Every event I attend always presents a different outcome on a night out. Each one unique, different and thoroughly enjoyed.
I have definitely had a ball this year in terms of fetes and this one was offered no less. After having attended a huge event in Rotterdam the night before, this was a welcome change to step into family-dom. Rumshop Raw Licquer certainly is a little community of Bajans who just love to fete together. The passion for their country, the strong ties and the community vibes entices me to this group. I am not sure what has drawn me to them, perhaps it is the extremely personable behaviours that I encountered, or the fact that it was a mature crowd and not the normal crazy hub of young bacchanalists. However, let’s not get it confused, they may be mature but the wuk up nature is still there. Bajans are almost the wuk up specialists, no bumper can usually contest that of a Bajan, and they win that prize hands down.
However, the Rumshop Raw Licquer 51st Bajan celebrations was held at Addictive bar in Park Royal, it was a cute little wine bar come club, more importantly it was just the right size for this event. It reminded me of the days when my mum would host family functions or parties and all friends, family and children would attend. I got the essence of a real family vibe that I just wanted to encapsulate and be a part of. Max is the perfect host and gentleman, but make no judgement, this Bajan man will come and wuk you up. We saw generations of families with the teenagers and friends joining in on the celebrations. Mixes of the old and young generations, this little community are Bajan to the core and follows each other for every event. Settling in was easy, we found good spot on the edge of the dance floor and found that it was easy to blend in, chat and enjoy the music. The bar was so accessible, no long queues or haggling for a drink, the bar staff were also attentive and understood the crowd. Everyone at the event was lovely and wanting to introduce themselves to any new persons. Not that the music was low, but the atmosphere was more of a lime and a chance to catch up with friends. We were also treated to PA acts by young and upcoming UK Soca Artists. Villianz and Chenelle were the two acts that were billed, an impressive UK showcase of talent, but afterwards left feeling that I might not hear of these individuals again. You see, we don’t rep our talent; we clap hands and say “well done” but rely on our Caribbean partners to provide the essential Soca music and do not understand why we are ignoring our homegrown talent, as it’s right here on our doorstep?
Watch the video of their performance here.
UK Soca Artists – Villianz & Chenelle
In terms of the DJ line up we had DJ Nigel Angelo, who was mixing up some wicked tunes for us. A Rumshop Raw Licquer resident DJ, Nigel has been actually been DJing on the Soca scene since 1993. On the mic and keeping us in the flow of the music, was DJ Bliss from the Release d’ Riddim team. Taking over from DJ Nigel Angelo was Credable, both DJ’s kept up the ability to read the crowd and played a mix of old and new Soca tracks, but were careful to ensure that the mature could enjoy the tunes.
For the last hour, the DJ’s upped the tempo and all took to the floor to enjoy the last hour. You also know when the fete is lively, as Max dons his dark glasses and takes centre stage.
However, I was interested in Rumshop Raw Licquer and its community vibe and was intrigued to find out more. The subsequent conversations I had on the night, were that there are five members involved in the organisation, with Max as the Chairperson. Max was born in Barbados and moved to London as a youngster, but missed the Bajan vibes and drinking Mauby, there also was not much of a Barbados representation for his age group. His community had started back in 1982, as families and friends were invited to his mother’s house for food (Cou-cou and fish / pork / chicken / conkies and of course Rum & Mauby). Max decided to branch off to create a social event of his own, because the Bajan community in London was not really formalised for the young. Rumshop Raw Licquer was eventually formed in 1986 as an alternative for the young Bajans, as somewhere where they could go, party and lime without the strict gaze of parents or elders. Max also introduced me to Yves St Amer, who is also an integral part of Rumshop Raw Licquer; almost regal, I found myself enraptured in her presence. From her conversation on the night, I was told that the team all lived on the same road and that is how they met. Imagine a 40-odd strong community knowing each other all their lives and consisting of friends and family. Needless to say, for the last 20 years Max has been instrumental in forming his own mas band and collaborating with other bands for the Notting Hill Carnival. Bajan Rumshop Raw Licquer is now an entity, a mas band in its own right on the road at the Notting Hill Carnival with the others that help to run the band. Rumshop Raw Licquer may be a small band, but they are not a small Bajan community, neither do they succumb to the big bands offering of ‘premium packages’. What you see is what you get with Rumshop Raw Licquer, a family feel, wuk up, rum and vibes. What more could you want? Do not diss the smaller fetes or mas band communities, for you cannot replicate this kind of Bajan feeling anywhere else. Regardless, this little Bajan community has welcomed me with open arms and I am accepting. My big up for 2017 – Rumshop Bajan Raw Licquer and you might just find me on the road with them for Notting Hill Carnival for 2018.
Rumshop Raw Licquer holds the following events annually so join their group on Facebook and Instagram and keep abreast of the upcoming events:
1) Spring Equinox
3) Raw Licquer Coach to Cricket Extravaganza
4) Independence Celebrations and the Band launch
Some pictures of the night!
check out the Rumshop Raw Licquer Facebook page for more pictures of the night