soca Mafia (Vinny Ranks & Mr Mention), Danny D & C Jay. Price £15 + booking fee, motd. Time 10pm - 4am. www.ukchocolatenation.com
Fri 2nd May 2014 BIG PAPPY ENTS & RELEASE D RIDDIM
THE WOTLESS JAM
@ Euphoriom Night Club & Bar, 1-3 Acton High Street, London, W3 6NG. Music by Martin Jay, Credable & Mr Hardwine. Price £5 b4 11.30pm, £10 thereafter. Time 10pm - 3am; no entry after 1am.
sat 3rd May 2014 HOLIDAY INN LONDON KENSINGTON FORUM
@ Holiday Inn London - Kensington Forum, 97 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 4DN. Price From £39. Time 7.30pm - 1am. Tel 020 7341 3099 (see pg9) email@example.com www.hikensingtonforumhotel.co.uk BAJAN REVELLERS AND ENIGMA VIBES
2014 BAND LAUNCH FROM THE DFARKNESS
@ Flyover, 3 – 5 Thorpe Close, London, W10 5XL. Music by Supreme Blessings Sounds, Shep Beats & Credable. Price £10 adv., motd. Time 10pm -3am. Tel 07809 679 507 You are strongly advised to check with the event promoter, as details sometimes change and cancellations may occur; all information was correct at the time of going to print.
Sun 4th May 2014 SUN BAILANTE
THE RED-LIGHT DISTRICT
@ O2 Academy Islington, N1 Centre, 16 Parkfield Street, London, N1 0PS. Music by Jay Sun Bailante, Seani B, Miss DJ Candy & D Tee. Price £10 ltd adv., motd. Time 11pm - 6am. Age 18 years old only. Photo ID will be required on doors. No ID no entry. BUSSPEPPER PROMOTIONS
11TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY
@ Tiger Tiger, 29 The Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4SP. Time 9pm - 3am, no entry after 1am. www.busspepper.com BURROKEETS UK & CANDY MAS
2014 BAND LAUNCH NIGHTS ON BROADWAY
@ Black Grape, 268 West Green Road, London, N15 3QR. Live acts Lyrikal & Triniboi Joocie plus The MLM Dancers. Price £10 + bfee early bird; £15 + bfee standard entry; £35 + bfee VIP Access All Areas. candy-mas.com
Mon 5th May 2014 WWW.CARIBBEANPLAZALIVE.COM
CARIBBEAN FAMILY FUN DAY
@ North Middlesex Cricket Club, Park Road, London, N8 8JJ. Price Under 5’s are free, 5-16 years £4.50, Adults (over 16s) £7.50, Group tickets (2 adults + 2 children) £18. On the door: £5 5-16 years, £10 adults (over 16s). Time 10am - midnight. Tel 07424 964 707. www.caribbeanplazalive.com FUNATIK MAS
2014 BAND LAUNCH SPREADING WINGS
@ North Middlesex Cricket Club, Park Road, London, N8 8JJ. Funatik Mas will launch at The Caribbean Family Fun Day. Time Presentation at 4pm. Registrations can be made 4 -7pm.
