Carnival in Jamaica
Carnival is a time for celebration, community and a lot of excitement. I had the privilege of playing Mas in Jamaica for the first time this year! If you know me, you know I love soca - an infectious genre that originated in Trinidad and is the main style of music played during carnivals in the Caribbean. In Jamaica, carnival isn’t technically a part of our culture, but it was brought to our shores by the late great Byron Lee in the 80s. Since then, Carnival in Jamaica has grown immensely, particularly around two years ago when two additional mas bands came on the scene.
With my love of soca, I’ve always been drawn to the pageantry and history of carnival, particularly in Trinidad. Playing mas there is literally on my bucket list. Previously, I never had a huge desire to jump in Jamaica.
1. Because i’m from the island and 2. I wanted to experience another culture in a different country.
I jumped in Miami Carnival to try and satisfy my itch but I wanted to experience it on a grander scale. So how did I end up doing carnival in Jamaica? Well as the scene in Jamaica grew, I became more interested in experiencing it there. The infusion of our native dancehall with soca intrigued me and the cost of doing it there would be significantly cheaper than Trinidad because I had the pleasure of not worrying about accomodation fees.
I made the decision with my friends to jump Xodus (I got outvoted) and the choice I made was to help me in my physical and financial goals for 2019. I committed to eating healthier and working out more with Carnival as my inspiration.
How was it?
I had a blast!
The preparations for Carnival start months prior, to build stamina for the road and to look popping in my costume. I fell in love with the Asella costume, designed by Jin Forde for Barbados Vida’s section. Based on Barbados Vida’s impeccable customer service, I would jump with them ANYWHERE.
The costume sold out within a day of the band launch, which was in December. I messaged the designer on Instagram and she, along with the rest of the BV team, helped to register me with Xodus for the costume. The team was on hand during pickup, helping revellers with any costume queries. I STAN THE BARBADOS VIDA TEAM! If I had more PTO in my pocket, I really would jump with them for Crop Over or Spice Mas.
My drink of choice for the day was Appleton Signature with Ting and I had a time with my day ones,
had plenty road buddies
and even buck up on my Famalaylaylay along the way.
For more footage, check out my Carnival story highlight on my Instagram :)
Have you ever played Mas before?
If so, let me know when, where and how it was in the comments!