The Rounds - May 21, 2006

>> Sunday, May 21, 2006

Dr. Jay’s Rounds
Karen Richardson
May 21, 2006
Good Evening Soca lovers! I’m Nurse Karen and these are Dr. Jay’s Rounds.
We live in a time when everyone (and dey bruddah) have an opinion, but facts can be a little harder to find. Such is the case with Toronto’s beloved Caribana. The story changes from week to week, but even for me…is a little tricky to figure out exactly wey goin’ on! Fact is -- Caribana brings plenty money to de local economy and it brings plenty people to Canada. I hear dat in spite of all the infighting behing the scenes, all other Caribbean carnivals (outside de Caribbean) simply pale in comparison.
It’s de long weekend. De unofficial start to Summer. So, ah decided to make good use of my time off by doing some research. What makes WE ting so nice?
For my case study, I took a look at carnival celebrations in three popular US destinations. Next weekend is de time to jump up in San Francisco, Atlanta and Orlando. There will be fetes and mas bands and j’ouvert and ting…so is de real thing. Or so, I thought. Over in Atlanta, the celebrations started in the early 1990’s, when Caribana had already been up and running for 25 years. They call it Peach Carnival after the state fruit, a fruit that can’t even grow in the Caribbean, by the way. So dat might be why the recipe doesn’t work as well down there. Doh get me wrong…they’re running a smooth event and it looks like, we could learn something from our neighbours. For the first time ever two rival organizations joined forces to make this year’s Atlanta carnival the best one yet. The Carnival Bandleader’s Association joined forces with the Atlanta Peach Carnival to deliver the Atlanta Caribbean Folk Festival and the Parade of the Bands. They had Kiddies Carnival yesterday too.
That is one element of Carnival that just took root in the Caymen Islands this year for the very first time. Remember I done tell you about Batabano Carnival down there. I UNDERSTAND that the Caymen Islands is a nation in the Caribbean that used to be governed by Jamaica. But what I don’t get is how come the main attractions at jr. carnival had so little to do with anything Caribbean. I mean everybody loves celebrities, children no less…but did they have to go with Mickey Mouse and Sponge Bob? I guess Sponge Bob is OK, afterall he does live in a Pineapple under the sea.
Over in San Francisco, they keep it real. Next weekend Dora the Explorer will Grand Marshall their BIG PEOPLE parade. I ain’t really sure where she come from, but I did see a Dancing Dora at the mall and dat girl could real wine she waist. San Fran has a more multicultural focus than Caribana since it was started by both the Latin American and Caribbean communities…and authentic mas still shines through. Mas Makers Massive is one camp that has been there from the start. This year it’s all about "Canboulay" , you know the traditional characters: Stick fighters, Baby Doll, the colonial elite and of course de Jamette…allyuh keep allyuh pointing fingers to allyuh selves. Thanks.
Caribana has had it’s brushes with non-traditional characters too, just not of the cartoon persuasion. I still remember seeing Diddy, Biggy and Little Kim on the Lakeshore…oh yeah and Shaq. You can’t miss him! Dat boy long, yes. But even with big time distractions, soca and calypso still come first.
Not in Orlando! It looks like carnival, it smells like carnival…but it sounds like Hip Hop! Well that’s how they advertise it. And if I had to pick one place to free up next weekend…believe me when I say it wouldn’t be the place where soca the last music genre on the list.
So despite troubles in the past, we really had a good thing going with Caribana. Both sides are discussing how to get past the “Crabs in a Barrel” ting they been dealing with for so long. In a statement last week, Canadian Calypsonian and CCC spokesperson Elsworth James said they made a deal for the Mas Bands Association to run this year’s event and even use the Caribana name. The CCC hopes to get back full control of their festival next year.
The fact of the matter is I done with research for today…this my long weekend and from now…I’m studying Soca or Die! I’m Nurse Karen and those are Dr. Jay’s Rounds. Send your comments to SOCA at FLOW 935 DOT COM. Now back to de doctor…

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