To start our Notting Hill Carnival interview series we linked up with Jamaican Twist, the only Jamaican mas band/float at Carnival, that have been representing everything Jamaica for the past 20 years. With 2019 being their 20th anniversary at carnival. Join us as we discuss everything Jamaican Twist from their foundation through to 2019.
So when and how was Jamaican Twist founded?
Jamaican Twist: “Jamaican Twist started as Fusion Hi-Power which was a static sound system at carnival. It then moved to become part of the parade, with the Jamaican Twist name being taken up in 2002. We have always kept Fusion Hi Power as the sound system”
Since the founding of Jamaican Twist what has been some of the big highlights?
Jamaican Twist: “One of the biggest highlights was when we were invited to Southbank in 2012 to do our launch.
Us being in the carnival is always a highlight, being able to keep out culture with our great following, maintaining a great experience and encouraging people to unite”
What is the reception for Jamaican Twist like at carnival?
Jamaican Twist: “People feel comfortable at Jamaican Twist, every year people wait for us on the route. We are recognised for that experience. People are anxious and excited to see Jamaican Twist at carnival”
Can you give us an idea of some of your own personal experiences with Jamaican Twist?
Shorty: “I’ve been a part of the team for 13 years. I used to be one of those people waiting to jump up with the float. I then started doing t shirts and was really embraced by the Jamaican Twist family. They were very welcoming and happy to explain how carnival proceeds”
I think one of the things your average carnival goer doesn’t understand is quite how much work goes into each element of carnival. Are you able to give us a quick run down of some of your preparations leading up carnival?
Jamaican Twist: “It’s all year round, we do a lot of preparation, lots of time goes into the themes we choose, every year we choose themes that embrace the culture. Then there’s the actually sound system, we are quite a big sound, so a lot of work goes into that. Then there’s the preparation for the trucks and social media, t shirts, banners”
Can you give us a quick calendar run down of how these things are planned?
Jamaican Twist: “October is the start of the preparation for the theme for the next year.
December we start testing samples for costumes.
January we start to decide on which costumes we are going with.
March is when we get started with promotion and is just all systems go. We are trying to expand Jamaican Twist to more carnivals as well so it’s work all year round”
Over the past couple of years which reggae and dancehall tracks have had the best reception at Jamaican Twist?
Jamaican Twist: “Ding Dong ‘Fling Yuh Shoulder’ it’s a jovial dance and makes you want to move as soon as you hear it
Aidonia ‘Yeah, Yeah’ a lot of Jamaican Twist members look forward to when that plays.
‘Genna Bounce’ has a big impact, gets the older and younger generation moving together”
What songs from the past year that haven’t played at carnival before do you think will have a big impact?
Jamaican Twist: “Stylo G ‘Touchdown’ that will have a different kind of impact
Popcaan ‘Family’ great song for Jamaican Twist, a big song of unity
Koffee ‘Toast’ “
Final question, what is one thing that you want everyone to know about Jamaican Twist?
Jamaican Twist: “There’s no experience, like a Jamaican Twist experience”