i110/july 2015 ISSN 1464-7087
JULY 2015 SN 1
2 SN JULY 2015
contents ISSUE 111 | JULY 2015
For all ofthe latest UK and Caribbean based news stories
Top 10 Charts
Calypso In Court the Rum and Coco Cola case
Caribbean Designers shine at festive Fashion week
25 EVENTS 28 SOCA PEOPLE
Gritty Garlin - Propels soca forward
32 MAS BANDS
UK Mas Bands 2015 Notting Hill Carnival themes.
34 CARNIVALS 38 FEATURE
Bookworm Bacchanal in Oxford JULY 2015 SN 3
ed's letter WELCOME Welcome to all Soca News readers – whether you have been with us for many years or are new to the magazine. For newcomers, you should know that while we bring you the best in soca, we do cover a lot more, from all the disciplines of Carnival such as mas, steelpan and calypso, to culture, travel and tourism, art, literature and history. While we aim to deliver a comprehensive mix of news and information in the magazine, our space is limited, which means we have to leave out a lot. But what you cannot find in the printed magazine, you can read online at socanews.com or via our App, which is available from the end of July. Now down to the business of Carnival – and in London that means Notting Hill Carnival, which is just a year away from its official 50th birthday.
i110 - JULY 2015 Cover Picture Jocelyn Béroard of Kassav Photographer Xavier Dollin
With just over eight weeks to go before we take to the streets of W10 there’s still time to get familiar with the music by going to some of the many fetes taking place in and around the capital. For a comprehensive list of what’s happening when and where, go to page 25 or visit socanews.com/events. By then you’ll surely be wanting to get into the spirit of carnival. At Soca News we believe the only true way to do this is to participate, on the Sunday, the Monday or both days. To help you with this we have compiled a list of mas bands and their themes for Carnival 2015. This can be found on page 32 or online at socanews.com/ masbands/uk
Published By Joseph Charles Publishing, 86 - 90 Paul Street, London EC2A 4NE. Telephone + 44 (0) 333 012 4643. Twitter | twitter.com/socanews. Instagram | instagram.com/socanews. Facebook | facebook.com/socanews. Website socanews.com This issue of Soca News was brought to you by: Publisher & Editor Joseph Charles. Consulting-Editor Stephen Spark. Layout & Design Joseph Charles. Contributors Nicole-Rachelle Moore, Natasha Ofosu, Stephen Spark & Kevin Burke. Photographers Makee Ogbon, Kevin Taphouse, Jaimol Nottingham, Caribbean Fashion Week, Stephen Spark, US Dept of Defense Audio-Visual Agency, Charles Porter & Xavier Dollin. Thanks to Feminine Touch & Natalie Joseph. 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.
4 SN JULY 2015
Steelpan on screen at the British Film Institute WORDS: NICOLE-RACHELLE MOORE
African Odysseys is a programme of films that has been running at the British Film Institute for the past eight years. In 2014 the BFI teamed up with Savannah View to present the first We Love Carnival Screenings, a day exploring “the art, history and struggles for the Caribbean Carnival in Britain”. The films presented then were Black Orpheus and Calypso Dreams. This year the focus of the event is on the journey of the steel band in both the Caribbean and Britain. Three films will be screened on 8th August: • Pan! Our Music Odyssey: A Steel Band Story • Panomundo Part 1: The Evolution of the Steelpan • Notting Hill Carnival, Who Started It? The day will begin at 12 noon and run until 5pm with an intermission and discussion panels
PAN! OUR MUSIC ODYSSEY: A STEEL BAND STORY
featuring filmmakers, historians, pannists, steelband leaders and writers, including Wyn Baptiste, Gerald Forsyth, Charysse Tia Harper, Dr Kim Johnson, Keith ‘Musaman’ Morton and Nestor Sullivan. Savannah View is headed by carnivalist and social activist Michael La Rose, who explained that it was formed “with the aim of promoting art and culture of the African diaspora through education and events”. The organisation is also involved in organising the monthly Kaiso Lime at the Carnival Village Tabernacle. La Rose curates We Love Carnival Screenings, and New Beacon Books will have a bookstall at the BFI during the event. The BFI is situated on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, London SE1 8XT. Tickets are available from its website, www.bfi.org.uk; tel: 0207 928 3232. For more details, email savannahviewinfo@ gmail.com.
socanews.com/news JULY 2015 SN 5
Notting Hill launches promotional video
RUSSELL HENDERSON 2014 AWARD WINNER
WORDS + PHOTO. STEPHEN SPARK
How do you compress one of the world’s largest and most diverse carnivals into little more than five minutes? Blackstone Valentine took on this nearimpossible challenge by creating a promotional video for London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust. It starts with a view of drumming group Batala coming over the railway bridge at the top of Great Western Road. It’s a good image – Batala always look great tight-packed across the width of the road – and leads on to a glimpse of Beeraahar. Then we switch to the pre-Carnival events, starting with Sheldon Skeete singing Voices and Nikisha giving us Life is Worth More than Money at the ABC’s Calypso Monarch Finals at the Tabernacle. A blast of Pan in the Atmosphere from a totally energised Real Steel shifts the scene to Panorama, before moving seamlessly to more pan at Jouvert. Masquerade 2000 is one of the bands seen at Children’s Carnival, before we cut to this year’s Carnival Ambassador, Dr Ernest Hilaire. Dr Hilaire, the High Commissioner for St Lucia, speaks of the importance of Carnival in the culture. And then it’s back to mas and pan with Paraíso, Metronomes and Ebony as Bunji’s uplifting Differentology plays to get us ready for the road. The video can be seen at www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ACSkAx2ZwQ. 6 SN JULY 2015
Nominate to celebrate our carnival achievers The Carnival Village Trust (CVT), which runs the Tabernacle and the Yaa Centre in west London, is asking for nominations for its 2015 CVT Awards. The awards are divided into seven categories: Masquerade (presented in association with the Carnival Arts Masquerade Foundation); Steelband (in association with the British Association of Steelbands); Calypso (Association of British Calypsonians); Mobile Sound System (Caribbean Music Association); Static Sound System (British Association of Sound Systems), Outstanding Contribution to Carnival Arts; and, for an individual or group under 25 years old, Rising Star. Last year’s winners were: Gloria Cummins (Masquerade), Russell Henderson (Steelband), Merle Blondell (Calypso), DJ Fats (Mobile Sound) and Daddy Vego (Static Sound). To nominate your own carnival hero or heroine, use the form at http://carnivalvillage.org.uk/ nominations by 24th July. The award winners will be revealed on Saturday 15th August at The Tabernacle, 35 Powis Square, London W11 2AY.
