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Not enough Indigenous Traditions


De Nine Mornings Committee Launch on Sunday Night turned out to be very good. Ah packed program dat flowed wid-out hitches. Great performances! La Gracia Dancers seem to be getting better and better every time dey perform. Several rural communities presented samples of what to expect when we visit during de Nine Days of early morning street concerts. Ah get de impression dat dey were being judged, which is unfortunate, dey were all winners on Sunday Night. Ah could tell you ah liked Stubbs best, but dat’s de most ah should say.

Now I’m always amused when ah hear Minister Cess Mc Kie speak at these functions. He easily gets carried away, beating his chest wid ah set ah superlative like “de Hottest Carnival or de Best Christmas Festival. Ah wonder if he is aware dat wid de exception of ah few communities, our Nine Mornings is growing wid-out de Traditional Ingredients. How much longer can we continue to invite visitors to our shores to watch what is fast becoming “recycled street concerts.”

It is necessary to keep Christ in de Christmas, so dey’s no room foh songs wid inappropriate lyrics. And ah say yes to Gospel Singers, singing traditional Christmas Music. De Festival continues to grow wid diminishing increase. Dey’s ah painful absence of Indigenous Traditions dat once brought us all dat Vincy Feelings of Christmas? Where is our unique “Bum Drum” wid four drums, ah flute and triangle; And our long lost “String Band” wid ah flute, guitar, cuatro, Banjo, Maracas and Baha (Bamboo Bass)? Or de small Five Piece Steel Band, de Pan-Around-de-Neck? Cardo was de last person to have kept dat alive. Our kids know nothing bout serenading wid “Village Choirs.” How well ah remember as ah child in de village going from door to door singing Carols like: “ We are not daily beggars dat go from door to door; but we are near-bar’s children whom you have seen before; love and joy come to you etc etc.” Where have all de Vincy Nine Mornings and Christmas Serenading gone? Wid-out ah doubt it is de responsibility of de Ministries of Culture and Community Development, and not necessarily dat of de Nine Mornings Committee, to pump life back into these lost unique traditions, so Cess Mc Kie can truly say “Nine Mornings, Ah Unique Vincy Tradition. Cess boy, We got nuff wuk to do!

De calypsonians stamped ey authority on Sunday Night. Good Christmas music, Parang and Kaiso. Interestingly, dey were no songs wid obnoxious lyrics like last year, but dey was picong and strong social commentaries, reminders dat it’s de Season of Peace and Love, a time to tone down de Violence, de Hate, de Crime dat would have plagued de country all year round.
De ever faith-full Bowman Brothers went down well. Rickie is home foh Christmas and beyond! Big brother Lennox still believe in his Santa. Some years ago, he and his younger br

other, Rollie, embarrassed Santa in song saying “Santa Brokes. Lennox dis year, begging Santa to straighten out every conceivable bad element dat making life difficult dis Christmas… like if Santa is Jesus. Rollie has a good song dis year, nice kaiso music too, arranged by Cherry Ince. Dis year he plugging foh ah Bone-us foh everybody dis Christmas. Gone are de days when every wuker looked forward to ah Bone-us on Christmas Eve, and den dey regular December Salary on New Year’s Eve. Road Gangs were given two weeks last September foh school books, and dis month dey got ah two weeks wuk foh Christmas. Like Santa more brokes dan ever!

CP is back! Taking up where he left off two years ago, and even gone up several notches. He had ah dynamic performance! CP, King of Vincy Parang, has had many years of experience winning and defending Kaiso Monarchy, is one ah de few musician who understands de Parang Genre of music. Dis year, in particular, he is into serious Social Commentary, he supporting de Police keeping crime out ah de Christmas. And his second song, he’s appealing to his Kaiso Colleagues to Clean Up dey act: “Keep de Christmas Clean!” He doh like how dey treating Christmas like another Carnival! Good Picong, Good Christmas Parang.


Finally, ah notice ah new development creeping into de Nine Mornings, way communities inviting de Pull-it-tek-all representatives to address de crowds at dey openings… not recommended at all! Ah could just see way dat heading. At Christmas de serenaders led by dey local Toast Masters will go from “door-t-door” speechifying wid dey malapropos and bad grammar; De politicians will have dey time during Elections doing “house-to-house” calm-pain! Serenading and Nine Mornings are part of de Christ-Mass, de only minister who should be invited to speak is de Clergy to do de blessings or Mass. So Mr Politician, stay off de stage, doh try to be Santa, dey’s no Santa Claws and we’ve got proof! And wid dat is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

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