Tag Archives: Carnival

Kadooment Costumes… the Band Launch!

You’ve seen it on this blog time and time again…. now guess what… it’s about that time again! Get ready for Kadooment Costumes… the Band Launch!

Recent years and more history described in detail can be found by viewing additional posts about Barbados Crop Over.

Masquerading (dressing up incognito or costume) is an old African tradition in which to remove evil spirits and bring luck to the village, they’d dance around in masks and costumes. The basic attire was produced of things such as grass, twine, beads, feathers and bones. If this intrigues you, I highly suggest doing more research. It’s pretty interesting to see then compared to the elaborate designs now decorating the streets.

Kadooment today is a celebration involving hundreds and thousands of people in several different countries parading around in elaborate costumes, bedazzled skin jewelry and detailed body paint.

Just like last year, I was able to work with a great team putting together the grand finale showing off this seasons Kadooment costumes.

Designers Sheena Gill and Sandie Archer got to observe their creations come to life with a runway show hosted at Harbour Lights in Bridgetown.

With my hands in the hair working with the talented Anya Wiles, creative makeup artists, a variety of jewels and all final touches complete, we were prepped and ready for the event!

Here’s an entertaining video produced by Matt Stone, followed by a few photos capturing the evening. Enjoy more pictures at www.stonesharpimagesphotography.com


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Tek off somethin and pelt it away!

Instead of repeating myself in describing Cropover and the Grand Kadooment, I invite you to check out my friends from Tree Frog Trips and their post called Beginners guide to Cropover. They do a fantastic job of guiding you through the week of celebrations. On this post, you’re going to get a bundle of photos and a general layout of our fabulous day. Enjoy!

Here are memories from past years. Just click on the title if you’d like to read the entire post.

My first Kadooment!


Second time down de road – 2013

Jump up all day! 2014

So many feathers in 2015!

Let’s start 2016! Costume prepped and alarm is set for dark-o-thirty. This year I was up styling hair for some of the gorgeous girls of kadooment while others were just getting home and going to bed.

 
Who’s open at 3:45 in the morning? The one and only Nina Thomas Salon located in Limegrove, one of the newest malls in Barbados. 

With morning treats and some bubbly to offer, we worked through sunrise prepping for the big day. Fun fact, my first client was actually a repeat client from Trinidad Carnival! Second fact, the stunning girl to the right of the bottom photo is beautiful Nina herself! I was honored to style her hair and had a blast with the others. Thank you Nina for the oppurtunity! 

For more action at this salon please visit Insatgram @ ninathomassalon, click here for their Facebook page and to make an appointment please call 246-622-2385.

So I finished up and flew back to the house to greet my friends arriving. A bus ride and short walk lead us to the main meeting point.

The stage!

Of course a shot for the Handstanding around the world page was a must! My favorite face in the phots below is the full-on head turn and curious frown from the woman on the right in purple.

After a handstand, a few greetings and a feather check, it’s time to cross the stage!

Thank you Blue box cart and your shared photos. You clearly have a talent of capturing the true happiness that stems from the people sporting your costumes and supporting the legend that still continues. To read a small story on the history of this band that started back in 1982, check out the beginning years at Bajanthings.com.

Photo Creds: Myself, Bruce Carroll Mayhew, Maria Hatch, Barbara Greenidge, Craigg Basham, Wave, Zulu, Aura and other random attendees.

After crossing the stage we were ready to hit the road. “De road” is where the music blares an inviting beat for all the participants to chip away in full costume. Thirsty already? Find a drink truck, lift your cup and make a request. These hard working bartenders keep the hydration (or dehydration) flowing throughout the entire trek.

Music pumpin, cup over flowing and friends rallying around… Time for bacchenal!E
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Everyone looking a little hot? I’m talking temperature, not just those stunning costumes. How do we cool down? We’ve got some options.


1. Tek of somethin and pelt it away!
(Or gently remove it and give it away). Throughout the parade a few of us start removing pieces of our outfits and gifting it to the little ones watching from the side.

2. Find the water showers coming from the side of the road!

3. “Accidentally” get in the way of water truck and dance through the spray! Another option is a good ol fashion snow cone.

You can imagine some of the sights seen from the visitors along the path . Maybe one year I’ll just attend as a bystander with a camera.

As the route hits the home stretch, the crowd starts to thin. Some go home, others head to after parties and a few simply don’t make it to the end. (I’ll spare the photos of those poor fellas). This year, a few of us headed back to the pleasure of an infinity pool with a view of the gorgeous west coast. As exciting as it is to get those costumes on, it’s even more refreshing to take them off! (Enter cheeky grin here).

That sums up yet another year down the road and the beginning of what some call PCD (post carnival depression). How do you over come such withdrawals? That’ll be in the next post!

“People fete’n like family, having fun in good company”

Wikipedia says: Soca- also known as the soul of calypso, is a genre of Caribbean music that originated within a marginalized subculture in the Trinidad and Tobago in the late 1970s, and developed into a range of styles in the 1980s and later. Soca developed as an offshoot of kaiso/calypso, with influences from cadence, funk and soul.

