Thursday, May 24, 2018

What Makes Toronto Caribbean Carnival So Special

The last of eleven Caribbean carnival band launches wrapped up this past weekend in Toronto with Atlantic Mas and their presentation of Semba at the Rebel nightclub, the most commonly known entertainment venue in the city. Already the Toronto Carnival wire is buzzing with electricity because--once again--the energy is shifting in the city, which will make for an exciting carnival season.

To those who don't pay attention to the logistics (and politics, oftentimes) of the Toronto Carnival culture, all of those above-mentioned details are completely insignificant. Band launches? Venues? Themes? The majority of Torontonians actually have no idea about how the annual Peeks Toronto Caribbean Carnival operates, and what it takes to produce North America's largest street festival.

Despite annual news coverage, one-on-one interviews with band leaders and chatting with costumed masqueraders on Grand Parade day...despite informing the public about the changes of the festival and the advances in culture and history, most still refer to the parade as "Caribana," and just welcome the tourists, money spending, and foreign vibes in the city. Many avoid downtown altogether on the Saturday before our Civic Holiday Monday. Many more pray that there is no violence, no front page news stories, and that all participants have a safe and rain-free carnival experience. I believe the city of Toronto has a "complicated" relationship with the carnival, while to the designers, leaders, members, and volunteers of the eleven main masquerade bands, carnival is LIFE.

The media plays their role as well. Each year we know what the footage will look like. Some wining up on Breakfast Television. Behind-the-scenes at a local mas camp. A CBC report about the history of Carnival in Toronto. And on parade day, we can all expect to see posts of a friendly Toronto police officer getting an exhilarating street dance from a beautiful Caribbean masquerader. We can tune into every evening news show from CityTV to Global, and see reporters interview participants, high profile attendees, and visitors to Toronto.

The Toronto Carnival story doesn't change much, on the exterior. It starts around July, it wraps up after the holiday, and it repeats indefinitely. Year after year, for half a century now. Amongst stories of funding, management changes, issues of creativity, fancy events, amazing triumphs, celebrity performances, and facts about Toronto's Caribbean community, the show goes on. Every year.

The story from the inside is much different, however, because carnival is a year-round endeavour. It never ends. Because while Toronto Carnival is gearing up, taking place, and winding down, there are dozens of similar carnivals around the world at various stages of the same process. Carnival is a lifestyle for some. It is a passion. A hobby. An enterprise.

There were eleven band launches in total this season, from the Toronto Caribbean Carnival experts. Those who put this passion above everything else. Starting with the Venom Carnival band launch mid-March and concluding with Atlantic Mas two months later, it was a series of shows, photos, and promotional videos created specifically for the soca lover and carnival supporter at heart.

The launches highlight each masquerade band's theme, costumes, DJs, and participants. Members of the carnival and cultural communities gather, ready to be impressed. It is the job of each masquerade band to put their best foot forward with staging, lighting, costume creation, theme relevance, and production value.

Historically, the launches have ranged from the extravagant and fantastic...to the underwhelming and basic. Based on a variety of reasons from finances to business acumen and of course costume aesthetics (and model wining skills), the launches can either go terribly right...or fall flat.

That is part of the annual interest and anticipation that comes with the occurrence of the carnival and all of its preparation. This isn't exclusive to Toronto, it is an international phenomenon. What is exclusive to Toronto is the city itself, and how deeply embedded the parade is to our downtown summertime culture. While there are never ending rumours of the festival's future and an equal amount of stories and speculations about its participants and their supporters, every summer like clockwork, the Toronto streets are decorated with revellers to mark the celebration of another year of execution.

With carnivals around the world from Trinidad (the mother of ALL carnivals), to American favourites like Miami Carnival and New York's Labor Day parade, and Caribbean gems like Cropover in Barbados, and carnivals in Cayman, Jamaica, and Bahamas, the carnival enthusiast can never grow tired of the availability of options. Japan, Germany, and Nottinghill Carnival in the U.K. are all locales where lovers of Caribbean music and culture can travel to to take part in the tradition. Each carnival has its personalized features, and things to look forward to. Each carnival has its reputation and highlights, that become known internationally as word spreads.

