This is the crux of many a discussion on culture and carnival. There is the view of the cultural purists who want to see the tradition stay the same, where the meaning and connection to the origin are preserved. Then there are the entrepreneurs who say ‘yes, but it’s also business’. There is always this tension between the instrumental value and economic value of culture and the arts.
Despite the global pandemic, the spirit of Carnival has not deflated in the hearts of Carnival artists who make these celebrations their life’s work.
Steel pan was a defiant instrument. At the time it was invented, the people of Trinidad were exposed to and under the rule of the powers of be at that time. And because when the slaves originally came to Trinidad against their will, they took away their native instruments including the drums. But they found another way to flourish.
We should not be afraid of change. Instead, we must explore the ways in which we are still connected. We are all on a common journey to freedom.
In lieu of being deprived of the best celebration of the year. Let’s remember the man dem we’d see on the road that made Carnival, Carnival.
We have to pay homage to the women who make Carnival, Carnival. Without them, whining and liming would not be the same.
Within Carnival and in the hearts of Caribbean people soca is truly the spirit of the celebration. It goes beyond just music to tell stories of who we are. It is a representation of unity, togetherness, and celebration and, during Caribana, it is a taste of home.
When asked, the Moko Jumbie will assert that he walked across the Atlantic from West Africa to the Caribbean, and that even though he has been brutalized for centuries, he stands “tall, tall, tall!”
As revelers are unmasked, they shed traditional characters to reveal embellished bodies. Individual bodies replace character costumes as the central feature of mas’ and revelers are free to “play themselves.”
“How?” he asked. One word. A small question with a big answer that I didn’t know how to give right then, unprepared, still dehydrated and tired from standing and jumping all morning … It meant that he didn’t know what freedom was.
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