Page 1


i123/ OCTOBER 2017 ISSN 1464-7087

SN OCTOBER 2017 01

02 SN OCTOBER 2017

SN OCTOBER 2017 03

04 SN OCTOBER 2017

contents OCTOBER 2017 | ISSUE 123



07. NEWS

10. 12. 16. 19.







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

a carnival is born Time for action! tropical sun celebrates 21 barbados food and rum festival

26. living the culinary dream 30. acuk to launch with calypso in london book SN OCTOBER 2017 05

EdITOR’s Letter Welcome to the October issue of Soca News. We trust you had a good summer, and an even better Notting Hill Carnival. If you didn’t then we’d be interested to hear from you; tell us your stories, good and bad. Did you not get the service you paid for? Was your costume unrecognisable? Email us at, and let us know. A meeting, which was held in September to discuss reclaiming Carnival, will hopefully lead to some improvements to our favourite time of year. See page 12 for a full report.



Very much on all our minds recently, of course, have been the Caribbean islands devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria - in particular those that are independent so will now need to muster their own resources. We’d like to add our voices to ask everyone to give what they can to help. Two appeals that we know of are the Rebuild Barbuda Appeal Fund and the Dominica National Development & Disaster Fund (DNDDF). YOURS IN SOCA. Joseph Charles EDITOR

PUBLISHER & EDITOR Joseph Charles CREATIVE Joseph Charles SUB EDITOR Katie Segal CONSULTING EDITOR Stephen Spark



WORDS Angela Chappell, Ionie Benjamin, Joseph Charles, Katie Segal, Nicole Rachelle Moore, Shabaka Thompson, Shareen Gray & Stephen Spark

PUBLISHED BY Joseph Charles Publishing 86-90 Paul Street London, EC2A 4NE

PICTURES Angela Chappell, Jaimol Nottingham, Kola Graffix, Peter Hogan, Stephen Spark & Victor Morris

TELEPHONE + 44 (0) 333 012 4643 EMAIL WEBSITE

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 OCTOBER 2017



The well-known leader of one of the oldest mas bands in Notting Hill Carnival, Flamboyan, passed away on 17 September. Gloria Cummins was 78, and had 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Gloria came to the UK in the 1960s. She worked as a psychiatric nurse in Kent, but later moved to London and became a community relations officer in Westminster. In the late 1960s she set up Flamboyan with Larry Ford. The band’s base at Fernhead Road, W9, is probably the longest established mas camp in London, a place where the young, aspiring mas-maker could expect close scrutiny, but also practical help. Larry and Gloria were always willing to help, sharing the processes and dynamics of costume construction as well as the politics of Notting Hill Carnival. Gloria provided a resource for young people to explore the creativity of costume-making by offering placements to many arts and secondary school students. Gloria was always keen on improving the artistry of Carnival. As her discipline was costuming, she made every effort to ensure this shone through. Her ideas for mas were innovative and refreshing. It was under her watch, back in the early 90s, that LCMA [London Carnival Mas Association, the

forerunner of Notting Hill Mas Bands Association, which itself has morphed into today’s Carnival Arts and Masquerade Foundation] initiated the idea of using Alexandra Palace for a costume show. The mas show developed into the Costume Splash, which ran for nine years, culminating in CALO, in 2011. But Gloria was far from being a mere observer of Notting Hill Carnival’s often complex and passionate politics. Well-informed and with a sharp tongue, as Shabaka observes, she was more than capable of holding her own in that largely male-dominated world. In a Guardian interview in 2006, Gloria said:,“I’m now referred to as the Grandmother of Carnival. I like that.” Shabaka has his own name for her, the Grand Dame of Notting Hill Carnival, which perhaps captures her spirit rather better. May we hail the Dame of Notting Hill Carnival for her sterling and indelible contribution to the development of the artform. We must not forget her commitment and dedication to Carnival, and to her local community. We should ensure she is recognised, albeit posthumously, for all her accomplishments.

SN OCTOBER 2017 07


First £1,000 mas section UCOM (United Colours of Mas) have set out their stall for Notting Hill Carnival 2018 by introducing the first £1,000 mas section. Yep, you heard it right – that’s one thousand notes. They are set to launch their 2018 theme, Cirque Du Carnaval, at the Scala, King,s Cross on Sunday 3 December.

