For the first time in years I was assigned to the bench for a carnival. Theevil that is chikV caught up with me in January did battle with me for a week went its way and two weeks later came back with a crippling vengeance , I had little choice but to sit quietly and grumble to the virus, well played chikV well played..
So from the bench I watched whatever I could of carnival from the living room TV from social media, and the radio, and it is from there I will call my top ten aspect of carnival 2015.
A friend said to me that ‘Machel saved carnival this year’, a feat that is super human in my book but in truth he arguably (if you listen to the 15 tunes the stations played most of the season) released some of the most popular tunes for the season and the hype generated for his concert was exceptional, his soca monarch performance sans all the usual special effects and monkey tricks was still that of a boss truly leaving his rivals still performing in the 1990s it seems.
For the road we all knew ‘like a boss was going home with the title, but it was his duet with Angela Hunte ‘Party done’ that was my favourite I hope she writes and performs with him again.
Hats off to the HD BOSS OF MONKS MM.
2) Destra’s ‘LUCY’:
Now I’m not the biggest Destra fan myself, but with one song 'Lucy’ Destra had all my support for one of the sweetest songs for carnival 2015. What made it so sweet in my opinion is that is the story of most of us that love carnival in Trinidad. Destra sang about the character Lucy, but how many of us were good boys and girls until we went to our first school fete or were on the road for jouvay when that spirit, that good vibe of carnival energy combined with the music changed us forever!
‘Lucy' easily could have been a groovy monarch winner, I pictured Destra finally winning an official title with a voice and a song that could not be beaten but at the final hurdle something went wrong,.
You know how some people fall apart at an exam, I get the impression competition does that to Destra, maybe she should forget the stress of soca monarch or get a new team when it comes to competition. But LUCY was indeed a big winner in 2015.
3) The Soca Drome:
Last year I was totally against the socadrome concept, I felt it represented an anti carnival spirit separating ‘them from us’, a move of an elitist minority that wanted to profit on every aspect of mas. This year after seeing it on TV I think it should stay, the flow of bands at the Queens Park Savannah at least on television was exceptional without the monotonous constipation that is Tribe and Bliss, big and small bands alike crossed the stage early starting as always with Harts at 8am. By midday most of the big competition guns had already crossed the stage and Minstrels, Gorillas, Pan sides etc, all what seemed like sufficient time to cross the stage, and perform, on occasion I changed channels to see what the’ drome was saying’ and to me it was exactly what I did not want to see headpieces here and there and masses of flesh with the dash of an individual here and there, seasoned masquerades told me they hated it for the second year running , but for the sake of the viewing audience it’s a good thing, they need to move it to Chaguaramas that will be even better.
4) Olatunji Yearwood,
Last year I went to the soca monarch semis especially to see this artist called ‘Olatunji’,
I loved his Taliban tune and thought this guy could wreck shop if he did it right, however his 2014 performance in Arima for me was a great disappointment. But before the year ended and it seems even before the 2015 season began his song Ola was had most of us caught up in its groove, this was indeed a big tune that dominated the carnival season all the way to the soca monarch final. Congratulations to Olatunji.
5) Groovy Soca :
this was a big year for groovy but I’m old enough now to now that this does not mean power is dead, it just means that 2015 was a groovy year , to be honest if the title was around in the 80’s David Rudder would have been a groovy monarch, or Kitch or Lord shorty !
But groovy dominated the airways sweet sounds of Raze, Lucy, Cloud nine, OLatunji and the list went on gave carnival a laid back vibe that was a welcomed change to that of a power dominated carnival.
6) The All stars double:
As a child all stars was my favourite band for two reasons All stars was my uncles favourite band and their name was all stars, the name gave me the idea that the pan side had to have the very best musicians in the country and so were unbeatable!
This year All Stars not only won Panorama but also for the second year won the prestigious carnival title of band of the year, a title I felt they deserved. Watching all-stars cross the stage was a dramatic scene of officers of various ranks, sailors’ big guns pan and powder. A display of mas most of us might have only heard about but never seen, reminds me of a saying to move forward we sometimes have to step back.
|The Tribal connection Pawnee section photo via facebook|
7) Television coverage of carnival,
TV coverage was mediocre this year, being stranded at home I did appreciate the live coverage of fetes and competitions throughout the season. However I was disappointed by absence of kiddies carnival on from the channels, I also understand that live feed s did not always give the international audience what they wanted or value for money at times.
On Monday and Tuesday Ctv Cnc3 and channel 4 all covered the festival, channel four covering the southland mas and seriously has me considering mas in San-do now as Port of Spain has become a bit of an old cliché. Coverage of the socadrome was in my opinion just as much a disaster as the venue
Itself people being interviewed could not hear questions because of background noise masqeraders were often lost in shadows, and because everybody wanted to get on camera you had to watch sometimes a section for maybe half an hour so you know I went back to the superior coverage at the savannah. It was good TV but it could be so much better.
Oh yeah Paul Richards of CTV seems to be their go to man for EVERYTING! One will think by now channels can afford specialised experts depending on what is being covered.
8) Queen of carnival 2015 Stephanie Khanai
If Carnival ever had a Cinderella story it was that of Stephanie Khanai in her winning costume
Sweet waters of Africa. In my opinion this moko jumbie queen crossing the sage with such an aquatic flow has not been seen since Minshalls queen of 1995 'Joy to the world' yet the queen of a small band with limited resources and budget said to be inspired by the music of Ellah Andell effortlessly crossed the stage of the QPS and won the crown proving once again that passion simplicity and creativity can overcome the brute force of big budget any day.
9) The Photography of Maria Nunes, and
|The children being edutained|
|Arts in action Performer. (photo mas assassin)|