If you went to a jazz concert and right in the middle of the show, just as you were enjoying the music, they stopped the music and began a beauty contest, you would probably say, “What?” No matter how much you enjoy the beautiful women, you would probably feel cheated out of your jazz concert.

The Valley Boys performed a beautiful pantomime in Rawson Square on Boxing Day, and won the parade. Unfortunately, they stopped the rushing to put on their show, and, in my opinion, should have been disqualified. Apparently the rules don’t require a group to keep rushing.

Over the past several years, whenever there has been an adverse reaction to a group’s presentation, the defense has been “ junkanoo is evolving”. In my opinion, this has become an excuse for trying anything to upstage the competition, and not the thoughtful devlopment of some evolutionary principle. While it is not (or at least seldom) said publicly, most people over the age of 40 are appalled by the use of cloth and feathers to create costumes that resemble those seen in Trinidad’s Carnival. The large group size, the “tricks”, the virtual replacement of drum-and-cowbell energy with a brass band and the apparent preference for daytime presentations are all so-called “evolutionary” changes that have transformed a unique feature of our past into something that “looks” like Trinidad, New Orleans and a dozen other festival costumes, with the “sound” of the Church of God’s Brass Band.

Is this really evolution?

Pat Rahming

December 30, 2012