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Satan Mask-Ah-Raid in Culture


how Searchlight wondering how best to come-pen-say-it E.G. Linch foh de publicity he gave de last Mid-week publication. De talk foh de last couple ah weeks is all about Vincy Mas.{{more}} Two leading clergymen done mek dey statements; Pastor Clarke was “pee, eye, double S, tea”…off wid the Rural Carnival in particular de Street Jump-up, mind yuh he said he didn’t mind de Queen Show, ah would bet me last dollar is de swim wear section he love. He condemn everyting, de vulgarity dah does go on in de street jump up; man wine-in pon top man and woman wine-in pon man. Out ah place Lie-Za wants to know how Clarke know all ah dat. But Past-ah Clarke insists dey should ban all ah dat! Well said Pastah, except foh de Ice boxes, serious business dat. “Carnival is drinks in ah Ice-box”! every Ice-box represents ah book list or school uniform.

It so happened dat ah was on de CDC when de Rural Carnivals started, Mespo was first and all roads led to Mespo in dem days. Before de street jump took over, de I-dare originally, was to encourage de rural committees to develop among other things, de traditional cultural art form, de Maypole, Quadrille and so on, along wid pastor Clarke’s fair-foh-it, de Queen Show, from which contestants foh de Miss SVG could be drawn. Actually one year de Mespo Queen came in foh de Miss SVG and did well. Now-ah-days is so much preparations foh de Miss SVG contestants, dey teaching dem to walk and talk, dey even teaching dem de answer to de questions. What ah mess!

But while Pastor Clarke calling foh ah ban on Carnival, another Clergyman was making his own statement as de NEWS caught our beloved Bishop Friday on camera, taking in de action at de Calypso Semi-finals live! de caption “Are you here to bless us” was ah classic. Ah would mek ah wild guess dah 90 percent ah dem Priest, Past-as and Bishops would add-myth dah dey love dey Calypso bad, but Bishop Friday is de only one who will not hide behind his television or Radio, he takes up his spot at de Big Yard. I hold no authority on morals, but dey are some very positive Shows at Carinval e.g. Panorama, Bishop’s fair-foh-hit de Calypso, and King and Queen ah de Bands. Some ah de other shows as Past-ah Clarke puts it do not glorify de Lord. Last year Lie-Za went to watch J’ouvert, when she got home she phoned and asked me to pray foh dem young people, she had no doubt dah she saw Satan Mask-ah-raid-in Culture.

Ah uses to be ah Carnival man me-self, hardly missed ah show, de year ah got Saved, ah decided ah go still play me Ole Mas. Jouvert morning ah tek ah whole role ah Foil and cover me shirt, me pants, me shoes, all over me covered wid Foil; den ah covered ah basketball wid Foil too, ah played de character “Ah don all Foil”. But something happened to me in de band dat morning while jumping up. Ah crowd ah high spirited, young people wid dey skin covered wid paint, stormed de band congo-line style, spouting beers and powder over each other, ah got my bath and powdering up too. Dey was I, uncomfortable, standing in de midst ah all de confusion, suddenly ah thought came to my mind: “Suppose Jesus was to come looking foh me at dat moment, what explanation, could I give Him”? Ah took me exit instantly and headed home, “Done wid Dat”!

Ah must agree wid Past-ah Clarke when he say de Carnival street jump-up has become too vulgar. Yes, dey’s creativity in de Pan, Calypsos and big costumes; but very lickle appreciation is given to de Artistes foh dey efforts. Hell No! Dey’s nothing creative in dem women and lickle girls too, in skimpy swim-wear, half naked, jig-in and wine-in pon stage and on de street. It borders indecent-see! De late great, Shake Keane was on target: “Man who all time love to jump-up, soon find only he foot develop”.

And ley me say dis, in Brazil women parade de streets naked as de born but yuh won’t detect it. Swim-wear and other erotic designs painted on to dey nude bodies like real. Dat is ah piece ah art-wuk by it self. Ah remember de days when de ladies here played in long skirts and drove around in trucks; de skirts got shortened, den it went to peddle-pushers, to shorts, to swim wear, heaven knows wha next. We have to tek ah serious look at some aspects ah de Carnival….soon!


Ah went to ah Graduation dis week way ah group ah young Christians, 6M and 5F dah call dem-selves “Choral Rain” rendered two songs: “You raise me up” and “Flying Free”, very inspirational and quite appropriate and enhancing for de occasion. Professionally ah-tired wid beautiful matching voices, de lickle group went down well wid de audience. Ah don’t know if de choice ah name is deliberate but dey have dah unique Kingstown Chorale sound. Maybe one ah these days, our biggest national festival will be structured to highlight de many aspects of Vincy Culture over ah ten day period, way de cream ah SVG talent could be showcased to de thousand ah visitors home dah time ah year. And wid is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy.

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.