So I’ll admit that now, a solid 80-99% of Soca songs mention something in regards to rum, wukkin up, grindin, rum, chippin, fettin, rum, a waistline, bumpa and/or rum. For this post, I wanted to point out a few other lines that shine a different light on the irreplaceable energy that surrounds Cropover. Family, connection, unconditional friendships and love for the islands.

Red Plastic Bag- I love it– “Fetting is not a crime. I think that everybody should find time to unwind. I just love to be in a good party, I just love to see love and harmony. People fetting like family, having fun in good company. Please dont stand there and judge me, I like to have me fun. Love to see people happy and see people as one”.

Peter Ram- All Ah We -“Me nah want no drama, come pure upset di karma”. 

Machel Montano- Happiest Man Alive “We don’t got no time for no worries, We don’t got no time for stressin…. We come out to live we life… the happiest people alive”.

PeterRam- Good Morning! – “It’s another episode, when we out on de road. Dis is what we love, to celebrate to celebrate. This is not Hollywood, we doh come out to pose, we does party with no restraint.”

Benjai- Phenomenal “It’s a wonderful feeling, share with others, all my brothers, all my sisters. Today we making we name.”

Then there’s the not-so deep lyrics that still have us jumping around and smiling to the soca vibes!

Machel Montano- Like uh boss – “Is whole year I wait for de Carnival and I know that it will be magical. Misbehaving and ah doh care at all. So don try stop me, I’z ah professional… Cuz when I fete’n of course, I jus do it like a boss!”

King Bubba- Callin in sick – “I callin in sick, this is too much vibes to miss. Meh doc tell meh this, rum is meh only medicine. So tell di boss I call in sick.”

Destra Garcia- Lucy– “I grew up as a real good girl, always home doh go nowhere. Ah soon as I was introduced to Carnival deh say I loose!”

Stiffy- Tek off something– “Tek off something and pelt it away… Fling it pon the ground…. cuz it’s yours, you buy dat…could be a shirt or skirt or earring back… Could be uh belt,slippers or bras of yuh strap”.

You’ll hear all of these songs supporting the fetes (parties) during Cropover season here in Barbados. One of my top picks for fete of the year goes to the annual Collets Cruise! In order of oldest to most recent, below are collages of this event from the past. (Click on the provided link to read the entire post)

2012- Cool Runnings and the Buccaneer

2013- Big kids pretending to be adults

2014- Next time I’m bringing a pirates hat

2015-Spontaneous salted Prunes

…and now, 2016! All aboard, drop your bags and start spreadin the love.

Time has shown that you can always count on someone sporting a new shirt with a written phrase that may or may not offend you. This year was clean and simple with a basic “bucket list”. 

Another little tradition is my trusty Heritage stickers. I’ve been sreading them around the world for over 4 years now and here in Barbados they usually find themselves stuck to a cup (so I don’t lose which one is mine)!  To be continued…

Speaking of rituals, here’s one I dread to love. In the collage below you’ll see us in years past on the left and to the right is a column from this year. Sweet Snuffy, my dearest of Daniels… I admire your consistent cheeky smile and bottle-o-fun that keeps some drawn to you and others avoiding you.

…and the winner of best facial expressions goes too… A split between Jason and Rachel. Congrats!

Anchor = swim! 

Ryan didn’t let us down with his annual acrobatics routine, a backflip wit de floaty!

Dear Cupid, well done. Sincerely, Erika
Ok back to Soca music. How do you bust out a party that’s already ripping at the seams? Bring aboard the Soca Bashment King of the year to perform his top hits! Yep, Stiffy from above (song- Tek off something) got dropped by boat and ramped up our energy. Try sitting still through this set…. Not possible.

To Captain Ronald and crew, much gratitude for a safe and success journey each year. Even though most of your guests are giggling their way off more concerned about where their other shoe is, you hidden hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and we all thank you.

Daniel, Sean, Dwayne and Clint (please forgive me if I’ve left out anyone). I’m honored as a returning friend to play a small part of the familiar faces that make this day a reunion of good vibes! There are 365 days in a year… your cruse is in my top 3 favorite. Counting down till next round!

Off de road, Trinidad Carnival 

So you’re on the side of the road watching this glorious event and you’re thinking… Will they ever stop? Do these energizer bunnies just drink their way through Port of Spain for 12 hours straight?! I’m sure there’s a few that do, but for the majority there’s a lunch stop included with your costume package. This year, I’m connected to the section called Bliss. Representing Bikini Cabana, I was the hairstylist provided for all touch ups, pin ups and extra love to help the girls feel refreshed before heading back out to the madness.  
First let’s walk around the lunch stop.  There was different venues providing food and drink options as well as a variety of promotional stands giving away complimentary gifts.  