Soca Music Awards set to return in 2018 The Soca Music Awards will return in 2018, prompted by concerns voiced by artists that there’s been nothing reflecting what’s taking place within the UK soca arena. Soca News publisher and SMA promoter Joseph Charles said, “Promoting the culture is not always an easy road, but it’s necessary, so we are stepping back into the ring”. To keep updated about the awards, please sign up to the newsletter at



Pantonic steel celebrities Pantonic Steel Orchestra were pan celebrities this summer, making it onto the television twice. The late Mr Ezekiel ‘Biggs’ Yearwood formed the orchestra in 1988, and 10 years of Biggs’ life was celebrated this month across Steel Pan Trust’s social media. How proud he would be to see his offspring taking steelpan into the music mainstream - it’s opportunities like this that will legitimise the instrument and bring new innovations. The day these guys were performing at the V Festival - with Rudimental and James Arthur - there was a buzz amongst onlookers waiting to witness what they’d been working on. Rehearsals had to be kept secret until after the performance, and it was great to watch them live at the V festival on MTV, killing it with the song Sun Comes Up. Manager Lynette Yearwood said, “Rudimental were really great, they made the band feel so comfortable and gave the whole steelpan sound a great push”. Just a few weeks later the band were recording CBeebies show, Apple Tree House, as part of their carnivalthemed programme. Pantonic Steel Orchestra, we salute you!

Humming Bird for Garlin Soca star Bunji Garlin (Ian Alvarez) has been awarded The Humming Bird Medal (Silver) for his contribution to culture and music, in a ceremony that took place on Sunday 24 September at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Portof-Spain. The National Awards of Trinidad and Tobago recognise the contributions of those citizens and non-nationals who have had a significant and positive impact on the twin-island republic.

A New Beacon New Beacon, the black bookshop established back in 1966, has reopened after a six week refurbishment process. The book store, whose official re-launch was on Saturday 7 October, launched a gofundme page in April where they managed to raise more than their ÂŁ10,000 goal. The shop now has a new shop front, and updated logo to match. Along with the new look are new opening times: Tuesday to Saturday, 11am - 6pm, plus late night closing at 8pm on Thursdays. You can find New Beacon at 76 Stroud Green Road, London N4 3EN; telephone 020 7272 4889 or visit their website,

Come Drink a Rum! The UK Rum Fest is back for its 11th year. The event will feature up to 400 different varieties of rum from around the world, available both for sampling and purchase. It’s worth a visit - at least once! Rum Fest will be held at ILEC Conference Centre, SW6 1UD on the weekend of Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October, kicking off from midday on both days.

SN OCTOBER 2017 09


A Carnival is born!!! Hull International Carnival 2017



n Sunday 3 September, following two years’ preparation involving local groups and artists, Hull, City of Culture, hosted the city’s inaugural Hull International Carnival. The parade set off from King Edward Square, and moved through the town centre to finish at Queens Gardens. There were giant sea shells blasting soca rhythms, live samba bands, Rampage Mas costumes and participants from the city’s many diverse communities. The carnival was directed by international carnival expert Pax Nindi, led by chairman, Doctor Tapan Mahapatra, and was aptly hosted in partnership with the Hull Freedom Festival director, Mikey Martins. During August, the carnival hosted workshops with Afro Fashions and ‘Junkanoo Commandos’

010 SN OCTOBER 2017

visiting artists from the Bahamas who worked with Hull artists and local people to create a banner depicting this year’s theme: ‘Sharing Cultural Traditions’. Links to carnival arts and emancipation are deeply rooted in many UK and international carnivals, and Freedom Festival is a legacy of the Wilberforce 2007 campaign, which celebrated the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade led by Hull-born MP William Wilberforce in 1807. This year’s carnival was just a small launch event, supported by Freedom Festival, Global Carnivalz and a grant from National Lottery funding through the Arts Council England’s ‘Grants for the Arts’ programme. The goal is for the carnival to grow in the future. For further information go to

SN OCTOBER 2017 011


‘Time for action!’