Needless to say, I'm biased because I was born and raised in Toronto, but I do think that the Toronto Caribbean Carnival has so many great features and highlights that it should be internationally revered as one of the go-to carnivals of the year. It should run like clockwork. It should be funded generously from those who benefit from the fruits of the carnival labour. We have all of the elements here to have an outstanding carnival every year.

Toronto Carnival is particularly special because of a few elements:

1) THE BANDS

We have the new young energy of Atlantic Mas, that are linked with international superstar and hometown legend Drake. We have the legacy of Saldenah Carnival, with Louis and his family of designers and loyal supporters that show up in the thousands each season. There's the unshakeable vibe of the Toronto Revellers, who host great summer limes and always have the sounds of iron and pan playing live from their mas camp. There's Carnival Nationz, who build mas like no other, and consistently bring us a spectacular presentation at the annual King & Queen competition. Bands like Venom Carnival and Fantazia who have design masterminds creating beautiful costumes, and there's Epic Carnival (formerly Durham Carnival) who have an amazing sense of community, D'New Regulars who come with years of expertise and tradition, and Sunlime and Costume Creators who also respect the art of mas and the process of costuming as well with a strong history of tradition and experience.

If you live in Toronto and love mas, these are all household names. The reputations, the vibes, the level of creativity, and customer service outcomes are all well known, and also fluctuate each season. While one band may reign for a few years strong, it's no surprise when another band steps up their game and wins the momentum for the next few seasons. It's a constant competition, and an entertaining process because the carnival community is a niche market that the bands have to strategize and plan to impress each and every year.

2) THE DJS

Toronto DJs of Caribbean music are top notch. Reggae and soca. Top notch. Hands down. I believe we have an amazing selection of selectors in this city, and can easily draw for a list of 20 or more that could flatten any dance, if given a chance. Internationally. Music is a strong point of Toronto, and our DJs are responsible for that vibe. From the radio, to boat rides, band launches, or weekly club bookings, it is the Toronto DJs that drive the fun and influence of our carnival through their music, messaging, and national profile.

I love to see band loyalty, when it comes to Toronto's Caribbean Carnival. I love to see DJs that find a band, and hold that band down through thick and thin. Build the brand. Build the vibe. Personalize the mood of the band. In fact, the DJ's role in the band is a crucial one, because it can carry on year-round, or it can fall off with the last song on the truck at the end of parade day.

The bands that are strong have DJs that are strong endorsing them. The bands that are fun to jump up with, are the bands that have fun DJs leading the way with their selections and MC-ing. The bands that are well branded and marketed have a team of DJs who are out there pushing the message of mas and carnival outside of the mas camp walls.

I believe our carnival is special because of our talented Toronto DJs, and I believe that should be one of the main draws for international visitors to take part in our celebration: the music is always proper.

3) THE EVENTS

It's almost to the point of over-saturation, but I definitely think that the events in our city are excellent. The venue situation is challenging, but somehow the DJs and promoters have managed to still find their way around the complications, and buss new venues and take patrons out of the downtown core and into the likes of Brampton, Markham, Ajax, and the north end of Toronto to catch a nice party.

The branding of events in Toronto is definitely stepping up. Parties that we have been attending now for over a decade, are still going strong. Newer events have quickly captured the attention of folks, and have become staples of the summer. Signature boat rides. Birthday events. Theme parties. Outdoor events. All of these happenings--carefully spread across the Toronto summer calendar--help to build the vibe before carnival, and sustain it in the fall/winter months as well.

As soon as the temperature starts to warm up, you know that there is a list of events that you can look forward to each year. The consistency is awesome. The vibes are always great, and it's nice to know that the culture has built these solid moments that draw not only Torontonians to attend, but also people from the U.S. and Caribbean.

4) THE VIBE

For those of us born and raised in Toronto, the vibe sometimes comes and goes. For those who have been out and about since our teenage years, and or witnessing activities from the sidelines, we know that the vibe here is like no other. Foreigners will comment on the multicultural nature of our city, and how great it is that everyone parties "together" for the most part. Visitors will notice that on any given night, there are at least a handful of options for entertainment. The vibe is essentially non-stop, with a little something for everybody.