John La Rose’s dream continues… WORDS. NICOLE-RACHELLE MOORE
Garlin works with Dynamite Bunji Garlin has recorded a new track with British hip hop singer and rapper Ms Dynamite. Garlin (Ian Alvarez) confirmed the collaboration after he posted a photo of himself and Dynamite (Niomi McLean-Daley) on Instagram. He described the yet-to-be-titled song as “a real hard street sound on the hip-hop dancehall side”. Dance music duo Jus Now are producing the track and will determine its release date. Dynamite is a singer-songwriter whose music spans RnB, grime, garage and hip hop genres. In 2002 she won the Mercury Music Prize for Album of the Year with A Little Deeper. A year later, she enjoyed further success when she picked up two Brit Awards and three MOBO Awards.
for more stories socanews.com/news
An exhibition named after the 2005 documentary film by pioneer filmmaker Horace Ové in tribute to the Trinidadian activist and intellectual John La Rose has opened at Islington Museum. Dream To Change the World - The Life and Legacy of John La Rose is organised by the George Padmore Institute and is the culminating event in a project to conserve and make available to the public many of John La Rose’s personal archives. This small but full exhibition spans the period from La Rose’s arrival in London in 1961 to his passing in 2006 and includes film clips, leaflets, letters, photographs, posters and recordings. Central to the display is a reconstruction of John’s kitchen table around which so many were nourished and so many ideas, discussions and plans emanated. The George Padmore Institute was founded by La Rose in 1991. It houses materials relating mainly to the black communities of the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Together with his partner Sarah White, La Rose founded the independent bookshop New Beacon Books. The exhibition runs until 29th August at Islington Museum, 245 St John Street, EC1V 4NB. Admission is free and the museum is open from 10am to 5pm (closed Wed and Sun). The nearest stations are Angel (Northern Line) and Farringdon (Thameslink). JULY 2015 SN 7
London Calypso Tent returns WORDS: NICOLE-RACHELLE MOORE PHOTO: STEPHEN SPARK
That hardy perennial of the UK’s carnival scene, the London Calypso Tent organised by the Association of British Calypsonians (ABC), is back again Back in the days of Yaa, the tent used to open in July, allowing a long lead up to its climax just before Notting Hill Carnival. These days the schedule has had to be reduced somewhat and in 2015 begins on Friday 7th August. For the first time the tent will have one night on which the artistes perform to backing tracks. It remains to be seen how this is received by audiences at the Carnival Village Tabernacle. The current Calypso and Groovy Soca monarchs Sheldon Skeete and Nikisha will be defending their titles. Readers may know that both artistes tied for Groovy Soca Monarch in 2014. International guests to the London Calypso Tent in 2015 will be Hunter from Dominica, Macomere Fifi from Canada (current monarch) and King Socrates from St Kitts. Fifi was hugely popular with the Tabernacle audience last year and it is definitely worth making the trip to Powis Square to catch her performance. The ABC’s stellar line-up of UK-based calypsonians performing at the 2015 London Calypso Tent
8 SN JULY 2015
LORD CLOAK PERFORMING AT THE LONDON CALYPSO TENT IN 2014
include Alexander D Great, Brown Sugar, Clivus, Dansa, Dave B, De Admiral, G-String, Lord Cloak, Master Link, Music Man, Rev B and Santiago. If you have never been before and wonder what goes on, you can see some of last year’s calypsonians in action here: www.britishcalypsonians.com/ london-calypso-tent.php. Soca News salutes the ABC for its 23 years of consecutively delivering the London Calypso Tent in the run-up to Notting Hill Carnival and wishes the organisation a bumper 2015 season!
The ABC London Calypso Tent takes place at Carnival Village, The Tabernacle, Powis Square, off Portobello Road, London W11 2AY. The tent will open on Friday 7th, Friday 14th, Friday 21st, Thursday 27th (Monarch Finals) and Friday 28th August (Last Night of the Tent). Doors open at 7pm, showtime 8pm to 11pm.
for more stories socanews.com/news
JULY 2015 SN 9
JOCELYNE BÉROARD FIRST LADY OF ZOUK WORDS: STEPHEN SPARK PHOTOS: XAVIER DOLLIN
10 SN JULY 2015
KASSAV IS A BIG BAND WITH A BIG PERSONALITY – AND IT’S MADE UP OF BIG PERSONALITIES TOO. AND UP THERE, FRONT OF STAGE, IS JOCELYNE BÉROARD, WHOSE VOICE HAS HELPED DEFINE THE BAND’S SOUND FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS.
JULY 2015 SN 11
a sound that most UK-based fans have had to travel abroad to hear, but happily, on 12 January at Kings College London, Jocelyne was in conversation with Professor Carolyn Cooper, of the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. The event was one of the imaginative ‘Moving Conversations’ within KCL’s Modern Moves programme. Organiser Ananya Kabir said at the opening, “We aim at transforming KCL into a space of carnival and revelry” – an aim that was fully realised in the intimate white-painted space of the Old Anatomy Museum. Kabir explained that Modern Moves investigates social dance of African heritage, and after the discussion there was a thrilling performance by gwo ka drumming and dance group Zil’oKa. Finally, the audience had a chance to show off their own moves to DJ John Armstrong’s selection of zouk, kompa, kadans, soca and merengue. The big smiles on the departing participants came from something deeper than just the excellent rum punch. The conversation certainly moved widely across subjects, starting with Jocelyne explaining how the name Kassav came about. Founder members PierreEdouard and Georges Decimus and Jacob Desvarieux were playing in a Guadeloupian group called Vikings, and felt the name was hardly appropriate to the French Antilles. Cassava, on the other hand, is local and “satisfying”, said Jocelyne, prompting Carolyn to remark: “You’re suggesting music itself becomes part of the way of satisfying the people.” “Zouk la sé sèl médikaman nou ni” (Zouk is the only medicine we have), replied Jocelyne, quoting the title of Kassav’s best-known hit. It’s a joyously danceable number that embodies zouk’s origins from Guadeloupe’s gwo ka in the style of Mas à St Jean “a happy sound, though lyrics could be serious or expressing pain. Even if you’re sad, you can dance.” Like reggae, the music is one of resistance, challenging injustice, responded Carolyn; “The rhythm of the music is itself therapeutic.” She continued: “The music buoys you up through the pain of remembering. Those drums, that beat kept us alive, because it’s a music of resistance. It’s saying we’ve survived, we’ve been through it, we’re here on the other side.”