Carnivalists demand change at Notting Hill “It is time to reclaim our carnival” was the strident demand on the pre-event flyers. WORDS + IMAGE | STEPHEN SPARK


or many of those gathered at the Tabernacle on Monday 25 September, that means wresting control of Notting Hill Carnival from police, councils and an unrepresentative and ineffective organising body. There was fierce and sustained criticism of the Metropolitan Police, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC), organiser London Notting Hill Carnival Enterprises Trust (LNHCET) and its event manager, London Street Events/Street Event Co (SEC). Despite real anger at the way the carnival is being controlled, the meeting was orderly and restrained. It started after a minute’s silence in memory of the late

012 SN OCTOBER 2017

Gloria Cummins, leader of Flamboyan Mas Band, and of the dead and distressed of the hurricane-ravaged islands of the Caribbean. Professor Gus John, chair of the “ad hoc committee” that called the meeting, was flanked by Cecil Gutzmore, Clive ‘Mashup’ Phillip, Giselle Carter (who arrived too late to speak) and Michael La Rose. Many of the elders of Carnival were present among the 150 people in the hall. Representing RBKC were Sue Harris, executive director of environment, leisure and residents’ services, and James Fitzgerald, interim head of culture. There was some surprise when LNHCET chair Pepe Francis


“We have no agenda; we are not on a mission to displace any organisation or set up ourselves as an organisation” walked in. He did not speak and left before the meeting ended at 9.30pm, thereby missing the chance to respond directly to several accusations, including a serious allegation of financial misappropriation. Gus John began by stressing, “We have no agenda; we are not on a mission to displace any organisation or set up ourselves as an organisation.” Nevertheless, given the level of anxiety about the direction Notting Hill is taking, “it is time for a grown-up conversation” about its future, he said. Refuting the view that, “Carnival is nothing more than a hotbed of crime”, Cecil Gutzmore maintained that the aim of the police is control. The Met’s approach veered from toleration in the early years to trying to police it into submission by flooding the streets with officers in the mid-70s. The result was that in 1976 the police got, in the words of the late Bernie Grant MP, “a bloody good hiding”. Clive Phillip lamented Carnival’s decline from a mas-man’s point of view. “Police took control of the route, started blocking the route. We stood up for four hours – the beauty of the band gone. Some of the stewards didn’t speak English. At 6pm they started pushing people off the route.” Expressing a widely held frustration with LNHCET’s apparent inability to defend the interests of Carnival, Mashup’continued: “We have to claim back control of this thing… we have a committee there that does nothing.” The dreadful delays suffered by many bands on the route this year roused Gus John’s indignation too. “It is oppressive; it is disgusting; it is fundamentally racist. I

know of no other cultural event that is policed in such a vicious manner. You can’t pee when you want; the police determine when you leave.” The media also caught some heavy flak. “The media has to stop supporting the police,” said Gutzmore; “The historical importance of Carnival as a people’s art never gets talked about in the media,” said Prof John. Highlighting previous grassroots campaigns such as the Association for a People’s Carnival, Michael La Rose observed, “We have always struggled for Notting Hill Carnival.” Depressingly, “the Carnival bands then [in 1989] were talking about the same problems we had in 2017”. The community needs to show unity if it is to achieve anything; “If you don’t organise, mobilise, nothing will change,” La Rose said. After these eloquent presentations by the panellists, the audience had its say. Common themes soon emerged, though often seen from different perspectives – community activists, mas band leaders, pannists, musicians and sound system operators, from elders who were “walking libraries” of experience to younger heads. It made for a fascinating and stimulating debate, all the more so because most tried to obey the chair’s instruction to be both brief and respectful. Suggestions for improvement included commissioning research into the specifics of Notting Hill Carnival so that a strong, evidence-based case can be made to the authorities (the RBKC representatives agreed this would be helpful). Local politicians should be brought on side – where was Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad, someone asked. Use your vote

