ROTTERDAM–The some ninety revellers of Small Island Unity (SIU) enjoyed themselves to the max during the Rotterdam Summer Carnival on Saturday, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the more or less one million spectators who appreciated the troupe’s enthusiasm, with many dancing along.
Though limited in size, SIU stood out from the more than 30 troupes that participated in Europe’s largest carnival parade – not only because of the level of energy that the revellers displayed, dressed in the colours of the St. Maarten flag: blue, red and white; and some yellow and green, but also the catchy music and excellent performers made the troupe out of the ordinary. SIU wasn’t nominated for any of this year’s prizes, but that didn’t take away any of their quality and vibrancy.
King Kembe, King James, Da Lion, the Odd Brothers, Terrah Dan, Magic, DJ Icebergg, Deejay Vybz, DJ Bean and naturally the SIU coupe leader DJ SPY Kyle Brown clearly made a good team, with the performing artistes mostly among the troupe and the deejays on the truck that boasted St. Maarten flags and a banner to invite people to visit the island.
A rope, held by volunteers wearing Le Beau Travel shirts, prevented the public from “joining” the troupe during the electric show that the revellers put on. Walking at the back was St. Maarten’s new Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary Michael Somersall.
This year’s theme of the SIU was Hurricane Season as a tribute to the devastating 2017 hurricanes in the Caribbean, in particular Hurricane Irma in St. Maarten. The sign announcing the troupe at the front stated: “Hurdles cannot divide us! They only make us stand stronger united.” SIU wanted to show the collateral beauty of any hurricane and the strength of people when they stand together. The troupe had several hurricane category sections and a fun mass looters T-shirt section.
SIU was number 34 in the street parade, the one before the last. The street parade featured about 30 trucks and more than 2,500 revellers, the vast majority hailing from the Caribbean and South America. There were troupes from Aruba, Curaçao, Trinidad, Brazil, Bolivia and Cape Verde, some of which were quite large in size. The good weather resulted in a very large public turnout.
Saturday’s street parade was merely one of the many activities that were part of the Rotterdam Unlimited event which started on July 24 and ended on Sunday, July 29. It is a celebration of Rotterdam’s cultural diversity and featured free concerts, dance demos, parties and an international food festival that included the Dutch Caribbean kitchen.
A popular event is the Battle of the Drums on the eve of the street parade. Three Caribbean brass bands compete for the title Best Brass Band of the Netherlands. The brass bands walk through Rotterdam’s city centre while performing, much to the delight of the many spectators, and they meet at Weena for a battle.
Bron: Daily Herald