We are an eclectic group of folks, and from comedy shows to hair shows, urban book fairs (shameless plug... http://www.kyapublishing.com/tube.html), to festivals, there is no shortage of events to catch a vibe from. I believe that Toronto's Carnival has always been the epiphany of events for the urban/Caribbean community in Toronto. Even now with the addition of Drake's OVO Festival that same long weekend, it's like all roads lead to those few days where the height of all things Toronto come to an amazing climax. The vibe of that weekend is the most important entertainment vibe the city experiences, and this has been the case for decades now.

ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS MAKE TORONTO CARNIVAL SPECIAL.

As much as it has its ups and downs, scandals and politics, badmind, and glorious triumphs, it is ours, and it is still going strong. When looking at the international spectrum of Caribbean-centered events, I believe that our "Caribana" holds a very, very special place on that spectrum. A place that we can't afford to lose (literally, and figuratively), and a place that we owe it to the next generation to preserve.

Although it has transitioned from the Caribana our parents took us to, back on University Avenue in the 90s...it is still ours. It has still been handed down, and still continues to take over the streets of our country's biggest city, every year.

It's up to us to honour and preserve this culture. It's up to us to ensure that the following generations learn from the beautiful and positive elements, and disregard the mixup that has plagued our community's view of how we celebrate. It's up to us to remember what it is we first loved about this festival, and what it means to us as a culture. We have to take the momentum and impact of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, and manipulate it into something dignified, something important and historically relevant, something fiscally beneficial, and something we can be proud of. All of us.

I believe that Toronto Carnival is special, because I refuse to believe anything else. Despite the ways in which I've been disappointed and discouraged by the players and the processes (I'm 100% sure I'm not the only one)...it still means too much to Toronto's Caribbean community for me to turn my back on it. I will always love Toronto Carnival, and I will always do my best to ensure that it remains a special occurrence in how the world at large, and Canada specifically, remembers and regards our beautiful Caribbean culture.




Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing "Urban Toronto Tales."

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Toronto @CarnivalSpotlight: ATLANTIC MAS

FOR THE LOVE OF TORONTO CARNIVAL AND THE PRESERVATION OF CARIBBEAN CULTURE IN CANADA!

We love Carnival, we love Toronto, and we love to celebrate the beautiful elements of this Caribbean tradition! This year we’ll be featuring the details of ALL masquerade band’s presentation/costume details, to encourage carnival enthusiasts from within the GTA and internationally to take part in our city’s beautiful tribute to Caribbean culture: the Toronto Caribbean Carnival!

(*Unofficial reporting, based on our independent compilation)





BAND: Atlantic Mas
2018 THEME: Semba
BAND LAUNCH DATE: Saturday, May 19, 2018

BAND LEADER(S): Akil Heywood

MAS CAMP LOCATION: 2180 Lawrence Avenue East

EMAIL: contactus@atlanticmas.com
TWITTER:

For photos, pricing, and additional details, please connect with the bands and section leaders directly:

COSTUME SECTION 01: Fast Wine
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Machel Montano
COLOURS: Purple, blue, yellow

COSTUME SECTION 02: Bachata
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Ak Goin 
COLOURS: Tan, pink, yellow

COSTUME SECTION 03: Baldi Posse
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @Lovinglife_jojo @Randyrooks @Lifesbutterfly
COLOURS: Fuschia, teal, pink

COSTUME SECTION 04: Skankin Sweet
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Ak Goin 
COLOURS: Lime, pink

COSTUME SECTION 05: Kizomba
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Ak Goin
COLOURS: Black, blue, orange

COSTUME SECTION 06: Azonto
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @readdyrockmedia @repsupstyles
COLOURS: Blue, teal, peach

COSTUME SECTION 07: School of Samba
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @neneglamorous
COLOURS: Pink, purple, teal

COSTUME SECTION 08: Jaz-a-Belle
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Kamilah Bernard, Kathleen Williams
COLOURS: Red, blue

COSTUME SECTION 09: Du'Sailor
SECTION LEADER: FayAnn Lyons
COLOURS: Blue, lime

_____________________________________________________
We are here to support Toronto Carnival and promote Caribbean culture in Canada! We may not catch all details...but we're striving to be thorough! Please contact us at services@kyapublishing.com if we've missed anything or anyone!

