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SOCANEWS Free

i124/ november 2017 ISSN 1464-7087

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CONTENTS NOVEMBER 2017 | ISSUE 124

SOCA PEOPLE

14. NAILAH BLACKMA

TALKS FAMILY TIES AND SOKAH

19. FEATURE

food & drink

YOUR ST KITTS AND NEVIS PERFECT MUSIC FESTIVAL PARADISE

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34. TRINIDADIAN CHOCOLATE

A SWEET SUCCESS STO


E

AN

D

k

ORY

FEATURES

REGULAR

10. POLICE AND COUNCILS COME UNDER FIRE AT

07. NEWS

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL MEETING

28. CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF PAN CLASH 30. STEEL PAN FUSION

18. MUSIC

DJ CJAY’S TOP TEN BANGERS

25. EVENTS

WHEN AND WHERE TO FETE

SUB TITLE

GET LISTED

FAME TO THE CARIBBEAN

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! Give us a call on 0333 012 4643

32. SAVILE ROW OFFERS

VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE

SOCANEWS.COM

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EdITOR’s Letter Man oh man, where has the year gone? We’re fast approaching that time when bottles of Ponche De Crème line the shelves (and, day by day, those bottles grow fewer); when you can smell fruit soaking in rum, just waiting on its time to be combined in perfect harmony with all those other delicious black cake ingredients. This month, read our special report on what happened at the last Notting Hill Carnival meeting. You can also catch up with Nailah Blackman on page 14, where she talks family ties and Sokah, plus find our review of this year’s St. Kitts Music Festival on page 19. We’re always happy to hear from our readers, so feel free to email us at news@socanews.com and we’ll get back to you. SOCA ARTIST

NAILAH BLACKMAN

PUBLISHER & EDITOR Joseph Charles jc@socanews.com CREATIVE Joseph Charles SUB EDITOR Katie Segal katie@socanews.com CONSULTING EDITOR Stephen Spark stephen@socanews.com

YOURS IN SOCA. Joseph Charles EDITOR

SALES & ADVERTISING sales@socanews.com WORDS Joseph Charles, Nicole Rachelle Moore, Rachel Ritfeld, Shareen Gray & Stephen Spark PICTURES Jaimol Nottingham, Rachel Ritfeld, Robbie Joseph, Stephen Spark , Steven Mullings & Victor Morris

PUBLISHED BY Joseph Charles Publishing 86-90 Paul Street London, EC2A 4NE TELEPHONE + 44 (0) 333 012 4643 EMAIL info@socanews.com WEBSITE www.socanews.com

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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. © 2017 Soca News. All rights reserved. 06 SN NOVEMBER 2017


news

Building back a better climateresilient Caribbean WORDS | NICOLE-RACHELLE MOORE

The aftermath of the two devastating hurricanes unleashed in the Caribbean during August and September brought with it a realisation that there needs to be a very different approach to preparing for and surviving these natural crises in the future. Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne spoke of, “Building on a sustainable basis in order to limit the impact” of the natural disaster. Richard Branson, whose Necker Island home was devastated by Hurricane Irma, has been using available connections to speak with leaders of international finance organisations as part of his Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan strategy. CARICOM members, including Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, have already voiced suggestions of how they can help countries that are more severely affected during the annual hurricane season. Guyana has offered to discuss the potential of using some of its vast land to house those left homeless from other CARICOM countries in the

short term. Trinidad and Tobago recognised the opportunity it has to offer safe berth for boats to fellow CARICOM neighbours. Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skinner announced that the island would rebuild to become the first climate-resilient nation. His statement was welcomed by UN and other officials, as he said, “What we’re doing is taking an opportunity to build back better; to build a more climateresilient nation, the first in the world.” Adding that Dominica would not just be “helpless victims” of natural disasters, the Dominican leader explained that his aim to make his country the first climateresilient nation in the world was not because Dominicans had chosen this message. “The message found us,” he said. “Build back better” has become the mantra, both in the Caribbean and across major global donor bodies.

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news

Shakespeare’s Caribbean Dream Shakespeare’s magical fairy tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is given a rich, warm reworking via A Caribbean Dream by Shakirah Bourne, in her debut as sole director. Shakirah Bourne has re-imagined and infused Shakespeare with a Caribbean flavour that will appeal to diverse palates. Set in Barbados during the annual Crop Over festival, this tender-hearted adaptation follows the classic line - although there’s enough of a curve to give it a fresh feel, with fun-loving fairies sneaking off to carnival even whilst commanding comedy and chaos to reign over wedding plans during full moon. A mix of Barbadian and British actors make up the cast of A Caribbean Dream, and Bourne’s direction generously gives the more mature lovers Hippolyta and Theseus a chance to convey the sweetness of seasoned romantic love. Themes of fantasy, love, magic, multi-ethnic nuptials and native beliefs and legends are all explored in this adaptation. The director, who also wrote the script, has spoken of that process and of her increased appreciation for Shakespeare. She said, “Shakespeare did most of the work! While I’ve always loved Shakespeare’s plots and characters, as a teen I disliked reading his work. I hated the language. Working on A Caribbean Dream, I now have a greater appreciation of Shakespeare and the language.” The film was released in the UK on the 10 November, for more information, visit facebook. com/acaribbeandreamfilm. NRM 08 SN NOVEMBER 2017

