On Saturday 12th May, the Holiday Inn WC1 became more like Hotel Bacchanal, as Trinidad artist Farmer Nappy continued the soca frenzy where Benjai left off earlier this year. The event marked the 2012 carnival launch of mas band Burrokeets UK, who organised a nothing short of impressive night, beginning with a Caribbean buffet dinner, then an aesthetics filled costume presentation, followed by a live performance and only the finest DJs and carnival tunes, past and present. The notorious mas band are truly like one big family, welcoming to one and all, and after 20 years of unity there is still a unique Burrokeets spirit that they exude wherever they go.
This year's theme is Golden Portrait, which focuses on the history of T&T and celebrates 50 years of its independence. Revellers can choose from flamboyant characters depicting aspects of the twin island nation, such as 'Chutney', 'Pitch Lake' and 'Soca Warrior'. All costumes encompass a feathered, sequin and beaded style, with an array of rich colours including shades of orange, pink, red and black. Their astounding beauty is unsurprising, since they are being designed and produced by Ronnie and Caro Mas Band, one of Trinidad's finest.
After the costume presentation, it was time to enjoy one of soca music's greatest muliti-talented artists. Darryl Henry, a.k.a Farmer Nappy, has been in the buisness for over 25 years; for much of that time he wrote or co-wrote for Machel Montano and Xtatik, and was the star's right hand man. Over the years, the soca genre has produced massive hits such as Big Truck, Music Farm and Footsteps, all at the fingertips and vocals of Farmer. He has now stepped into the limelight himself, and showed London exactly why he won an MTV 'IGGY' award in March.
After blasting onto the stage, Farmer hit the crowd with his current songs, Surrender, Chippin and more, to which the crowd mouthed the lyrics and Flirted with the musical master. I caught up with Farmer after the show; he truly epitomises warmth and charisma. Asked about the inspiration for Surrender, he explained to my surprise that it wasn't written by him, and that another guest artist had actually wanted the song; however, Farmer had been determined to make it his. When asked about his well deserved MTV award, something which is given to a featured global artists for a week, he expressed sheer pride at competing and winning against artists from countries such as Australia, America etc. Wondering if we'll be seeing him for Notting Hill Carnival this year, Farmer said that he may put together something for the Olympics. And when it came to talk of the future, he gave an affectionate smile and said to expect from him, "Only women songs, songs about mothers, children etc, they're the ones that get the crowd going." But for now, next stop for the musical maestro is Toronto Carnival - Canada get ready!
The night ended with a fantastic party. Thank you to all the DJs, especially Dr Jay who flew in from Toronto; you added a different flavour to the mix. A huge thank you to Burrokeets Mas Band, Martin Jay and all de crew - we had a blast!