SPONSORED BY @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT

CARNIVAL SPOTLIGHT // Toronto’s former reggae dancehall princess Delia Chinn is drawn back into a seductive party lifestyle when she meets Jessica and Victor, members of the Groovy Massive soca dance group. Although Delia’s self-esteem is on the rise, it’s at the expense of her relationship with Ryan and their five-year marriage...a marriage that may not survive her first carnival season. // KYA PUBLISHING (2014)

ORDER PAPERBACK BOOKCLICK HERE

ORDER EBOOKCLICK HERE

LISTEN TO THE @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT SOCA SOUNDTRACK MIXED BY TORONTO'S @DJMAJESTY101CLICK HERE

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Kerra Denel's Caribbean Women's Power Lunch, Supporting and Encouraging Women in Business

David Tufino Photography
Inspiration manifests from many sources; in Kerra Denel's life it naturally emerged from her love of Caribbean culture and the humanitarian passion of her family's influence. Owner of Kerra Denel Entertainment, the Trinidadian-born beauty is a cultural ambassador of many talents, who shares her expertise internationally as an event and artist manager, PR consultant, voice talent, and entertainment host. This Saturday, May 19, 2018 Ms. Denel will be hosting an afternoon of enlightenment and empowerment at the Caribbean Women's Power Lunch, powered by KD Entertainment.

Taking place at 5941 Leslie Street in Toronto from 1 p.m to 4 p.m., the lunch will be an afternoon of "food and sisterhood" where attendees and invited special guests can "eat, build, and empower" one another through their experiences and presentations.

"Networking is not about collecting contacts, it is about forming relationships," the event outlines. "Just as the goal is not more money, it is about living life on your own terms."

Attendees are encouraged to come out to take part in the fellowship, as well as take in the words of wisdom from the featured presenters from a wide range of disciplines. The admirable women from across the Caribbean diaspora are sure to provide an abundance of advice, motivation, and upliftment for the affair.

Special guest presenters will include:

Nneka Elliott
Lifestyle Blogger, and Host


Kamshuka
Author, and Life Coach

Hazel Smith
Business Operations Leader

Stachen Frederick
Non-Profit Executive Director and Consultant

Auntie Jillian
Social Media Personality

Ayanna Sealey
Mental Performance Coach and Net Practitioner

Stephanie Lowe
Health and Wealth Coach

Interactive events like the Caribbean Women's Power Lunch are necessary within the Caribbean community; the need for strength and mutual support is at the core of any social group, and helps to develop and maintain the cultural spirit.

Eli Ceballos Photography
Inspired by women in business herself, Kerra recognizes that confidence is key in any endeavour, as well as the growth and evolution of individuals and the community as a whole.

She has been a successful cultural ambassador with her business profile continuously expanding through her activities here in Canada, and through her adventures in Caribbean culture around the world. An instrumentalist with the AfroPan steel pan orchestra, as well as a featured costume model in various masquerade band presentations across Toronto, Kerra has dedicated her life to celebrating her culture as well as equipping the next generation to do the same.

@KerraDenel
Whether it's through event coordination at Florida's Caribbean Style Week, her work with Krave the Band in Barbados, or acting as the Team Lead Manager for Trini Jungle Juice operations in Canada, Kerra has proven to be a talent, as well as a force with a clear and intentional mission: to support her Caribbean brothers and sisters, and to lead her peers by gracious example.

In addition, her non-profit organization Kerra Loves Kids aspires to "educate and inspire children worldwide while sharping their future one book at a time." Encouraging women to also develop and fuel their businesses--while supporting one another as sisters--is the foundation to Kerra's success, and a key factor in the future growth of the community at large. This weekend's Caribbean Women's Power Lunch is a natural addition to Kerra's schedule of activities, as well as a necessary and motivating event for the Caribbean women of Toronto.

Tickets for the lunch are available via EventBrite at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/caribbean-womens-power-lunch-tickets-45577960908 for an afternoon that promises to be one that nurtures and leads the women in attendance with the knowledge and wisdom that will carry them through their daily professional pursuits.

