By QUEEN MACOOMEH
De nex zaffairs I wipe my foot and went in was Pan Alive. De crowd was sparse-ish dis year but all de regular bands was in it. As usual, I din agree wid de final tally. But ah have to say dis was de firse year me and de judges even come close.
I din have Pan Fantasy all de way dong in fort place. Dey play better dan dat. In fack, dey play de way I know dey could play – strong in an outro, vibrancy and colour in de arrangement, dey look happy and dem pans was well chune and blend. De onlyest ting I wudda move is de flag girl – or at least tell she stop chewing gum right troo de whole ting…and maybe dance in time to de music. She distrack me. But since de flag girl doh form part of my judgement. I wudda give dem a 2nd place. Big up to Mr. Foster!
Afropan come out strong. Dais de Afropan I know. Yuh feeling bass all up in yuh back teet. Second pans wukking like twenty tarzan. Sopranos singing like nightingales. Oui foote! I en arguing wid a first place for dem.
Salah and New Dimension disappoint me lil bit. Ah does give Salah fatigue but ah like dem two bands and does expeck dem to lash me hard when dey start. I fine dey was lil sluggish but not by much. Yuh see dat small man in de front row of Salah Steel Orchestra? Dais a arranger or big time panist coming up dey. Mark meh words.
Silhouettes was good. Is dem fellas I learn to play pan wid so ah have a lil bias. But troot is troot. Delivery wasn tight enough. Dey play alright but not well enough to ease up in de top four.
One ting dat en change is de boofery of media. About tree quarter way troo ah give up and wine to de side. Ah trying to take snap and de MC boofing people who have a tag proving dey is media. So what is de tag good for den? Is not to say I was wining on top de judges table or was henging off somebody cello pan. Dis year it had even less to boot. But since my mudda din raise me to get boof, ah move away entirely and jes watch. Is tings like dat does fret me. I wasn dere to lime, I was dere to wuk, just like de judges or de MC or de players demselves. But say what? Since dat en go change, I go have to fine someting else to do nex year.
Nex day was de parade. Dis is de firse time since 2001 dat I haul on a costume and went in de road to play mehself. Ah bring meh lil baby girl wid me to soak een de carnival tradition.
But I doh know if I going troo mental pause or need a purge or what, but I fine dis year was so controlled, so tightened, so spread out, so barricaded, so policed, so sanitized dat ah lose de taste in meh mout. As usual de big bands take dey sweet time to crawse de stage. Dat is fine in Trinidad where de parade does go on for 2 days and yuh could dingolay as much as yuh want. But here where de permit only giving yuh time for one jump and one wine-back as yuh crawse de two by four space in front de judges, it mean yuh should hustle up lil bit so dat de band behine you could palance too. Dais de spirit of cooperation ah fool mehself and say we have.
But as time goes on and I watch Caribana Trademark, I realize dat I been fooling myself for some years. I busy telling people dat we are a fun loving, good hearted, talented people who know how to say “Morning neighbour” and how to share a pot of pelau and work togedda for we culture. De culture I was telling people about had nice mas, mas makers and masqueraders who en meddle wid money so much as de art. De culture I used to talk about had tase and glory. Mas and Pan and Calypso rule equal.
What I felt on parade day was dat my culture was now reduce to bead, fedda and panty. Yes it pretty but it en have no meaning. Once upon a time yuh cudda tell who band dat costume belong to but now yuh could just go by Wal-Mart and buy a drawers, drop a sequin on it, pluck a fedda out a peacock bamsee and play mas wid any band and nobody en go know.
Jouvert was always a integral part of meh heritage. Now it over so while pan going on in a nex place. We fracture till we broken.
Den dem henchmen who bringing gun in we festival. Dem have my head aching. People have dey chirren in dis ting. My own baby say “mummy leh we go dong furda”. If we had gone, all now so I mighta be holding my head and bawling because is right dey we was going to pass when de gun play start. What kind of cacapoule you have to be to bring a gun in something like carnival? A report say police was looking for de shooter in we festival is why so mucha dem was at hand to bring he dong. To add insult to assness, all de time I hearing about Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival until shots fire. Now de papers calling it Toronto Caribbean Carnival. De bank close?
I doh know what 2012 will bring. But ah weary. I might haul awf meh bodice and join de Pride Parade instead. But ah cah take dis heartache much longer. To me it look like Caribana Trademark will be reduce to paying to see a few big mas and some underwears. It en have no respeck for pan or calypso. I doh know if dey make a profit dis year but to paraphrase Mark: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his cultural soul?”
Copyright August 2011