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as good as it gets WORDS. STEPHEN SPARK IMAGE. PETER HOGAN
Can Carnival live up to our expectations and our memories? Has it ever lived up to them? To hear people talk, and to judge from comments on the web, you could believe it was all so much better 10, 20, 30 or more years ago. Since then, it’s all gone downhill, the spectacle has faded, the mas has degenerated, the crowding has become worse and it’s just not fun any more. Hold on: are we really nostalgic for riots, overt racism, tinny sound systems, seriously dodgy food stalls and police lining the route, shoulder to shoulder, grim and suspicious? With some people it’s a matter of age, wistfully recalling the illicit freedoms of carnivals past. If heading for Ladbroke Grove on Bank Holiday Monday doesn’t hold the thrill that it did when you were a teenager a couple of decades ago then that says more about you than about Carnival. Others set the bar too high: you have to queue to use a toilet (as you do at any big public event), there are chicken bones on the road (they won’t do you lasting harm), there are too many people (there have always been too many people), it’s violent and dangerous (what, more than in 70s and 80s? The stats prove otherwise). If you’re expecting a Buckingham Palace garden party, you’re in the wrong place. Carnival has changed, certainly. It’s held in 3D colour with digital surround-sound these days, not black and white with a backing track from mono cassette tapes! Complaining that Carnival isn’t what it used to be has been going on since 1970, when Rhaune Laslett pulled out of organising the event because she feared it had outgrown its community roots. Notting Hill Carnival has never been easy. It can be a struggle to get to, an endurance test to watch the mas and even more of an endurance test to play mas. But that’s what it is: the creation of something unique, occasionally glorious, out of apparent chaos, a frantic, sweaty, unstructured maelstrom of people, sound, smells, smoke and sensory overload. It’s 26 SNM APRIL 2014
CROWD SCENE - NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL 2002
exhausting, frustrating and messy. That’s because it’s Carnival, not a ‘street festival’, not a parade, not a music concert nor a genteel barbecue in the park. It’s more than a big party in the street; it’s the engine room (to borrow David Rudder’s phrase) that makes London the world’s creative capital for art, design, music and fashion. It’s useless to compare Notting Hill with Trinidad, or with any Caribbean carnival. Britain doesn’t stop for Carnival, because it’s just one event in one corner of a big city in a country of 60 million people, and the Caribbean comprises only one thread – though a hugely influential one – in the UK’s cultural fabric. Notting Hill Carnival is as identified with London as red buses and black cabs. After nearly half a century, how could it be otherwise? So that’s the past and the present, but what about the future? What will Carnival look like in 2020? Last September a workshop was held to answer that slippery question, looking at how it will be funded, which artforms will persist and what new forms of expression will be created. The post-it notes piled up amid plenty of wise and stimulating discussion, although the preferred shape of the event that emerged from the brainstorming
looked rather like the one we already know. Carnival has proved very resistant to attempts to plan its future. The ‘road made to walk on carnival day’ is littered with the wreckage of grand plans and strategy documents like so many cast-off feathers and sequins. Move it to Finsbury Park? Tried that; didn’t work. Move it to Hyde Park? Even Ken Livingstone at the height of his power couldn’t manage that. Bring everybody together and create some kind of consensus? After the Greater London Authority spent a million pounds on meetings and consultations, the parties have remained as disputatious as ever. Stop it altogether? The Kensington cliques have been working on that one since Laslett’s day, without the slightest success. And so Notting Hill Carnival has rumbled on, a ramshackle but unstoppable Big Truck that’s thrown the road map out of the window, ignores all the traffic signs and goes its own way. The root of the problem is that most people – people who don’t spend most of the year scraping enough funds together to buy material to make costumes to play mas, who don’t give up every spare hour to practise steel pan, who don’t get up at 3am (assuming they went to bed in the first place) to get