Online Caribbean Tales for film fans Caribbean Tales offers fans of Caribbean film online access to the best movies from the region via its CaribbeanTales-TV (CT-TV) streaming video service. With a vast collection of film content telling the multiplicity of stories of Caribbean peoples and those in the Diaspora, CT develops and supports the growth and sharing of animation, comedy, drama, documentary and short films. CT is a group of media companies that distributes, exhibits, markets and produces Caribbean -themed film and television programs internationally, and CaribbeanTales-TV is another strand to this end. CT-TV is the youngest member of the CT set, and includes CaribbeanTales Incubator (CTI), Caribbean Tales International Film Festival (CTFF) and CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD). For further information, go to caribbeantales-tv. com. NRM

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Jus Now signs to Warner Music Trinidadian Keshav Singh is one half of the production team Jus Now, who recently signed to the Warner Bros. music label. Alongside Sam Interface, a Bristol DJ whom Singh met by chance some years ago, Singh has produced for Trinidadian soca artists including Bunji Garlin, Machel Montano and 3Canal, as well as dancehall star Beenie Man, DJ Fresh, Afro Beat’s Fuse ODG and some UK pop singers. Jus Now’s collaborations with Bunji have seen the soca sensation reap new fans internationally with songs such as Savage and Tun Up. It was the latter which brought the production duo to the attention of Warner, when a sample of the song was passed to the label; Jus Now was later signed through 2 Tone Entertainment. Look out for a new international track which is due to be revealed soon, and will feature vocals by an acclaimed dancehall artist. The song fused with dance music had its premiere at the Glastonbury Festival earlier this year. The signing of Jus Now points to what Keshav Singh believes - that the label is keenly focused on Caribbean music, and that this will in turn make space for more Caribbean artists. He articulates his ambition for soca when he says, “There is ample opportunity to articulate or to establish our position as a creator of the art form. The onus is on us to represent what we do best.”

We were overwhelmed with readers wanting to know who was on the cover of the last issue. Well folks, that was model Andrea Cha Cha, in a bespoke costume made for her by designer Melissa SimonHartman; make-up by Keisha Des Vignes. Asiko Artist was the photographer. SN NOVEMBER 2017 09


feature NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL REPORT

Police and councils

come under fire at Notting Hill Carnival meeting

P

WORDS | STEPHEN SPARK

olice, councils and Notting Hill Carnival organisers were slammed at a packed and passionate meeting at the Tabernacle on 30 October. A high level of frustration was evident as carnivalists and residents alike tore into an increasingly sheepish-looking panel who had earlier lectured the audience on the 2017 event. It was evident that many in the hall felt that Carnival’s controllers were hopelessly out of touch with the needs of participants and residents. Sitting on the high table were Commander Dave Musker of the Metropolitan Police, who has been Gold (in overall command) at Notting Hill Carnival for the past three years; Sue Harris, executive director for environment, leisure and residents’ services at the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC); and Richie Gibson of Westminster City Council’s Events Team.

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The missing chair In the chair, looking very isolated, was London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust (LNHCET) director Lewis Benn, standing in for LNHCET chair Pepe Francis. Strangely, no mention was made of Mr Francis’s absence, but it is widely known that he has been temporarily suspended over allegations of financial impropriety concerning a £20,000 contract with the Nigerian Felabration organisation. At the ‘Reclaim Our Carnival’ meeting on 25 September it was claimed that £15,000 had been paid for a float that was not provided and £5,000 for a stage at Horniman’s Pleasance on Carnival Monday. However, Nigerian media dismissed the claims, pointing out that Felabration’s truck followed Ebony during the day, with members wearing T-shirts said to have been paid for by Mr Francis. The stage event did not take place because Felabration’s UK-based agent failed


to obtain the correct licences in time, the number of people expected to attend would have breached public safety rules, and stalls had been put up without permission. Soca News has been told by a well-placed independent source that no money for that event changed hands. The same source suggested to Soca News that the suspension was engineered by certain board members attempting an “internal coup” against Mr Francis. This may explain why other board members present at the meeting were in the body of the hall on 30 October rather than on stage with Mr Benn. Their absence was highlighted by campaigner Niles Hailstones, who said: “This board should be on the table. Why aren’t you supporting Lewis?” Funding Benn started by summarising the 2017 event’s successes and failures and highlighting some of the challenges – particularly money. “We haven’t got the funding streams we should be having, which is having a negative impact on some artistic content. Much is being done out of artists’ own pockets.” That rather undermined LNHCET’s ‘vision’ to “innovatively promote and perpetuate the rich diverse arts of Notting Hill Carnival”, especially as the judging zone received only 40% of the funding needed. The Greater London Authority provided £350,000 for stewarding and RBKC also supported the basic running of the event. These funds were restricted – ie they could only be used for specific purposes – and were supplemented by an unspecified amount of sponsorship from giffgaff and Red Bull as well as some ‘sponsorship in kind’. An audience member asked: “Why can no one give a definitive answer about how much money comes in and goes out? Why has it never been posted?” Lewis Benn promised figures would be provided “in the next two weeks”. Sue Harris said that RBKC spent £265,000 on event management (the contract with London Street Events/Street Event Co), £110,000 on toilets and £200,000 on post-event clear-up. She said that some money had been provided to LNHCET for the event’s artistic content. Speaking for Westminster, Gibson asserted: “The figures are quite telling regarding costs of Carnival.” This provoked an angry response from audience members, who pointed out that the councils’ crude balance sheet took no account of the massive revenue generated each year by Carnival in terms of extra trade for local businesses, incoming tourism, food

