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Carnival backstage | Closeup

Carnival is a time to shine: from performers on the soca and calypso stage to costumed masqueraders in the street and fete-goers showing off their most acrobatic dance moves. But “the greatest show on earth” wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the many thousands who work behind the scenes — year-round or seasonally — on the organisation and logistics of the festival. Laura Dowrich-Phillips and Georgia Popplewell meet four of the people whose backstage efforts make Carnival happen

Photo by Kibwe Brathwaite

Kambule: on morning ground | Snapshot

Early each Carnival Friday morning, before dawn breaks, crowds assemble at Piccadilly Greens in east Port of Spain for a re-enactment of a key event in the history of Trinidad — and of Carnival itself. Attillah Springer gives an intimate account of Kambule, when the spirits of the ancestors are invoked in a ritual of memory, story, song, and resistance

Kambule performers re-enact the beginning of the 1881 Canboulay Riots. Photo by Maria Nunes

The return of the baby doll | Backstory

With a frilly dress and bonnet, carrying a replica of an infant, the traditional Baby Doll is a playful Carnival character with a serious message about the social roles of women and men. A new generation of activists have adopted the Baby Doll as form of feminist intervention, write Amanda T. McIntyre and Jarula M.I. Wegner — like the masqueraders behind the Belmont Baby Dolls band

The Belmont Baby Dolls band made their debut at Carnival 2019. Patrick Rasoanaivo/Culturego Magazine