Carnival fever takes over Jamaica

April 28, 2019
Revellers Davina, Renee and Narda are ready for the road. GLADSTONE TAYLOR PHOTO

The streets of the Corporate Area are expected to be flooded with colourful masqueraders and curious onlookers today as Carnival 2019 culminates with the highly anticipated Road March.

Some 9,000 revellers and more than 40,000 spectators are expected to be on the road. Barricades have already been erected at several stop points along the route which the three carnival bands are expected to traverse, and the police are out in full force.

Although it is expected that 'King Soca' will today reign supreme, Jamaica's beloved dancehall will also have a strong presence.

"I can't wait to see what happens today. I am sure I will love every second of it. Dancehall peeps have always accepted soca music and the soca artistes 100 per cent. We embrace the culture fully," popular disc jock Supa Hype said, as he anticipated today's excitement.

"Today is bound to be all types of epic and it will be due in large part to dancehall and soca sharing the same space. Soca, like Afrobeat, has a wonderful sound wen you mix a little dancehall in it. It gets the place moving and Road March is all about that, getting people to move," he said.

He said he would be "mixing up everything like punch".

"Straight soca is like straight dancehall and we always looking for a little bit more when we partying. So if it is dancehall, we looking for a little Afrobeat or soca or hip-hop. So when it’s soca, after a while we dying for that mix-up with the dancehall, or the Afrobeat, or the hip-hop to keep us in the party vibe. Then more soca!"

Back in November, Kamal Bankay, co-chairman of Carnival in Jamaica and Xaymaca co-director Kandi King, said the days of drawing battlelines between dancehall and soca are long gone. 

"Tourists from all over the Caribbean and the rest of the world come to Jamaica because they want a unique Jamaican carnival experience that they cannot get elsewhere. I think what people need to understand is that the Jamaican carnival product is very unique. It's not like the Trinidad Carnival product - where it's 100 per cent soca. At carnival in Jamaica, we play Caribbean soca music, but we also incorporate our home grown music," said Bankay.

For her part, King said: "We want people to have a good time and incorporating dancehall is one way we ensure that. We have never been one to put the genres against each other because they really work hand in hand. We want to be able to mix things up and cater to everyone on the road."

Several dancehall artistes are slated to perform on the road today. They include: Shenseea, Ding Dong, Teejay, Konshens and Spice, who will perfom alongside some of the biggest names in soca such as Machel Montano, Kes, Nailah Blackman and 5Star Akil.

Other Entertainment Stories