WHAT IS J'OUVERT?,
On Jouvert Morning, step into the wild side of Trinidad Carnival, and you're likely to see just about anything. Join in. Our Trinidad Carnival Jouvert Tips will help you make the most of your adventure. You may find images of Jouvert (pronounced Jou-vay) appear a little menacing but don't be alarmed, it's great fun, almost like Halloween for adults. We bring this to you in London, come experience the true Trinidadian flavour with Ashton and Friends.
WHERE IS IT FROM?
J'ouvert or Jouvay is at the heart of Trinidad carnival, and is also celebrated in other Eastern Caribbean islands. The name J'ouvert originates from the French jour ouvert, meaning day break or morning, and signals the start of the bacchanalia that is Carnival.
WHAT HAPPENS IN TRINIDAD?
Jouvert is highly traditional and full of symbols culture and heritage. It is steeped in tradition and playing mud mas involves participants known as Jab Jabs. covering themselves – from head to toe - and others in paint, chocolate, mud, white powder or anything for that matter. It is Jouvert custom that no one is clean, and a common site to see a newcomer being hugged by a muddy revelers.
This traditional part of Carnival starts at around 2 in the morning and finishing after sunrise. Calypso and soca music are the dominating sounds of J'ouvert in Trinidad the mass of revellers takes the street party winning and chipping their way to the savannah in Port of Spain in the early hours of Lundi Gras, before the daytime carnival parades.
WHEN DID IT START?
The roots of J'ouvert in Trinidad go back 200 years, with the arrival of French plantation owners. The French never colonised Trinidad, however elements of their culture remained. J’Ouvert evolved from the Canboulay festivals in the 1800’s, which were night time celebrations where the landowners dressed up and imitated the negres jardins (garden slaves). Following emancipation the newly freed slaves took over canboulay, now imitating their former masters imitating them.
Canboulay revellers, who carried lighted cane torches, were seen as a potential risk by the authorities, and the tension mounted leading to the Canboulay riots. It was eventually banned, and then was re established as Jouvert.
The spectacular costumes represent characters and events from the history and folklore. Moko Jumbie Bats, Bookmen, Baby dolls, jab molassie, devil mas are all traditional Carnival characters that capture the elements of the past, and continue to tell the story.
WHAT MUSIC IS PLAYED?
One of the special features of j'ouvert is that it is driven by steel pan, that quintessentially Caribbean instrument (West Indians will tune up almost almost anything to create a rhythm and 'pan' is literally a 50-gallon oil-drum bashed out and tuned up). Steel bands have truly amazing vitality and energy. There is a visual as well as an aural quality (helped by the fact that an orchestra is entirely percussive). Clearly the players have a great time as they jump with the beat or lunge from one drum to the next (a bass pan-player may have to cover nine drums). When a song changes key a hundred players shift at once.
CAN I JOIN IN?
Ashton & Friends in association with Trini Posse UK brings this experience to the streets of Notting Hill on Sunday 29th August 2010. We extend this special invitation to one and all... come join us for truly an experience you will never forget!
Click here to sign up now... spaces are limited.