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Musings on the Merry Monarch

by Juliana Valdez

We are here again, in the season where the Merry Monarch reigns supreme. Some people see it as a ‘silly season’ because of the behaviour, fuelled by the music, the alcohol and the general euphoria in the fete and party environment of those who participate.

The media keeps the public informed through its photos and video footage, so that even those who do not participate in the festival are made aware and kept updated about the happenings of the season.

This of course incurs the continued condemnation of those who view the festival as evil, and based on the behaviour of some participants one can see why these sentiments are expressed.

While viewing Get Wired Mornings on CTV, I listened as host Regan De Vignes posed this question to one of his guests, Jadine “Jadel” Legere, Soca Monarch finalist, “When you see your image out there performing, what do you want people to see?” Her reply: “Confidence, bravery and boldness”.

Pondering on the response, I saw the two ways in which it could be applied. To some of the more liberal feters and masqueraders, this could be the signal to be brave, bold and confident in the extreme lengths taken in the name of “enjoyment”. These lengths are often vulgar and offensive, and more so because the female participants are likely the ones who perpetrate these acts.

To others who view their participation as a celebration of the skills, talents and beauty of the festival and they are brave, bold and confident in their quest to have good, clean fun without going overboard with the extreme negative behaviour.

One of my joys during this season is to view the Kiddies Parade of the Bands. I take pleasure in how they literally ‘jump up’ while parading. The absence of the vulgarity and the pure fun the children are having warms my heart. They enjoy the music and sing along to the tunes they know.

This brings me to the musical offerings of the season and their lyrical content. On the same programme, Regan the host spoke to Orlando Octave and Aaron St Louis aka Voice, two soca artistes whose renditions are popular with dance rhythms and sing-along lyrics.

Their decision to switch the lyrical content of their songs was based on what they perceived was the overboard vulgarity, etc. and they opted to use more positive lyrics which could be heard and sung even by the children.

As the hosts stated, if the songs cannot be played for the Kiddies Carnival, then it is indeed questionable. They have proven by their musical contributions that the music can be popular without being vulgar.

We need to think about the social media which seems to have practically taken over our lives. Nothing is hidden or considered sacred anymore and before you can blink, it goes viral. Just imagine, it is being reported that when an incident occurs, before assistance is rendered, camera phones emerge, and picture-taking and video-taping begin. Where does that leave us?

I am not sure, but I believe that participants in what we love to describe as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, need to take stock of the manner in which they express themselves with confidence, bravery and boldness.

The old cliché, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it,” is very relevant to our perception of enjoyment and fun. So while the Merry Monarch reigns, let us not lose sight of the fact that at midnight on Carnival Tuesday we sing “The Carnival is over”, but our lives continue. Let us be mindful.