For more information about the Caribbean Women's Power Lunch, connect with Kerra Denel online via her website at KerraDenel.com, or via email at kerradenelent@gmail.com.



















Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Toronto @CarnivalSpotlight: D'NEW REGULARS

FOR THE LOVE OF TORONTO CARNIVAL AND THE PRESERVATION OF CARIBBEAN CULTURE IN CANADA!

We love Carnival, we love Toronto, and we love to celebrate the beautiful elements of this Caribbean tradition! This year we’ll be featuring the details of ALL masquerade band’s presentation/costume details, to encourage carnival enthusiasts from within the GTA and internationally to take part in our city’s beautiful tribute to Caribbean culture: the Toronto Caribbean Carnival!

(*Unofficial reporting, based on our independent compilation)


BAND: D'New Regulars
2018 THEME: Straight Outta John John
BAND LAUNCH DATE: Saturday, May 5, 2018

BAND LEADER(S):

MAS CAMP LOCATION:

WEBSITE
EMAIL
FACEBOOK:
TWITTER:

For photos, pricing, and additional details, please connect with the bands and section leaders directly:

COSTUME SECTION 01: Blue Diamond
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @xtazeecarnival
COLOURS: Purple, pink, indigo

COSTUME SECTION 02: Desperados
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @ariyahlove_
COLOURS: Blue, grey, teal

COSTUME SECTION 03: Red Army
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @tg.vi
COLOURS: Orange, lime

COSTUME SECTION 04: Carib Tokyo
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @ariyahlove_
COLOURS: Red, blue

COSTUME SECTION 05: Renegades
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Clore Beauty
COLOURS: Black, lime, purple

COSTUME SECTION 06: Invaders
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG):
COLOURS: Lavender, pink, lime

COSTUME SECTION 07: Casa Blanca
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): Clore Beauty
COLOURS: White, gold

COSTUME SECTION 08: All Stars
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Clore Beauty
COLOURS: Gold, blue

_____________________________________________________
We are here to support Toronto Carnival and promote Caribbean culture in Canada! We may not catch all details...but we're striving to be thorough! Please contact us at services@kyapublishing.com if we've missed anything or anyone!

SPONSORED BY @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT

CARNIVAL SPOTLIGHT // Toronto’s former reggae dancehall princess Delia Chinn is drawn back into a seductive party lifestyle when she meets Jessica and Victor, members of the Groovy Massive soca dance group. Although Delia’s self-esteem is on the rise, it’s at the expense of her relationship with Ryan and their five-year marriage...a marriage that may not survive her first carnival season. // KYA PUBLISHING (2014)

ORDER PAPERBACK BOOKCLICK HERE

ORDER EBOOKCLICK HERE

LISTEN TO THE @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT SOCA SOUNDTRACK MIXED BY TORONTO'S @DJMAJESTY101CLICK HERE

Toronto @CarnivalSpotlight: COSTUME CREATORS CULTURAL ARTS

FOR THE LOVE OF TORONTO CARNIVAL AND THE PRESERVATION OF CARIBBEAN CULTURE IN CANADA!

We love Carnival, we love Toronto, and we love to celebrate the beautiful elements of this Caribbean tradition! This year we’ll be featuring the details of ALL masquerade band’s presentation/costume details, to encourage carnival enthusiasts from within the GTA and internationally to take part in our city’s beautiful tribute to Caribbean culture: the Toronto Caribbean Carnival!

(*Unofficial reporting, based on our independent compilation)






BAND: Costume Creators Cultural Arts
2018 THEME: Birds of Paradise
BAND LAUNCH DATE: Saturday, May 5, 2018

BAND LEADER(S): Whitfield Belasco

MAS CAMP LOCATION:

WEBSITE
EMAIL
FACEBOOK:
TWITTER:

For photos, pricing, and additional details, please connect with the bands and section leaders directly:

COSTUME SECTION 01: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): 
COLOURS: Pink, white

COSTUME SECTION 02: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): 
COLOURS: Blue, lime

COSTUME SECTION 03: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG):
COLOURS: Purple, yellow

