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Carnival really does say a lot about us, and this Carnival is no exception. Carnival 2014 showcased the new era of soca music with its hip hop influence, but at the same time it showed how strong that thread to the past is.
Farmer Nappy’s Big People Party conjured up those days when lyrical narratives and popping horn lines defined the background and the musical bridge, but one of my favourite Carnival 2014 offerings happened to be Machel Montano’s Haunted. The line about girls in bikinis like split peas conjured up images from nearly 30 years ago, when I lived in Warrenville and knew an elderly woman we called Acka. Every time Acka came from a Hindu wedding she would say, “It had dance like peas.”
Acka conversed in Hindi and barely spoke English, but I distinctly remember that one line brought back to life for me through Haunted. This was just one example of how calypso and soca keep creole sayings or idioms alive.
We expect to find humour in traditional calypsoes, but this year, soca and chutney singers proved humour is alive and well in troubled T&T, with songs that would have made Spoiler proud. From Cassi’s Man in de House to Ravi B’s Bread, soca singers proved a sense of humour prevails in this country even while everyone laments the hard times and crime that haunt us. This Carnival proved if we can laugh as a people, then we can be optimistic.