Bassy - Love Vine
December 23, 2004
Just keep nine mornings clean

Ah writing this article on Tuesday, day number six, with three more mornings remaining to complete what would be another Vincy Nine Mornings. Nine Mornings is ah Vincy thing that goes way back when. Doc Adams in his book says it’s an African custom where early morning sea bathing at this time of year was ah ritual. Others say it was developed as ah result of the Novena, ah Catholic Festival, celebrating Mass foh nine days before Christmas. {{more}}The servants who followed their Massa to Church were not allowed in the Church, so they walked the streets till church over.

Over the last one hundred plus years this phenomenon evolved in a natural environment where events were basically spontaneous. Interestingly the Nine Mornings that originated with early morning walks and sea bathing, then to serenading, riding bikes beautifully decorated with Christmas lights, later into steel band street jump-up, to fetes in the Clubs, became ah Treasured Tradition, ah prelude to Vincy Christmas, there was no Vincy Christmas without Nine Mornings or vise versa. In the latter part of the 1980’s, as if by Divine intervention, Nine Mornings activities went into ah state of inactivity, there was nothing happening at all, no fetes, no bikes, not even the early morning walks, only the Novena Services remained ah symbol of hope..

Then in 1992, ah lickle folk group El Grupo Amistad dug deeply into the settled dust, replanted the seeds of Nine Mornings in the format of ah street concert outside the Venezuelan Embassy. Today, twelve years later, there is ah Street Concert in practically every Village and community in SVG.


It is my conviction that the role the Church has played in the revival of Nine Mornings is undoubtedly the single most component that has enabled the Festival to grow by such huge leaps and bounds. Initially the Church kept aloof and was skeptical of El Grupo Amistad’s proclamation that the group was intent on “Putting Jesus back into Christmas since Jesus was the reason for the Season”! Father Mike of the Roman Catholic Church was first to come on board and led the Festival with ah Full Mass on opening days. The Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches then joined the struggle, and today with some very strong support and commitments from leaders the likes of Pastors Tyrone Williams deceased, Errol Daniel, Melch Pope, Gideon Robertson, Noel Clarke, Major Ellis, Pastor May and others, the Festival is alive and well. Pastor George Frederick is so inspired that he has influenced Western Union, ah company that he manages, to contribute twenty thousand dollars to the Festival.

To date Nine Mornings has been ah Festival where alcohol, loud music, vulgar or violent behaviour are not tolerated. Grannies and Grand-pas, Moms and Dads, children, Visitors foreign and locals living abroad, all attend these concerts. The reports coming to hand is that large crowds are coming out to participate at these functions, great rivalry exists among the folks from Fancy, Sandy Bay, Park Hill, Stubbs, Lauders, Greggs, Richland Park, Cane End, Kingstown, Spring Village, Rose Hall, Rose Bank, Troumaca and Paget Farm in Bequia. By and large there are some fifty communities where Nine Mornings is taking place.

The small committee is strongly backed by the Government with ah very practical Culture Minister in Rene Baptiste. The response by the business community is encouraging. The National Lottery leads the way with a handsome eighty thousand dollars donation.

We will be fooling ourselves if we think that we will be allowed to continue boasting that Nine Mornings is ah Vincy thing foh much longer. Bo-bathe-us is trying ah thing they call “Break-of-Dawn”. They are serious about their tourism product and will not let anything that has prospects go by. This year we had ah Folk Group from Two-beer-go for five mornings, they came just to enjoy Nine Mornings, ah will not be nah-Eve, it will not surprise me if next year Toe-big-oh having Nine Mornings. So we can expect competition. We have ah head start, we are by nature ah Nine Mornings people and we need now to build on what we have. It is imperative that we get that Airport to bring more people to SVG. But most importantly, we got to keep our Festival Clean! Clean! Clean! and keep Vincy Nine Mornings the Best!


Finally we have ah Bowman with ah sweet singing voice. The choir began with Ricky who wasn’t ah bad lead singer. He was followed by his kid brother Dennis, lots of energy to win Soca Monarch. Then big brother Lennox, the song-writer in the family, took ah bite ah the Cherry and sang ah number ah Nine Mornings hits. Some how ah nearly forget Len’s big daughter Michaella, Trinidad based, and with ah voice that her dad would do anything to have. And somewhere in the middle is brother Abby, ah bit of ah Kaisonian who sings only provocative Kaisos. Then all of ah sudden, baby brother Rowley ah Vinlec employee, picked up some volts and sparked Lennox to pen him “Give me Peace” ah very appropriate Christmas song in these times.

But the real prima donna of the family has emerged. Shadee, the seven-year ole daughter of Rowlie and Leslie is now on CD. Ah voice that is all innocence and beauty. She is doing Uncle Len’s re-write of Mamasita. Ah very nice song indeed. Lets hope Mom and Dad will do everything to help preserve that potential virtuoso.

Wow it’s Christmas! Ah good Christmas gift to yo-self is ah copy of Doc Adams’ latest book “National Treasures”, it makes quite interesting reading.

And with that, ah wishing everybody ah Blessed Christmas and ah Peaceful New Year.

One Love Bassy!