SN OCTOBER 2017 013

in elections to support those who will respect our culture, was another suggestion. As it happened, two people involved in the fight to reduce taxes on flights to the Caribbean were in the hall, and had used this tactic with great success in the anti Air Passenger Duty (APD) campaign. More openness was demanded: “Police, SEC and RBKC should be invited to explain themselves to us, the people. Every year they have their secret meetings when we don’t know what happens.” The way the event manager had been appointed infuriated some, local activist Isis Amlak saying, “I was incensed to hear that LNHCET gave a contract to an old-school racist police officer called Dave Morgan. LNHCET has to account for the money they’ve spent. It cannot be acceptable.” The lack of respect paid to mas was a sore point. Chris Boothman said, “Masqueraders are put at the bottom of the heap – they’re the ones who pay.” Mahogany Mas Band’s leader, Clary Salandy, stressed the urgent need for action – and for certainty on Carnival day, saying, “When I bring my 200 people I need to know where we’re coming in.” The hold-ups and confusion on the route are damaging participation, she said, and, “The new people we’re nurturing are so badly treated.” Peter Winchester of Dragons Cultural Arts felt that more should be done for the children, saying that the adults’ route should be enlarged and a smaller route created for the children (in the past, children’s bands did indeed take a shortcut down Golborne Road). A big part of Carnival’s problems is ignorance, some maintained. “Carnival has lost its way,” said one. “How about we go into the schools and tell them about the history of Carnival, history of steelpan and African resistance,” proposed a former masquerader. Another supported getting steelpan back into schools. The point underscored the lack of young people in the hall. “Young people need to be engaged,” said one masquerader; “A young person isn’t heard because of their age,” fumed another. Carnival has always been firmly rooted in the streets of North Kensington and Notting Hill, but has it lost that vital connection? Some thought so: “There’s nothing in Carnival for the local community,” said one, while another asked, “Is this festival relevant if it doesn’t benefit the community?” And who exactly benefits from the estimated £100+ million a year Notting Hill Carnival generates for the UK economy? Not, it seems, the mas bands, nor the steelbands, nor the calypsonians, nor the residents, nor the stall-holders who have to pay RBKC over a thousand pounds for a pitch. Former Carnival Arts Committee chair Wilf Walker said, “We should talk to people seriously about revenue. All steelband musicians should be paid the Musi-

014 SN OCTOBER 2017

“Masqueraders are put at the bottom of the heap – they’re the ones who pay” cians’ Union rate. The money we generate every year could be used to support Black arts.” When RBKC’s Sue Harris said carnivalists should do more research to support their case it brought an angry riposte from Gus John: “I’d like to think the borough has got some of this information; these records didn’t go up in the Grenfell fire. It’s incumbent on RBKC to do some research on what its role has been and to provide that information to the community. The borough needs to know what our aspirations and frustrations are. Do the work yourselves.” Michael La Rose added, “You can start on the stalls and have a strategy to return the money to the carnival.” A representative from Heritage Mas Band made the point: “Power answers to power. We are going to control our culture.” In his concluding address, Prof John asked: “How do we reclaim our power? The mas bands and steelbands, the musicians do the work but see nothing of that money. In a disciplined way we should raise some questions and register some demands.” And if no one responds to those demands, what then? Prof John had a startling, if high-risk, message for RBKC, the Mayor and the police: “If we don’t hear from you there will be no Carnival next year. We give our power away. But the power rests with us. We can make this decision. You have to change your ways or there’ll be no goddammed carnival.” As the meeting closed at 9.30pm, Michael La Rose had the last word, declaring, “This is time for action.” The battle lines seem to have been drawn. In the coming weeks, the campaigners will be sharpening their demands ready for a showdown at the Tabernacle at 7pm on Monday 30 October. LNHCET chair Pepe Francis and representatives of RBKC and the police will be present at a post-Notting Hill Carnival 2017 residents’ meeting – an event that one attendee told Soca News generally consists of Francis standing up and being yelled at by people who accuse Carnival of doing nothing for the community! This year, the meeting is certain to be packed, so anyone planning to attend should arrive in good time. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AT FACEBOOK.COM/SOCANEWS

SN OCTOBER 2017 015


Tropical Sun celebrates 21st Birthday


with New Classrooms for Jamaica’s Children

orld foods specialist Tropical Sun is celebrating its 21st birthday by investing £21,000 towards community projects in Jamaica and the UK. Some of the funds are going towards much-needed renovations at White Marl Primary School and Jose Marti Technical High School, both in Central Village, Jamaica. Central Village is where many of Tropical Sun’s signature products, including jerk seasoning, ackee and callaloo, are produced. White Marl Primary School, which houses 1,300 pupils aged four to ten, was fitted out with cupboards in the guidance council department and a security guard post with toilet facilities. Jose Marti Technical High School, which offers valuable vocational training including auto mechanics, information technology and drafting, benefitted from extensive refurbishments to the lecture theatre, junior staff room and junior school classroom, including fixed holes in the roof, 180 chairs reupholstered and partitions installed to block open space atop classroom dividing walls. “We’re fortunate to be able to create jobs that sustain many wonderful communities worldwide.

