City Safari

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Amidst all the festivities in Trinidad a couple weeks ago, it was easy to become distracted and forget that one of the primary purposes of my trip was to accomplish things on my to-do list for next year's Carnival. Thankfully, I managed to check some things off the list despite all the socialising. I spent a few of my days purchasing costume-making material and scouting spaces that could be used as my pop-up mas camp. These two tasks involved alot of walking so I kept things very comfortable. My favourite beaten-in linen skirt, a pair of flat sandals and a light cotton tank fit the bill. My usual choice of accessories for this colour combination would have been brass or gold. I steered away from the norm with silver. A braided leather bag borrowed from my mom ensured that the look remained down to earth. 

Tank top: Zara, on sale
Skirt:Vintage, thrifted
Cuffs:African store, Harlem
Hoops: Generic beauty supply store,Harlem
Rings:Coyote Trading, Atlanta
Sash worn as belt: taken from a thrifted romper
Bag: Talbots, vis a vis my mother's closet

Photo Credit : Dan Castelow

Kaiso! Kaiso!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

If Soca is the heart beat of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival, then Kaiso, Cariso or Calypso as it's now widely known is its soul. Imported from West Africa by those enslaved to West Indian cocoa, sugar and coffee plantations, the music provided a tremendous resource.It preserved spiritual ties with the Mother Land while illuminating a path for survival in a new world. We'll even go as far as saying, if there was no Kaiso, the Afro-Trinidadian person would not be. Heck! We'll even venture to say that without Kaiso, there would be no Carnival, not as Carnival exists today! 

It is said that the name Kaiso derived from the Hausa word "Kai", used to convey disapproval or to admonish. The people would gather around the griots, who would level scathing criticism against the slave-masters and plantation owners. The griot chanted and the people responded in kind "Kaiso!Kaiso!". Gradually, chantwells, who were  primarily female, and who song mainly in French Creole, perfected the call and response in the Calinda (stick-fighting) arena. By the late 1700's this type of folk song was known as Cariso and it, along with stick-fighting, was a signifiant element of Carnival celebrations. The music would evolve even more to become the vocal weapon of choice against every manner of social ill from the grim realities of emancipation to the idiocy of politics.

 Other etymologists suggests that there is yet another origin for the name Kaiso. According to this school of thought, the word comes from the Ibibio people who comprised much of Trinidad's slave population. Among the Ibibios and probably other Africans, it became a popular past-time to engage in a certain dance. A couple of folks would plant sticks into the ground at opposite ends and lay a pole across the top. The contenders, male or female, would display their most impressive rhythmic moves while doing their best to not touch the pole, which lay precipitously above. Cheering them on was the collective refrain "Kaiso! Kaiso!"  "More! More! Go!Go!".  Eventually, the dance became Limbo and the term was adopted in reference to a music that became synonymous with the Caribbean person's ability to treat the most serious of subjects with uncanny humor.

Into The Depths

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I had some of the most beautiful days ever these past two weeks. This was probably due to my being in a space of gratitude and being joyful regardless of circumstances. Also, I had set the intention of making the most of my time at home. Let me tell you! The Universe surely conspired to help me. 
The experience served as confirmation that being deliberate about my happiness reaps amazing results. 

One of the gifts that my positive vibes attracted was reconnecting with this guy I once knew. It was totally unexpected. We ran into each other at a concert and spent a large portion of the next four days together. Having recently moved back home himself,  he enjoyed reacquainting me with our island. We shared romantic views of the city.We laughed until our bellies ached. We listened to the waves rush against the shore. We swapped travel adventures and dreams. I wasn't looking for romance but my days with him turned out to be some of the most romantic I've ever had.  

At the end of it all, I considered remaining in touch with him. It seemed like a great idea for us to be friends. We discussed being travel buddies. There were music festivals to attend and film lists to trade.Instead, I decided that it might be better to leave it as "that amazing time I once had with some guy". As much as I like him and the time we spent together, I think it's more important for me to delve deeper into my inner self for joy. I think it's good for me to practice remaining detached from any one person or experience as a source of my happiness.

 I'm affirming that as I continue to do that, the Universe will bless me with many more romantic nights with the guy of my dreams.

My Date With Chuck

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The semi-finals of Trinidad & Tobago’s national steel-pan competition-Panorama was on Sunday. It’s a day long showcase of some of the country’s best steel-pan bands. The festive yet casual occasion gave me the perfect excuse to wear my new favourite sneaks, these pink Chuck Taylors. This chambray shirt dress served as a clean back-drop for the color saturation provided by the sneaks. Oh, I also invited a multi-hued Banjara clutch and some arm candy to the fete. I felt cute and comfy as I danced to the sweet sound of pan!


        Photos by my dear mummy
  Dress: Thrifted
       Sneakers: Champs
      Jewellery: collected from various sources