Saturday Video: The Beautiful Flag Women of Trinidad Carnival

You have no band without a beautiful flag woman.
You have no band without an experienced flag woman.
The band will have no control, the music will have no soul,
The revelers wouldn’t play, their usual mas on carnival day.

“Flag Woman” by Lord Kitchener

There are few better primer’s for one’s first Trinidad Carnival experience than the amazing calypso classics of the one and only Lord Kitchener. Panorama Night, Mama dis is Mas, Miss Tourist, The Road – the hits are 35+ years old, though upon experiencing Carnival first-hand for the first time last year, I found them all to be just as relevant today as they were back then.

In each song you can glean valuable insight into the Carnival experience – what it’s like, how to fit in, and what to be sure not to miss.

Take, for instance, Flag Woman, Kitchener’s 1976 Road March-winning ode to the amazing women who thrill the crowd during Panorama by artfully waving flags in time with their counterparts beatin’ de pans.

Pulse-pounding, sexy, infectious – a Flag Woman’s performance is as critical to a winning steel band orchestra as having all the players hit the right notes. Their job, as Kitchener notes…

Get them moving. Yes Honey.
Do your duty. Wave it sexy.
Send them crazy.
Woman, woman, move your hand!

I’d heard and loved the song for years, never quite understanding what it was about. Then I witnessed the spectacle for myself. As you can see in this video that I shot at 2:45am during the Panorama Large Band Finals, it’s just as Kitchener sang nearly 40 years ago…

Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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