COSTUME SECTION 04: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): 
COLOURS: Red, gold

COSTUME SECTION 05: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT:
COLOURS: Red, yellow, lime

COSTUME SECTION 06: TBA 
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG):
COLOURS: White, red

COSTUME SECTION 07: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): 
COLOURS: Peach, white

COSTUME SECTION 08: TBA
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: 
COLOURS: White, silver

COSTUME SECTION 09: TBA 
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): 
COLOURS: Green

COSTUME SELECTION 10:
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): 
COLOURS: 

_____________________________________________________
We are here to support Toronto Carnival and promote Caribbean culture in Canada! We may not catch all details...but we're striving to be thorough! Please contact us at services@kyapublishing.com if we've missed anything or anyone!

SPONSORED BY @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT

CARNIVAL SPOTLIGHT // Toronto’s former reggae dancehall princess Delia Chinn is drawn back into a seductive party lifestyle when she meets Jessica and Victor, members of the Groovy Massive soca dance group. Although Delia’s self-esteem is on the rise, it’s at the expense of her relationship with Ryan and their five-year marriage...a marriage that may not survive her first carnival season. // KYA PUBLISHING (2014)

ORDER PAPERBACK BOOKCLICK HERE

ORDER EBOOKCLICK HERE

LISTEN TO THE @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT SOCA SOUNDTRACK MIXED BY TORONTO'S @DJMAJESTY101CLICK HERE

Toronto @CarnivalSpotlight: FANTAZIA CARNIVAL

FOR THE LOVE OF TORONTO CARNIVAL AND THE PRESERVATION OF CARIBBEAN CULTURE IN CANADA!

We love Carnival, we love Toronto, and we love to celebrate the beautiful elements of this Caribbean tradition! This year we’ll be featuring the details of ALL masquerade band’s presentation/costume details, to encourage carnival enthusiasts from within the GTA and internationally to take part in our city’s beautiful tribute to Caribbean culture: the Toronto Caribbean Carnival!

(*Unofficial reporting, based on our independent compilation)


BAND: Fantazia Carnival
2018 THEME: Elements
BAND LAUNCH DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2018

BAND LEADER(S): Will and Lisa Morton

MAS CAMP LOCATION:

EMAIL
FACEBOOK:
TWITTER:

For photos, pricing, and additional details, please connect with the bands and section leaders directly:

COSTUME SECTION 01: Elements of Minerals
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @Annalisa4039 
COLOURS: Purple, pink

COSTUME SECTION 02: Elements of Earth
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @BeastCarnival
COLOURS: Peach, blue, green

COSTUME SECTION 03: Elements of Spirit
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @CarnivalCrashers
COLOURS: Gold, black, teal

COSTUME SECTION 04: Elements of Convexity
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @Annalisa4039
COLOURS: Black, purple, pink

COSTUME SECTION 05: Elements of Plasma
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Lois
COLOURS: Pink, blue, orange

COSTUME SECTION 06: Elements of Ice and Water
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @Annalisa4039
COLOURS: Peach, baby blue

COSTUME SECTION 07: Elements of Psion 
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @peter__4 @2b_benoit
COLOURS: Purple, lime, pink

COSTUME SECTION 08: Elements of Magic
SECTION LEADER CONTACT: Jada and Will
COLOURS: Rainbow

COSTUME SECTION 09: Elements of Hydrogen
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @QuixoticCarnival
COLOURS: White, silver

COSTUME SELECTION 10: Elements of Time
SECTION LEADER CONTACT (IG): @AdoreMas2018
COLOURS: Lime, purple

_____________________________________________________
We are here to support Toronto Carnival and promote Caribbean culture in Canada! We may not catch all details...but we're striving to be thorough! Please contact us at services@kyapublishing.com if we've missed anything or anyone!

