Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Labor Day Fun, Part I: Brass Fest

By Damian Harris-Hernandez

Wave and wine all night long as Trinidadian soca sensation Machel Montano and other top Caribbean acts rile the crowd into a dancing frenzy at Brass Fest.

Performers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Grenada bring the party to the Brooklyn Museum grounds on Sept. 3 as part of the weekend-long festivities leading up to the West Indian Carnival Festival down Eastern Parkway on Labor Day.

Montano (pictured), one of the most well-known soca artists in the world, keeps the scene fresh with contagious beats and innovative, high-energy performances.

Lyrikal, Brooklyn’s own soca man, kicks off the festival, which lasts well into the wee hours of the morning.

Soca, or soul calypso, fuses traditional Trinidadian calypso with East Indian-influenced chutney music. It’s fast, energetic and upbeat. Backed by brass instruments and steelpan drums, singers address topics of the day and get the hip-action (called wining) going by calling out dance instructions.

“The festival features the best in soca music,” said Thomas Bailey, of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association. “There’ll be a lot of gyrating going on.”

Brass Fest at Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy. at Washington Avenue in Prospect Heights, (718) 638-5000], Sept. 3 at 8 pm. $45 ($40 in advance). For more info, visit


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