The following day Jocelyne Béroard kindly agreed to talk to Soca News and began by relating how she got started in music. “Music was always in every house. When I was a young girl, it was mostly French music here so we knew all the songs of the big stars and there were also traditional songs of Martinique… During Christmas, my parents, my uncle and everyone would play one after the other on the piano and singing.” Edith Piaf was an early influence, and so too were Mahalia Jackson, Celia Cruz and Miriam Makeba – an eclectic mix of French, American gospel, Cuban salsa and African. Jocelyne herself learned classical piano, but never thought of becoming a singer. In Martinique at that time music was mostly played in bars, and they were no places for decent women. That view changed when she went to France to continue her education, initially in the town of Caen, Normandy, where she studied Pharmacy and came into contact with African friends playing guitar. There was a dramatic change of direction, when she moved to Paris to study painting at the prestigious fine art school École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Here, her brother introduced her to people in the music business. “Little by little they were calling me to do background singing. That was fun; I could have money to go to cinema!” Paris was an exciting place to be. “Music called me more and more… I discovered Brazilian, jazz, bossa nova, French music, African music. Anything I could hear that could touch me I would try to learn different languages… It was a way of expressing. And also I wouldn’t sing something without knowing what it [the song] was talking about. I started really to give importance to words. Voila!” In 1983, Jocelyne joined Kassav. The band’s insistence on singing in the local language, kreol, rather than more marketable French led to record labels dismissing the music as “too roots”. Carolyn Cooper encountered the same prejudice in Jamaica: “Kreol was something that tended to marginalise a band’s music.” But, explained Jocelyne, “We wanted to give kreol a new breath, make it poetic.” Interestingly, it was Kassav’s success in francophone Africa that changed the record companies’ attitude. The Paris-based band has toured widely, covering Europe, North and South America and almost every English-, French- and Dutch-speaking island in the Caribbean, apart from the Bahamas (the new Bahamas Carnival surely offers an opportunity to put that right). continues over...
12 SN JULY 2015
I DISCOVERED BRAZILIAN, JAZZ, BOSSA NOVA, FRENCH MUSIC, AFRICAN MUSIC. ANYTHING I COULD HEAR THAT COULD TOUCH ME I WOULD TRY TO LEARN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES…
” JULY 2015 SN 13
“ZOUK LA SÉ SÈL MÉDIKAMAN NOU NI” Copyright seems to have been an alien concept to some in the Hispanic world. In the Dominican Republic, “some musicians were using our music a lot, putting our songs in merengue… Lots of big stars in South America were playing our songs without knowing Kassav. When we went to play the Viña de Mar Festival in Chile the people thought we were imitating their own thing. They say ‘Those guys are taking our music’. Fortunately, I knew enough Spanish to explain on the radio that the songs they were hearing were already songs of Kassav.” Those songs had a big impact in African countries such as Mozambique and Angola and spawned a local version of zouk called kizomba. Zouk is popular across the Indian Ocean, too, and in October Kassav played a highly successful concert at the Festival Kreol in Seychelles. “I was happy to be back there,” Jocelyne said with a smile. Wherever the band plays, the crowd moves – whether they can understand kreol or not. “This is a music that has been moving the people. And also Kassav has been a group with energy on stage.” That’s certainly true; that energy, and the split-second perfection of the timing with which it’s delivered, is impressive and infectious. How, after three decades, do they still manage it? “I don’t know. Maybe I love this music too much and my group too. But the day after, I know how my body has been,” Jocelyn laughs. She becomes more serious when discussing the future of zouk, however. “We’re playing zouk music. The young people are playing some kind of either RnB or French variety music with a Caribbean groove below it. And this becomes more and more the thing that young people are doing to zouk music.” The
14 SN JULY 2015
problem affects all the rich heritage of music genres in the Caribbean, she believes. “Right now all the girls want to be Rihanna, because Rihanna is so popular, she makes a lot of money.” The ‘Rihanna Effect’ of homogenised, globalised music means that soca is under threat too, she warned. “It might never disappear, but I don’t want it to go back to island music, just staying in the islands.” She concluded somewhat wistfully, “When Kassav won’t be there I don’t know who will…” Jocelyne Béroard – who in 1999 was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur, France’s highest honour – has plenty to keep her occupied in the meantime, including acting and photography. But always it is music that draws her back. To commemorate 30 years of ‘Zouk la sé sèl médikaman nou ni’, Kassav will be reprising all the old favourites from that era on their 2015 tour. Will it come to the UK? “Only when we will have someone serious enough to have us to come,” Jocelyne said. “You don’t have production that is strong enough to have us come in good conditions. We don’t ask for too much, but still it remains too much for [the promoters], because the crowd is not big enough. So it is difficult, but I hope that we will make it.” So can we hold out a hope of seeing Kassav in the run-up to Notting Hill Carnival as it too celebrates momentous anniversaries? “I always thought that this would be the best time,” she revealed. We’re waiting, Jocelyne! • Soca News would like to thank Jocelyne for her time and Professor Ananya Kabir for organising the interview. Details of Modern Moves can be found at: www.modernmoves.org.uk.
