Another of my favourite Rapso pieces from 3-Canal, a visually very attractive video in my eyes, one that manages to bring out the revolutionary shades of the Trinidadian flag itself, in an act of reinterpretation. The last quarter of the video, showing the singers and dancers splashed in black oil, paint, and beating biscuit tins is a fairly good representation of what one would see during J’Ouvert street celebrations at the dawn of Carnival in Trinidad. If Soca has been associated with Carnival, then one might argue that 3-Canal is a J’Ouvert music band given its consistent use of J’Ouvert imagery. J’Ouvert is arguably the last, largely non-commercial, non-competitive, free, open, even home-spun activity of the Carnival season. Costumes are improvised, humorous messages quickly painted on placards, little acts performed in the street, with a deep plunge into otherness in the depths of the night — it’s in J’Ouvert that Carib breweries might throw a few dollars at a small band called Taliban, giving us “Carib Taliban,” a name loaded with cannibalism, terrorism, and beer. In J’Ouvert, everybody “loses it” for a good while, Trinidadians and foreign visitors alike, brought on by a mixture of trance, drunkenness, heat exhaustion, arousal. It’s great to be part of a pulsating throng of dark silhouettes in chaos moving through the streets of Port of Spain at night, getting a spiritual sense that anything could happen, that the world has fallen away, that something new could come. No wonder that 3-Canal’s cutting lyrics are accompanied by this J’Ouvert ethos. Enjoy the video — I know you will be back to see it again when three days from now you find yourself humming it without any provocation.
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