016 SN OCTOBER 2017

Having worked so closely with the Jamaican people over the last 21 years, it seems fitting that we should celebrate this milestone by giving back to the community that has given us so much”, said brand manager Jag Singh. Tropical Sun has a long history of working with businesses, charities and education projects, and will continue to support good causes. “Our customers and the communities we serve have always been a priority to us, and we are honoured to be able to continue to be part of community initiatives worldwide that make a difference” said Singh. Tropical Sun is also supporting The Balham & Tooting Community Sports Centre, one of the UK’s first Jamaican sports clubs, which is raising funds for building renovations and better facilities for the community. The Tropical Sun brand began in 1996 and was amongst the first food brands to consistently and regularly import authentic food from Africa and the Caribbean to the UK. Starting with a few specialist ingredients, the brand has now expanded to over 250 products from all over the world, now including Asia and South America.


























018 SN OCTOBER 2017


Barbados Food and Rum Festival Whets the Appetite Barbados will host its annual celebration of indigenous fine and fun cuisine from November 16 to 19.



he eastern-most Caribbean island, Barbados was named after the bearded fig trees that once grew there abundantly. A British colony from 1625 until 1966, the country prides itself on being the birthplace of rum; the Mount Gay Distillery was established in 1703, and there are at least four outstanding local rums to be imbibed. Although formerly a producer of sugar, tourism has been the economic mainstay of Barbados for many years. Barbados is one of the most popular Caribbean holiday destinations, and remains a favourite with British sun

seekers. Amongst the many tourist attractions which contribute to the country’s repeat visitor factor are the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Harrison’s Cave and white sand beaches such as Crane Beach (voted one of the top ten beaches in the world). Bridgetown, the capital, is home to the world’s third oldest parliament, which has sat uninterrupted since 1639. This rich backdrop enhances the four-day epicurean immersion to be had, sampling the abundance and variety of flavours that Barbados offers. The official festival launch takes place on November 16 at the historic fishing village of Oistins in Christ Church, CONTINUES SN OCTOBER 2017 019

Chef Tom Aikens

where local chefs grill fresh fish under the stars. Also in Christ Church, on November 17, is the all-inclusive Concorde Rum Extravaganza. Whether one prefers a spiced and voluptuous tang or a sweet, tropical note, there are handcrafted rum cocktails for every palate alongside complementary hors d’oeuvres prepared by local chefs. National chefs participating in the 2017 festival include Henderson Butcher, Creig Greenidge and Top Chef for 2016, Damian Leach. The Gourmet Safari Dinner Series from November 18 to 19 offers diners the eagerly anticipated opportunity to be treated to speciality menus prepared by international guest chefs. The first night sees Trinidad-born, Canada-based Chris De La Rosa whetting appetites at the Crane Resort in the eastern parish of St. Philip. Meanwhile, in St. James in the west, Jean-Georges Vongerichten from the U.S.A. will be cooking up a storm at the highly rated restaurant, The Cliff. Also on that day, the all-inclusive ‘Rum and Polo’ event at the exclusive Holder’s Polo Club in St. James awaits those up for taking in an exciting game of polo enhanced by delicious canapés and cocktails.

020 SN OCTOBER 2017

The final night of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, on November 19, sees Tom Aikens of the United Kingdom don his apron to delight guests at Tides restaurant, preparing a unique menu. The master chef has spoken of his anticipation, saying, “I am very excited to be working with the team at Tides restaurant, and to go back to Barbados after almost 15 years. It’s always a treat to be able to play with different local ingredients and produce, combine them with the local and magnificent Mount Gay rum and put together a menu. I am also really looking forward to spending some time re-acquainting myself with island life.” Food-tasting stations and live musical performances will feature at the Feet in the Sand Beach Party, the festival’s all-inclusive climax to be held at Needham’s Point in the southwestern parish of St. Michael. Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. looks forward to welcoming one and all to the eighth edition of the Barbados Food and Rum Festival, and guarantees an unforgettable gastronomic holiday experience. See you there!



