The West Indian Carnival that takes place every year on Labor Day on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn is probably the city's largest public celebration. Here are some materials for adults and children touching on the West Indian tradition of Carnival and its music.
Many photographs of the 2003 Kiddie’s carnival.
This site includes a movie that shows Grand Army Plaza and the façade of Brooklyn Public Library as well as images from the Carnival. It provides links to several other Carnival-related web sites and to many news articles, as well as listings of New York City Parades and general information on Brooklyn and New York City.
In 2002 Brooklyn Public Library held an exhibition of photographs of the Carnival. This page reproduces some of those photographs and includes a comment on the carnival by Edwige Danticat.
18 photographs of the Carnival in the 1970s, including a photograph of Rufus Gorin, one of the early originators of Carnival in New York City.
This is the official web site of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association. Especially valuable for its calendar of events, the web site also includes a short history of the carnival, many pictures, list of sponsors, press releases and news articles. Some areas of the site may be still under construction.
Gives a complete list of results of the Panorama steel band competition. Some of the bands have their own web sites with sound, so you can click on a band and actually hear their music.
Call #: 394.25 D
Brooklyn resident Danticat returns to her homeland to explore the heart of Carnival in one Haitian town. By the author of Breath, Eyes, memory; Krik? Krak!; The Farming of Bones; and the young adult novel Behind the Mountains.C.2002.
Call #: 972.983 M
Explores the place of Carnival in Trinidad, through extensive interviews with artists and other participants. Includes color photographs. c.1998
Donald R. Hill
Call #: 781.64 H
Concentrates on calypso as performance art, with a chapter on Fancy masquerade and Calypso. Includes a CD compiling rare tracks from the Smithsonian and other archives. c.1993
Call #: 305.896 K
Chapter 5 is one of the few articles available specifically on Carnival in Brooklyn. c.1992
Call #: 781.55 D
Examines the history and aesthetics of calypso, steelband, soca and other genres, describing calypso's role as a voice for the common people. Packaged with a 40 minute CD containing examples of music discussed in the text.c.2004
Ray Allen and Lois Wilcken (editors)
Call #: 781.64 I
Maps the musical "Caribbeanization" of New York City. Contains ten articles including "Steel Pan Grows in Brooklyn: Trinidadian Music and Cultural Identity" by Ray Allen & Les Slater; and "Community Dramatized, Community Contested: The Politics of Celebration in the Brooklyn Carnival," by Philip Kasinitz.c.2001
Call #: J-E
Lily wants to "jump up" in the Carnival just like her big sister Christine, who is going to be wearing a hummingbird costume. With brightly colored illustrations by Linda Saport, this book conveys the excitement and energy of Carnival in Trinidad. c.1998
Keith Q. Warner
Call #: 781.64 W
Explores the history and language of calypso, showing how the form respresents male-female relations, social and political commentary and humor and fantasy. Includes black and white photographs, musical illustrations and many lyrics. New edition c. 1997
Call #: J-E
Each letter of the alphabet captures a special aspect of Carnival. With lively illustrations by Ras Stone. c.2000
Call #: 781.646 T
Shows the development of regional music styles, with a section on the history and carnival tradition of each island, as well as information on 100 influential performers and their recordings.
Call #: 784.68 S
Examines the transformation of pan from Carnival street music to a national art, demonstrating the struggles and achievements of the steelband movement.c.1995