JULY 2015 SN 15
Carnival Expo-sure THE FIRST EVENT OF ITS KIND, THAT’S THE PROUD BOAST OF CARNIVAL EXPO, A TWODAY EXTRAVAGANZA OF ALL THINGS CARNIVAL
WORDS: STEPHEN SPARK
It’s intended to be “a trade show embodying all of the components of carnival”, with about 40 stalls, music, food, costumes and live entertainment. The show is the brainchild of Andrew Rajpaulsingh, who came over from Trinidad in 1988 and has a business background as an IT service manager. He is probably best known as a founder of Bacchanalia mas band and now proprietor of Carnival Emporium. The event is three shows in one. Saturday 8th August is divided into an afternoon session, from midday to 4.30pm, priced at £20, and an evening event from 5pm to 10pm, with a £35 ticket price. On Sunday (£20) doors open at 12pm and the event finishes at 6pm. Steelpan will greet the visitors when they arrive. 16 SN JULY 2015
But what will they see inside? “Big costumes, stands with information, music vibes, food, the smell of the food, education. It’s all about the whole experience,” Andrew enthused. He explained: “It’s about the world of Carnival, not just the Caribbean. Session 1 will have a taste of Brazil, Session 2 is on the Caribbean and we’re in talks with Aruba for Session 3.” Live performances from Nikisha, Scrappy, Tony Prescott, Andy Armstrong and Soca Banton are promised. An unusual element is a mas design competition. Designers are encouraged to submit new designs for a costume in two categories, one with a maximum budget of £100 per costume and the other with a £250 budget. The overall winner will receive a flight to Trinidad and a £500 voucher to spend at Carnival Emporium. The competing designs will be showcased and judged at the Expo. Two seminars will look at the financial side of Carnival and its history, introducing people to ole mas characters, while a working mas camp exhibit will give newcomers an insight into costume-making. Andrew’s ambitions don’t stop at Kennington. “I have a five-year plan and am thinking of taking it overseas – to Toronto, Miami, Europe,” he told Soca News. He also sees scope for a smaller expo where Notting Hill mas bands can showcase their costumes. More details at www.carnivalexpo.com.
JULY 2015 SN 17
18 SN JULY 2015
top 10 soca tracks
The following top 10 chart is based on the songs most played throughout socanews.com.
TIL D SUN UP (ROLL GAL ROLL) UMI MARCANO
3 SO NICE
SHOW ME YUH SIGNAL
THAT MOMENT INCHES
8 COCKING BACK
To submit your music, send your tracks to firstname.lastname@example.org accompanied by a bio, high resolution images, and all of your contact details including social networking links.
7 WANNA WINE
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR MUSIC
GBM NUTRON & KEVON CARTER
10 REVELLERS SONG
MONGSTAR JULY 2015 SN 19
Calypso in court
THE RUM AND COCA COLA CASE
WORDS: STEPHEN SPARK
You know that feeling when you suddenly know your last drink was one too many? There’s that horrible realisation that a long, hard night is ahead of you. That must have been how Lord Invader (Rupert Grant) felt about Rum and Coca Cola. His 1943 carnival song likened the mixing of Trinidad rum with American Coke to the steamy liaisons between US servicemen and local women. It became a huge success in the bars of wartime Port-of-Spain. Its catchy chorus soon escaped the confines of Mohamed Khan’s Victory Calypso Tent and shot round the island: “Drinkin’ rum and Coca-Cola, Go down Point Cumana. Both mother and daughter Workin’ for the Yankee dollar.”
20 SN JULY 2015
Victory Calypso Tent calypsonians (left to right): Lord Invader, Mighty Growler, Atilla the Hun (thought to be dressed for his performance of The Modern Girl) and Roaring Lion. (Photo: US Dept of Defense Audio-Visual Agency)
There was no excuse for not knowing the words to Rum and Coca Cola, as Khan printed the lyrics in a booklet, his ‘Souvenir Collection’ of the 1943 season. One of those who heard the song in Trinidad was a US comedian, Morey Amsterdam. After he had finished entertaining the troops, he returned to the States, where he passed the song off as his own. When it was taken up by the popular trio the Andrews Sisters, Rum and Coca Cola rocketed to the top the 1945 US charts. Only then did Invader find out what had happened. The subsequent legal tussles over the rights to the song between Invader, Amsterdam, Khan, an American singer called Jeri Sullavan, arranger Paul Baron, publisher Leo Feist and Trinidadian band leader Lionel Belasco (among others) must have given the song’s true author the mother of all headaches. Invader eventually emerged the victor, though he quickly dissipated the proceeds of the sale of the rights to, of all people, Morey Amsterdam. The full story is far more complex and convoluted than this, however, and it’s well worth exploring in more detail. And that is exactly what American photographer and ‘calypsophile’ Kevin Burke has done in an entire website devoted to the song (from which I have extracted the bare bones of the story above). You can find it at www.rumandcocacolareader. com. It’s a fine place for trivia-lovers – who knew that
Frederick Street from Canning’s Corner, Port-of-Spain, in the Rum and Coca Cola era (Photo: Charles Porter) Thanks to Kevin Burke for permission to reproduce the photographs here.
Invader’s calypso has been recorded by groups in Nicaragua, Sweden and Korea? Kevin told Soca News how his Rum and Coca Cola habit started: “When I first visited Trinidad in 1979 I was amazed to see the remains of the US Naval Operating Base at Chaguaramas. It spoke to me. An epoch in history. “Also, as a white North American, I was selfconscious about the exploitation of island culture. For example, one of my white friends was accused of stealing rare calypso recordings from the Roaring Lion at the time! I thought that the story of Lord Invader’s famous song would be an interesting case study, especially since nobody in Trinidad could give me any accurate information about it. Then when I found out that there were two civil actions in New York and that the transcripts, exhibits etc were available at the National Archives, I went a little bit nuts.” Despite the thousands of words and many documents to be found on his site, Kevin hasn’t finished researching the story. He explained: “I am trying to get information about Ursula Khan, the wife of Mohamed Khan. Her maiden name was Johnson. She played a small but crucial role in firming up the validity of Khan’s copyright while her husband was away in New York. She worked at the Trinidad Guardian. I would like to know what her position was at the Guardian and her family background.” Mohamed Khan’s son, Dexter, is leader of Cocoyea mas band in London. Kevin’s research throws fascinating light on wartime Trinidad, the calypso context of that era and the patronising attitude of the US music ‘establishment’
to artistes in the Caribbean. If you can add to the story, Kevin would be delighted to hear from you. His email is: email@example.com and he has another website at www.calypsonian.org.
