For The Love Of Carnival by AC Christie (I Love Carnival)


Woohoooooo, it’s carnival season and I love love love carnival!  The culture, the music, the freedom, the costumes and of course being on the road.  Years ago I used to think, ‘If there’s no soca, there’s no carnival!’, but travelling and participating in carnivals globally has taught me otherwise.  Depending on your cultural influence and where you are in the world ‘carnival’ might have different origins, focus and music.

1.For the countries that once held Christianity (especially Catholicism) as their main religion, it was the last time to party or let loose before the restrictions and limitations of the lent season commenced. The word ‘carnival’ itself actually means goodbye to the meat in Latin with ‘carne’ meaning meat and ‘vale’ farewell.
2.Then there are countries which because of the legacy of the slave trade are rich in African ancestry and so this is reflected in their carnival tradition whereby Carnival is celebrated mainly in reverence to the emancipation of the slaves during that time. Freedom is at the core of these celebrations. The Caribbean, South America and people of the diaspora have carnivals of these origins.
3.There are carnivals in areas of the world such as Italy, Greece, Japan, Zimbabwe which have their own roots and significance. However, when you break it down freedom of creative expression and freedom to just be are the universal core of all carnivals.

Breaking It Down (the big day)
Whether you spell it carnival, canaval, kanaval or carnevale there are elements which remain the same
1.Masqueraders parade on a road where there are normally restrictions for individuals on foot to roam freely (I think that’s part of the attraction, you’re doing something you’re not normally allowed to do)
2.People are in some sort of costume (be it elaborate or just a t-shirt which everyone wears)
3.There is music, there is revelry! I love participating in this event world-wide and discovering the differences and similarities.  This is the first reasoning behind the Ilovecarnivall brand.

Who is Ilovecarnival and where do I fit in?
1.Well, I check out these carnivals. I participate and give unbiased feedback on as many aspects of the celebration as possible. Apart from participating in some of the more well-known carnivals such as Trinidad, Notting Hill, Barbados and Grenada, Ilovecarnivall has participated in some of the lesser known ones such as Haiti and Japan which were unbelievably good!

2.I attend carnival band launches (sort of like annual fashion shows revealing the theme of the costumes for carnival of the upcoming year) saying what I think from my perspective. I’m not harsh about reviewing the costumes or designers. That’s not my style.  I don’t need to say ‘that’s s**t’ for you to know that I don’t like something. It’s also not helpful to designers and bands, some of who are just starting out. I like constructive criticism. And if you know my writing, you will know when I like something or when I don’t

Photo Credit - Larri Alleyne Band Launch - D Riddim Tribe

Photo Credit - Larri Alleyne Band Launch - D Riddim Tribe

3.I explore our culture through our music.Be it soca, reggae, bashment, zouk, kompas, reggaeton or bouyon , our tiny region of the world has produced all of these amazing genres of music. It’s a joy to see how our culture has spread and is appreciated throughout the world.

 4.Ilovecarnivall also attends festivals which are Caribbean focused such as the Ibiza Soca Festival. I love attending the various festivals around our culture and music. It’s fascinating to have conversations with artists, producers, writers and promoters about what they do, how they do it and how they promote our Caribbean vibe because you know our vibe is seductive right? Our accents, music, the way we cook our food, the way we move, our outlook on life. It’s all just … sexy.

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Shari Cumberbatch