Vincy vigour

Vincentians proved that their 2017 Carnival was not enough to absorb all their energy as they unleashed a power source of liveliness in the car park of the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre during more than an hour of infectious music and dancing last night.

Veteran Luta connecting with the audience.
Skinny Fabulous rocking the crowd.

St Vincent and the Grenadines was the featured nation for the CARIFESTA Country Night and the combined singing, dancing, and prancing took on the appearance of a miniature Vincy Mas that endedJuly 11.

None of those in the small crowd could be blamed for thinking they were amidst an encore of the St Vincent festival with three-times calypso monarch Man Zangy, current Calypso Monarch Fya Empress, former monarch for many years and now a legend Skinny Fabulous, current Ragga Soca Monarch Hans John, and second runner-up for Road March L Pank rocking the Two Mile Hill location.

It was not music alone, as the Vincentians also brought out some of the unique aspects of the Caribbean territory.

“Our performance really is Cultural Gateway AIA (Argyle International Airport), a Vincy cultural experience,” explained the evening’s narrator and St Vincent theatre personality, Gloria Williams. “We wanted to show aspects of who we are and we tried to show it in our package.”

AIA was inserted into the theme of the CARIFESTA performance because of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ desire to highlight its spanking new international airport that, since its February opening, has been the gateway for people coming and going.

The islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines are the ancestral home of the Garifuna, a people of mainly indigenous and African mixture celebrated for their confrontation with colonization, and who in their resistance dispersed themselves to Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and the United States.

Performers did the Garifuna Punta dance, “a celebratory dance for when you die; you prepare the souls to meet the elders,” explained Williams who added that the complex symbolism of these movements were also to welcome births, coming of age and marriage.

Then there was a drumology with drummers tapping into African mixed with Garifuna influences – “a kind of hybrid sound.”

“CARIFESTA is about culture, artistic abilities of people within the Caribbean,” Williams noted. “So we tried to give some of a bit of everything. We did some traditional stuff, and things that are very current.”

There were Vincy folk songs such as Moonlight, recalling the days of the “poor man’s lantern” before installation of electricity service.

“So full moon in St Vincent was a real family time. We told a lot of stories, we played a lot of games,” Williams said.

Come to St Vincent was another of the folk tunes performed, telling about the attributes of SVG “that will make you want to come to visit”.

There was a steel pan piece, St Vincent I Love You, written by Alston Becket Cyrus, “the man who actually originated Ragga Soca,” Williams asserted.

“Ragga Soca is a genre of music that…is now sold as a product of other countries, but the record shows that it started [in St Vincent].”

Source: by George Alleyne

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