and drink, accommodation, plus goods and services supplied to Carnival participants etc. Fourteen years ago, the London Development Agency calculated that Notting Hill Carnival generated £93 million for the London and wider UK economies – equivalent to more than £110 million today. Wilf Walker, NHC Chair in 1981, was outraged by the suggestion that Carnival was simply a cost to the taxpayer. “I reckon about £4-5 billion has come into the area over the 50 years that Carnival has been going,” he said. “The council issues licences for Carnival, such as pub licences – why are you saying there’s no money?” As the basis on which the figures were compiled was exposed as fundamentally flawed and partial, both Harris and Gibson began to look distinctly uncomfortable. Policing Commander Musker’s belligerent demeanour won him few friends in the hall on 30 October. As the meeting progressed, the gulf that has opened up between the police and the community it purports to serve became all too apparent. “Our tactics won’t change,” he insisted, but as the criticism of the Met’s handling of Carnival grew louder, his demeanour became far more subdued, and at the end of the meeting he hastily turned tail and disappeared. “Policing Notting Hill Carnival cost £7.8 million – that’s an auditable figure,” Musker claimed. The problem is that no audit on police figures is ever made available for inspection, and the national media simply accept them without question. That sort of smokescreen didn’t work in the Tabernacle, however, and one audience member observed: “Somehow your fee has increased in a time of austerity for an event you use as a training ground. Police earn double time. How do you justify it?” Along with many others, it was a question that was never answered. Musker claimed that the annual LGBT festival, Pride, is the same size as Notting Hill Carnival and has a fraction of the number of arrests. Arrest numbers can be very misleading, though, and are bound to be far higher when an area is swamped by police officers. Uniquely among the media, Soca News has refused to take the Met’s NHC statistics at face value and has called for proper transparency and accountability. Numbers of arrests are meaningless without knowing how many of those arrested were ever found guilty of a crime and the exact location of that crime. The force has so far refused to accede to Freedom of Information requests to provide this basic information. SN NOVEMBER 2017 011


When asked why the police habitually feed a crime-driven media narrative of Notting Hill Carnival, Musker threw the ball back into the media’s court, saying, “Every event, such as Pride or the State Opening of Parliament, at end of every day we produce crime figures. For many events, press don’t ask us.” But for Carnival they do, apparently. However, the pre-event police briefings, such the infamous “in the run-up to Notting Hill Carnival” Twitter campaign about unrelated arrests in distant parts of the capital, are not replicated for similar events. The police approach to Notting Hill Carnival is unique, antagonistic and fundamentally unjust, many believe. Isis summed up a widely shared feeling in the hall: “Carnival shouldn’t be treated as a public order problem. The police treat it as a threat. The narrative needs to change.” Musker was derided for his suggestion that a Nice-style terrorist attack was likely at Carnival. “You generate fear where no fear exists,” one person observed. Others criticised police claims –again, repeated without question in national media that acid was thrown, when it turned out that the liquids were only beer and water. The Met’s obsession with what called “serious criminality” at Carnival and its willingness to feed the media with a solid diet of negative publicity about the event has made it almost impossible to attract sponsorship. That, in turn, prevents money being spent on initiatives that would improve the management of the route, enhance the artistic content of the bands and counter negative police-driven stories with more balanced material for the media. Chains of responsibility LNHCET came in for criticism too, with several people feeling that the information provided was inadequate and provided too late. Slides were rushed through and only one or two points picked out before the next slide was shown. As one audience member said, “There should have been more pre-publicity for this meeting; there wasn’t enough preparation.” The route was, as ever, a major bugbear. “There were complications such as the late delivery of band passes. Carnival needs to start earlier,” said CAMF chair and LNHCET board member Angela Duncan-Thompson. That was hardly a realistic solution felt one lady, who said, “My band left at 10am but we didn’t get to the judging point till after it had closed.” Debi Gardner criticised the health and safety training of staff hired by outsourced event manager Street Event Co. Responsibility for hiring SEC lay firmly with the multi012 SN NOVEMBER 2017

agency Operational Planning & Safety Group, Gardner said. There was disquiet at the lack of ‘fight’ in LNHCET, which many felt was weak in standing up to abuses by the police and misrepresentation by councils and media. Former NHC chair Leslie Palmer protested: “The Carnival has been hijacked by the council and the police. I thought I was going to meet Dave Morgan [former policeman, now director of London Street Events]. I thought black people were going to reclaim our Carnival.” Niles Hailstones put it memorably: “You’ve all jumped on the slave ship; you’ve put your own chains on. It’s obvious who you’re backing. How long is LNHCET going to collude with these people?” Benn seemed hurt by that accusation: “We don’t collude. We work as hard as we can. It is a challenge.” Vision Long-time carnivalist and educator Celia BurgessMacey hit out at the unremitting negativity coming from the councils: “Where is your vision for Carnival?” she asked. “Where is your enthusiasm for this fantastic cultural event? Where is the encouragement in the schools?” The councils will have their chance to answer those questions, and to demonstrate some long-overdue positivity, at the next engagement meeting, which will be held in January. Soca News will keep you informed about that. In the meantime, we understand the next Reclaim Our Carnival meeting will be held shortly, in mid-November. The main issues emerging from the 30 October meeting are likely to be governance of the Carnival Board; funding (including sponsorship); Carnival’s representations in, and relations with, the media; and the balance of power between carnivalists, police and councils. Anyone interested in attending should also see our report on the 25 September meeting. Finally, readers who are residents of Westminster should fill in the council’s survey on Notting Hill Carnival, which can be found here westminster.gov.uk/ notting-hill-carnival-survey. If you love Carnival, say so! Get involved in the conversation follow this post at facebook.com/socanews.