Cover page of the “Souvenir Collection”
JULY 2015 SN 21
Caribbean designers SHINE AT FESTIVE FASHION WEEK
WORDS: STEPHEN SPARK
The 15th anniversary edition of Caribbean Fashion Week proved a great success in Kingston, Jamaica, by all accounts. As its name suggests, the event, organised by Pulse and sponsored by Audi, showcased the best in fashion, from swimsuit collections to casual and evening wear. Vibrant colours and daring but elegant designs epitomised Caribbean style at its best. Stand-out collections from the 40 or so designers at this year’s CFW were Cedella and Karen Marley, Moncrieffe, Catalin Botezatu, Claudia Pegus, Sol by Drenna Luna, Pauline Bellamy, Biggy, Bill Edwards, Robert Young, Uzuri International, Deola Sagoe, Mutamba and emerging designers Yvonne Jewnell, Zaid and Mark Eastman. Other designers whose work caught the commentators’ notice were a strong contingent from Saint Lucia, including Taribba do Nascimento, showing her 22 SN JULY 2015
PHOTO COURTESY: CARIBBEAN FASHION WEEK
Masquerade Collection of Meme Bete bags, Fiona Compton’s Paradise Prints, including bridal wear in her Iyanola Collection, Jaeylu Designs’ Creole Collection and jewellery from Island Seeds. No fewer than seven designers headed to CFW from Tobago, and work on the runway included Juliet Bernard’s tie-dye pieces, accessories from Camille Kahn and hand-painted pieces from Cassey Daniel’s Yesa! Designs. Also featuring were Kirsten Benjamin, Ted Arthur, Lydia Arnaud-Lawrence (L.O.C.K Creations) and Cherie Warner (Cee Wee Designs). The Tobagonians took part in the CFW Business Forum, which aims to help designers better manage the business side of fashion and to monetise their talent. The Tobago House of Assembly has identified the creative sector of the economy as a priority area for development. As predicted, the dapper, white suited Billy Ocean and his 14-piece band went down a storm in Kingston, bringing the crowd to their feet as his full-length concert brought another impressive Caribbean Fashion Week to a close.
JULY 2015 SN 23
24 SN JULY 2015
Fri 10th July PSV EVENTS AND SOCA FRENZY RADIO
SOCA FRENZY AH FEELING SEXY FT. PATRICE ROBERTS
@ The Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, N1 9NL. Live Acts Patrice Roberts. Host Martin Jay and DJ Matchiz. Music By DJ Rickman, DJ Flex, DJ Tate, DJ Bones, DJ Red Boy, Shaker HD (Soca Frenzy), Supa Nytro, DJ Scooby Price £15, £20 & £25 VIP. Time 11pm - 5am. Tel 07950 949 932. Age 20+.
DSI – DJ Boots, Rem Star, Soca Don and DJ General. Price Free B4 9pm, £5 thereafter. Time 6.30pm - late.
On board Tereza Joanne, King George V Dock, Woolwich Manor Way, E16 2NJ. Music By D’Transformez, Big Business, Rickster, Release D Riddim & Almighty Soundz. Price £10 incl. 1 meal), £7 entry only, motd. Time 3pm - 11pm. Tel 07424 964 707. Age 18+.
@ Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Live Acts Dawn Penn, Sekon Sta, DeeVine, The Downsetters, CSI Steelband, Lokkhi Terra, The Shikor Bangladesh Allstars, Lokkhi Terra, She'Koyokh, Abdul Tee-Jay. Time 1pm - 7pm. Tel 01473 433 100.
SHIPWRECKED CARNIVAL LONDON
SYNC PARTIES & SHIPWRECKED
@ Sway, 61-65 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5BZ. Music By DJ Markee, DJ Dale, DJ Raskal and
@ M.V Jewel of London, Festival Pier, London, SE1 8XZ. Host Konata. Music By DJ Markee & Big Tunez. Price £25 & £30, tickets only. Time Boarding 8.30pm, sails 9pm. Tel 07939 927 352.
LAVA FRIDAYS... SHIPWRECKED® AFTER WORK DRINKS
SUNSET-THE BOAT PARTY
CANDY MAS & CPL EVENTS
SUMMER BBQ BOAT PARTY
PANDEMONIUM @ 50: A STORY IN SOUND @ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. Price £5. Time 6pm. Showtime 6.30pm.
SOCANEWS.COM /EVENTS JULY 2015 SN 25
SHIPWRECKED CARNIVAL LONDON
LAVA FRIDAYS... SHIPWRECKED® AFTER WORK DRINKS SEE FRIDAY 10TH FOR DETAILS
Sat 18th RNR WINE BAR
COME LIME WITH KI
@ RnR Wine Bar, 225 Chingford Mount Road, Chingford, E4 8LP. Live Acts KI (2012 & 2014 Chutney Soca King). Music By DJ Frisko, Super Trini & Marsha B. Price £15, motd. Time 9pm 3am. Tel 07794 429 406.
Sun 19th PURE LIME AND FUNATIK MAS
RIVER LIME BOAT PARTY
On board MV Royalty, Festival Pier, South Bank, SE1 8XZ. Price £25, incl. of a Caribbean meal. Time 2pm - 6pm.
Fri 24th SHIPWRECKED CARNIVAL LONDON
LAVA FRIDAYS... SHIPWRECKED® AFTER WORK DRINKS SEE FRIDAY 10TH FOR DETAILS
CIRQUE FEAT. BENJAI
@ Konnect London, Terminus Place, SW1V 1JR. Live Acts Benjai. Host Martin 'Big Pappy' Jay. Music By DJ Scooby, DSI, Triple M, Lucian Touch, Soca Mafia Vinny Ranks & Mr Mention. Price £10, £15, £18 & £20 on the door. Time 11pm - 5am. Tel 07967 044 492. Age 18+. 26 SN JULY 2015
Sat 25th SV2G
WYCOMBE COMMUNITY FESTIVAL @ The Rye Park, London Road High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 1BJ. Price Free entry . Time 12pm 9pm. Tel 01494 459 449.
