Tuesday, July 12, 2011
In spite of being tied to a dock, we certainly stay busy. Chase is playing beach volleyball two days a week with a group of boaters from all over. He attended a ‘hash’ which is an organized hike up mountains or where ever, coming back full of mud with a big grin on his face, 'whupped' as they say in the south. But our highlight this week was attending a practice session of steel drum players preparing for the big festival, Carnival.
Carnival is August 5 thru 8, with the major activities occurring on the 7th and 8th. Staging will take place right here in our marina parking lot so we will see plenty without getting off the boat! There is an island wide steel band competition among other activities - hence all the practice.
Shademan organized a trip for us - 3 bus loads of boaters attended, again, from all around the marinas and anchorages. Wow! These high school kids have been playing for 4 years and they are certainly really into it!
|Practice session in the school yard with band director|
|Band Director was hot, hot, hot!|
|Medium size drum|
|Big time jammin'|
The drums are made from very thin sheet metal of various thickness (thick being relative - all thin!). The kids were playing on what looked like 3 kinds of drums, bass one is the largest - like a steel drum garbage container; there is a middle size one half the size of that garbage can one and the smallest is tenor & 1/4 the size of the big one.
|The largest drums- bass|
|This guy twirls his band sticks & plays about 6 drums|
|So much fun - the kids really get into it|
|Chase getting a lesson|
Steel drums are even tuned up - just like a piano. Twice a year at a minimum each is polished; smoothed out etc. by a very skilled technician.
Calapso, classical, jazz - you name it and the kids play it!
These kids took great pride in showing us the drums, how to play and in general, had a good time with us milling about during their breaks.
|Sharon pounding away - NOT making music|
Carnival preparation is in full swing all over the island. Carnival is a VERY BIG deal! In this school, above the building in loft like rooms, local men and women, volunteering their time, were working hard, sweating in the heat of the non-air conditioned rooms, sewing and gluing, making hundreds of Carnival costumes!
|Local volunteers making Carnival costumes|
|Costumes stacking up|
We wandered freely about, chatting with the volunteers as they bent over their tasks. Some were drawing head dresses with stencils, other cutting them out. On down the line of workers the cardboard piece would be passed. This activity has been going on frantically since May.
|Making the pattern from the stencil they made|
Others began to glue material, trims, sequins, etc. on them. The costumes will sell from about $300 to $500 EC (one EC = $2.67 US), a good money maker for the school.
|Headdress in the rafters|
|Boaters taking it all in|
|Headdresses in the rafters|
|Photo of finished costumes|
|Not much material!!!|
|The guys have it easier!|
|Layers of breadfruit, vegs, chicken, pig parts & coconut|
As the evening wore on, the local women prepared the Grenadian national dish - the oil down - for us and had coolers full of beer and soft drinks and their national drink - rum punch available. (I fully described the oil down in the previous blog - refer back if need be.)
|This pot feeds a LOT of people!|
|Shademan dancing with his food in hand!|
|Shademan is a hoot!|
|Boaters in awe!!|
Now, click on this video to hear the kids playing this great music! If for some reason this video appears BLACK when posted -- click on that tiny arrow on the bottom left & both the kids playing and the music will be visible and audible.
UPDATE: The band, Comanchero, comprised of the wonderfully talented young people we spent an evening with while they practiced WON the Band competition at Carnival in August!!