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Price. £7.99 ISBN 978 0 947890 09 4 Available from • www.acukheritage.co.uk SN NOVEMBER 2017 013


soca people

Nailah BLACKMAN TALKS FAMILY TIES AND SOKAH WORDS | JOSEPH CHARLES

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N

ailah Blackman may be relatively unknown to most readers, but she hails from a soca dynasty that none can rival.

Her grandfather Lord Shorty (Garfield Blackman), who went on to become Ras Shorty I, is credited as the creator of soca music. Today, Nailah is following in his footsteps. Her track Work Out featuring Kes The Band was a massive hit during the 2017 Trinidad Carnival season and continues to light up the dancefloors; it also took her to the finals of the 2017 International Soca Monarch competition. Since Work Out she has released Baila Mami on the Parallel Riddim and Badishh with Jamaican dancehall star Shenseaa. Soca News was curious to know what was next for this rising star so we dug around our Rolodex and found our way to her inbox, where we asked the following questions. Tell us, in no more than 10 words, who is Nailah Blackman? Nailah Blackman is a walking instrument. Over the last year you have gone from someone the wider public may not have heard of to, “Have you heard that Nailah Blackman track?” How does this make you feel? This makes me feel like my hard work is starting to pay off and that I am on the right track to success. I feel that paying attention solely to music from a young age was one of the best decisions that I have made. I didn't always do so well in school, so music was always the thing. I used to be like “but I love music”. This makes me feel like I have been doing the right thing all along. How would you describe your musical style? I would describe my musical style as Caribbean/folk/ soca/alternative. I am very alternative, very folksy, which I all fuse with my love for soca.

By which music genres are you influenced? I am very influenced by Indian and African music all the indigenous music from the different countries like Nigeria, Senegal, India, Arabic music and jazz music. I am very influenced by jazz and alternative rock. Do you think you are looked upon to maintain a certain standard, in the light of who your grandfather was? Well of course. I definitely do need to maintain a certain standard in light of who my grandfather was, because if I came from greatness I could only and should only be great. I think it is very important for me to keep up the Blackman name as people who are known to bring forth good music and as people who always look for the positive light in everything and to evolve and change and create something that is always trendsetting and new. So, yes I do think I should keep a certain standard in light of who my grandfather was. How do you deal with online attention from the public, such as comments on social media? Well, I don't respond to comments on social media. I believe that I have a fan base and supporters. My Nai Army and I believe that if anything is said that is untrue about me or that is wrong, I believe that my supporters and my followers are going to defend me. There will always be people who are against what I do and who will try to bring me down. How do I deal with the attention? Honestly, like half of it is really hilarious. I just like to think if I was this person behind this computer how I would feel about what I saw. I always like to put myself in the other person’s shoes so that I can understand where they came from when they made that comment or did something that may hurt me. I look to see if there is truth into whatever is said and if it’s something that I should work on. I like to learn from the public and the people looking on, because the fact that they are giving me attention means that they are showing some support in some way because it’s only going to make me more popular. I grab at it and I learn from it.

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You have hooked up with super producer Anson Soverall. How did that come about? Well, Anson and I have been working for quite some time. 2017 would have been the first year that we started working so heavily after the track Work Out, which was released in December of 2016. I have been working with him going on three years now. We used to work on a lot more pop stuff before the soca stuff. We did a lot of pop, a lot of my stuff and different other stuff. We were trying to find a sound. Only when we took a grasp on to the soca is when we started working as heavily as we are now. I am doing my first releasing EP with him. I did two EPs before, but I did not release them. I met Anson at MusicTT’s publishing conference. I knew about him from friends before and so did he from the videos I posted on social media. When we got the introduction at the conference, soon after I started going to the studio where I actually helped out with background vocals for songs for Machel, Preedy and Patrice Roberts and eventually we just started working more and more to the point where we are now Are you looking at working with other producers to help further your music career? Of course. You cannot make music with one person and expect to grow. Anson is also my manager so he knows that I need to expand with the different talents that I work with when coming to producers. I look forward to collaborating with some of the best. I wanna work with Co-sign. There are producers out of Jamaica that I have been doing songs with as well and even some here in Trinidad. I am just looking forward to making as much good music as I can. How did the collaboration with Jamaican artiste Shenseea come about, and are there any more collaborations in the pipeline? And if so, we’d love to know who with, if you can say! Shenseea was booked for a show here in Trinidad and I was also on the cast. The promoter wanted her to do the radio tour to promote the show, this being her first time in Trinidad, and he wanted me to come along with her. Anson thought that it doesn’t make any sense that you gonna do a radio tour with Shenseea if you not promoting a song. Like you gonna waste all that promotion for a party

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that is just gonna pass. That day that the promoter called we actually just did the first demo of Badishh and we were like yo we have to get her on this track. The promoter linked it and as soon as she came down we went to the studio and recorded. Next day we were shooting the video in Tobago for Great Fete Weekend. We did promotions while she was here. We played the song on radio as a demo version. Then I flew to Jamaica the next week we finished the video and the next week we released it. So that’s how that came about. Yes, there other collaborations for 2018 with more Jamaican artistes coming and Trinidad artistes for Carnival possibly, but I am not allowed to say. I believe that I should let the music speak for itself so when it’s happening, you will know. We've heard Badishh, released for the 2018 Trinidad Carnival season. What else can we look forward to? Well, I am dropping my EP entitled Sokah, S-O-KA-H. It is my brand, the name of my band and it’s a movement really. Sokah is to signify the unity and patriotism of Trinidad and Tobago and I really want to enforce this in the youths of this country. I believe that we don’t have the level of patriotism that we should have within us and I believe this is so because we are divided. I want to bring forth unity with this EP. It is a visual EP that will be released for my birthday on 2 December. Three songs on that EP are gonna take me throughout the Carnival season. One of the songs I will be releasing at the end of November, which is called SOKAH, the title track for the EP, and another entitled Oh Lawd Oye that is yet to come. I just finished shooting the music video for that. There will be much more, I have songs on riddims as well.

