In the words of Mr Carlton ‘CP’ Hall, the sweetest Christmas is around the corner! What are you anticipating the most? Is it time with family, gifts, food or nine morning fun? Your Christmas experience these days may be a little different to the way it was when you were younger but we cannot let life’s troubles and our responsibilities drown out our fond memories of Christmas past.
I’m sure you remember the days when you had to do Christmas cleaning, against your will as a child, while listening to parang only to find yourself singing and dancing to the sweet sounds of Scrunter or the great Baron. You knew exactly what was coming when your mother would turn on the radio and gather cleaning supplies; you’d be wiping down furniture, cleaning windows, and scrubbing and sweeping floors until you were too tired to lift a finger. But it was okay because your reward would be a piece of freshly baked bread or cake or maybe a cold Vita Malt (What is Christmas without Vita Malt?).
Do you recall struggling to wake up early for Nine Mornings? Just thinking about all the activities would give you a surge of excitement. You’d be so enthusiastic knowing you could be up on stage partaking in one of the many games being hosted by CP and when the joke segment came around you’d laugh your belly full. All the while you’re surrounded by the food and drinks of the season. Leaving the festivities behind was always bittersweet as you always wished it was never-ending but the need for sleep or important obligations would eventually set in. So you’d do a little window shopping walking to the bus stop or car on your way home.
One of the most memorable parts of a Vincy Christmas is the lighting up in our communities. This tradition along with house to house serenading, seems to be dwindling but I hope we can keep them alive as they give us an opportunity to come together in peace and love and harmony.
“Me aunty send down barrel!” You know you’re in the thick of the season when you hear these words and you couldn’t wait to see what’s inside. In the last few days before Christmas day, Kingstown is filled to capacity. The supermarket lines are long as people make last minute purchases to ensure that everything is perfect on the big day. As a child, these are the days you would dread as you walk for hours with your parents through Town. Your only consolation is the possibility that they would buy you a toy so you continuously beg in hopes that they’ll give in to your request.
Whether you’re 5 or 50 there is always a certain sense of elation waking up on Christmas morning, a feeling of magic in the air while you look around at your well-decorated home and the delicious scents wafting from the kitchen throughout the day make your mouth water. This is the day of the great feast! Baked pork and chicken, stewed beef, macaroni pie, shepherd’s pie, lasagna, potato salad, stewed, pigeon peas, you name it! Can you almost feel the burning now as Ginger beer hits the back of your throat and you shudder in delight of the taste? Or the fizz you feel in your chest as you quickly gulp down one of our locally made soft drinks? What about the Sorrel? Most of us enjoy a cold glass with our Christmas lunch. Several ham sandwiches will be eaten on this day and you can’t forget the black or fruit cake and of course there’s Black Wine.
Our traditions are unique and important. I hope they will be passed on from generation to generation so we can keep Christmas in SVG alive. Merry Vincy Christmas!
Photo credit: The St.Vincent & The Grenadines Tourist Office, Calvert Jones and Ricky Hill.
Article submitted by: Rashida Munroe.
The 2017 Calypso semi-finals held on Friday night, 30th June, at the Victoria Park was indeed a fantastic musical experience. As the first show on the official ten day Vincy Mas festival, it featured twenty two of the nations outstanding calypsonians, ranging from the youthful but experienced Kristianna Christopher to seasoned veterans like, Patches, Fya Empress, Vibrating Scakes , Sulle and Brother Ebony.
The show started on time and flowed well; except for one or two small glitches it was well executed. Free of the on-stage props that will form part of the calypso finals; this show was a lyrical interaction between the calypsonians as social commentators and the expectant audience.
In this time of potentially intense political interactions, most of the singers focused their attention elsewhere: youth and crime, infidelity, emotional and physical abuse, and other real social matters that are important to our lives as Vincentians every day. The songs were informative,melodious, and some satirical and humorous. A combination that resulted in an excellent experience.
Of course I have my favourites, but will refrain from mentioning at this time.
My feelings are numerous and can’t all be articulated in this post. It serves to say though that we are a superbly talented nation and even though the carnival/summer festival season has been extended well beyond the ten days of Vincy Mas, the range of activities are such that calypso in particular and Vincy music in particular are not given the kind of exposure they deserve.
Our musicians and singers should be able to practise their craft effectively all year round; and to make a living as artists is a right they have earned but is yet to be realised. Lance Chapman, Friday night’s guest-artist alluded to this in his melodious and well articulated rendition.
The time seems to be right for a Vincentian Music Festival that will be independent and separate from Carnival and Vincy Mas. This could be a collaboration between private promoters and the department of culture: a week of concerts to showcase Vincentian Music of all genres, perhaps in October, when we celebrate our nation’s independence. No competition needed.
The ten calypsonians moving on to the Calypso Finals scheduled for Sunday 9th July 2017 are :
Glenroy “Sulle” Caesar, Robert “Patches” King, Shernelle “Skarpyon” Williams, Shaunelle Mc Kenzie, Sheena Collis, Lornette “Fya Empress” Nedd, Glenford “Azarah” Charles, Cecile “Lil Bit” Murray, Joanna Christopher, and Kenneth”Vibrating Scakes” Alleyne.
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© 2017. All rights reserved.
On Wednesday May 10th , 2017 , Vasita “Sita The Lyrical Diva” Caine endeavours to launch St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ first reality series. The show is entitled Split Personality: Life of a Female Lyricist, and will highlight her talent and more so her versatility as she makes her contribution to the upcoming 2017 “Vincy Mas” festival.
