If you don’t know ‘Carnival,’ where you been?
Notting Hill is one of the biggest street carnivals in the World, overtaken only by Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With 2 million visitors over the August Bank Holiday Weekend, Notting Hill Carnival this year will be more poignant due to the proximity of Grenfell Tower.
What is Carnival?
Revellers dance amongst the serious attendees who play ‘mas’ every year. Mas being the masquerade band with elaborate colourful costumes worn by the dancers, representing Caribbean culture. Dedicated groups all over London plan their themes from a year in advance, then start to execute the designs of the costumes at the beginning of the following year. Each detail whether glitter or beading or feather is painstakingly applied by hand, to each outfit.
How did it all start?
From completely different backgrounds, Trinidadian Claudia Jones and part Russian part Native American Rhaune Laslett both had the same goal, to see unity in the community amidst the racial tensions by bringing together those from Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, Ireland and India during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Jones organised the first indoor Caribbean Carnival, while Laslett, who was an established figure in the community, later organised an outdoor carnival in Notting Hill.
Food at carnival
No Caribbean celebration is complete without food. Whether you want the whole works – jerk pork or jerk chicken with rice and peas, or curry goat and rice with fried plantains; or maybe you want something tasty like a patty and coco bread while on the go? Notting Hill Carnival has it all. Washed down with rum punch or coconut water, this really is the place to sample the delights of the Caribbean.
Music at carnival
Like the food, music is a must. With sound systems playing Reggae, Soca, Calypso, RnB, Drum and Base, to name a few, visitors will be spoilt for choice.
If you can’t get to Notting Hill, but want to sample delicious food while listening to your favourite soca tracks, come along to Rudie’s this weekend. There may not be any dancing police men, but you’re guaranteed a warm welcome.
On the 6th of August 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation. In a ceremony to commemorate the occasion, the British flag was replaced by the Black Green and Gold of the Jamaican flag. Representing the Queen, who was still the head of state, Princess Margaret opened the first session of the new Jamaican Parliament.
So how is Independence Day celebrated in Jamaica?
Well, Jamaican’s love life. So, expect a vibrant mix of music and food, wherever Jamaicans gather. If you’re in Jamaica, you won’t have to travel too far to attend a party as they’re held island wide. In Kingston, there’s even a parade where attendees dress in costumes representing the distinct culture of Jamaica and Jamaican life.
While the sunshine cannot be guaranteed, the sights, sounds and smells of the Caribbean are sure to be in full flow across the UK, around the 6th of August. And if you are a regular at Rudie’s you know how much we love our food and our music… We never tire of creating an atmosphere to stimulate your senses. Whether it’s preparing dishes that tantalise your taste buds, mixing rum cocktails to make you feel alright or playing reggae for you to relax to.
So, expect more of the same!
If you’ve never been to Rudie’s, what you waiting for? As well as our signature Real Jerk, we have simply satisfying small plates of food created the Rudie’s way, and especially for Independence Day, our talented Head Chef, Vernon Samuels, has created an amazing menu fit for the occasion.
Oh, and check out our new Roots Lounge where Rum and Reggae rock!
International Reggae Day on the 1st of July is an annual ‘Celebration of Global Reggae Culture,’ held in Kingston, Jamaica. This year’s celebrations also include events in Slovenia as well as the UK.
So, what do we know about this popular music?
Life before Marley?
To many, Bob Marley was reggae. His contribution to reggae is undeniable. He made the music a global phenomenon. So, was there life before Marley? Here’s a quick rough guide to reggae.
- 1950s Ska was a rich blend of mento, calypso, jazz and rhythm and blues, came out of Jamaica
- 1960s Rocksteady paved the way for what we now know as reggae
- 1969 Roots reggae emerged and Bob Marley appeared on the scene with the Wailers
- 1970s Bob Marley became a solo performer
- 1980s Dancehall appeared
What’s the history behind International Reggae Day?
When Winnie and Nelson Mandela visited Jamaica in 1993, Winnie made a speech about the impact reggae had on South Africans whilst they struggled against Apartheid. Listening to that speech was music administrator Andrea Davis. Feeling inspired Davis decided that there needed to be some recognition of reggae and its influence worldwide. In 1994, her vision was realised with International Reggae Day.
How will you celebrate?
All lovers of reggae and reggae culture know that it is all about the vibes. Good vibes. Want some of those good vibes, but can’t get to Kingston? If you are looking for a positive and relaxed atmosphere and you want to meet up with good friends and eat some great food, then why not join us at our brand-new Roots Lounge, where rum and reggae reside.
In our own corner of North London, via St Andrew, our DJ will be paying homage to your favourite and finest sounds from ‘Jamaica, land we love…’ while you choose from our specially crafted mouth-watering menu….
Photo courtesy of Kads Miida