 

The bathrooms? These were of higher quality and cleanliness than half the concerts I’ve been at in proper venues. I’m sure it makes pulling up the tights over sticky sweaty skin a bit easier(ish).

Now to our tent! This is inside before the sun kissed, bedazzled (slightly beat up) group arrived. My little section is on the right with two chairs, a steady table and an abundunce of hair product.

      

A quick wipe and mouth rinse, why not?! Chilled bottles of beer and Prosecco as well as ice-cream and water. Yes please! This is all of course in addition to the complimentary lunch options ranging from fish, meat, veggies and salads to basic sandwiches and snacks. 

  They’ve made it! Try to imagine for a quick minute how they must be feeling. A combination of excietment (they’ve waited a year for this!) exhaustion (walking and dancing for miles) overheated (we are in the Caribbean) giddy (playing all day in fun costumes with some of your best friends). Did I mention hungry? Now bottle all of that up and try it on for size! 

 Jumping over to my small part in this massive performance…     

     
While some were getting all dolled up, others were taking an appropriate cat nap. I can imagine this was their first opportunity to actually sleep since who knows, last Thursday maybe!? Check out the blistered heel, I’m sure this was just one of the thousands of battle scars acquired during the festival.

 Suited up, rested up and ready for de road!

  

As the last feathered headdress disappeared into the soca blasting streets, we were left with an empty tent, drops of Prosecco and some remaining cups of ice cream.  “We” being me and the amazing group from the restaurant Kato’s Place.  They were here and popular by demand do to the tub-o-bubbles they brought with them. Next time you’re in Trinidad please make time to check out the cool vibe, excellent service and top rated happy hour at their new joint! A huge thanks to my new friends, personal tour guides, Roti trying, Prosecco providing, all smiles of a crew! Samantha, Ashleigh, Tiffany and Shaq… Wouldn’t of been the same without ya!  

 
Another thank you to Vanessa and Bikini Cabana for the opportunity to be a part of this spectacular event! Looking forward to the next round! 

 

The greatest show on earth

Monday and Tuesday make up the grand finale of the previous weeks celebrating Carnival in Trinidad, “The greatest show on earth”. Costumes were distributed to the participants and they’ve been gearing up for the next 48 hours of prancing, dancing, drinking and eating (only if you dare while squeezed into those barely there bikinis). 

A house or hotel room this time of year typically has a few areas designated towards Carnival.  Costumes, clothes, drinks, coolers, and enough random wrist bands from all the parties to create a chain-link fence. Here we have bedazzled tanks and itty-bitty bikini bottoms being stretched over chairs, believe me from experience… It’s necessary. A makeup table that looks like a production off a movie set accompanied by enough hair product to open a salon. An abundance of jewels, beads, chains, art supplies and one hot glue gun for the universal fix-it tool.


Complimentary survival tray provided by the hostess. Jax, you’re amazing!  

Ooh and what did we find here? Sneak-a-nap between parties (with the Barbados flag in hand.. way to represent Clint!)

 

My contribution to this controlled chaos? Hair skills. I found myself behind the scenes for this magical time of year with the honor of making each hair client feel even more spectacular that they already are. Here’s a look at what my hands were doing while all of this was going on.    

 

Where did I find the space for these lovely ladies? Thanks to Vanessa at Bikini Cabana I was able to set up a make-shift salon connected to her store. Here’s a few examples of what they offer (especailly for the “Monday wear” described below). How I walked away without giving in and purchasing something is still beyond me.

Carnival Monday is less intense in regards to the length of time they parade the streets and the extent of the costumes.  The women create their own “Monday wear” by adjusting dresses, customizing swimsuits or simply rockin it raw and casual. Carnival Tuesday is the “full shibang” with head pieces, feathers, beads, diamonds and sparkles. The following is a mesh of both days, random sights, a variety of looks and too much fun. 

     

           
  For some of the most brilliant photos of these costumes, please visit the page of an upcoming photographer who captured the vibrance exuding from the day.  World, meet Keshav D. Ramnath!

Towards the end of the day, I took advantage of a different perspective. Where was I? My new friend Ashleigh is close with the owner of Studio, a hidden gem that happened to have a portion of the bands crossing right in front! Funky decor, happy people, Prosecco and a balcony view… Perfect! 

   They even offered complimentary tasty treats (enter a puckered up sarcastic face here).  These are salt prunes soaked in Tequila. I was keen for the Tequila, not so much the salty prune.  I’ve had worse, but I didn’t go back for seconds. 

As the better part of the day continued, the party didn’t quit. The music still echoed through the streets of Port of Spain as the participants went strong in full costume.  How did they manage to keep that gorgeous fresh look?  I’d personally like to take partial credit. My position on these days placed me at the lunch break in the Bliss tent. I was there for any girls request to touch up their lovely locks. In the following post you’ll get a glimpse of what you don’t see from the road. Courtesy of Bikini Cabana, I was able to be front and center in my favorite spot… Behind the chair! 

  

Above photo by Peter Sheppard