CONNECT WITH NAILAH

• INSTAGRAM.COM/NAILAHBLACKMAN • FACEBOOK.COM/NAILAHBLACKMANMUSIC • TWITTER.COM/NAILAHBLACKMAN


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music

dj cjay’s ten bangers YOU CAN CATCH DJ CJAY EVERY FRIDAY BETWEEN 9-11PM ON CARIBBEANSESSIONS.CO.UK, WHERE HE HOSTS - THE OFFICIAL PARTY BEFORE THE PARTY

TAKE OVER

DISTRICT 7 & PRIVATE RYAN FT. KERWIN DUBOIS

OVERDUE

ERPHAAN ALVES

FULL OF VIBE VOICE X MARGE BLACKMAN

HELLO

FOLKLORE RIDDIM

SPLINTERS

(2AM PROJECT)

FAMILY

FOREVER

LIMBO

SHARE IT

DESTRA GARCIA

WIFEY

FARMER NAPPY

JAIGA

KES

FOR MORE MUSIC VISIT

SOCANEWS.COM/MUSIC 018 SN NOVEMBER 2017

RAVI B

SHAL MARSHALL

PREEDY X BUNJI GARLIN


feature

St Kitts and Nevis your perfect music festival paradise St Kitts and Nevis are the sort of islands that dreams are made of: a lush tropical landscape, pristine beaches, luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants and ultimate privacy; top that off with a world-class music festival and you have yourself Destination Paradise!

T

WORDS | RACHEL RITFELD

he St Kitts Music Festival has been going from strength to strength for 21 years. Among the major international stars who have headlined over the years are 50 Cent, Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Michael Bolton, John Legend, Kelly Rowland, Shaggy, Tarrus Riley and Lionel Richie. On 22 June the festival kicked off in style at Warner Park Stadium. Opening night was my first soca and calypso festival experience. Many home-grown and

regional acts were performing, some that were previously unknown to me, but the energy and positive vibes they brought to the stage meant my blood was pumping from beginning to end, especially during performances by Stadics, Ultimate Rejects and Shanna. Alison Hinds lived up to her title as the Queen of Soca she commanded the crowd and had thousands of people jumping and wining in unison. Fans of international artistes had much to look forward to in the following two nights, with the

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RACHEL ON A VISIT TO BELLE MONT FARM, ST KITTS 020 SN NOVEMBER 2017


white-themed event was my party highlight of the “This year and the perfect festival fringe event closing. ” GooGoo Dolls, Shabba Ranks, Phyllisia Ross, K Michelle, Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Third World performing on stage. After a sleepless few days at the main festival, I had a relaxing Sunday lunch at Rhythmz on the Beach at Spice Mill on Cockleshell Beach, enjoying a delicious buffet while listening to the smooth vibes of the live band against a backdrop of turquoise waters. Saving some energy for White Sands Arabia at the Carambola Beach Club was my best decision! This white-themed event was my party highlight of the year and the perfect festival fringe event closing. During the festival, staying at the St Kitts Marriott Resort in Frigate Bay is a must. Enjoy some relaxation by the pool or on the beach or spot the artistes walking through the lobby for some photo ops. When you are ready for relaxation, head to Kittitian Hill’s Belle Mont Farm to experience vibrant

nature, breathtaking views and luxurious boutique hotel accommodation set amidst tropical gardens. The restaurant takes you on an unrivalled culinary journey with a farm-to-table concept. The island offers plenty of opportunities for excursions. Brimstone Hill Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is maintained in immaculate condition. For the thrill-seeker, zip-lining through the tree tops with views of the ocean at the Sky Safari is an exhilarating experience. The St Kitts Scenic Railway in Basseterre is claimed to be “the last railway in the Caribbean” and takes visitors on a cultural journey to learn about the important role of the sugar cane trade in the history of St Kitts. A visit to the island of Nevis is highly recommended. It’s just a 10-minute water taxi journey away from St Kitts and you find yourself on the picturesque Oualie Beach. SN NOVEMBER 2017 021


I stayed in Princess Diana’s hotel of choice, the Montpelier Plantation and Beach. It is set by the foothills of Nevis Peak and built around one of the many 18th-century sugar plantations on the island. The Golden Rock Inn is another favourite boutique hotel of mine for its secluded luxury rooms and being able to enjoy fine dining while bird watching in the immaculate landscaped garden. At the Nevisian Heritage Village, Miss Patricia takes you on an unforgettable cultural journey of the evolution of social history by sharing heartfelt and uplifting stories of slave families in the Carib Indian era, which is both educational and emotional. Sunshine’s lounge and grill is set on a great beach and arguably offers the best local food on the island. You can’t go there without trying Mr Sunshine’s famous, secret concoction: Killer Bee rum punch. These are just some of my many wonderful experiences on these stunning islands! Put it in your diary: June 2018 is when you need to plan a visit to St Kitts and Nevis for a similar unforgettable experience.

