Photographer Fiona Compton takes us behind the scenes in the making of our Spring 2014 cover. We also get a sneak peak into this issue. The issue drops February 21st. Sign up to our magazine to receive your FREE copy inbox!
I can honestly say that my first Carnival experience five years ago in Trinidad was the most fun I’ve ever experienced and like good wine or an unforgettable lover, everything else is compared and judge against this.
And I’ve had other experiences to fairly compare to this. I’ve done Caribana in Toronto twice since my Trinidad experience, and even though I love Toronto, and had a great time at Caribana, it did not have the frenzy or addiction that T & T Carnival exposed me to. The air in Trinidad seems to invigorate, the food is spicier and so are the fetes and performances. During that first experience, I made many friends and five years later we still call each other to play catch up.
Five years later, we return to for a new TV series – Nu Woman TV and were able to capture Trinidad Carnival through film and photos. As these events will be revealed in our first episode of Nu Woman TV to air this summer, I will just give you a brief summary of our sojourn.
I booked tickets on Bahamasair and made hotel reservations in Port of Spain. I contacted Tedi, the co-host of the show, and Barry the photographer who would be accompanying me on the trip and gave them a quick briefing as to what we would be doing. A week or so later we were headed to Trinidad.
We arrived in Trinidad late at night and immediately jumped into Carnival mode. Saturday morning found Tedi and I downtown immersed in Kiddie Carnival and later that day, it was on to collection of costumes on long lines .The evening found Tedi and I towing more long lines in the Mall for stockings and other needed gear to enhance our costumes.
Sunday night we made an attempt at J’Ouvert, and then it was two awesome days of playing Mas.
Before we could blink, we were headed back on Bahamasair.
Check out our Carnival spread and tune into Nu Woman TV this summer!
What is J’Ouvert?
J’Ouvert usually takes place the night before Monday Mas. In the early days of carnival, women dressed as female devils “diablesses” and walked around on stilts in the dark hours of the morning asking, “jou ouvert?” (“has the day begun yet?”). This lead to the start of a two-day festival called “J’Ouvert”. The name J’Ouvert survives and signals the start of Carnival. People are free to dress in any old garments, cover themselves in mud, paint and oil and dance in the streets into the early hours of the morning before coming out again for Monday Mas.
Carnival days include Monday and Tuesday morning Mas. Tuesday is the day when the festival climaxes. Masqueraders come out in all their glory and hit the street of Trinidad and Tobago. Everyone is on the streets, the small, medium and large bands, the steel bands, the music trucks, the soca stars, DJ trucks and celebrities.
This story was first published in Nu Woman Spring/Summer 2012 issue.