SN OCTOBER 2017 021

022 SN OCTOBER 2017


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.

fri 06 Oct Dominica Hurricane Maria Disaster Fundraiser @ Hammersmith Town Hall, 275 Kings Street, W6 9JU. Hosted by Eddie Nestor, Martin Jay & Valley Fontaine. DJs Big Business, DJ Bones, Movements Family, DJ Vern, Smokey Joe & Ninjaman Lloyd. Time 8pm-2am. Price £15, £20. Info Dominica High Commission 020 7370 5194 or Dominica National Development & Disaster Fund 07712 894 518.


Kaiso Lime! - Black History Month Special

@ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. DJs Soca Massive, DJ Fats & Zoomer D. Time 7pm-10:30pm. Price Free.


C’est La Vie Boat Party

@ Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2JH. Hosted by Cappachino. DJs Mike Forbes, Danny D, DTee & DJ CJay. Time 7.30pm. Price £25 & £30.

sun 08 Oct V&A MUSEUM

Out of Many One Caribbean Carnival Festival

@ The Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Time 1.30pm-5.30pm. Price Free, and drop-in, no booking required.


TNB BHM 2017 Bazodee

@ Stratford East Picturehouse, Salway Road, E15 1BX. Time 8:30pm-10:30pm. Price £7.50.

sat 14 Oct UK RUMFEST

UK RumFest 2017

@ ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, SW6 1UD. Time Midday-6pm. Price £49.50, £44.55 & £59.50.

sun 15 Oct UK RUMFEST

UK RumFest 2017

@ ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, SW6 1UD. Time Midday-5pm. Price £39.50, £35.55 & £49.50.


Historical and Hidden Caribbean A View of Life Through Art and Design

@ The Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Time 1:30pm-5pm. Price Free.

SN OCTOBER 2017 023



So So Soca - All Day Carnival Fete @ Mick’s Garage, Queen’s Yard, E9 5EN. Time 3pm-12am. Price £10, £13.50.


25th Anniversary Archive Launch Session 2

sat 21 Oct

@ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. Time 1.30pm-4pm. Price Admission is Free, register via Event Brite.


fri 27 Oct

Jounen Kweyol and 23rd Anniversary Celebration @ Lydford Community Hall, 74 Fernhead Road, W9 3EW. Time 5pm-10pm. Price £5.


D’Remedy - Heroes Fancy Dress Lime

sun 22 Oct

@ Miusan, 16 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ. DJs Triple M, DJ Tate, Prince Vern & Armanic Hic. Time 8pm-2am. Price £5 & £10.


sat 28 Oct

@ Undersolo, 22 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ. DJs CheInTheMiXX, Zoomer D, Soca Massive, DJ Fats, D’Transformerz, Shakatak, Mr General & Trini Top Shotta. Time 5pm-11pm. Price Free




Thank You Lime

Pan Clash

@ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. Hosted by Kayleigh Loudmouth Lewis. Time 6pm-10pm. Price £8 & £5.


25th Anniversary Archive Launch Session 1

@ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. Time 1.30pm-4pm. Price Admission is Free, register via Eventbrite.

024 SN OCTOBER 2017

Night Of The Walking Dread

@ Revolution (Leadenhall), 140-144 Leadenhall Street, EC3V 4QT. Time 10pm-4am. Price £15 & £20.

House Of Horrors - The Halloween Fancy Dress Party

@ The Griff Inn Bar, BLSA Building, Stepney Way, E1 2AE. Hosted by Cappachino. DJs DJ CJay, Danny D, DTee & Triple M. Time 10pm-4am. Price £5, £8, £10, £15 & £20.


Hush - The Masquerade Ball

@ Draft House Bar, Chancery Lane, 1 Plough Place, EC4A 1DE. Time 10pm-3am. Price £12 & £15.

sat 04 Nov V&A MUSEUM

A New Way of Seeing Contemporary Caribbean Emerging Artists Study @ The Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Time 10am5:30pm. Price £10 & £15.


Kaiso Lime!

@ Carnival Village, Tabernacle Powis Square, W11 2AY. DJs Soca Massive, DJ Fats & Zoomer D. Time 7pm-10:30pm. Price Free.