Sita, known for her energetic stage performances and provocative lyrics, made her entrance on the stage of the local music industry some seven years ago with a Dance-hall song called “Kitchen Dunce”. She is respected as SVG’s premier Dance-hall act and remains a force to be reckoned with when she performs live. She has since made some notable strides in the industry, some of which include:
- The first person to receive an award from SVG’s Association of Music Professionals (AM P) for her involvement in Dance-hall music
- The first person to receive an award from Association of Music Professionals (AMP) for her involvement in Dance-hall music twice.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to travel and perform internationally.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to be featured on a rhythm produced and distributed by an international recording artiste and record label.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to film a music video in Jamaica.
- The first Vincentian Dance-hall artiste to participate in the Barbados Reggae festival.
According to Sita, the show is going to be very entertaining and unique. It is being filmed by Mr. Rasheid Sutherland of Boss Raw media and will feature a number of appearances from local and regional artistes, producers, and other persons involved in the music industry.
“I tried as much as possible to endorse mainly businesses that are one hundred percent (100%) Vincentian. I am pleased to be associated with the Paragon Modeling Agency and Invest SVG who are extremely excited about the project. The show is indeed reality and will hence, showcase everything that comes with it [reality!]: the good, the bad, my shortcomings, my strengths, likes, dislikes, including the difficulties I encounter in the music industry; everything.”
The series will be distributed via Social Media including the following Facebook and Instagram pages :
- Vasita Caine
- Sita Di Lyrical Diva
- Rasheid (Boss Raw)
- Austin “ZJ Powa” Cain
- @Austin Cain
The show is also scheduled to be distributed via the following Jamaican YouTube pages:
- AKAM Entertainment
Article and Photos submitted by: Vasita ” Sita Di Lyrical Diva” Caine.
We at Express Vinci extend best wishes to Vasita on her new venture!
© 2017. All rights reserved.
After a break in 2015, the Annual Literary Fair hosted by the University of the West Indies Open Campus’ and the Vincentian Association of Artists Writers and Producers, in collaboration with the National Public Library, was held from Thursday October 13th to Saturday 15th, 2016. The three day event was the organizations’ contribution to the cultural calendar for the 2016 Independence celebrations.
From October 13th to 15th, the grounds of the Open Campus were transformed into a cultural callaloo of Art, Books, Poetry, Song, Dance and Pan. While the primary focus was to encourage more Vincentians, at home and abroad, at all strata of our society, to read and write as this year’s theme suggested, “Vincy: Read and Write”; the Literary Fair was also an opportunity to showcase new and emerging Vincentian talent in the visual and performing arts. The patrons, no doubt, had the opportunity to immerse themselves and relish the sweet artistic songs, voices and moves of the more experienced artists such as Rodney Small on pan, Naked Roots Cultural Organisation with their drums and poetry, Cecil Blazer Williams, the master poet; and La Gracia Dancers and Arabesque Dance Companies.
The Literary Fair opened on Thursday October 13th with a ceremony that saw excellent performances from the La Gracia Dancers, the St. Vincent Girls’ High School Junior Steel Orchestra, and the Performing Arts Society of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College; but that evening belonged to the New Kingstown Chorale and Mr. Alfred ‘Hezekiah’ Hepburn (posthumously) who were presented with Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contributions to music and Carnival Art by the Vincentian Association of Artists, Writers and Producers Inc. This was followed by a short reception.
Thursday’s ceremony was definitely a foretaste of what took place on Friday October 14th dubbed, ‘An Evening of Pan, Poetry, and Dance’ hosted by the Vincentian Association of Artists Writers and Producers. The small but appreciative audience was treated to outstanding performances on pan and piano by Saed Bowman and Geran Maule; while Nerissa King had the audience spell bounded with her deep, passionate poetry pieces. The master poets did not disappoint at all: Leroy Providence and Cecil ‘Blazer’ Williams had their audiences in a reflective mood and at other times, laughing their soul case out with their renditions. However, it was Rodney Small on pan, who made sections of the audience stand on their feet to dance, and those who didn’t stand, rocked in their chairs. In fact, after his first rendition, one person remarked that, “he made that pan talked”.
The Fair climaxed on Saturday October 15th with a Children’s Village and a Film Night. The Children’s Village included story telling, riddles, ‘old time’ games and the reading of pieces by participants in this year’s national reading competitions. The curtains came down at 6:00 pm with the screening of a short film courtesy the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and a documentary on the history of the Breadfruit entitled, “From Swine to Fine” narrated by Dr. Lennox Honeychurch.
Contributed by: UWI Open Campus, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; October 2016.
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Energy, Creativity, Vibes are words that can be used to describe Soca Monarch in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Is it coincidence that both Monarch winners had songs which showcased their love of SVG’s very own international award winning rum Sunset? “A bottle of Sunset is me gas” and “When I step inside a fete, just give me a Sunset” was the taglines used in the songs “No Behaviour” by Hypa 4000 and ‘Rumist‘ by Chewalee, the power and ragga soca monarchs, respectively.
Soca Monarch 2016 has been praised for being one of the best in years and this was seen by the quality of performances, which managed to capture the audience from beginning to end. The night featured a mix of veterans in the business and the new comers to the scene. The likes of Maddzart, Fireman Hooper, Shaunelle Mc Kenzie, Wiz Kidd, Hance, Wetty Beatz, Keido, Ozarie, Dymez, L Pank and others.
This show is usually one of the biggest during the scheduled 10 days of the Vincy Mas festivities and year to year it is highly anticipated by many patrons both young and old.
Express Vinci. © 2016 all rights reserved