As I played my usual ‘Ole Mas’ on J’Ouvert morning in Castries during carnival 2019 (as I have been doing for the last four decades), it suddenly dawned on me that we the original players of this particular Carnival art form are quickly becoming a dying breed.
It was all the same faces and our numbers had become fewer and the humor, drama and satire that once existed are slowly becoming things of the past.
I also went to the Calypso Finals and the crowd was dismal, as the Now Generation had chosen to ignore that other traditional aspect of the lead-up to Carnival, instead deciding to throw their full support and money behind the more expensive Big Party events. They showed scant regard for that aspect of creativity, where wit and the play of words provided entertaining creativity.
There was also a faint presence of steel pan on the road, but largely ignored by most of the revelers. The new mode on the road embraced skimpy costuming and sex-related jesters.
So, as things stand in our carnival, the old is now replaced by the new — and regardless how we try to preserve or retain our cultural values and traditions, there is a new wave of culture that has appeared to be the norm and what the people of this new age embrace.
Sadly enough, we are like everybody else: nothing unique or different, just playing for the world and all visiting locals or total strangers simply have to all go with the flow, as even our leaders embrace this new style of bacchanal.
So, it seems, I now have to say bye-bye to tradition and originality and embrace the new spirit of ‘give the people what they want’ because we have to ‘go with the flow or lose out on the tourist dollar’.
So, I am also forced to regret to say ‘Good luck!’ to all the people and planners who choose to break ties with our traditional cultural values for ‘just a few dollars more’ and world trends embraced with nude and callous behavior.