Posted on April 1, 2018
In Jamaica for the first time last year – I enjoyed my experience throughly. Honestly, once I can I think I will always go to Jamaica for Carnival!
Does it compare to Trinidad Carnival
Well, No, I won’t even compare it. In Trinidad – Carnival is a national fever that takes over every bar, business place, village and town. In Trinidad we have street parades in simultaneously all over the country for two days.
What is Jamaica Carnival
First, a lil disambiguation. There is a Carnival band called Jamaica Carnival. In this article i’m referring to the parade which occurred in Jamaica on Carnival Sunday in Jamaica.
First, in the morning I joined Bacchanal Jamaica. I admired their organised, cultural mas. It felt like a mixture of Bliss costumes and Peter Minshall’s cultural splashes. My favorite was the marching band which pulled out in front of the band leading the street parade. The band not only played live music, but they were also uniformed from head to toe – an amazing feat in the blazing Jamaica sun. Like a true marching band, they danced along the route with passersby and masqueraders alike joining in the fun.
After my Bachannal experience I somehow made it to Xaymaca. Now in Jamaica, unlike Trinidad you can’t just walk across two streets and meet another band. You have to work out the science of where they are as you can go several streets without any sign of Carnival anywhere. Fortunately Mr. Panks of Nuphoric had everything organized and I just rolled with him. When I arrived, the band was at lunch and I immediately loved the air condition hall lunch stop. Can’t say I wish I had this in Trinidad, because there is no auditorium holding all the masqueraders of Tribe / Caterers and everyone else. But the size of Xaymaca was perfect for that. In a few mins, the band was on the road again and the vibes started. Jamaican bikers passed by to take a look but the ladies of Xaymaca danced along to the soca like it was their first time!
That session from Nuphoric was especially epic. Peter Ram, Skinny Fabulous and Sekon Sta all gracing the microphone whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Some of the time I found myself flying the drone and jumping with everyone else.
Lastly, I made my way to Xodus. Dj Charlotte was spinning with a Jamaica announcer. That was the most epic Dj session i’ve heard in a long time. I’ve heard Charlotte many times, but in Jamaica – everyone knew the soca, everyone knew the dance hall and the dances. Watching a crowd of people, masqueraders and spectators palance and then sway to Ding Dong Raver’s ‘Gas’ song is an image that has stuck with me. I’d come to Jamaica every year to experience that. Truth is, Trinidadians have a never ending love affair with Dancehall, but we are married to Soca Music. In Jamaica, no one complains about the dancehall in Carnival! Everything is blended tastefully and the masqueraders are the ones who benefit. That Caribbean unity is what Carnival brings to the world. This is why I would be in Carnival.
Before I end, special thanks to DJ Puffy for inspiring my video with your Jamaica Mix!
This year, I’d be back on the road – telling the story of Jamaica Carnival again. Not necessarily for a particular band, but for the people & our culture.