Bands gone Bajan
With Grand Kadooment just weeks away, many Crop-Over bands are pushing the Bajan theme for that big August 2 jump-up day.A SUNDAY SUN team visited a number of band houses. At Betty West’s in Worthing, Christ Church, she and her staff were all fired up about a hill in Barbados.“I grew up in Rock Hall, St Thomas, and my grandmother always used to take me up on the hill to watch the fires down below. That hill was [at the time] referred to as Fire Hill. “I used that as my inspiration, and that is why I came up with the idea to use the hills for my theme,” West said.Along with Fire Hill, Betty is featuring Silver Hill, Cherry Tree Hill, White Hill, Brittons Hill, Orange Hill and Green Hill in her band.She said she wanted to portray all things Bajan and thus looked for all the hills associated with a colour.At Jump Promotions, located at the Lucky Horseshoe, Worthing, Christ Church, bandleader Renee Radcliffe is also using strong Bajan themes. The entire St Lawrence Gap is her inspiration.“I had the idea for three years. I just never pulled it out of the bag before,” she said.Radcliffe has a theme behind every restaurant in the Gap. For example, the Ship Inn is themed Ship Ahoy, while McBride’s is represented under the theme Luck Of The Irish.Chetwyn Stewart, bandleader of Power X Four, said: “We are really focusing on the Bajan themes this year. We are particularly focusing on the coral reefs,” pointing to a booklet giving an outline of all the various coral reefs the costumes represent.At Ooutraje’s band house in Notre Dame Sports Club, Bayville, St Michael, costumes were almost complete and the majority already sold out.Bandleader Trevor Chase said Ooutraje would be paying tribute to the Barbados Landship.Veteran bandleader Gwyneth Squires will once again be going out on the road decked out in a Bajan theme. Not just because she wanted to, but because she is aware of its “importance”. “I have been doing this for 25 years and I know for a fact that you cannot win without Bajan themes,” she said.The sections in Squires’ band are Silver Jubilee, Arawaks & Caribs, 100% Bajan, Kaiso Tents (then and now) and The Things We Produce.Wednesday 2000 will also be portraying a Bajan theme. According to bandleader Mackie Holder, the sections in his band will portray something Bajan and Crop-Over-related.The section Celebration/Mas’, he said, would be a tribute to the festival. The other sections include Love, Nationhood and Empathy. Not concentrating on local themes are Baje and Rebel Vibes. This was confirmed by their bandleaders Richard Haynes and Andre Elias, respectively.