Tag Archives: Caribbean

Carnival Caribbean Stylee: Very Possibly the Best Thing About Being Alive

In Martinique, as in many parts of the Caribbean, there’s one word that’s being whispered more and more frequently right now:  Car-ni-val!!  Official and unofficial public holidays, costumes, Caribbean music, mass participation and dancing in the streets = my kind of party!  With 5 days to go til Jouvert, the anticipation is in the air and I am not immune to it.Kiddies carnival 2013

Once upon a time, when I woke up on a February Sunday morning in Port-of-Spain, it wasn’t exactly a regular Sunday.  The day before I’d been watching the children’s carnival parade, and then been to a fabulous carnival fete (party/soirée) where I ate, drank and danced merrily in the company of fellow revellers to performances by some of the biggest soca artists Trinidad and Tobago had to offer.  Blaxx was my favourite, but Destra had put on such a fantastic performance at Soca Monarch two nights previously I feel the need to give her a shout out too.  The party was Penny’s Annual Bash.  A former Miss World/Universe and a born-and-raised Trini, her fete was a classy affair, and the only place I consumed wine and champagne with my three course meal that came with the ticket. I was due to leave Penny’s a little early to head to the steel pan finals (carnival’s brilliance is because at the heart of the festivities are the competitions), but we got caught up in the good time…

The other irregular thing about this particular Sunday morning alarm, was the time.  It was 3am.  It was dark.  I was waking up in the middle of the night deliberately.  To go to a party.  Yes. I was definitely in Trinidad, for carnival. Continue reading

Anniversaries and Artistes

I’m in hyper-reflective mode this week as my one year anniversary since arrival in Martinique approaches.

But while I prepare to reveal my innermost thoughts on that occasion, I thought I’d share some more local music on the same theme of anniversaries.

Namely the first music I interacted with upon arrival in Martinique; Taime’s La Ka Lité.  The video absolutely wowed me when I first saw it, such was the creativity with no millions behind the artist.  I hadn’t been in Martinique for 24 hours.

Taimé is certainly a talented young fellow and his skills as a cartoonist and filmmaker are on impressive display here, along with the extremely catchy tune.  Check it out and tell me it isn’t cool…at least the lil Lion…

Keeping to the theme of anniversaries…

So image manipulation is like in the family it would seem for this young artiste.  Turns out that Taimé is the godson of none other than Euzhan Palcy.  She’s his ‘marraine du coeur.’  As in the patron of London’s Images of Black Women film festival.  As in an early black female writer-director.  As in the internationally renowned iconic black filmmaker.  Who just happens to be Martinican, or a martiniquaise.

While her name might not ring a bell, hopefully her film Black Shack Alley aka Sugar Cane Alley aka Rue Cases Nègres, an award-winning black film classic celebrating 30 years of acclaim and general awesomeness this year is familiar.

If you don’t read French, this is the one time where checking out the film instead of the book – Rue Cases Nègres by Joseph Zobel – is perfectly respectable.  It’s a powerful coming of age story set in 1930s colonial Martinique and is well worth watching if you’ve not seen it yet.  I personally love the Medouze character, and José’s relationship with the old man, but I’m especially partial to a well-spun yarn.

In the absence of a decent trailer, instead you should check out this 10 mins montage of various scenes which gives a taster.  It’s French so it starts with the credits. The opening voiceover sets the scene nicely ‘It was the summer holidays.  All the kids from Black Shack Alley were waiting impatiently for the adults to go to work in the cane fields so that they could be alone and free all day long.’

I first saw Rue Cases Nègres a decade ago and I loved it instantly because it seemed to represent an image of the Caribbean childhood of my parents and the stories I’d heard about my grandparents’ lives.  Which I’d never seen on screen.  And certainly not from their perspective.

Taime’s work was less personally affirmative.  However it did introduce me to the concepts of creole hip hop, and top-quality music videos for unsigned artists.  Thus a serious eye-opener!

With no further ado, I present two pieces of Martinican artistry which I’m fond of, produced some 30 years apart.

Enjoy!

Silver Linings: An Unanticipated Stop in Barbados

2013-08-16 18.37.28I am living my dream.  I love my job and my colleagues.  I love my location, I love the life I am building and I’m happy with what I’ve built thus far.

But I’m also slightly under the weather and have been for a while.  En plus, I’ve been on the road a lot in the past few months which has only compounded it/dragged it out.  My own denial in the hope that it would go away so that I could get on with enjoying my life has undoubtedly Not Helped.  Alas, I is but a mere mortal.

Please note, under the weather, really means just that.  I’m not playing down a terminal illness.  It’s just that when you are leading a high-energy lifestyle, a bit poorly can feel like a death sentence. Continue reading