Females playing leading Carnival roles
Champion band Renegades
Our Readers' Opinions
February 28, 2023

Females playing leading Carnival roles

by Renwick Rose

There has been much positive comment in the media (both formal and social) in Trinidad and Tobago about the increasingly positive role being played by women in Carnival festivities in that country.

PATRICE ROBERTS (photo/Newsday)

Women have always been involved in the Carnival action but it is very noticeable in recent years that their prominence has increased and that more and more men are no longer dominating in certain fields, including leadership. Women are no longer just doing the behind-the-scenes donkey work with the men, though equally hard-working, taking all the credit.

Whether it is in band leading, calypso, soca or chutney, women are going “punto-punto” with their male counterparts, and getting the credit for it, though there are still remnants of the old discrimination against them.

In the calypso monarch competition, women are more than holding their own and soca divas like Patrice Roberts and Destra Garcia go toe to toe with their male counterparts.

But it is in the Steel Band Movement that progress is especially marked. All the steel bands, from schools right up to the mega bands, have a significant female presence. Even more encouraging is that the women are not just “playing pan”, increasingly there are now female arrangers of even top bands indicating the value of females pursuing musical studies at university level. To crown it off, the umbrella body of steel bands in T&T, Pan Trinbago, is headed by Tobagonian Beverley Ramsey-Moore, and the band which she leads, Katzenjammers, won the national competition for medium-sized bands. Yes, progress to report and of which to be proud.