BussHead: The Video

I’ve been waiting for this video to be released for so many months now. I’d heard snippets from the set from the Producer, and some of the co-ordinators, and have waited with baited breath for its release and finally it’s out.

The video released on The Fader Friday.

My friend Laura at LoopTT interviewed Machel after the video came out, he told her, “The intention was to show the story of this youth acting out of anger and rage… that people were there for him to be able step in and help him channel that negative energy into something positive. That untapped raging energy could easily be used as a weapon to take someone’s life. Instead, the imagery is that two elder people stepped in and showed him that you could channel that energy into something positive so basically he became an instrument of the art which preserves the art and give the art longevity.”

I know that is something Keegan Taylor, one of the songwriters, and Rondel Benjamin feel passionately about. Keegan and Rondel are the principals that formed Bois Academy, a group that is determined to bring the indigenous martial arts of Trinidad and Tobago out of the shadows and into the light.

Rondel truly believes that our martial arts can provide a channel for the aggressive energy some of our youth have, and it through kalinda and jab jab, they can learn to harness that anger and turn it into positive energy.

Jab and Kalinda

Bois Academy has teamed up with Ronald Alfred the King of the Jab Jab to offer training in Kalinda and Jab Jab every Sunday 4pm at St. George’s Grounds in Barataria.

Check them out!

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Busshead on ILTV’s The Stew

Bahamas Carnival just ended and Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin were there. It was the first time the pair performed their soca hit Busshead outside of Trinidad. The duo were interviewed about their collaboration, and careers, on ILTV’s chat show The Stew.

They’ve (the show’s producers) posted the entire episode online, so you can fast forward to the 19.28 mark for the Bunji and Machel interviews.

 

That said, I ended up watching the entire programme because they spoke about the epic failure that was Fyre Festival. In a nutshell Fyre Festival was supposed to be an ultra-exclusive music festival on the Bahamian island of Great Exuma. It failed miserably, with lawsuits being filed, but of particular concern for us here in the Caribbean is where it would affect the tourist interest in our music festival, like Tobago Jazz. I like this article in Billboard for exploring those concerns nicely.

I liked the conversation on The Stew, because it’s a Bahamian chat show, so it was nice to hear their perspective on the fiasco.

And I’ve just noticed something, last post I shared Dionne Jackson-Miller’s All Access, today I shared The Stew. I wish we had more local and regional content on our televisions in Trinidad. That’s something I want to discuss, and will  probably do so in another post soon.

I’d never heard of The Stew before, but I know Aneka Stewart from her Insta-account @caytostyle. She’s fab. And I may start watching the show on the regular.

We’ll see.

Dancehall vs Soca

There’s a conversation that takes place in Jamaica about Dancehall versus Soca very regularly. And that conversation gets very heated around Jamaica Carnival.

It’s a hard conversation for me to listen to, because having lived in Jamaica – I studied at UWI, Mona – I hear the xenophobia in the comments. Too often when Jamaican talk about soca, there’s shade and there’s the blatant attacks. The Jamaican who likes Soca isn’t in the majority. And this upsets me, because Trinidad plays Dancehall like if it’s we ting on radio. Local DJs love to talk in pseudo-Jamaican accents on the radio, but where the music we love is getting made, they scorning Soca. And why shoudn’t they, when we don’t love it enough ourselves.

I think it’s worthy of note that Jamaicans don’t seem to be as threatened by or condescending of Rap and Hip Hop, as they are of Soca.

Having said that, I think that it is funny that if you switch the accents and location, this is a very similar to the conversations we’ve had about Dancehall. Not as heated, but I am both amused and shocked to see Soca being spoken of as though it is a threat to Dancehall. And that has me wondering if something else is at play.

I want you to look at the current affairs show All Angles. Dionne Jackson-Miller hosted a panel that included Dr. Kai Baratt, Marlon Campbell and Dr. Donna Hope. At some point, while watching it, I started to realise that the way Soca was introduced to Jamaica was completely at odds with it’s origins. And that disconnect is jarring. I find Jamaica Carnival’s positioning as an elitist festival very disturbing. Always have. While Trinidad Carnival has created the all-inclusive model that contributes to it’s increasingly upper class tone, because it’s “we ting”, our lower classes feel entitled to it in ways lower class Jamaicans do not. So while there are attempts to make Carnival “all-inclusive” with the view to exclude; the Jamettes, the Saga boys and the Bwa Men who created de ting have the real ownership of the mas, and will find a space, always.