Sun 26th ISWETING PROMOTIONS
THE BIG CARIBBEAN SUMMER LIME - 20TH ANNUAL PICNIC & FAMILY DAY @ Trent Country Park, Cockfosters Road, Barnet, EN4 0PS. Info Join in the party & games, come early. Bring tables, chairs, food, drinks, ice & marquees. Price Free. Time 8am - 8pm. Tel 07973 731 354.
ANNUAL GUYANA FAMILY SPORTS & FUN DAY @ Sutton Arena (now called David Weir Leisure Centre) Middleton Road, Carshalton, Sutton, SM5 1SL. Stalls, Fun Races, Guyanese Games, Music, Bouncy Castles/Slides, Inflatable Assault Course, Football, Picnic areas, Roof Garden Bar & more. Plus indoor capacity if it rains. Price Children free all day, £5 adults (17+), £3 senior citizens, £2 car park. Time12-7.30pm.
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.
Thu 30th SOCAHOLIC & UCOM
SUMMER TING - THE AFTER WORK LIMIN SESSIONS
@ Ruby Blue, 1 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BP. Music By DJ Chris Vee, DJ Platinum & DJ Knightz Beatz. Price Free B4 9pm, £5 thereafter. Time 6pm late. Age 18+, ID required.
Fri 31st SHIPWRECKED CARNIVAL LONDON
LAVA FRIDAYS... SHIPWRECKED® AFTER WORK DRINKS SEE FRIDAY 10TH FOR DETAILS
sat 1st august TALK YUH TALK IN ASSOC. WITH CARNIVAL VILLAGE TRUST
@ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. Live Acts Hear renditions of Kaiso by Kitchener, Sparrow, Ras Shorty I, GB, David Rudder, Lord Baker, King Radio, Whodini, Roaring Lion, Lord Christo and many others. Music By Soca Massive, DJ Fats & Zoomer D. Price Free. Time 7pm.
Fri 7th ASSOCIATION OF BRITISH CALYPSONIANS
LONDON CALYPSO TENTOPENING NIGHT @ Carnival Village, Tabernacle, Powis Square, W11 2AY. Time 6.30pm
JULY 2015 SN 27
soca people SOCANEWS.COM/SOCAPEOPLE
BUNJI GARLIN PERFORMING @ GLASTONBURY 2015 PHOTO: JAIMOL NOTTINGHAM 28 SN JULY 2015
gritty garlin PROPELS SOCA FORWARD
THERE’S A MOMENTUM WITHIN AND BEHIND SOCA MUSIC AT PRESENT THAT IS ENSURING IT IS SPREADING TO NEW LANDS AND AUDIENCES WITH THE FEROCITY OF AN OUT-OF-CONTROL VIRUS.
WORDS: NATASHA OFOSU
One person at the forefront of this charge is Bunj
Garlin (Ian Alvarez), the self-styled Soca Viking. In the 24-plus months since his Differentology album first dropped, his music has enjoyed nearconstant mainstream airplay in the USA and UK and garnered him huge accolades, most notably the 2013 Soul Train Award for Best International Performance, for Differentology, the eponymous song from the album. The 13-track set was re-released internationally in August 2014, through a joint venture between labels RCA and VP Records. Now, almost one year on, Garlin and his wife and fellow soca artiste Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez have more firsts to brag about having ushered in the music’s debut at the UK’s premier music event, Glastonbury Festival, on Friday 26th June. Before that they became the first soca artistes to perform at South by Southwest, a week-long arts and technology festival in Texas and, along with ‘De Boss’ Machel Montano, featured on the Heineken House stage at Coachella in California. To him, milestones like these are a natural progression from the foundation laid by Differentology. Garlin is quick to play down any suggestion that he has been given some divine mandate or feels under pressure to take soca to new frontiers. But his response remains profound: “It’s not a pressure on me. If it’s any pressure it might be on the people who have their own illusions of who they perceive should be the champions to do this. “At the end of the day, the champions of any cause are naturally chosen because they have the grit to do it and it doesn’t always come down to any level of showmanship.
“Sometimes it’s just that inner thing that you need to have to take it to the next level. Some people don’t have it, some people do. Some people find it now, some find it later.” In an interview last year Garlin told a story from early in his career that shed light on why he could be the one to lead the charge for soca. He recalled a meeting in 1999 with American producer Franklyn Grant, who was in Trinidad scouting for talent. Grant had worked with RnB and hip hop acts such as Aaliyah, SWV and Dr Dre, and during his trip Shurwayne Winchester and Garlin caught his eye. When asked to explain the reason, Grant pointed to Garlin and said: “This one in particular has something different from all the rest that Trinidad will see in time to come.” Now, after more than 15 years in the business, Garlin, too, believes the world is taking notice because he offers music that is unique and authentic. “I spent a lot of years trying to do my stuff differently from the rest,” he says. “I am always drawn to uniqueness in any format, whether it is in music [or] in art. Whatever it is, if it stands out from the rest, I get attracted to it.” “So it was easy for me to walk that road… It’s not an act, it’s not forced. It’s coming from what I feel, and when you do something coming from your soul people will feel it and connect to it.” He also asserts that his lyrics are key, and makes the case with Differentology. First released in November 2012 in preparation for the pre-Lenten carnival the following year, this is the song that made people sit up and pay attention. Although the song’s lyrics tell of the format of carnival moving from all-night parties into J’Ouvert JULY 2015 SN 29