covered in flour and paint and mud at Juvert, who don’t eat, drink, live and breathe Carnival with a capital C – don’t understand that it’s not a mere party that can be organised, controlled and managed and made neat and tidy. Carnival has been described as ‘the world turned upside down’, an inversion of the accepted order of things. Turning stuff upside down isn’t neat and tidy; it makes a mess. But it’s a vital, living, creative mess, even if it does annoy the neighbours. The spirit of Carnival, the Carnival jumbie, doesn’t fit conveniently into an Excel spreadsheet. Like Japanese knotweed, it resists all attempts to kill it; like a virus it mutates to outwit the latest batch of bureaucratic antibiotics. Let’s not forget, Carnival is very, very old; it’s outlived all the world’s empires and dynasties. It dates back far beyond Emancipation, predates even the Roman Empire; its bloodline stretches down into the earliest years of recorded human history. And its origins lie in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth – you can’t get more fundamental than that. No wonder it’s in our DNA. Not as good as it used to be? No: Carnival is as good as it gets. APRIL 2014 SNM 27
twenty carnivals IN A DAY WORDS + IMAGE. STEPHEN SPARK
And if that sounds like a tall order, book your ticket to Seychelles to see how it’s done. Carnaval International de Victoria offers a taste of the world’s carnivals on Saturday 27th April and it’s a feast worth sampling. This is the event’s fourth year, and the Seychellois have embraced the carnival jumbie with enthusiasm. The tropical heat, ‘melting pot of cultures’ ambience, the music, food and the rum mean it’s a lot closer in spirit to the Caribbean than to Notting Hill. Homesick Londoners can still see their favourite mas bands, because a 40-strong contingent is swapping Ladbroke Grove for Victoria’s Palm Street. They’ve won the international mas contest three years running – can they pull off a fourth Victorian victory? They’ll be up against Brazilians and Trinidadians, South Africans (including Cape Town’s famous Minstrel Carnival) and Italians, not to mention a huge contingent from Düsseldorf Carnival led by Prince Simon I and Princess Rebecca Venetia. A volcanic display is promised from Indonesia’s Krakatau Carnival, Koreans will be stunning with their drumming and Bhutan’s troupe will be headed by the Himalayan kingdom’s economic affairs minister, His Excellency Norbu Wangchuk. There’ll also be lots of colourful local mas from Seychelles, Réunion, Mayotte and Madagascar. Listen out for Travis Julienne’s prize-winning carnival song, a moutya-zouk-soca fusion, ‘Ole Ola en sel lavwa’. It all kicks off at 6pm on Friday 25 April with the opening show at Stad Popiler in the town centre. Carnival starts at 2pm on Saturday, with music continuing around town in the evening. Sunday is devoted to Children’s Carnival – organised by Trinidadian soca singer Lima Calbio and stage events in Freedom Square. 28 SNM APRIL 2014
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air tax victory STRIKE UP THE BAND!
WORDS. STEPHEN SPARK
Back in May, and then July last year, Soca News reported that the Caribbean diaspora was fighting the unfair tax banding that made a UK to Caribbean flight disproportionately expensive, particularly in comparison with US destinations. We called for the Chancellor to ‘strike out the band’. Airlines, airport operators and Caribbean high commissioners and tourism bodies combined to fight the air passenger duty (APD). With the support of some of the high commissions, British-based Caribbean activists waged a grassroots campaign of lobbying, letter-writing and petitioning. On 19th March those efforts were crowned with success, when Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that in future there will be only a single long-distance band of APD for overseas flights. In July SN said: “[APD is] damaging the UK: a report produced by consultancy PwC found that abolishing the tax would add £16 billion to the British economy over three years and create up to 16,000 jobs. Far from raising revenue, the tax is damaging economies around the world.” It’s almost as if Osborne had been reading Soca News! He said in his Budget speech, “We will also reform Air Passenger Duty to end the crazy system where 30 SNM APRIL 2014
you pay less tax travelling to Hawaii than you do travelling to China or India. It hits exports, puts off tourists and creates a great sense of injustice among our Caribbean and South Asian communities here in Britain. From next year, all long-haul flights will carry the same, lower, band B tax rate that you now pay to fly to the United States.” There was delighted response from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). CTO chairman Beverly Nicholson-Doty said, “This is a complete victory for the Caribbean, which, led by the CTO, has been lobbying against the unfair system. We are delighted that the chancellor has finally accepted the Caribbean’s proposal made in November 2010 to return to the simpler and fairer two-band system. “We want to thank everyone who has supported our lobby, including Caribbean governments, our partners, the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, British MPs and peers, the Caribbean high commissioners in London, Caribbean ambassadors in Brussels, the diaspora and the airlines and travel companies.” As one commentator put it, the decision was surely influenced by “the cries of the many” – particularly the hard-working volunteers of the APD Co-ordinating Committee and the many who wrote to their MPs. When the Caribbean unites with a common purpose, it can be powerful - a lesson well worth learning.
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