SPONSORED BY @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT

CARNIVAL SPOTLIGHT // Toronto’s former reggae dancehall princess Delia Chinn is drawn back into a seductive party lifestyle when she meets Jessica and Victor, members of the Groovy Massive soca dance group. Although Delia’s self-esteem is on the rise, it’s at the expense of her relationship with Ryan and their five-year marriage...a marriage that may not survive her first carnival season. // KYA PUBLISHING (2014)

ORDER PAPERBACK BOOKCLICK HERE

ORDER EBOOKCLICK HERE

LISTEN TO THE @CARNIVALSPOTLIGHT SOCA SOUNDTRACK MIXED BY TORONTO'S @DJMAJESTY101CLICK HERE

Friday, May 4, 2018

COOL ROCK // Why Roots Reggae Will Never Go Out of Style

Roots reggae is the heart and soul of reggae music. While its mainstream popularity may fluctuate over the years, and it is often subject to trends and social movements, it still remains a staple of Jamaican culture, and an eternal asset to the genre of reggae music because its central tenets will never change. Roots reggae will never go out of style because by nature, it is rooted in messages of reality, Black/African pride, themes of spirituality, honouring God, and the preservation of social consciousness. It is an underground movement that continues to grow, indefinitely.

Distinguished by its minor key melodies, strong vocals, smooth and soulful basslines, and "militant rockers rhythms," roots reggae is clearly defined by messages of politics, observation of the people, and a keen awareness of Jamaica's colonial past and global appeal.

After the 1966 visit of Haile Selassie to Jamaica, political unrest became a common feature of roots reggae music, along with an increased spiritual awakening in themes and lyrics. Complimenting the drums, bass, guitar, organs, and percussion, were the truthful words of every day life and the thoughts and aspirations of the every day Jamaican.

It was in the 1960s that Jamaicans began to dramatically increase their presence in the U.K., the U.S., and Canada, as well as parts of Europe due to changes in immigration law, and this is naturally when the reach of Jamaican culture and reggae music also began to take flight internationally. It can be said that the zenith of roots reggae music, thus far, was significantly reached in the late 70s as a result.

Not only did Jamaican legends Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, and Peter Tosh and countless talented others cement themselves into roots reggae history around this time, but it was also a time of international resistance, where reggae served as a fitting soundtrack to passionate movements of culture, spirituality, and love.

Around this time, reggae music took over the hearts of every race, continent, and lifestyle with commonalities rooted in human nature and justice. Large festivals in Jamaica emerged, encouraging the mass appreciation of the music and the attendance of international fans, but it was also a time of celebrations in Europe, northern California and other locales as these powerful messages inspired music lovers of all origins.

Now, there are reggae music festivals in every corner of the globe. From the Jamaican traditions of Sunsplash and Rebel Salute, to the Ottawa Reggae Festival in Canada, Reggae on the River and the Kaya Fest in California, to reggae festivals in Springfield, Montana, Australia, New Zealand, Brazile, India, Korea's "Rise Again" festival, concerts in the Philippines, Croatia, and Sri Lanka, with reggae fan bases in France, "Reggae Jam" in Germany, and the popular "Rototom Sunsplash" event in Spain.

No other music inspires such unity and consistent dedication to the truth as roots reggae music does. Along with lover's rock, and other sub-genres of reggae music, roots reggae is an accessible form of the music that international audiences are most receptive to, and appreciative of. It is a music that benefits the well-being of mankind.

The 80s ushered in an era of dancehall music that has yet to simmer down. A change in the times, a new kind of global awareness, and a more aggressive and faster paced momentum made dancehall the new dominant sound in reggae music. While roots reggae still existed, it was the dancehall artists that were making new waves and hitting international music charts.

While the dancehall scene was gaining steam, two Jamaican artists were coming of age on the island. Now in their 30s, trends and charts didn't keep roots reggae DJ Yaadcore and roots reggae recording artist Iba MaHr away from the essence of the genre.

He was the first to play Kabaka Pyramid and Chronixx on Jamaican radio, and now tours as the official DJ for recording artist Protoje in addition to developing his international roots reggae musical brand Dubwise. Yaadcore (aka Rory Cha) integrated the influence of his selector father's Mandeville-based sound Love People International, and developed a career in the industry based on the energy of the music.

"Roots reggae...goes along with the positive word sounds to uplift the people," Yaadcore told BoomShots.com. "Music is for healing, not misleading...I was always conscious of this even when I used to play all types of music. This is when I realized if I wanted to protect my son from these type of lyrics, I would also want to do the same for other youths and the people in general."