RE UNION

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CLUB

The 2018 edition of the St. Kitts Music Festival will take place from the 18-30 June 2018. For packages and flight information call 020 7344 0101


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events

Don’t know where to go, or what to do?

Our events listing is all you need to keep you in the know. We cover predominately London, but whenever or wherever we hear about a soca fete or caribbean related event, we’ll list it. If you’re a promoter, then to ensure you get listed please send us your event details and a print copy of your flyer to events@socanews.com. For full event listings, please visit socanews.com/events.

FRI 24 NOV

SAT 25 NOV

D’REMEDY

MISS CARIBBEAN UK

@ Miusan, 16 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ. DJs Triple M, DJ Tate, Armanic Hic & Supa Nytro. Time 8pm-2am. Price £5.

@ The Broadway Theatre, Catford Road, SE6 4RU. Time 7pm-11pm. Price £25 & £35.

WINTER ICE LIME

MISS CARIBBEAN UK 2017 GRAND FINALE

THE ROYAL LOUNGE

DAME DU SHOW PRODUCTIONS

@ The Royal Lounge, 397 High Road Wembley, HA9 6AA. Time 9pm-5am. Price Free B4 11, £5 at the door.

@ Draft House Bar, Chancery Lane, 1 Plough Place, EC4A 1DE. Hosted by Soulja. DJs DJ Alitwizt, DJ Jairo, DJ Markee & DJ Cinde Rella (Dame Du Show). Time 9pm-3am. Price £10. Info 07967 738 419.

CLUB ZOUK - DRESS UP FRIDAY

GET MAD ENTERTAINMENT

BASHMENT & CHILL

@ Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LQ. DJs Shakit. Time 10pm3:30am.

LIPSTICK JUNGLE

JUST VIBEZ

LADIES FIRST

@ Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LQ. Hosted by Trinigladiata. DJs Rivah, LRO, Hyper Spice, Feel Good Smalls, Ms Riri & Varia. Time 10pm-4am. Price £5, ladies free b4 10.30pm.

SUN 26 NOV TRINIDAD & TOBAGO UK

CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA DINNER

@ Duniya, 234 High Street Harlesden, NW10 4TD. Time 3pm-9pm. Price £30. Info 07943 967 769

FOR A FULL EVENT LISTING

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events FOR A FULL EVENT LISTING

SOCANEWS.COM/EVENTS

SAT 02 DEC BRITISH ASSOCIATION OF STEELBANDS (BAS)

19TH ANNUAL STEELBAND AWARDS

@ Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury, Coram Street, WC1N 1HT. Time 7pm-2am. Price £45. Info 07956 546 724. BUSSPEPPER PROMOTIONS

CUCHI LA LA

@ Revolution (Leadenhall), 140144 Leadenhall Street, EC3V 4QT. DJs BacktoBasics, DJ Markee, DJ Raskal, Dan Bean & Trini Gladiata. Time 10pm-4am. Price £10, £15 & £20. RUMSHOP RAW LICQUER

BARBADOS 51ST INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION

@ Addictive Bar, 28 Park Royal Road, NW10 7JW. DJs Nigel Angelo, DJ Bliss, Credable & Mr Hardwine. Time 9pm-3am. Price £10. WATIUKUBULI CULTURE & TOURISM INITIATIVE

MISS 2017 WOB & TI MATADOR

@ Dominica High Commission, 1 Collingham Gardens, SW5 0HW. Time 4pm. Price £10 contribution, £5 children.

SUN 03 DEC MAGNUM OPUS EVENTS

SO SO SOCA CHRISTMAS CARNIVAL @ The Magic Roundabout, Old Street Roundabout (above the tube station), EC1Y 1BE. Time 3pm-10pm. Price £4, £5 & £10.

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UCOM CARNIVAL & ASSOCIATES

CIRQUE DU CARNAVAL - NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL 2018

@ The Scala, 275 Pentonville Road King´s Cross, N1 9NL. DJs Mr Hype, DJ Chris Vee & DJ Silverfox. Time 6pm-4am. Price £8, £12 & £15.

FRI 08 DEC GET MAD ENTERTAINMENT

BASHMENT & CHILL

@ Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LQ. DJs Shakit. Time 10pm3:30am.

SAT 09 DEC TOBAGO RESIDENTS UK

PARANG SOCA LIME

@ Jubilee Football Grounds, Canadian Avenue, Catford, SE6 4SW. Time 7pm-1am. Price £20. UNITY OF (UK) ST. LUCIAN ASSOCIATIONS

PROUD TO BE LUCIAN - ANNUAL NATIONAL DAY CULTURAL EVENING

@ The West Indian Cultural Centre, 9 Clarendon Road, N8 0DJ. DJs DJ Terry, DJ Jon J E & DJ Cobra. Guest DJs DJ LT. Time 8pm-2am. Price £3, £7 & £10.

INTENSITY EVNTS

DJ REMSTAR’S 3RD ANNUAL BIRTHDAY PARTY @ The Lighthouse Club, 62 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3AY. DJs DJ Remstar, Jah Eyez, Supa Nytro, Triple M, Guff Nuff & DJ Boots. Time 9pm. Price £10, £15 & £25.

ASAP ENTERTAINMENT

THE LAUNCH

@ Vinyl Bar, 2-3 Old Change Court, EC4M 8EN. Live Acts Shal Marshall. Time 9pm-3am. Price £20 & £25.

