is a ten-day festival of colorful costumes, beauty pageants, talent
shows, and especially good music. The festivities, which
celebrates emancipation, are
exciting and extensive, ranging from the Party Monarch and Calypso
Monarch competitions of Calypsonians, the Panorama steel band competition,
and the spectacular Parade of Bands to the Miss Antigua Pageant
and the Caribbean Queen's Competition. In addition to these major
events, the nonstop revelry of this eleven-day carnival includes
innumerable smaller festivities, including local concerts, food
fairs, parades, and cultural shows.
Please join us at Carnival
2014, the Caribbean's greatest summer festival!
There are several different musical forms featured
during Carnival. Calypso, the oldest, has its roots in slavery;
a common explanation of its origins is that it began as a way for
slaves, who were forbidden to speak in the fields, to communicate
with each other. It is a polyglot, improvisational form that depends
largely upon the skill of a soloist, (the calypsonian) who weaves
the sounds of many cultures into a lyrical whole. Calypso competitions
have long been a highlight of Carnival.
Steel drum music was created when the bamboo
percussion instruments traditionally used to back up calypso were
replaced by hammered steel pans cut from oil drums. Whereas there
is no dispute that the steel pan was developed in Trinidad, the
indigenous development of the steel band in Antigua and Barbuda
was an outgrowth of the iron bands which were prominent at Christmas
time. Steel drum music has been an important part of Carnival
since that time, and Antigua is home to many of the Caribbean's
finest steel bands. Soca is a musical form that grafts the slower
beat of American soul music to the upbeat tempos of calypso. Soca
began in the 1970s, and by the middle of the 1980s it had become
an integral feature of Carnival. Another musical form popular on
Antigua is reggae. Although it originated in Jamaica, reggae has
been incorporated into the Antiguan music scene for years.
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