RAPSO group 3canal is coming to "boom up history" again with its show this year, Zingaytalala.
This show will begin with a preamble including traditional mas characters such as a mad Dame Lorraine, a bitter Black Indian, a "woke" Baby Doll, pretentious Jamette and flamboyant Stick Man who tell the story of Carnival 1919, exactly 100 years ago – a time 3canal describes as an event "that led to the eventual demise of the Jamette bands."
Band member Roger Roberts told Newsday yesterday, "They will be the mouthpieces, unfurling where we are heading as a people and how they have been left out and marginalised in the larger context of the Carnival. Their space is shrinking."
Zingaytalala is an old folk song and traditional stickfighting chant often sung in the gayelle. 3canal describes Zingaytalala as: "A cry from deep from within, an old stickman chant, a reckoning Zingaytalala is a cry from the spirit, a shout from the soul, a cry for healing, a call to the world to do more and be more, for the good of the whole."
Roberts says many young people are ignorant of Carnival history, including stickfighting and the traditional characters. Zingaytalala is the band's attempt to educate everyone about the different traditions of Carnival often overshadowed by "pretty mas."
"The tradition is being lost by the youth. They don't feel a sense of connection to it.
"This is why we go back to Zingaytalala – to the stickfighting – to bring back to the generations that are coming up the traditions that Carnival was built on."
Roberts hopes the show will spark a new love for the traditions of Carnival.
"With that knowledge you can start to develop a true love and let your imagination come alive. Imagination in terms of mas and Carnival is being lost."
Band member and show director Wendell Manwarren told Newsday the elements of Carnival are deeply spiritual for many and 3canal tries to have that energy reverberate throughout the crowd. He said the role of the "rapso man" is to educate and entertain and provide social commentary for the masses, and he hopes Zingaytalala will assist in keeping the history and culture of Carnival alive.
Zingaytalala has a cast of 36, many of whom are in their 20s and worked closely with 3canal at its Big Black Box base on Murray Street in Woodbrook. It will feature Jelae Stroude-Mitchell as the Rude Gyal Rapso Feminist, Randy Stanley as Mizz Jinnay, Marvin Doweridge and the Brothers Thomas – Mogabi and Shermake. They will all be featured in a Jouvay Jamdown alongside the band on the Du Dup Soul March Riddem, created by Keshav Chandradathsingh.
3canal will be accompanied by Simon Mendoza on keyboards, Jayron Remy on sequencers, Kiwan Landreth-Smith on guitar, Joanna Maria Hussain on bass, John Ottway on drums, and Chandradathsingh on percussion, with Marcus Sammy as sound engineer.
The show is written as well as directed by Manwarren, with choreography by Deon Baptiste, Ian Baptiste, Stroude-Mitchell, Tricia Rea Boyce, Abeo Jackson and Kevon Charles. Costume design is by Meiling and a team headed by Zidelle Henry. The lighting design has been crafted by Celia Wells, with set design by Sean Leonard.
The show has a three-night run at Queen's Hall, St Ann's, from next Monday to Wednesday, starting at 8 pm.
Tickets cost $250 for general admission and $300 special reserved and are available at the Queen’s Hall box office or at the Big Black Box at 33 Murray Street, Woodbrook. For more info go to www.3canal.com.