chapter  8
22 Pages

The Sounding of the Notting Hill Carnival: Music as Space, Place and Territory

Notting Hill Carnival is undeniably a spectacular event with the flamboyant costumes of dancing mas bands, the splashes of colourful body paint, mud or chocolate staining the bodies of its J’Ouvert opening parade’s revellers. But Carnival also has an explosive auditory impact due to its cacophony of sounds, in which soca, steel bands, calypso floats and sound systems mix and mingle in a multi-media and multi-sensory event. Traditionally the ‘five arts’ of Carnival are soca, steel bands, calypso and sound systems, together with the mas bands (Itzcaribbean, 2013). This chapter explores Carnival’s irreducible heterogeneities and poly-vocalities as a unique expression of British cultural life and the country’s musical landscape.