Xaymaca International's Iconic repping for the Dancehall
The Carnival season has officially kicked off, and Xaymaca International is the first through the gates when they unveiled their section at Sabina Park on Saturday.
Previously tagged as the 'smallest band with the biggest heart', the three-year-old band is settling well as a choice road parade experience. Last year, their reputation rocketed to new heights, forcing band leaders to add additional sections to their collections, which were sold-out months before road march. This year, they have come prepared.
Xaymaca International presented a total of 15 sections inspired by 'iconic' subjects like Egyptian queens, Greek goddesses, African tribes, fashion designers, and supermodels. They even included an iconic musical genre. "When I was thinking about how we're going to present Iconic, I thought about different eras, but it ended up being iconic people, things, and cultures," Xaymaca co-director Kandi King told The Gleaner.
The sections are Prima Donna, Aphrodites, Donatella, Burlesque, Victress, Mendoza, Ashanti, Rose, Aja, Psychedelic, Vainglory, Dynasty, Bohemia, and Queen of the Nile. However, the most scintillating reveal of the evening goes to Dancehall Queen.
"It's about time somebody actually credits one of the most iconic things coming out of Jamaica - which is the dancehall," Xaymaca co-director Andrew Bellamy said. "Dancehall fits the Carnival scene perfectly. Tonight, you saw it," he added.
The audience erupted when Danchall Queen made its entrance with black bodices and red, green and gold feathers. One model donned a platinum blonde wig which come as part of the front line package, while the other, who sported an afro, riled up the crowd even more with her flexible antics. "I expected people to be wowed, but everybody was floored," King added of the section.
"You could hear the screams. And the attitude from the girls on the stage - clearly they were representing dancehall queens. The cameras were out and you could hear the roars. It's very encouraging. That was a win for us," Bellamy said.
Carnival in Jamaica
In addition to the costumes, the dancehall culture was presented in other aspects of Xaymaca International's band launch - the music.
After the sequined, bedazzled and feathered models exited the stage, the deejays deviated from their soca playlists to drop hits from Ding Dong Ravers, TeeJay and Aidonia. According to Bellamy, those injections of contemporary dancehall music were deliberate.
"The reality about it is that Carnival in Jamaica is growing. For us to grow it and make it be fully accepted, there has to be an inclusion of our culture, and that will take dancehall being a part of it. We tried to do that tonight. It's not to overplay the soca, and by the response of the people, we're going in the right direction and doing the right thing," he added.
"After that launch, I'm feeling excited, overwhelmed, energised, and I'm ready for people to register! I'm really excited for people to start coming to see the costumes up close. I always tell people 'you cannot judge a costume by just the picture'. You have to come to our band-house and see them in our showroom," said King.