Thursday, 5 December 2013

YYZ to MIA Fa Carnival!

South Florida is often recognized for its beautiful weather, sites, and people. However, when you add Caribbean Carnival energy to the mix, the atmosphere really intensifies! Several weeks have gone by since my visit to Miami, and I still catch my mind drifting back to moments from the trip. Sometimes I think I am walking along South Beach inhaling and exhaling the ocean breeze, but then I realize it is really just the Toronto smog. Other times I feel like I am palancing down the road in front of Miami’s Sun Life Stadium along with thousands of other masqueraders. The joke is, I am actually being shoved around in a crowd of people waiting for the Queen streetcar – Ha.. So now that I am home and all settled in, I would like to reminisce about my time during Miami Broward Carnival 2013.

First things first, I have to shout out the huge Toronto massive that was live in action during the Miami Carnival festivities. I distinctly remember DJs chanting “anybody from Toronto??” and the whole place turned upside down! I felt so proud. I even lost count of all the One Love T.O. t-shirts that I had spotted on the road. 

It had also helped that many of the bands that Toronto has such as Toronto Revellers and Tribal Carnival had sections participating in the parade. The last time I was in Miami for Carnival, I played mas with Toronto’s Carnival Nationz who usually launches brand new costumes in October. Sadly, they did not release a band for Miami this year. 

My friends and I opted to jump up with One Island Carnival who portrayed their theme “Carnival: The Greatest Show on Earth”. With the exception of a minor costume construction issue, my overall experience with them was great. They had provided efficient service during both costume pick up and on the road. I also played with One Island for Miami Jouvert (Shout out to Wyndll!). The name of my Carnival section was “Miami; I wore a lovely aqua blue and gold costume that shimmered beautifully in the sun. My section leaders were representatives from Ramajay Mas, who had won “Band of the Year” at New York’s 2013 Labour Day Parade.  One Island also had live performances from Kevin Lyttle and Kes the Band – both added bonuses. Below I have a few photos of the different sections.

 One Island's "Trinidad" section

One Island's "Notting Hill" section below

 One Island's "Santa Cruz" section below, JA ALL DAY!

 No behaviour! LOL

Kees! <3

Watch di wine!

Lawd was outside hot though! I guess I should be thankful that it did not rain but I cannot help but laugh at all my face gems that sweat off within ten minutes of me getting to the venue. Yes, Miami Carnival was held at a venue this year. The organizing committee has been trying-out different routes over the years to see what would work best. This year, masqueraders paraded around the Sun Life stadium then were given the opportunity to cross the stage at the end of their route. The stage crossing is so hype in Miami! Because many bands do not cross till after sundown, they have huge stages lights set up - I honestly felt like I was about to perform in real stage production. When you arrive to the panel of judges, there stands a platform level that is raised above ground for masqueraders to present their costumes. I seen all sorts of madness on that stage! From HEAD TOP (see photo above), to choreographed routines, to some serious "floor work" - HA! Congratulations to 1 GYE NY AME” for winning this year’s “Band of the Year” title at Miami Broward Carnival 2013. 

That's Carolyn Gomez in the middle, a fitness/business woman from NY & Trinidad "Carnival Goddess"...loved seeing her and her friend on the road! Looking forward to see what she wears in Trinidad 2014.



My Favourite Miami Carnival Moment:

Hands Down – Miami JOUVERT!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I bought a ticket for Miami Jouvert so thankfully the weather, vibe, food, and music were amazing. Jouvert here is in a parade form, so you could either buy a general ticket to enter the park or you could buy an event ticket to play with a band. Playing with a band gives you direct access to the paint, powder, mud, and with some bands chocolate! Plus food and drinks (including alcohol) are provided with the event ticket. I think I will be petitioning to get an event like this in Toronto – look out for that. In the mean time watch me reppin JA!


My Favourite Miami Carnival Section:
Sirens by Mascot International

Best Party:
There were so many events so it is hard to say. These three events had a lot of after – buzz: Scorch Part I AND Part II, Shine: All White Beach Party and The Frenzy Boat Ride.


 Skinny Fabulous, Dbandit! Whaddup! eh! Ah Machel dat a bubble inna di background?!

 My Favourite Miami Carnival Performers:
It’s a tie! I didn’t go to any big fetes so that artists came to me it seemed.
A pool party that I attended featured a surprise appearance from Mr. Machel Montano – Awesome! Then as I have already mentioned, Kes the Band performed all their hits on the road with my band.

Top Miami Carnival Song Choice:
BUM BUM” by Timaya. This song is actually a Nigerian track that was released in 2012 but took the soca scene by storm in Miami this year. The azonto crew was in full effect on the road! My number one song choice isMONSTER WINE” by Lil Rick & Kerwin DuBois; and my trip was complete when I crossed the stage to this song!

So friends, if you need to fix your Toronto Carnival Tabanca, Miami 2014 may be a good fit for you so save the date! 

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