Words by Jesse Serwer
Photo by Martei Korley
Soca music, and the island of Barbados, couldn’t have a better ambassador than Alison Hinds. Since starting her career as a teenager singing with the band Square One, Alison has been the face —and body — of Carnival music in Barbados.
Some might say soca is all about wukking up, drinking rum and getting on bad. Alison brings a certain grace and sophistication to Carnival music, projecting a regal air that’s earned her the unquestioned title of Soca Queen. When we decided to dive into The Music of Barbados for our latest webisode series, Alison was the first person we called. She graciously invited us to her idyllic hideaway on the West Coast of Barbados, where we met her family’s horse Cocktail, and spoke about the music and culture that drives Barbados’ Crop Over season.
In the first installment of our six-part series — and the first of two episodes featuring Alison Hinds — the Soca Queen gives us a bit of Crop Over 101, from the festival’s roots celebrating the end of the island’s annual sugar harvest, to its present status as one of the Caribbean’s greatest carnivals— and the inspiration for so much great Bajan soca music.
“The music really drives the festival,” Alison tells us. “Because without the music, there really is no festival. People want new music. They want the energy, they want that vibe, because you need that for when Kadooment Day comes… Kadooment Day is our parade day, that’s when everybody is in costume. People are on the road, behind the trucks, playing for the people in costume, and we parade down the road and enjoy ourselves, have a great time.”
Sound good? Hey, no matter where you are, it’s not too late to make those last-minute Crop Over arrangements. Carnival is carnival, right?
Watch Episode 1 of The Music of Barbados with Alison Hinds right here, listen to LargeUp’s Music of Barbados playlist on Apple Music here, and, should you find yourself inspired to make a last-minute Crop Over mission — you still got some time — make your travel arrangements here.
Series Produced by Jesse Serwer and Paul Parris
Directed by Martei Korley
Associate Producer: Tashida Cox
Shot by Martei Korley, Kwesi Trotman and Ross Lavine
Edited by Ravi Lloyd
Intro Music: Zika Riddim by Bass Ink Productions
Additional Music: “Carnival Way” by Alison Hinds
Assistance Provided by: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.