Don’t get us wrong: New York is a great city. It’s culture, energy, and attitude for miles, plus dollar pizza and totally decent public transit that mostly doesn’t contain traces of the bubonic plague. But–there’s no way around this–right now, New York blows. It’s been so, so cold for so, so long, and waking up to yet another frigid February morning, it can be hard not to make like a groundhog and go back into our burrows till spring.
So if you are also suffering in the Northeast or, God forbid, somewhere even colder, here are some tunes from warmer, more festive climes to help you get into the Carnival spirit. And maybe, just maybe, it will get warm soon.
“Handa Wanda” –Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias
New Orleans is the first place a lot of people think of when they hear Mardi Gras, but there’s a lot more to Carnival in the Crescent City than drunk college kids on Bourbon Street –for example, the Mardi Gras Indians. Big Chief Bo Dollis, who passed away last month, and the Wild Magnolias, were among the first to put the music of the Mardi Gras Indians on vinyl and take their tradition on tour.
Carnival is serious business in Trinidad. The whole genre of soca is built around the month leading up to Carnival, and careers hang on the Monarch of Soca competition. This year’s Groovy Monarch winner, Olatunji, was clearly dressed for victory in an audacious sparkling gold suit and the crowd ate it up.
In terms of sheer scale of spectacle, it’s hard to top Brazilian Carnival. The music is almost inseparable from the costumes, the choreography and the giant parade floats, so it was difficult to land on a single video. This short series of clips from the Guardian gives you as good an overview as any, but if you wander endlessly through all the other carnival videos on YouTube, we doubt you will regret it.