The Big People Boat Ride

@ Festival Pier, South Bank, SE1 8XZ. Hosted by Vinny Ranks. DJs Martin Jay & Satisfaxion. Time 7pm-11pm. Price £30 (meal + complimentary rum punch).

sun 05 Nov SOCA LOCO

Autumn Warmer

@ Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY. Time 12am-12pm. Price Free, £5 & £10.

fri 10 Nov SOCA I LOVE

Blackout Fete

@ The Scala, 275 Pentonville Road King´s Cross, N1 9NL. Live Acts Marzville & Boyzie. Time 11pm-5am. Price £11, £25.

SN OCTOBER 2017 025


026 SN OCTOBER 2017

LIVING THE CULINARY DREAM “I am like the Trini callaloo, made up of a mixture of okra, dasheen bush leaves, coconut milk, thyme, peppers, pumpkin, all boiled and blended into one.” WORDS | IONIE BENJAMIN & KATIE SEGAL


hese are the words of international chef Hasan De Four which would resonate with many of his compatriots, describing as they do how the food of the twin island state has followed the path of its people. At age 18, Hasan arrived in England. Having been seduced by the flavours and aromas that emerged from his own mother’s kitchen, he followed a path into catering. After studying, he began working across a spectrum of kitchen roles, ranging from washing pots at a local school and prepping over 2,000 meals a day to finedining and casual snacks on the kitchen team of West Ham Football Club.  That early preparation paved the way for Hasan to follow his dreams. He said, “Even when I was at school at St George’s College in Trinidad as an 11 year old, I wanted to do food”. In 2009, he was chosen to travel across the Caribbean with celebrity chef Gary Rhodes for the | IONIE BENJAMIN & KATIE SEGAL Across the CaribbehighlyWORDS anticipated TV series Rhodes an, preparing the region’s best dishes with some of the Caribbean’s most respected chefs. This eye-opening experience bolstered Hasan’s determination to give Caribbean cuisine its due spotlight. “I believe that Caribbean culture, and our food in particular, is so exciting, vibrant, and offers so much diversity. Critics describe our food as unrefined, so it’s up to us to raise the standard without compromising quality, flavour or, most of all, authenticity.” 

SN OCTOBER 2017 027

“I believe that Caribbean culture, and our food in particular, is so exciting, vibrant, and offers so much diversity” Currently, Hasan is involved with a number of business ventures and is a consultant chef. “Each of these businesses have their own concept, but the main thing is that all of them are about Caribbean food, and this means a lot to me,” he said. “I opened a restaurant with a school friend, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, called Tropical Krave. It’s a beach front restaurant, five minutes from the sea, with food influences from Cuba right down to Trinidad. So you can come island hopping with a beer or rum cocktail.” More recently, the chef has overseen menu development for Spiced Roots in Oxford, whose focus is on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients that support the hundred mile diet. “I have worked with Grace Foods, one of the largest distributors of the Caribbean food brand, and they play a major role in putting Caribbean food out there. If we as a people can own it, and develop it, the potential is massive - so I’m on a mission. I’ve worked in French restaurants, and the Chinese or Indian food brand is known globally, so my dream is to make a difference to the image of Caribbean restaurants,” said Hasan. Another venture is Lime House, in Singapore, with business

