As Grenada Carnival 2k17 is approaching, allow me to reminisce a bit on my Spicemas 2k16 experience. From a slow start to an epic finish Spicemas 2016 was ‘Da Ultimate Best’ in my opinion.
After losing two days being stuck in Miami, I was overjoyed to touch down at Maurice Bishop International Airport. There was a welcoming party waiting for us with samples of different local drinks, which were gulped down with pleasure. I speedily exited the airport first, since my bags were picked up the day before. For the next few days, I will be disappointed by the lack of carnival energy I anticipated. Thankfully, the vibes changed for the better and eventually Spicemas energy mode was on and popping.
Jab Jab Fest 10 starting things off for me on July 29th. My review for this is mixed. I guess for my first outing I expected more so, forgive me if I’m just blah. It is important in my opinion to make the best of any situation, and so I went crazy with the crowd for Jab King, the current winner of Jab Jab Fest 2016.
There is potential for this show to be really good but, something was missing for others and myself. Apart from the rain, which wasn’t an issue, I think the show needed to be more organized. The performances didn’t flow well which left room for patrons to complain of it being boring.
I’m sure mishaps etc would be taken into consideration for this year and the Jab Jab fest team would be bringing it bigger and better at it’s new venue, Cow Pen. I am totally looking forward to what’s in store this year. I have a feeling that I would not be disappointed.
OTNO (On To the Next One)……….Pree Day was up next, on August 3rd. Although a bit dull to me the turnout was great. Everyone well dressed in his or her black attire looking beautiful and sharp. Again, I was disappointed. I did not enjoy the show as I expected to. Maybe my expectations were too high. Being that it was my first Carnival in over 10 years my anticipation for these events were built through what I have been seeing and hearing via social media in the past. I enjoyed Inspector and Tallpree’s son’s performances. Those were my main highlights of the night. I felt like I was waiting forever to see the main acts and my impatience got the best of me; so I opted to leave early. Little did I know at the time the main acts were a no show.
This year Tallpree would be celebrating 20 years as a soca artiste and performer. I am certain he would not disappoint this year and so I am looking forward to this show. It will be on Aug 9th, 2017 @ The National Stadium.
You can purchase your tickets online now HERE.
Next, Queen show and Mr. Killer’s first-time carnival event La Vida were up next on August 4th, 2016. I did not attend the queen show as planned but I did go to La Vida @ La Phare Bleu. I must say this event will definitely grow to become a staple on the carnival event scene as it continues. For its first time, it was a really awesome party. It raised my spirits and gave me hope for the rest of the carnival events. The atmosphere and ambiance of La Phare Bleu are simply exquisite. I love it there! The Foreign DJ’s, Stephen, riggo suave and Supa Roy from natural freaks were amazing, keeping the crowd fully entertained and well involved.
As it was the first time,I expected the turnout to be small. The attendants though, came with good energy making the night a fun filled one. The goal was to have a great time and I think that’s exactly what happened. There were live performances by Mr. Killer and his band Rebel one, Benjai out of Trinidad and Edwin Yearwood from the band Krosfyah out of Barbados. I look forward to seeing La Vida’s growth this year. I have a feeling it will be much bigger and better. Get your tickets for this event here.
Soca Monarch followed on August 5th. I was very pumped for this experience. However, I ran late and missed the groovy segment, which I heard was much better than the soca segment. The biases of the crowd made soca monarch very blah for me. There were approximately 3-4 highs in the show, and by high I mean crowd reaction and excitement. The crowd cheered for whom they came to cheer for and that was about it. In my opinion, it made the experience very dry. I learned that’s the soca monarch culture…”bring yuh people to back yuh”. I made the best of it and had a good time though overall.
I didn’t think I will be in the stadium this year but the way these artists produced such great music this year I can’t stay away.
On Saturday, August 6th, there was Panorama and two all white fetes; Pure White in the country and Xtreme White in town. Since I am not a steelpan fan I did not attend panorama; although I’m sure it was a great show. Both all white shows had a great line up of artists, both regional and local. Movado and Kes the band where the main acts at Extreme White at the National Stadium. Pure white had a big cast with names like; Aidonia, Blaxx and his band Roy Cape Allstars, Olatunji, Skinny fabulous, Boyzie, Mr. Killer, MyA, Uncle Ellis, lava man, Boyzie, Dash, Wuss ways (Little Natty and Thunder) and more.
I ventured to moonlight city to Pure White and I must say it was definitely a blast. The artists were on point in bringing the energy that night and the crowd was just the absolute best. The foreign artists and people’s choice, MyA from Lakabakay was the star of the night. Ray Tay Tay was the chant vibrating from Roy cape Allstars and Olatunji. It was a joy to see them embrace the lyrics and melody of a much-loved song of the season. I’m not surprised it’s was adopted in Trinidad and Tobago and made a lot of noise on the airways for carnival.
