THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL

Steel Pan – The History

The steel pan emerged within the 1930s – with skilfully hammered 55-gallon oil barrels were used to carefully produce perfect musical tones. The drums were developed on the Caribbean island of Trinidad during the early years of the 20th century, and were used by steel pan musicians called pannists. Throughout the mid-1930s metal percussion was being used in the Tamboo Bamboo bands, who would play music through tuneable sticks made of bamboo wood. Originating in Trinidad, these were hit onto the ground with other sticks in order to produce sound. By the late 1930s the occasional all-steel bands were seen at...
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The sweet sound of SOCA

SOCA is a genre of Caribbean music that originated within a marginalized subculture in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1970’s. Soca was initially developed by Lord Shorty in an effort to add another musical dimension to the traditional calypso in Trinidad, with the rise in popularity of reggae from Jamaica and soul & funk from the USA. Fast forward 50 years, we now see SOCA as a fundamental element to carnivals all across the world with particular reference to Notting Hill Carnival.  Revellers cheer MAS bands whilst dancing to static sound systems, who paraded the streets of W12 with...
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Red Bull Music Academy at Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park

After a two year hiatus, Red Bull Music Academy returned to Notting Hill Carnival with a brand new two-day offering. Kicking off with an open-to-all Sound System party on Sunday 27th August, Red Bull Music Academy then collaborated with local masquerade band Mangrove to parade a bespoke carnival float on Monday 28th August. In a world first, Jamaican dancehall star Spice and British rapper Stefflon Don performed together whilst Mixpak boss Dre Skull, afrobeats trailblazers Belly Squad and AfroWave pioneer Afro B also joined the line-up for this year’s newest carnival addition, the Red Bull Music Academy Sound System. The...
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CARNIVAL through the decades: 1970s

London, the 1970s and Notting Hill Carnival As Britain’s finances spiraled downward and the nation found itself suppliant to the International Monetary Fund, the seeming stolidity of 1970s London concealed various, often deeply opposed, radical trends. The entrepreneurial spirit of independent record labels anticipated the radical economic policies of Margaret Thatcher, whereas Punk spoke in tongues with protomillennial fervour. The aftershocks of the collapse of the British Empire transformed London for the first time into a truly cosmopolitan city. Its pop music was flavoured by a new generation of immigrants and people on the margins of society. Pop svengali Mike Chapman...
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The history of Notting Hill Carnival Food

The history of Jamaican food starts with the Spanish arriving in 1509 and driving out the original inhabitants (the Arawak Indians.) With the Spanish, came many slaves, which brought their cooking techniques, spices and recipes from Africa to the island. Jamaica is also famous for what is known as “jerk” – a sort of dried meat (known as beef jerky in other parts of the world) that finds its roots in the Cormantee tribes in Africa, and was imported when slaves came to Jamaica.       Notting Hill Carnival food by numbers (and how much gets eaten) 30,000 corn...
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CARNIVAL through the decades: 1960s

The roots of the Notting Hill Carnival took shape in the mid-1960s. The carnival was a celebration of freedom which was expressed through song, dance and flamboyant costumes. This tradition continued as each year people took to the streets and as large numbers of West Indian population travelled to the UK in the 1950s, this spectacular event established itself in London. The first carnival in London took place in 1959 and was held in a town hall in St. Pancras and the tradition of staging the carnival in town halls continued until it moved to Notting Hill in 1964. The event...
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