Thursday, January 20, 2011

BARBADOS ~ Hot Soca Fever, Outrageously Wild Crop Over. Oh yeah...nice beaches

The same 'ol Caribbean, right? Bright blue waters, lazy days in the sand, a skip in a yacht, jeep tours, reggae nights? 

Not !

You're in BAJAN country!

Listen to that sweet soca music. Now you gotta Wuk up, Wuk up!!

Yeah, yeah this is the land of Barbadians, 'Bajans', and nothing defines a party time Bajan like soul dedication to soca and that sensual gyration of the waist and hips ... seeming to move independently and at impossible angles to the rest of the body.

Can you wuk up like a Bajan? NO you can't! Unless you're from Trinidad or maybe Dominican Republic..

Some drunk, some high, like they ready to fly
And de hot sun burning like we ready to fry
Is whole day we jammin
Whole day we wukkin
Is whole day we jammin
Whole day we wukkin
Wukkin up

~ Soca legend Patrice Roberts, 'Wukkin Up'

So my friends, grab your shorts and your bikinis, and your headdress, leave your worries and your senses behind, and fly over to Bajan nation ... make sure it's July/August, and mark a big 'ol red circle on your calendar around Crop Over Summer Festival... Barbados!  

Aaaaaah ... Bajans are beautiful!

Barbados is a first class holiday ... fine beaches, upper crust resorts beyond my game, amazing seafood at Oistens Market! Come to Barbados.

According to The Crop Over Festival's origins can be traced back to the 1780's, a time when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest - the Crop Over celebration.

I flew into Barbados after a few run of the mill beach days at St Maarten. My Bajan friends swung me out to wild soca parties. Yes, yes, I was feelin it! I was in a different universe.

Soca is furious, rhythmic music.  From Wikipedia: "Besides its African roots, soca is a musical development of traditional Trinidadian calypso, gospel and parang through loans from the 1960s onwards from predominantly black popular music in the United States and Caribbean – (soul, funk, disco, electric blues, hip hop and rap, and zouk from the French Caribbean islands of Martinique & Guadeloupe, as well as reggae (specifically from deejaying, known as toasting in Jamaica in the 1970s), and the more melodic form of modern Jamaican dancehall. Strong elements are also taken from the rhythms of chutney music, which is popular music originated in Trinidad and Tobago's large minority Asian Indians".

I got to see one of the most amazing soca bands in existence - Krosfyah. Oh yeah...the party had started.

I was blown away by the joyous sensuality of Bajans.

Some slim, some fat, some short and some tall
We doh worry bout specs once we having a ball
Is whole day we jammin
Whole night we wukkin
Is whole day we jammin
Whole night we wukkin

'Wukkin Up'

So the celebrations in Barbados (and in Trinidad & Tobago) are off the hizzy. Soca, sweat, wukkin up, mud swingin crawls, all nighters, they've got 'em all.

Having been to the Carnaval in Brazil, Bajan Crop Over Festival rocked me for the up close and personal experience of partying with dancing Bajans.

After recovering from the party, I took in some other sights on this very pretty island.

There is very little wildlife in Barbados, and they are primarily in a sanctuary.

Not as verdant or dramatically mountainous as St Lucia and Grenada, Barbados does have a small mountain range on the north shore.

Good friends, good times, sweet soca, wukkin up and it was time to go home ... till the calendar flips to that big 'ol red circle again.


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