WED 13 DEC YAA CENTRE

FESTIVE OPEN EVENING

@ Yaa Centre, 1 Chippenham Mews, London, W9 2AN. Featuring Ebony Steelband, Calypso from Alexander D Great Plus Carl & Lynn Gabriel Carnival Artists Open Studio. Time 6pm-9pm. Price Free admission. Info 020 7266 4375

SUN 17 DEC TALK YUH TALK

SOCA PARANG, PAN & PASTELLE

@ Yaa Centre, 1 Chippenham Mews, London, W9 2AN. Featuring Live Tobago Crusoe, Giselle, Alexander D Great, De Alberto plus more. Backed by Sean Caribbean & Friends live band including Congas and Cyril “Scratcher Man” Khomai. DJs DJ Fats and Soca Massive. Caribbean Christmas food available: Black Cake, Pastelles, Ham, Paimee, Sorrell and Ginger Beer with a licensed bar. Time 5pm-11pm. Price £10. Info 07956 223 247 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.


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Ebony Steelband

Performance

FESTIVE

OPEN EVENING Live Broadcast

Bar & Food

Pan in De Yard

Available

Calypso from

Alexander D Great

Carl & Lynn Gabriel Carnival Artists Open Studio

Wed 13 Dec 6–9pm Free admission Further information: admin@carnivalvillage.org.uk or phone 020 7266 4375

1 Chippenham Mews London W9 2AN 020 7266 4375 yaacentrew9.com

EBONY S T E E L

B A N D

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feature

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Celebrating 10 Years of Pan Clash... 2007 - 2017 WORDS | SHAREEN GRAY PHOTOGRAPHS | ROBBIE JOSEPH (PAN PODIUM)

T

he Tabernacle in west London was the venue for celebrating 10 years of Pan Clash on Sunday 22 October. It is fitting that a whole new generation of steelpan soloists took part this year in the Over-16s category. Some of them were only 10 years old when this competition began. The champions this year included Lola Peach in the Under-16s category. Lola is also a part of the Kingsdale Foundation School, champions of Classorama (our school steelband competition) in July. Over-16s competition winner Ebow Mensah was the champion last year in the Under 16s a fantastic achievement on his part. He will receive his first British Association of Steelbands (BAS) Award this year as a result. Other prizes included £500 cash and four tickets to the British MOBO Awards. This very enjoyable evening included performances from Carlene ‘Sweetwrist’ Etienne, Debra Romain and Alexander D Great. The event had a natural high as so many people recalled the length of time they have been a part of this event. British comedian Kayleigh ‘Loudmouth’ Lewis said to me, the founder of Pan Clash, “You bought me to the stage before I was even a comedian and believed in me before I knew I loved a mic and a stage. You saw something in me 10 years ago and continued to watch me grow into the stage woman I am today! Not everybody has the friends or platform to do what they love and instead of beating down on people you prefer to lift them up and I am forever grateful!” The evening ended with my closing speech and gifts of flowers and a bottle to the presenters Tubbs and Kayleigh ‘Loudmouth’ Lewis the faces of Pan Clash steelpan musicians Samuel Dubois and Thomas Sinclair for supporting the event in many ways from the beginning, and Debi Gardner of BAS, who has supported this event since 2007.

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feature

Steel Pan

Fusion WORDS | SHAREEN GRAY

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teel Pan Fusion, organised by Wade Austin, spent the summer touring the UK introducing pan music to new audiences. They were in Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Leeds and London. In each city they included a pan artiste from the region collaborating with the band, including Kyron Akal, Dudley Nesbitt and Jenny Gilberg. In some places, improv workshops were delivered to local youth steelbands, which then were incorporated into Steel Pan Fusion’s opening act. It has been a delight to watch this project develop. The album for this tour, Melting Pot, is available on Apple Music and these original pieces of music are simply divine. After thanking Wade Austin for pushing this project forward, I asked him the following questions to gain some interesting insights.


What is Steel Pan Fusion and when did it start? Steel Pan Fusion was set up to support and promote UK-based steelpan soloists, giving them a platform to showcase their talent and to show the versatility of the instrument outside of a conventional steelband. I felt there was always a lot of focus on international steelpan artistes and wanted to change this. It began in 2013, having monthly events at Charlie Wright’s (Old Street, Shoreditch). Each month we invited different steelpan soloist to come and perform with us. How was the tour this year in these cities and what were the best parts? The tour was better than we could have hoped for, we have had a fantastic response; the feedback has been amazing. Best part is seeing how diverse the audiences have been, proving that we can reach people outside of the steelpan community and also that the steelpan can lead the band. The band wrote all the

music on the album and seeing people up dancing and enjoying it is a great feeling. What led to you become a steelpan musician and what else do you do related to steelpan? Being from Trinidad I grew up playing pan. I started at a young age in my family’s band, Fonclaire, with my uncle, Milton Wire Austin. The panyard was right next to our house so that’s where I spent all my time. I have my company, Steel Pan In Motion, that involves, teaching in schools, private lessons in my community and delivering steelpan workshops. I also play at various events and am a recording artiste and band leader of Steel Pan Fusion. What are your future plans for Steel Pan Fusion? We have a few more projects lined up and will be back in the studio at the start of the New Year, writing some new material and hopefully getting more steelpan soloists involved. This is just the start!

