Byron Lee, the driving force behind Jamaica's Calypso-soca scene, is also the brains behind that island's rapidly expanding carnival celebration. Years ago he threw a little fete on the Kingston campus of the University of the West Indies; today the several-weeks-long event features a full pantheon of Caribbean Calypso and soca stars, a tentative hybrid called “soggae,” as well as concerts headlined by Jamaican vintage artists, the greats of ska, rock steady, and early reggae. The dizzying array of events, parties, parades, and marches draws celebrants from all over the world, including other islands, especially Trinidadians, who come not only to quench an insatiable party thirst but to cast a nervous eye on the competition. For this set, Lee and his band re-create the unique flavor of Jamaican carnival with their interpretations of hits by leading exponents like Trinidad's David Rudder and Machel Montano. Although measuring up to the original interpretations is near impossible, the Dragonaires acquit themselves admirably, and while some find soca's insistent thudding beat monotonous, Lee and company prove that from armchair dancer to “champion bubbler,” no one can resist soca's call to “jump and wine.” –Elena Oumano
$ 1,94 *
* last updated on 2. March 2021 at 10:58.