028 SN OCTOBER 2017

partner, Tobago-born Chris Morris. The country’s first Caribbean restaurant, Lime House has been ranked amongst the top ten best new restaurants in the country and has received glowing reviews from numerous publications, including the UK’s The Times. “Liming in Trinidad is when you hang out, socialising, so what we wanted to do with Lime House is to create an atmosphere where you eat, drink and chill,” he explained. “Singapore has a tropical climate, so 80 percent of the ingredients are already available. When you go to the market they have different names, but you recognise them as the same as in the Caribbean. We opened over four years ago, and it’s always so good to see 70 percent of Singaporeans enjoying Caribbean cuisine. We also give them alternatives on the cultural side, with reggae and soca music. In Singapore, the closest equivalent to liming is ‘lepak’, meaning to chill with friends.” The spin off from Lime House is a fast food Caribbeanstyle eatery called Baygo, situated in East Cheap, City of London. “We are fresh, and we are a new generation of Caribbean foodies, offering Caribbean diversity. A new healthy taste, not just for meat lovers but also vegetarians, a fusion of dishes representing French Caribbean, Creole flavour, fusions such as roti wraps but also Ital food for vegetarians.” So where does De Four stand on the question of ethical inclusion and representation? “The difference with Baygo is that the concept is to empower and to be a pioneering restaurant chain. Our aim is to run a traditional business and create opportunities for others of Caribbean background who have the passion for the catering business,” revealed Hasan. He believes that one of the reasons authentic Caribbean food has not been more widely established is that there’s lack of continuity. “It’s important to pass on the knowledge, but also have a system of quality control to ensure the Caribbean dish is well represented,” he said. He also suggests that Caribbean restauranteurs could adopt the Standard Operational Procedures, the handbook for restaurants. Baygo is the result of two years of planning, and opens in October 2017. The target market is the millennials, the trendy media and arts community, the city’s office workers. The fundamental flavours are authentic, but it’s put together in a way that allows the masses to savour the culinary flavours of the Caribbean without it being too spicy or heavy with carbs. If the customers point out something repeatedly then it clearly doesn’t work, so we adjust it. Our aim is to always create a culinary and cultural environment which people like and respect, and to keep them coming back for more and passing the word around to their friends and associates. The intention is to grow the brand in London first, and in three years we’ll have a chain of four to five. Additional logistics like delivery to offices start in the new year. Hasan De Four is following his dream as an ambassador of Caribbean culture and cuisine. Happily, his mindset is to also inspire and create opportunities for others as he passes on his culinary and business knowledge.

Jerk Sweet Potato Salad

Jerk Chicken Burger

Sausage & Egg Bun SN OCTOBER 2017 029



ACUK to launch with ‘Calypso in London’ book WORDS | STEPHEN SPARK

his year the London Calypso Tent enjoyed its best season yet. Now it has even more reason celebrate. To mark the Tent’s silver jubilee, the Association of Calypsonians UK (formerly Association of British Calypsonians, ABC) will be launching a commemorative book at a special event at the Tabernacle, Powis Square, London W11, on Thursday 26 October. All are welcome, and it’s free of charge. Everyone attending the launch can collect their own free copy of Calypso in London. The attractive, illustrated book not only includes the history of the Tent from 1992 to 2017, but also takes a backwards glance at the pioneering days of the 1960s-80s. To the best of ACUK’s knowledge, this is the first book ever published that’s solely about London’s calypso heritage. That heritage stretches back much further than the founding of ABC in 1991. Renowned historian John Cowley (author of Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso) points out in his fascinating introduction that calypsonians were present in Britain 100 years ago, and were active in the late 1930s. Calypso in London also has short profiles of ABC/ ACUK members past and present, a descriptive glossary and an appendix listing the Tent’s many Calypso Monarchs and Groovy Soca Monarchs. The book will appeal to diehard calypso fans and carnivalists, students of Black history, academics and anyone interested in the music of the Caribbean diaspora. 030 SN OCTOBER 2017

The launch event will include historic DVD footage of past events, talks about calypso’s extraordinary history, live calypso performances and an exhibition of photographs of the London Tent’s stars. And if that has whetted your appetite, free refreshments will be provided. There will be two sessions, one from 1.30pm to 4pm and the other from 8pm to 10.30pm, so be sure to choose either the afternoon or the evening session when you book. Calypso in London is just one part of a larger and longer project to record calypso’s history in the capital, and includes calypso-writing workshops, oral history sessions, a new website ( with an online ‘virtual’ archive, plus an exciting collaboration with the London Metropolitan Archives (https:// that will ensure the best of London’s calypso heritage is preserved for future generations to enjoy. ACUK is appealing for anyone with material they’d be prepared to loan or donate, or memories to share, to get in touch and be part of this valuable project, which has been supported by generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Westway Trust, plus collaboration from Carnival Village and LMA. As they say in the Tent: Kaiso! Kaiso! • To book your place at the launch and collect your free copy of Calypso in London, go to:

SN OCTOBER 2017 031

032 SN OCTOBER 2017

Soca News | October 2017  

In this month’s issue, read our exclusive report on the reclaiming of Notting Hill Carnival. Also check out our interview with Chef Hasan De...