Yaadcore's signature event Dubwise began as as weekly event on Wednesday nights in Kingston, and has developed into a travelling brand with roots in Miami, Washington, D.C., Trinidad, and NYC with contributions from international reggae DJs like Corey Chase, Dutty Bookman, Lion Twins, and DJ Gringo to name a few.

Yaadcore's goal: to reintroduce authentic roots dub reggae to spaces that are accessible by mainstream audiences. For this reason, he no longer DJs other genres of reggae, and has stopped accepting bookings in any other genre.

One of the spaces he will be permeating is Toronto nightclub Nest, where Yaadcore will be a part of the COOL ROCK event, hosted by Chris Dubbs. A Jamaican-Canadian producer and reggae radio personality, Chris Dubbs (the host of The Vibe Drive on Toronto's urban alternative radio station VIBE 105.5fm) is also dedicated to keeping the legacy of roots reggae flourishing in his hometown of Toronto, Canada as a whole, and over the airwaves.

"I love reggae music, and I want to ensure that the generations of Canadians that come after my generation continue to love and support reggae music in its purest form," said Dubbs. "All around the world there are thriving reggae music scenes, festivals, and ambassadors of all nationalities...I want to use my radio program, and my events to contribute to the presence of reggae music. I don't ever want to see it lose its natural vibration."

Yaadcore will be headlining COOL ROCK, Dubbs' roots reggae-specific event on May 11, 2018. Dubbs plans to have COOL ROCK remain a staple in the Canadian reggae music scene in the spirit of unity and positive vibrations. Also performing live at Nest Toronto for COOL ROCK will be Toronto-based DJs Black Reaction, Lindo P, Chris Dubbs, and DJ Tyrone, along with a special appearance for the first time in Canada, Jamaican recording artist Iba MaHr.

"Roots reggae gives you a feeling that speaks directly to your spirit," said Dubbs, who has been DJing reggae music in Toronto since his teen years in the 90s. "This is the original form of reggae music, and we owe it to our predecessors and the reggae music industry as a whole to make sure that this feeling continues to be transferred around the world. This is the feeling that makes so many people globally love and respect Jamaican people and the messages we represent in music and actions."

This is a sentiment that all lovers of roots reggae express: the focus on unity, one love, and cultural awareness...without the jokes or playful insults found in dancehall or soundclash culture. While the overall origin remains the same, it is the specific intention that drives roots reggae connoisseurs to stay true to themes of progress.

"I take pleasure in doing love songs," said Jamaican recording artist Iba MaHr, who will also be featured at the May 11 COOL ROCK event in Toronto. "Essentially, I am inspired to sing about real life occurrences, but in reality as artistes, we create melodies then connect words to them to craft stories that reflect other people's live."

Mario Greaves adopted the name Iba MaHr, as it represents humility and calm, as well as an homage to the Ethiopian province of Harar (hence, MaHR = Mario of Harar). Writing songs since high school, he began to perform after being his encouraged by his peers at the University of Technology where he studied towards a B.A. in Computing and Management.

Breaking into the musical scene with a 2008 song "Had It, Lost It" on a compilation album, he then went on to have a hit song on the VP Record's 2012 Reggae Gold Album ("Will I Wait") followed by tours of Europe and various festivals, before touring in the U.S. with Kabaka Pyramid in 2015.

Iba MaHr's debut album "Diamond Sox" debuted on the Billboard reggae charts at #7, and the iTunes reggae charts at #4 in 2015. The following year, he toured Europe, and also became a brand ambassador for the Bob Marley corporation and products.

Inspired by Rastafari, Iba MaHr--as accurately named--remains humble and calm, and continues to communicate messages of spirituality and love into the universe.

From the originators of the genre, to the latest musicians to promote Jamaica's national treasure, roots reggae music has stood the test of time, and has a permanent staying power precisely because it comes from good, and it promotes good.

According to Iba MaHr: "People need redemption songs, especially in these times of division and world crisis. I can only say that reggae music is a medium through which we connect and touch people in any situation, so I work to preserve its legacy."





Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales."