pmso reclaimed our title this year! best playing steel band in the dc caribbean carnival 2004.
there is a new photo album up with pictures from the parade. be on the lookout for the guy in the mud mas band with the mustard and ketchup bottles strung around his... diaper? cracks me up.
so my first carnival was a pretty wild time. i got to the beginning of the parade route around 11:00 am. we hung out there for about 2 hours, setting up our float and then just waiting for our turn in the parade - we were at the very end. big trucks kept going by with HUGE speakers blasting soca music - it was the loudest thing i've ever heard and i'm very glad i had earplugs. it was funny to see the difference in the mas band costumes - some of them just wore grass skirts and black shirts, some of them had very elaborate beautiful outfits.
then we headed off around 1. we played really well the whole way, i think. there were a few train wrecks, mostly caused by emergency vehicles going by with their sirens going or getting too close to one of those big soca trucks. we also played the fastest version of cocoyea i've ever heard - we had to stop after playing it twice cause our arms were going to fall off!
the entire parade was ganja-scented.
we played 6 songs: lady in red, cocoyea, soca train, bonnie and clyde, hornerman cryin, and de band comin. when we got to the judging point we played 'de band comin' because that was getting the best crowd response and the band had a lot of energy on that one. in fact we had so much energy that the trailer was bouncing all around fit to bust.
but just imagine putting 6 songs on repeat... for 6 HOURS. it was difficult to get excited about playing soca train *again* when my arms were so, so tired and we'd already played the song a zillion times. plus, eric and i were the only ones in the band who didn't have a roof over our heads - we were in the sun all day. it was very draining.
afterwards we broke down the trailers and loaded up the trucks - that only took about 3 hours. :-( then kristen gave a few of us rides to our cars which were at the beginning of the parade route. it just so happened that all four of the white people in the band (actually there's only three, but this guy noah came down from oberlin to go to carnival with us) were walking together along with one other guy, and at this point it's night and the party has changed tone from family-friendly parade to a bit more night-life. we walked by one group of people and some guy shouted at us, "y'all in the wrong neighborhood. go on back to suburbanite." that hurt my feelings for a minute but then i realized it didn't make any sense anyway. ok, it still hurt my feelings.
it gets too complicated when i stop to think about the ramifications of white americans participating in a caribbean festival. i mean, i am half cuban and identify more as hispanic than as caucasian, so technically i have a right to participate anyway. but in reality dc carnival is also a black festival, and my skin is white. so, am i doing a good thing by appreciating a culture of which i'm not really a member? or am i doing a bad thing by encroaching on black space and appropriating it with my white privilege? is this cultural tourism in the worst sense, or is it a hopeful sign? i don't want people to read any of these things into my participation. i'm not making a statement. i just want to play.