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feature Savile Row offers FAME to the Caribbean WORDS | NICOLE RACHELLE-MOORE

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avile Row’s most decorated tailor, Andrew Ramroop, launched in July his initiative intended to further propel the Caribbean fashion industry: Fashion Art Manufacturing Entrepreneurship Export -Caribbean 2K17 (FAME-Caribbean 2K17). The event which launches on 25 November 2017, at the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), Portof-Spain will see six countries in the region – Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago – showcase their fashion talent. Contributors will deliver stimulating lectures and workshops, promote their accessories and goods to an international market at a ‘Buyer’s Tent’, and of course showcase talent from their top designers at the event’s runway show. Proceeds will go to the disaster relief efforts for Barbuda and Dominica. This is set to become a key annual fashion business event, where Caribbean artists and musicians will also take centre stage. Regional icons such as Brian Lara will be promoting the potential of designers to contribute to this unique, positive economic diversification. Ramroop, CEO of the prestigious Maurice Sedwell Ltd and a native of Trinidad, is globally recognised as one of the finest Master Tailors in the world and is currently the only tailor on Savile Row to have been awarded an OBE for tailoring and training. As well as presenting a case for loans and tax incentives for young businesses and the creation of local employment for design and fashion graduates, Ramroop also recognises the need for emerging designers to have opportunities to intern at established international fashion houses. The master tailor spoke of how FAME-Caribbean came about and why he feels it can play a useful role, saying, “FAME-Caribbean 2K17 is the brainchild born out of my experiences in the menswear industry for the last fifty years. Having travelled extensively on invitation to international fashion events, visited manufacturing facilities and fabric spinning mills, I have seen first-hand how much improvement is needed in the Caribbean in the areas of high quality craftsmanship, design and delivery. FAME-Caribbean’s primary objective is to address these needs by positioning ourselves to offer sustainable business development, mentoring and support to practitioners in Trinidad & Tobago.” For further information, you can go to www.famecaribbean.com or email fame.caribbean@gmail.com to purchase tickets.


YC call for trainers_1 08/11/2017 15:16 Page 1

CARNIVAL ARTS WORKSHOPS 2018 Supported by Carnival Village Trust and Elimu Mas Academy

CALLING ALL CARNIVAL

ARTISTS & ARTISANS

Can you contribute your knowledge and skills? Carnival Village Trust is looking to engage with Carnival Artists and Organisations in the delivery of workshops and learning in Carnival Arts at the Yaa Centre from April to August 2018. Deadline 30 November 2017 If you would like more details please email us with an expression of interest. Further info admin@carnivalvillage.org.uk

Yaa Centre 1 Chippenham Mews, London W9 2AN. T 020 7266 4375 London’s Centre for Carnival Arts W YaaCentreW9.com f Carnival Village Trust #CarnivalVT

ADVERTISING TO ADVERTISE IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF SOCA NEWS

t. +44 (0) 333 012 4643 e. sales@socanews.com

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food

Trinidadian chocolate a sweet success story

L

WORDS | STEPHEN SPARK

ondon’s prestigious department store, Harrods, has started selling some very special chocolate from Trinidad. It was at the start of National Chocolate Week in October that Harrods began to offer the Trinidad & Tobago Chocolate Company’s Single Estate Chocolate Box. The selection contains four bars of chocolate, each made from the same type of bean (Trinitario) but grown on different estates, so each has a unique and distinctive flavour. From the government-run La Reunion estate, for example, the chocolate has “green aromatic notes with a sharp citric acidity and mild floral aromas”. Chocolate from the historic Ortinola estate is “mellow and smooth on the palette with tropical yellow fruit notes and a subtle hay aroma”, while “dried fruit notes with a slight bitterness linked to hazelnut, and a savoury finish” distinguish Aripo’s product. Finally, “bright fruit and herbal notes with a sweet vanilla aroma and a long finish” are the hallmarks of the brand-new Tableland estate’s chocolate. So this is definitely not your standard supermarket bar – it’s a treat for the connoisseur! The Trinidad & Tobago Chocolate Company was set up six years ago to try to reverse the decline in cocoa growing. At one time, Trinidad exported 30,000 tonnes of cocoa a year, whereas today the country 034 SN NOVEMBER 2017

produces only 500 tonnes. The sector is fragmented, so the company is trying to help farmers through setting standards and providing guidance. The gleaming new processing plant at La Reunion has all the latest technology to ensure the end product satisfies the most demanding international consumers. The quality has to be high, because the small scale of production means Trinidadian chocolate will never be cheap. In an interview with Loop, company director Ashley Parasram said recently, “We aren’t really selling chocolate, we are selling T&T.” He has hit on an ingenious way of doing just that – packing chocolate in steelpan-shaped tins. They sell for TT$150 locally; the Harrods box retails at £20. T&T Chocolate Company clearly sees Britain as the gateway to new overseas markets for its premium products, as it has developed partnerships, talks and tastings with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, Leiths School of Food and Wine and the Artisan du Chocolat store in Notting Hill. With La Reunion’s production set to expand from 50 tonnes to 100 tonnes by 2020, there should be more of the sweetness to share – but only if you’re really feeling generous! To find out more, go to http://ttfinecocoa.com


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Soca News is a Caribbean-focused brand dedicated to music, news, culture, carnivals and lifestyle. We have been established for over 20 years and have built up a loyal following of readers who appreciate Soca News’s distinctive content, which informs, entertains and inspires.

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Soca News | November 2017  

In the November issue of Soca News we speak to Nailah Blackman, who talks family ties and sokah, and Rachel Ritfeld shares her time at the S...

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