Steelbands, Rhythm Sections and Ole Mas Rule the Big Apple
When Steel Talks
The Big Apple has one of the best J'Ouvert celebrations in the
world. Sandwiched between lots of powder, mud,
social commentary and
music it is second to none. And this year's 2007
version was particularly vibrant and joyful. There
was something special in the air as folks were engaged
in mass fun. The happy index soared beyond belief.
The steelbands and Ole Mas were in rare form. The
thousands of revelers were up from the wee hours of the
morning and did not stop singing, dancing and jumping
until they were pulled of the road at 10:00 am.
There are few
instances where you can go and everyone is genuinely
blissful. J'Ouvert in New York is truly a cultural
experience rooted deep in Caribbean and African
tradition and history. In addition to the immense
carnival and music components there is the storytelling, political satire
and current news and events aspects that are immersed in
J'Ouvert has really grown in stature and attendance.
For many, J'Ouvert is the highlight of the New York Labor
Day carnival weekend activities. It is all natural.
No blaring DJ music systems. No massive trucks.
Nothing but acoustical instruments - drums, pan and
iron. It brings people back to a much earlier and
freer time with less movement restrictions, and
everyone is a participant.
This year as in
the past, the steelbands came from all over the East coast to
participate. Bands from Maryland, D.C and
Philadelphia were there among many others. A lot
of the bands never crossed judging stations this year -
but no one seem to care as they were having too much
If you have never
experienced J'Ouvert make sure you are in New York next
year. It is always the early morning of Labor Day.