BUNJI, FAY-ANN & ATAKLAN @ GLASTONBURY 2015 PHOTO: JAIMOL NOTTINGHAM morning and beyond, the song was understood more generically to describe the dawn of a new day and the gradual surge in energy and momentum that accompanies the rising of the sun. It was used to great effect in an opening sequence of hit US medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in late 2013, which Garlin says came as a pleasant surprise to him: “It told the story that our music is at a stage where [it] could be used in different formats, different dimensions, different ways, rather than just [as party music].” Being distinct is one of two recurring themes in Garlin’s narrative. The other is the transferring of his knowledge to up-and-coming artistes. Garlin says the accolades and the engagements they are generating have come, “In a time and in a way that there is no way I could have kept the moment to myself. And rightfully so, because as much as we try to hug this, old age is going to make you give it up or death itself is going to make you give it up. So while we have the energy to pass it on, that is what we’re trying to do.” Also to this end, he and his wife are working with young songwriters, and they’re getting to grips with the mechanics of the music industry so that they can educate their charges on securing their rights. Asked about the significance of his success to soca music in general, Garlin says: “What it means, and I hope a lot of my other counterparts are taking note, is that we are on a new platform - whether we want to accept it or not. Every 10 or 15 years we [in the Caribbean] get focused on by international eyes. The moment is happening again, but this time more so for soca music than for dancehall.” 30 SN JULY 2015
Garlin explains that, unlike in the past, the music is being injected with a new dynamic because of collaborations between artistes and a variety of performers, DJs and producers outside the genre such as electronic dance music specialists Major Lazer and Jus Now Music. In fact, he was supported on stage at Glastonbury by Jus Now and has recently finished recording a hip hop-dancehall fusion track with British rapper Ms Dynamite. “This is not something that we can sleep on. It’s not something we can get complacent on,” warns Garlin. “If we want to constantly dedicate the music only to Carnival, we’re going to be in some problems.” While signalling that this wave will not last forever, he expresses an acute awareness of the factors preventing some of his fellow artistes from taking up his challenge. Garlin is sympathetic: “Because of the society we come from, the moment you venture out of what you’re accustomed doing or what people know you for doing, the people turn [on you] the same time. It becomes like all the years that you did the work went to nothing. So you have to reset yourself.” “And these artistes, knowing that, are not taking the chances they should be taking as musical entities to really push the envelope. So a lot of them rather stay within, and they have the talent to go beyond. They think if they push and they lose their space, they’re not going to get back that space.” He issues a personal plea to those lingering on the sidelines: “Brave it. You’re not going to be here forever anyway, so take the chance and do it.”
JULY 2015 SN 31
mas bands SOCANEWS.COM/MASBANDS/UK
ABIR the colours of life
DUKA - Mas Domnik UK
DOMINICA - IN YOUR FACE
020 3006 2311 www.abir-mas.com
020 8533 1261 www.duka.org.uk
07949 269 948 www.specialist-events.com
Euphoria Carnival Cocoyea NEON
07956 223 247 www.cocoyea.com
TAKE FLIGHT www.euphoriacarnival.com
Flagz Mas Band HIDDEN TRIBES 07956 815 370 www.flagzmasband.com
Flamboyan International Carnival Arts
Bacchanalia Mas band
DE FIRE IN WE
LEGACY OF SHE
07739 657 738 www.flamboyancarnivalarts. co.uk
07909 616 251 www.baccmas.com
Bajan Revellers IGNITION
07809 679 507 facebook.com/bajanrevellersuk
beeraahaar SPLENDOUR OF D. NATIONS 020 8809 4325
Burrokeets UK CARNEVOLUTION
07703 676 238 www.burrokeetsuk.com
Chocolate Nation mas 07976 372 870 www.chocolatenationmas.com 32 SN JULY 2015
Dimensions Entertainment DIMENSIONS OF HEAVEN
Funatik Mas I AM www.funatikmas.com
07944 624 652 www.dimensionslondon.com
Dragons Cultural Mas FESTIVAL MALVADOS 07922 554 462 www.dragonsculturalarts.com
D Riddim Tribe Mas Band RISE OF AN EMPIRE www.releasedriddim.com
Hype Masqueraders ARIKARA 07411 076 824 www.hypemasuk.com
Sunshine International Arts OIL SLICK - BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA 07881 571 743 www.sunshineiarts.co.uk
Tears Mas Band Infinite Mas
Masquerade 2000 (M2K)
APHRODITE: THE GODDESS OF LOVE, BEAUTY & DESIRE
REVOLVE 3015 (CHANGE THE PRESENT. SAVE THE FUTURE)
020 8556 1659 www.M2Kmas.com
Invaders Mas Band JAMETTES
07403 474 947 www.invadersmassband.co.uk/ home.html
07973 784 202 www.purelime.co.uk
CORAL REEF www.tearsevents.com
VOTE WITH YOUR FEET
TriniPosse UK TWILIGHT 0780 057 3662 www.triniposseuk.com
UCOM Carnival GATHERING OF NATIONS 07507 864 808 www.unitedcoloursofmas.com
Lagniappe Mas TRIBAL WAR 07940 957 618 www.lagniappe.co.uk
London School of Samba VOODOOSAMBA: THE DARK CABARET
Smokey Joe Roadshow MEMORIES - TRIBUTE TO GEORGE BAILEY 07984 894 795 www.facebook.com/SmokeyJoeRoadshow
020 7394 7359 www.londonschoolofsamba. co.uk
Soca Massive Fancy Sailors
Lush BNM UK Carnival
07958 319 954
LIFE IN COLOUR
Soca Saga Boys
Utopia Mas LE CHIC 07852 172 911 www.utopiacreativearts.co.uk
Xtreme St Lucia UK
07958 140 958 www.socasagaboys.com
Yaa Asantewaa Arts
0843 886 3776 www.isismas.com/index/ref/ www.socanews.com
MaKING Carnival (ISIS Mas)
07446 698 876 www.southconnections.co.uk
NEW ORLEANS 07515 850 711 www.yaaasantewaa.com JULY 2015 SN 33
Sat 11 July
Carnival starts with the Friday Night Glow Parade from 9pm to midnight at the Carnival Arts Centre in Westgate. The main parade on Saturday leaves Great Northern Street at 1pm and finishes at St George’s Square. There’s an afterparty at the Hudawi Centre in the evening. 01484 536 542 huddersfieldcarnival. co.uk
Sat 11 July
WYCOMBE COMMUNITY FESTIVAL
RYE PARK, LONDON ROAD, HIGH WYCOMBE, UK
Wycombe Community Festival is one of the largest free outdoor cultural community events in the Wycombe calendar. Music, art, sport and a carnival parade are all on the agenda at this family event. 01494 459 449 sv2g.org.uk, www. twitter.com/sv2g
Sat 11 July
Sat 11 & Sun 12 July
Mon 20 & Tue 21 July
Liverpool International Carnival is the city’s largest artistic parade and this year is themed ‘Apocalypso’. It’s a rebellious call to mas on the streets in answer to austerity. Expect to see around 1,000 masqueraders, including Martinican drummers, Dutch carnivalists and Zambian acrobats. Don’t miss the free opening night show on Friday night at Constellations in Greenland Street L1 0BS or the afterparty in Princes Park on Saturday afternoon.