I think that Jamaica needs to re-visit it’s relationship with Carnival. They have to find a way to make it true to them, in a positive way. And that positive has to be more than benefits it may add to it’s tourism model.

That said, I’m way more interested in Trinidad Carnival and fixing what ails us. And for me, that’s such a difficult question to answer, I guess because it’s emotional.

 

Carnival Escape into Colour.

I have it. Jade Gadeon’s Carnival, adult colouring book.

Jade has realistically rendered the costumes, colour and music of Trinidad Carnival. You can tell that the book was made by a mas playing Trini.

I was surprised by the Minshall costumes that she included in the book. She clearly had access to his work.

I got mine from Caboodles on Long Circular Road. It’s signed by Jade. I’ll start colouring in it very soon.

Also I’m really enjoying Ryan Chan’s Pretty Bitch colouring book. It can take water, so I have used my watercolour pencils in it,  images below.

I’m really happy with my collection of Caribbean inspired adult colouring books.

 

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Stickfighting: Gi Dem Bwa!

My new favourite thing for Carnival isn’t new at all. It’s a traditional martial art, or fighting style, that was born in Trinidad to African and Indian parents and seems to be having a revival. It’s called Kalinda or Stickfighting.

I first went to Stickfighting last year, and had a blast. My favourite thing are the singers and the drums. The grio singing style, the drums and the patwa lyircs make for an infectious combination.

This is my story about the finals competition last year.

This year I made it to the preliminary competition which took place at St. Mary’s Basketball Court in Moruga.

maruga-stickfighting

I missed the semis in Arima on Friday because of Army Fete. But my camera man went so I wrote up the story.

Did you see those match ups? Kinda bummed that I missed the action live.

These competitions are being organised by the National Carnival Commission, and they’ve just released the results. These are the Gayelles you will see on Wednesday in Skinner’s Park:

  1. VALIANT BROTHERS                    Oniel Odle                                                     
  2. ST. MARY’S NO. 1                          Roger Sambury                                            
  3. RIO CLARO                                      Michael Hernandez                                
  1. BOIS ACADEMY                             Rondell Benjamin

Remember, if yuh cyah breaks, doh play!

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Calypso Rose Returns Victorious

Dr. McCartha Linda Sandy-Lewis is back in Trinidad, having arrived safely from Paris.

Victoire de Music, we’ve been referring to it as the French Grammy. Her manager says she’s still breaking ground. She is the first Caribbean person to win a Victoire, and to receive a standing ovation at the ceremony for her performance

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She says an new album is coming. But Far From Home is in heavy rotation on local radios. Really!

The Caribbean Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Robert Young’s band Vulgar Fraction’s presentation for 2017 is called the Caribbean Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

The models were people Robert selected from the crowd. He dressed them and they began twirling. The band has a loose structure, but I was surprised by how I was warming to it. The costumes, the concept, the possibility of playing mas with the band.

The mas camp is based at Propaganda Space, 24 Erthig Road in Belmont. Check them out there or virtually via their Facebook page.

See you (maybe) on the road.

Carnival Films

The Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival tries to showcase Trinbagonian and Caribbean films outside of the traditional festival period. Their Carnival Film Series (to diffrentiate it from its main festival) has been going on for a few years now. This year they decided to take a look back.

The Film Series will feature 3 feature length films, one from Brazil.

Black Orpheus is a retelling of the classic tale set in Brazil’s favelas. Bachannal Time is Kamalo Deen’s farcical story of two stickfighters trying to get to the finals in Skinner Park, and King Carnival is a documentary filmed during Carnival 1973.

Try to catch them before the series ends.

Carnival Calendars

If you are coming to Trinidad for Carnival bookmark this post because it has the dates of all the must-see, never-been-to-but-want-to, and regional Carnival events for Carnival 2017.

This first is from the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.culture-carnival-calendar-2017

The Second is from the National Carnival Commission. This one is the one to bookmark for stickfighting and parades of the bands.

ncc-calendar-of-events-2017

Fetes are an important part of the festivities. Bishop’s was last Saturday and I had a ball. So keep following your Trini friends on Facebook and check the fete calendar here . See you at Army Fete