The water truck and mud fest were like the icing on the cake. It incorporated the fun and madness of carnival and the Pure White experience. I am so ready for this year and what’s to come. It would be truly epic and guess what….a lucky jesuislaureen follower would have a chance to win tickets for this year’s Pure White. Stay tune for more info on this giveaway.
After both shows, all roads led to cow pen for the after party. I was very impressed with this venue being my first time there. The energy that still flowed after feting whole night whether in town or country was simply amazing. I couldn’t believe that I had the energy to even shake a leg. Saying you’re tired is like an obscenity during the carnival season, there is no time for that. Its fete after fete after fete… SERIOUSLY. All I know I reached home safe, sound and extremely tired after leaving Cow Pen.
My plan was to take a nap and then attend Sunny Side up at Secret Harbor. That did not happen unfortunately and I really missed a good party *sigh*. That night I had to pick up my costume for Monday and Tuesday on the road. I played with Commancheros, the band in the community that I grew up knowing. It was really a pleasure to finally be apart of the splendor and culture that encompasses the history of Commancheros. I had no issues at all with getting my costume. Everything was ready and well made. I was happy about that because I have heard many carnival horror stories where people and costumes are concerned. Props going out to my band leader Shereen Brizan; our section Ix Chel was beautiful.
After, picking up my costume, the normal carnival tradition is a pre jouvert cookout. If you were not attending Dimarche gras then you were somewhere having some drinks and timing the pot on the fire side. Whether the menu is oil down, brown down or pelau something must be cooking on a fire side jouvert morning. Man cyar go and play jab on ah empty belly. No sah, not at all. I made a pass by some friends who were having a pre jouvert party in Grand Mal and got me some oil down. I don’t think there is anything better than a good pot of oil down…..honestly!
Finally meh time reach. I was counting down the days for Jouvert so long I couldn’t wait to reach down town. I was continuously hearing ah call and lord knows it had to be answered. Jouvert in Grenada cannot be duplicated or replicated. There is something about this festivity that is so authentic and organic to Grenada, I can’t even start to explain. There is an unspoken feeling of harmony in the madness of the black tar and paint. People look forward to this day, this part of carnival each year.
When I reached down on Kirani James Boulevard on Jouvert morning, I felt like home. Y’all may not understand what I mean but who understand well understand. The love and jubilation that was present at that moment was bonkers. Standing on the side as a brief spectator, observing how groups of friends were just enjoying each other’s company, whining low behind the truck. It was a beautiful sight, seeing strangers hugging, jumping and bathing each other down with oil and paint; the smiles on people’s faces, the simple pleasure of FREEDOM that was pungent in the air was total bliss for me. I couldn’t get enough. I didn’t want for it to end. Reuniting with old friends and acquaintances while make new friends is more than I could have asked for.
At the end of it all I was covered in black oil and gold paint with specks of all different colors. I say, “that was a MASS WELL PLAYED”. No complaints for jouvert, it was the bestest fete to ever happen for me in 2016:-). Day ask the jab what’s he favorite color he say black….tuneeee. Best song hands down.
Well, someone could have given me the news flash that nobody goes in town to watch mas Carnival Monday. Bon jay, the streets were so clean, I thought people missed the memo or something. Had I known that Monday wasn’t a big carnival day I would have opted to wear something different besides my full costume. Spectators were “few few” and masqueraders were “few few”. So note to self, don’t make a big deal about about Monday where costume is concerned if your band is not being judged. Apart from the lack of spectators, the masqueraders present had a ball of a time. The music was pumping and there were enough space to truly play ah mass. All in all Monday was BOSS.
Lawd ah was tired when monday night reach. My mom had the best idea for me to stay in town by my aunt instead of heading out of the city. Trust me I would have missed Monday night mass all together had I not been in town already. Nothing could have beat being behind a band that had my favorite entertainer Machel Montano, for Monday night mass. From the minute I heard Machel was going to be on Digital truck the decision on which band to play with was made for me. I hadn’t seen Machel perform live in forever and this was my opportunity to be where he was. I thought the band was huge but after seeing Carib band from a drone, size was no comparison.
The final day of the mass was crazy. It started with me getting my carnival make up done by Trisha. After bathing in glitter I headed go to Kirani James Blvd to start the bacchanal. Finally PEOPLE, cameras out, music blasting, big trucks waiting, bands lining up, energy pumping, waistline pelting, vendors ready and drinks already flowing, yasssss the thing start. Tuesday on the road was EPIC, it was a grateful experience being apart of the authentic culture Grenada has to offer. Carnival is the only time Grenadian’s don’t run from rain. A big shower blessed us on the road and I swear it heightened the euphoric state.
The costumes produced looked beautiful as they were paraded by the masqueraders in fine style. We really take we mas seriously. I can’t explain or even paint you the picture of the great time to be had at Spicemas. You would have to experience it yourself. Something is telling me that Spicemas 2k17 will be one for the books. I hope you would not be missing it but if you are be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to get live updates of the happenings.
What was your favorite Spicemas event in 2016? See ya on the road.