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, USA
The Parade of the Bands brings titles such as Carnival Queen, Calypso Monarch, Panorama Champions and Party Monarch, among others decided at competitions in the preceding days. Revellers take to the streets in a bouillon of colour and music, as each band strives to capture the coveted title of Band of the Year. Carnival starts at midday and ends 7pm.
LIVERPOOL ST LUCIA INTERNATIONAL BALTIMORE/ WASHINGTON CARNIVAL CARNIVAL CASTRIES, TOXTETH, ONE CARIBBEAN SAINT LUCIA LIVERPOOL, UK CARNIVAL
0151 709 3334 brouhaha.uk.com
Sat 18 & Sun 19 July
DERBY CARNIVAL DERBY, UK
This is another carnival celebrating a special anniversary – Derby Carnival has been enlivening the city for 40 years. On Saturday the procession leaves the Pear Tree Road at 1pm, heads into the city centre and ends about two hours later at the Market Place, where the crowds can enjoy mas and music on stage. On Sunday attention shifts to Osmaston Park for a family fun day from midday to 9pm. visitderby.co.uk/ whats-on/events/ caribbean-carnival
34 SN JULY 2015
JULY 2015 SN 35
Sat 25 July
Rotterdam’s carnival is derived from that in the Dutch Antilles and was first held in August 1984. Some of the most anticipated precarnival events are the Zomercarnaval Queen Election, the Zomercarnaval Beach Party and the Battle of Drums competition. The climax is the street parade, which is held on the Saturday. During and after the street parade you can enjoy music on two live stages, at the Coolsingel and the Churchillplein, until late in the evening. rotterdamunlimited. com/en
36 SN JULY 2015
Sat 1 August
The carnival this year celebrates its 30th anniversary and has become known for the high quality of its mas. About 15 bands from Luton, Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Huddersfield and London are expected to take part in addition to local groups. The overall theme is ‘The Americas’. Around 100,000 people are expected to line the route. The carnival leaves Granville Road at 1pm and stage performances in Victoria Park begin an hour later. After close-down at 8pm there’s a choice of carnival afterparties. 0116 273 6649 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon 3 August
BARBADOS CROP OVER BARBADOS
Visitors to Barbados between May and August can experience the magic of the island’s culture and heritage through the annual carnival known as Crop Over a name that recalls slaveryera celebrations that followed the end of the harvest. Crop Over has become one of the premier carnivals in the world. As well as dancing to the soca beat in the streets, festival-goers can enjoy pageants, community events, parades, concerts, competitions and exhibitions. www.barbados.org/ cropover.htm
Mon 3 & Tue 4 August
ANTIGUA CARNIVAL ANTIGUA
Antigua stages a colourful and spectacular street party that celebrates Antiguans’ creativity in song, dance and masquerade via a series of exciting steelband and calypso competitions featuring the island’s best musicians and performers. Other highlights include the colourful Parade of Costumed Bands, the Miss Antigua Pageant and the Caribbean Queen Competition. www.antiguacarnival.com
Sat 8 August
CARDIFF, SOUTH WALES, UK
The carnival is in its 26th year and is part of the citywide Cardiff Festival. It’s a celebration of Cardiff by Cardiff, transforming the city centre with “a riot of flamboyant carnival art, music and dance – a creative explosion of sequins, glitter and feathers”. The parade starts at the Atrium and heads down Queen Street and St Mary’s Street to the Hayes, where there’s a stage showcasing mas, samba drumming, street theatre, capoeira, magic and dance. www.swicacarnival. co.uk/en/cardiffcarnival
JULY 2015 SN 37
Bookworm bacchanal in Oxford
PHOTO: DR LONGITUDE’S MARVELLOUS IMAGINARY MENAGERIE
WORDS: STEPHEN SPARK PHOTOS BY: MAKEE OGBON & KEVIN TAPHOUSE
Oxford is famously a city of dreaming spires, lost causes and eccentric dons, but it can also boast a successful community carnival. From modest beginnings in 2001 it has grown to become, in the words of Oxfordshire County Council’s chairman, “Oxford’s main cultural event”. Cowley Road Carnival took place on Saturday 5th July with the theme ‘Creating Our Future’, referencing the 150th anniversary of nearby Oxford Brookes University. The festivities attracted a remarkable 45,000 people – equivalent to one-third of the city’s population. About 800 people in 34 groups sang, danced and played instruments along the Cowley Road. They included groups from Nepal and West Papua, the inevitable samba bateria, and the Cowley Road Works’ Rhythm Craft group, which played drums made from recycled materials. “It was diverse in the true sense 38 SN JULY 2015
PHOTO: BROOKIE, THE OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY BOOKWORM
of the word,” said chief organiser Danielle Battigelli. Oxford East MP Andrew Smith reported: “There were some stunningly good costumes in the procession.” Led by the university’s giant bookworm, Brookie, the parade started at The Plain, by Magdalen Bridge, and finished up at Magdalen Road, which, in typically confusing Oxford fashion, is nowhere near Magdalen Bridge. Oxford is as far from the sea as it’s possible to get in Britain, but deckchairs and live music awaited footsore revellers at a specially prepared beach, Cowleyfornia. Battigelli summed up by saying: “This has been a wonderful year for Carnival. It all went really well.” She urged people to contribute towards the £120,000 cost by using the link on the event’s website, www. cowleyroadcarnival.co.uk.
JULY 2015 SN 39
40 SN JULY 2015